This luscious vegan fettuccine Alfredo is made with pasta dressed in velvety sauce made from raw cashews and roasted garlic. So rich and creamy…you’d never guess this was dairy free!
Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but cashews are so freaking amazing. But…there is a but. They’re best when you have a high-powered blending device, which I do not. I use a middle-of-the-road level food processor, and up until recently I used a super beat up 10-year-old food processor.
I think it’s safe to say that most basic blenders and food processors weren’t designed with turning nuts into fake dairy in mind. It just never gets perfectly smooth!
I found a work around though: when I add other stuff to my cashews, they tend to blend up all perfect and lovely. Is it because the other stuff somehow assists in breaking down the cashews? Or maybe the other stuff itself blends up nicely, therefore decreasing the ratio of unblended cashew in the mix? I don’t know, but it works!
For my vegan fettuccine Alfredo, I decided to add roasted garlic to the mix. It helps smooth out the sauce and as an added bonus, roasted garlic is delicious!
I couldn’t be happier with how this one turned out. It was rich, creamy, and incredibly flavorful, thanks to the roasted garlic. Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I simmered up some baby portobello mushrooms in white wine and thyme. So good! Feel free to leave well enough alone yourself, and skip the mushrooms. If you do that, it’s pretty much one one of the easiest dinners you could ever possibly make.
Let’s talk about how this dish comes together!
Roast the Garlic
I remember once my mom asked me if I’d made a mistake by including a whole bulb of garlic in a recipe. I had not! The recipe called for roasted garlic, which completely different from raw or even sautéed garlic.
Roasted garlic is super mellow and buttery — mild enough to eat on it’s own. Mild enough even, to include a whole bulb in a recipe, or even two, as I’ve done here. I promise, if you do this right, the garlic flavor will not be overpowering!
Cut the tops from your garlic cloves, then drizzle each one with olive oil. Wrap them loosely in foil (or use a garlic roaster if you don’t cook with foil), and pop them in the oven for about 40 minutes.
The cloves will turn super soft and golden brown. Let the bulbs cool a bit, and then give them a good squeeze to extract each of the roasted garlic cloves.
Cook the Mushrooms
Start by cleaning and slicing your mushrooms. When you clean them, don’t rinse them! Mushrooms are like sponges that soak up lots of water. That’s bad news if you want to brown your mushrooms (which we do). Just wipe them with a damp cloth.
Heat some olive oil in a skillet, then add your mushrooms in a relatively even layer. Don’t pile them on top of each other — that’ll also prevent browning! Instead, consider cooking your mushrooms in batches if needed.
Cook them for a few minutes on each side until they shrink a bit and begin to brown. Next, add some garlic to the skillet and sauté it for a minute. Finally, add some thyme and white wine. Let the wine simmer until most of it dries up.
Make the Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
Once you’ve roasted your garlic, you’re ready to make the sauce. Place your roasted garlic cloves into the food processor with some soaked raw cashews and non-dairy milk. Blend the mixture to a smooth paste, then add some more non-dairy milk, lemon juice, and salt. Blend everything again until smooth.
Pour the sauce over cooked fettuccine and mix it up. Add a splash more milk if the sauce seems too dry.
Serve your vegan fettuccine Alfredo topped with the mushrooms and a sprinkling of parsley, if you like.
FAQ & Tips for Making Awesome Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
- Forgot to soak your cashews? Try boiling them for 20 minutes. They might not blend up quite as smooth, but the dish will still be delicious.
- If you think you’ll have leftovers, I recommend storing the sauce and pasta separate, if at all possible. Why? Because the pasta will draw moisture from the sauce as it sits, and over time the sauce will become too thick and the pasta too soft.
- If you do store the pasta and sauce together, add some extra non-dairy milk upon reheating to reconstitute the sauce.
- Do you really love garlic and want to add some bite to your sauce? Set aside one garlic clove before roasting your garlic, then blend it into the sauce with the cashews.
- Can this dish be made gluten-free? Yup! Just use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
Roasted Garlic & Baby Portobello Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
This luscious vegan fettuccine Alfredo is made with pasta dressed in velvety sauce made from raw cashews and roasted garlic. So rich and creamy...you'd never guess this was dairy free!
For the Roasted Garlic Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
- 2 garlic bulbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces dried fettuccine pasta
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups unflavored and unsweetened soy or almond milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
For the Mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces baby portobello (cremini) mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- Salt and pepper to taste
To Roast the garlic
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
Cut the tops off of the garlic bulbs, cutting just low enough to expose all of the cloves.
Place each garlic bulb on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle the top with a tablespoon of olive oil. Loosely close the foil over each garlic bulb and place it into the oven.
Roast the the garlic until the cloves begin to turn light brown, about 40 minutes.
Remove the garlic from the oven, open the foil, and allow the garlic to cool for a few minutes.
Cook the Mushrooms
While the garlic cools, coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and place it over medium heat.
Add the mushrooms to the skillet in an even layer. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are browned on the bottoms. Flip and cook 5 minutes more.
Add garlic to the skillet and sauté just for a minute, until very fragrant.
Add the wine and thyme to the skillet. Bring the wine to a simmer and allow to cook until most of the liquid has cooked off, about 5 minutes.
Cook the Pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
Drain the pasta into a colander, return it to the pot and toss with a dash of olive oil.
To Make the Sauce
When the garlic has cooled, squeeze the bulbs to extract the roasted garlic cloves, then place them into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade.
Add the cashews and 1/4 cup of milk. Blend the mixture to a smooth paste.
Add 3/4 cup more of the milk, along with the lemon juice and salt. Blend the mixture again until smooth.
Taste-test the sauce and season with additional salt, if desired.
Pour the roasted garlic Alfredo sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. Add up to 1/2 cup more milk, as needed.
Divide the pasta onto plates and top with the mushrooms, and optionally some fresh parsley and red pepper flakes. Serve.
The sauce tends to dry out as it sits, so if you have leftovers you'll probably need to add a bit of milk.