Cauli-power Fettuccine “Alfredo” (Vegan)

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on January 20, 2014

Eric is in love with this creamy cauliflower pasta dish. I mean, in love. In fact, he asked if we could make it together on Valentine’s Day. Who am I to deny a grown man cauliflower? Plus, creamy pasta and Valentine’s Day go hand and hand. Chocolate too, of course. I’d say it’s a win-win.

Traditional Alfredo sauce is mostly made up of butter, cheese, and often, cream. Decadent? You betcha. Hiding a super healthy vegetable? Not so much. I’m happy to say this cauli-power sauce brings us both decadence and nutrition. To be honest, I was super skeptical to try the blended-cauliflower-as-pasta-sauce trend and I wasn’t rushing to try it out. But after whipping up a version in my kitchen, I went crazy for this stuff. And by crazy, I mean standing over the pot of pasta and spooning it into my mouth uncontrollably. Yea that happened. It’s downright irresistible just like you’d hope a creamy pasta to be. Of course, soaked cashews can create a fine alfredo sauce too, but it’s great to have a change from nuts. All you have to do to make this sauce nut-free is swap the almond milk for a nut-free non-dairy milk of your choice. Fun, right?

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This sauce makes a lot (3 cups!) which means you can happily drown the pasta with the sauce. No skimping here! It is cauliflower after all. I stirred the sauce into whole grain spelt ribbon pasta which was quite tasty. I gravitate toward meals that leave me feeling good and this certainly made the cut. Not bad for a decadent-tasting pasta, I say.

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Cauli-power "Alfredo"

Vegan, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

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This vegan “alfredo” sauce tastes decadent, yet is super light and energizing thanks to the sneaky cauliflower base! The nutritional yeast lends this sauce a rich "cheesy" flavour, while the blended cauliflower creates a creamy, luxurious base. This alfredo sauce is lovely served with pasta, but you can also enjoy it stirred into your favourite roasted or sautéed veggies. I love sautéing seasonal vegetables to serve along with the sauce over pasta. In the photo, I topped my bowl with a lovely spring veggie trifecta of leeks, asparagus, and peas. Thanks to Pinch of Yum for inspiring this tasty recipe!

Yield
4 servings (makes 3 cups sauce)
Prep time
Cook time

Ingredients:

  • 4 heaping cups (460 g) cauliflower florets (1 small/medium cauliflower)
  • 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened and unflavoured almond milk*
  • 1/4 cup (20 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh lemon juice, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper, to taste
  • 1 package (350 g/12 ounces) fettuccine or rotini pasta**
  • Fresh minced parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Place cauliflower florets in a steamer basket and steam, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes until fork tender. (Alternatively, you can boil the cauliflower in a pot of water for 8 to 15 minutes until fork tender. Drain well before proceeding.)
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well and add it back to the pot. Set aside.
  3. Add the oil and minced garlic to a small skillet and sauté over low heat for 4 to 5 minutes until softened and fragrant. Be careful not to burn.
  4. Add the cooked cauliflower, sautéed garlic, milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a high-speed blender. Blend until a very smooth sauce forms. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  5. Add the cauliflower sauce to the pot with the pasta and stir well. Heat over low-medium until heated through. The pasta will tone down the flavours of the sauce so it’s important to taste the mixture and add more seasonings (salt, pepper, lemon, etc.) to taste before serving.
  6. For serving: Divide the warm pasta into bowls and top with more salt and pepper (to taste), along with a squeeze of lemon and some fresh minced parsley. Feel free to add your favourite cooked veggies such as broccoli, peas, leeks, asparagus, butternut squash, etc.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size 1 of 4 servings | Calories 400 calories | Total Fat 5 grams
Saturated Fat 0.5 grams | Sodium Fat 450 milligrams | Total Carbohydrates 73 grams
Fiber 3 grams | Sugar 4 grams | Protein 17 grams
* Nutrition data is approximate and is for informational purposes only.

Tips:

* It’s very important that you use an unsweetened and unflavoured non-dairy milk in this recipe (nothing with vanilla or added sugar, please!).

** If you’re only preparing a couple servings, feel free to cook less pasta and save leftover sauce for another time. The alfredo sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for at least a few days.

 

To make the alfredo taste extra decadent, add a tablespoon or two of vegan butter to the sauce.

Make it gluten-free: Use gluten-free pasta.

Boost the protein: Use a legume-based pasta such as chickpea pasta.

Make it nut-free: Use a nut-free non-dairy milk (such as soy milk) instead of almond milk. Be sure to use unsweetened and unflavoured milk.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

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Stephanie January 8, 2018 at 9:08 pm

I just can’t stop making this. I’ve made it about 10 times already. It is divine.

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Jessica January 14, 2018 at 6:54 pm
Recipe Rating:

This was so amazingly delicious!! Thank you :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 15, 2018 at 10:28 am

Hey Jessica, I’m so happy to hear you loved this “alfredo”…it’s one of my fave ways to eat cauliflower! lol. Enjoy

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rachel February 14, 2018 at 4:22 pm

Has anyone tried this with frozen cauliflower? Does that work ok?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 15, 2018 at 9:08 am

Hey Rachel, I’m sorry I haven’t tried it with frozen before, but maybe someone else can chime in if they’ve tried it. :) I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it out!

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Green Trees March 9, 2018 at 6:21 pm
Recipe Rating:

Yes frozen cauli worked great for me and I think some other people in the comments too! Thanks Angela, my husband loved this too!

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Green Trees March 9, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Forgot to say, I just microwaved the cauli until it was fork tender, instead of boiling it.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 10, 2018 at 6:31 am

whohoo! That’s great news. I will try it soon. :) Thanks for following up!

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Alema March 14, 2018 at 1:50 pm
Recipe Rating:

Angela, this is so impressive! Tried this recipe last night and didn’t think it could possibly taste anything like alfredo sauce, but boy was I wrong! I find it amazing that it tastes nothing like cauliflower (how?). Just goes to show how it’s totally possible to have tasty food that is completely healthy. I honestly wish this notion was more mainstream, and perhaps one day it will be, with the help of such talented people like you. Thanks for the great recipe and everything that you do!

There’s so much leftover sauce that I’ll be having it again tomorrow :)

P.S. I sautéed some sliced mushrooms and cherry tomatoes with Italian seasoning as toppings on the pasta. So yummy!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 15, 2018 at 12:40 pm

I’m so happy you love it so much Alema! Thank you :) And I LOVE adding sauteed mushrooms to it as well. Cherry tomatoes also sounds like such a nice contrast to the creamy pasta.

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Remie March 23, 2018 at 5:11 pm
Recipe Rating:

Mine came out very bland, albeit creamy! I think it might have been the noodles I used (Trader Joe’s vegetable radiatore)…I will keep trying. Thanks for this recipe! Had no idea cauliflower could be so creamy.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 25, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Oh I’m sorry to hear that Remie..I do think you are right that the noodles can impact the flavour. I’ve experienced that issue with certain ones (especially gluten free). You may also need to increase the salt and other seasonings. Good luck if you try it again!

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Steph March 30, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Husband and baby both love this dish!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 30, 2018 at 4:13 pm

So happy you all love it Steph! Thanks for trying it out.

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Hanne April 28, 2018 at 1:01 pm
Recipe Rating:

Made it the other night – very good. A keeper.

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Jennifer Welsh April 29, 2018 at 10:34 am

This sauce is the gift that keeps on giving! I doubled the recipe and, three days later, am still finding ways to use it. Enjoyed it “as is” the 1st time around on pasta and it got my carnivore husband’s approval. The next night I added a little tumeric to some to give the illusion of a buttery garlic sauce and topped some smashed potatoes. Awesome! Last night I made a beet green pesto with it. I cleaned and blanched the greens, threw them in the Vitamix with a couple cups of the sauce, about half an ounce of walnuts, a splash of lemon juice and some roasted garlic that I had on hand and voila … pesto! I served it, again, on top of my garlic smashed potatoes. I’ll think I’ll try it on pasta today. Thanks for an awesome, keeper recipe! Here’s a pic of the latest creation with it and I gave you credit on my Facebook page.
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10216333518798861&id=1481213470

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 30, 2018 at 7:18 am

Hey Jennifer, Mmm…I love all the ways you’ve repurposed this sauce! Such fun ideas. The facebook link didn’t open for me for some reason, but thank you for sharing. :)

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Ronnie June 4, 2018 at 9:47 pm

Had this over a mix of zoodles and scattered banza noodles – what a treat!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 5, 2018 at 7:49 am

So happy you enjoyed it Ronnie!

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Vicky June 21, 2018 at 7:25 am
Recipe Rating:

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. Making it again today….my 3rd time in about a month. Thanks for sharing!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 21, 2018 at 12:48 pm

I’m so happy you love it so much Vicky! We do too ;)

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Katie Lemons August 10, 2018 at 10:42 am
Recipe Rating:

I made this recipe last night, and the sauce turned out to be a bit chunky. The flavors were great, and I adjusted the seasonings to taste, but it tasted more like I was eating pasta with mashed potatoes than alfredo. What is the consistency supposed to be like? Should I have added a lot more milk?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 10, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Hey Katie, Yes the consistency is supposed to be silky smooth. It could be a blender issue as opposed to a liquid issue (assuming all the other measures like cauliflower were correct). Does your blender normally have trouble blending sauces? I hope you still enjoyed it! Thanks for your comment :)

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