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Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Have I told you how much I love Instagram? I can spend hours browsing the #WhatVegansEat hashtag to see amazing plant-based creations from around the world. This cauliflower Alfredo recipe was first inspired by one of my Instagram buddies, @mandy_mo0n, the tahini and nutritional yeast she suggested work so well to create the perfect flavors and just the right creaminess.

If I didn’t make this myself, I never would have believed it wasn’t a “real” sauce with cheese and butter. It tastes every bit as creamy and delicious as an authentic Alfredo sauce (maybe even better), and the cauliflower gives the sauce the right texture without taking anything away from the flavors.

You’ve got to try this one – I made it twice last week and I’ll be making it again soon.

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Makes about 3 cups of sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups chunked cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3-4 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 clove garlic – chopped
  • 1 lemon (juice)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • Whole wheat fettuccine, macaroni, or any pasta
  • 2 cups broccoli (optional)
  • grated cashews (garnish)

Step One

Break up the cauliflower head into 2 1/2 cups of medium-sized pieces and add them to a pot with the almond milk, nutritional yeast, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover and allow the ingredients to gently simmer for at least 15-20 minutes, but do not let the mixture boil.

Note: Tahini is sesame seed paste. It’s basically peanut butter made from sesame seeds instead of peanuts. If you don’t have this ingredient or can’t find it, cashew butter would also work.

Step Two

When the cauliflower has begun to break down and becomes soft, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend thoroughly until the sauce is totally creamy and no chunks remain. At this point, give the sauce a taste and adjust any ingredients as necessary – feel free to add more tahini, salt, lemon juice, etc.

The sauce will thicken as it sits, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. If the sauce becomes too thick when tossing with pasta, simply add a few tablespoons of water to find the right consistency.

Step Three

Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions, and (optionally) steam some broccoli, zucchini, peas, or other veggies. When the pasta is fully cooked, drain it and return to the pan. Pour the sauce over the pasta and gently toss. Add in the vegetables if you’re using them. Transfer to plates and top with black pepper or grated cashews as a substitute for parmesan cheese.

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce Fork

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

86 Comments

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  1. Oh so delicious !will be making it again and again and again! thanks Andrew One ingredient+ One +One +Delicious= One Ingredient Chef ! Yay glad I found you on facebook!

  2. Came home from work last night to find that my kitchen-chef-in-training boyfriend had whipped this up. SO tasty, can’t believe there’s no cream in it.

  3. As usual, this recipe is simply amazing! If it’s alright, I will be posting a link on my blog tonight so more people can experience this great treat.

  4. Hi Andrew,
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe and linking to it on Reddit. As soon as I saw the title, I knew it was going to be amazing, and I was not disappointed. Even better that we already had all of the ingredients here at home, you gotta love that. We stayed true to the recipe, except added just a pinch of nutmeg. So glad I found this website, it looks like you have a really good thing going on here. Excited to try some more of your recipes!

      • Hi Andrew,

        I’m not sure if you have ever tried this as a pizza sauce, but my boyfriend and I did this recently as a substitute to tomato sauce and I just wanted to let you know that it turned out AMAZING. If you haven’t already tried this, I would definitely recommend it. πŸ™‚

        Thanks again,
        Katherine

        • Oh! That has actually been on my list of things to experiment with. I had a cool idea for a pizza with this sauce. Thanks for letting me know it works and hopefully I’ll put something together in the next week or two!

  5. Hey Andrew, thanks for sharing your Instagram — didn’t realize you were on there! I am following you now.

    This recipe sounds solid, I might save it for the fall when I’m craving more creamy, rich dishes. Yet I have fresh broccoli from the farmers market, so it might happen sooner than later!

    • Hey Jared. I love Instagram. Sometimes Twitter, Facebook, etc. can feel like “work” but I can spend hours on Instagram just having fun. Good luck saving this sauce for the fall, haha, I don’t care what the temperature is, I can’t go a week without it anymore πŸ™‚

  6. I was ready to make but I just realized that the girl at the store change the bottle of tahini that I already had to a “sesame butter” is this the same thing or do I need tahini ?

  7. I made a few changes (I’m allergic to nuts) and while it was a little too much nutritional yeast flavor for me, it was good enough that I’m going to make it again today to perfect my version! An excellent starting point with ingredients I NEVER would have come up with, thanks for posting!

    • What did you change to omit nuts? I’m thinking of using soy milk, right? (I’m not a vegan, but I need to cook for one asap…) And leave out the cashews, obv. Thanks for your advice, Bvisailor!

      • I think you’d be safe changing to soy milk or rice milk or whatever mildly flavored non-dairy product you like. I can’t remember what I used but I generally grab whatever’s handy. Good luck!

  8. Made this for dinner…WOW! Tastes pretty close to non-vegan alfredo, but better! I used more nutritional yeast and less cashews it was extremely yummy! Thank you for this recipe!

  9. This was pretty good! I found the tahini flavor (which I don’t love) to be too strong, even with just the 3 tablespoons. Next time I’ll use 1-2. I added a touch of male syrup and lots of extra lemon juice to brighten up the flavor, and it worked nicely. Great texture, just like alfredo!

  10. Just came across this and had to say thanks! So many vegan recipes rely on cashews when making anything creamy, and I can’t have them πŸ™ I normally use pine, brazil, or macadamia nuts instead, but the flavours don’t work for everything and it can get expensive using them all the time. Will definitely be making this soon! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Jenny! Oh no, I love cashews, that would be sad to not be able to eat them πŸ™ but I made sure this recipe didn’t have any cashews just for you! πŸ™‚

  11. I don’t remember how I found you, but I’m so glad I did – and so is my doctor. I love to cook, but I wasn’t cooking foods that would help my body heal – I have Heart Disease, I’ve had breast cancer, and now they have discovered nodules on my thyroid and spine. When I tried this recipe for Alfredo, I thought… I’ll try it, but it won’t be the same… and, I was right! It wasn’t the same because – IT WAS BETTER! Even my husband liked it. I didn’t have any fettuccini noodles, but I did have Jerusalem Artichoke noodles. We will have leftovers tonight, because I made plenty. I also tried the avocado pesto zucchini dish – which I loved. Now I’m going to try and make the cashew milk… please post more meals. I’m lovin’ your recipes and my doctor, who is vegan, wants the recipe’s also. I have always have a problem with my weight so I’m hoping, with your help, I can get a handle on it and enjoy what I eat while I lose the weight.

    • Char, thank you for taking the time to leave this comment. I’m happy that you’re making the commitment to cooking healthier and if the recipes here can help you improve your health, that’s why I do this. I’m thrilled to hear that you’re enjoying them and I’ll keep new recipes coming πŸ™‚

  12. I just came across your blog, it’s fantastic. I have pinned quite a few of your recipes to try. The cauliflower Alfredo sauce was amazing. I had it with steamed veg to cut calories and it was divine. I substituted the yeast extract for horse radish (I am English !) it worked well. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes

  13. Just wanted to let you know that I made this recipe yesterday night for myself and a totally non-vegan friend. We both devoured it. Amazing recipe, and felt so much healthier than regular alfredo too (because it obviously is!) . Definitely making it again as soon as possible.

    • Cool! This recipe is still one of my all-time favorites and I go through phases where it’s pretty much the only thing I eat for a week at a time πŸ™‚ I’m so glad to hear you guys liked it too!

  14. This recipe looks amazing and I’m just about to start preparing it for the first time. Can you tell me if you’ve tried freezing this at all?

    I’m trying to be more economical by preparing and freezing lunches and dinners ahead of time, as my work schedule does not allow for daily food preparation. Thanks in advance!

      • All I can say is that I’m completely disgusted… Not with the recipe, that was fantastic! I’m disgusted because I ate… The whole thing.

        Seriously, freezing is the least of my concerns now. I could double the batch and it probably still wouldn’t make it to the freezer.

        After all the reviews, I didn’t even bother measuring, just eyeballed it. Then added fresh organic zucchini and tomatoes. It was amazingly good.

        Because it was horribly cold out today, I opted for tri-colour rigatoni pasta as I had devoured the fettuccine noodles earlier this week, and that was all that remained unless I wanted to bundle up and go to the store.

        Also, it only took 15 minutes from prep to plate! I’m hooked! Thank you again!

        • I was really sad after reading that first sentence – you scared me there! But I’m so glad you liked it! It’s one of my favorites too. It works great with any pasta, any veggies. In fact… I think you convinced me to make this tomorrow! πŸ™‚

          Eyeballing is the only way to go, right? πŸ˜‰ I never measure unless I know I’ll be posting the recipe here.

  15. I love this sauce. I like to add some onion into the blender when I blend the ingredients. We had this yesterday over shredded squash and it was so yummy. I love that I have leftover sauce for something today!!!

  16. How important is the nutritional yeast? Looking to make this for some vegan guests this week and don’t have that on hand.

    • I actually think the nutritional yeast is really important to the overall quality of the sauce. I know it’s kind of a bizarre ingredient, and you can definitely give it a shot without, it’ll probably still be great, but the flavors won’t be quite the same.

  17. Excited to come across your blog, lots of intriguing ideas, and I think this recipe is first on my list to try!
    2 quick questions – first of all, about how much pasta would this recipe be good for? Also, can this recipe be made ahead and/or frozen, if one were to make a larger batch at one time?

    • Hey Lillian! This actually does make quite a bit of sauce. If you use a typical 16 oz package of pasta, you’ll probably have a little leftover. I can’t speak to freezing it, as I haven’t tried that myself, but it does last at least 3-4 days in the refrigerator, maybe longer – mine’s just always been eaten before then πŸ™‚

  18. This is amazing! Even my cat thought it was real Alfredo sauce. She licked the lid of the food processor while I wasn’t looking. Made enough for over 4 servings.

  19. This looks like a wonderful recipe! Just wondering, is there any substitute for the nutritional yeast? I have never used that in a recipe before. Thanks!

    • Hi Kayla! I really can’t think of any good substitute because it has such a distinct flavor, this sauce just wouldn’t be the same without it πŸ™ it’s pretty easy to find though!

    • Hi Maytal! I’ve used soy milk before but I honestly did notice a difference. It’s not huge, and soy does work in a pinch, but I do prefer almond milk here.

  20. SO good! My husband, who is not a fan of cauliflower, gobbles this up! Our whole family just loves this recipe; it has now become a regular in our meal rotations. Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe!

  21. I’m a little late to the party here, but I stumbled across this recipe and HAD to try it. Instead of using fettuccine noodles, I roasted up a spaghetti squash, scraped it with a fork, poured the sauce into the two halves, and broiled them for a few more minutes. It was delicious! I will definitely be making this over and over again!

  22. Just wondering if you have a brand of pasta you’d recommend? My hubby and son are still partial to the blue barilla box, but it’s not whole grain and we haven’t found a replacement yet that they like!

    • Hey Kim! Honestly, I’ve never noticed a difference between pasta brands. I typically just go for whatever organic whole wheat pasta I can find and they all kind of taste the same to me πŸ™‚

  23. Hi Andrew! Cheers from the cold cold cold London!
    As winter is definitely on, I decided to make a comforting pasta dish for dinner and your Cauliflower Alfredo was the port of call. I am glad I picked this recipe, it is so creamy, “cheesy” and satisfying, we love it. Made with quinoa penne and added a bunch of sauteed mushrooms, very nice indeed. As it was just for me and my husband I had quite a lot sauce leftover so I frozen it to use next week.

  24. This recipe is amazing. I have to make it in double batches to keep up with the demand. The flavors and texture are wonderful. My husband and I mixed in raw spinach and it worked well. My 10 year old son loves this dish. But please don’t tell him that he’s eating cauliflower!

  25. wow..is this for real?! I def want to try this. What do you mean by “nutritional yeast” exactly? Is it like regular yeast for bread, orrr..? (p.s. I’m sure everybody else knows exactly what you’re talking about. πŸ˜‰

    • It is indeed for real! πŸ™‚ So nutritional yeast is very different from typical yeast. It’s a deactivated yeast that’s just used for flavoring because it has a really nice cheesy flavor. It’s pretty easy to find these days in healthier grocery stores like Whole Foods.

  26. Hey there! Just came across your page as I was looking for a no-sugar molasses cookie recipe when I found this gem of a recipe. My son cannot eat any dairy at all and he is fine with that because of how bad it makes him feel, but I know he misses out on creamy pasta dishes….we have been using tomato and pesto based sauces lately. He will be STOKED to try this out, especially when he asks if there is cow milk in it and I say no πŸ™‚ I have looked at many vegan mac n cheese recipes but they are too time consuming and complicated. I already know this will be made weekly in this house. Thank you for your devotion to wholesome food!

  27. I thought I would let you know that this dish has become a once-a-week staple in my home. I make this with 5 lemons (pump up the volume!) and 2-3x as much garlic — and wow. I also use this dish to show non vegans how amazing a pure plant based meal can be. It’s become my go-to for holiday dishes and hosting friends. Truly one of my all time favorite recipes. I am grateful for this recipe. It is literally the meal that helped push my wife over the edge from vegetarian to vegan!

    If you haven’t tried this one — give it a go. It’s pretty darn amazing. I couldn’t be more thrilled with this!

  28. hey andrew! i cannot W A I T to make this oh lord it looks too good. do you think i would be able to sub almond milk for rice milk with no worries? πŸ™‚ thanks!

  29. I just made this and to my surprise, I wasn’t bad. It taste clean, but still eatable. I would defiantly be making this again. Yummy.

  30. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe! We went vegan about 4 years ago and I gave up trying to replicate the flavors and textures of real cream sauces like alfredo and mac and cheese after awhile. So glad I gave this one a try. It was delicious! Another one of your recipes to add to the rotation!

  31. HI! I just made this sauce and it turned out extremely bitter. I have tried adding a lot more salt and more yeast. Any other suggestions? I think it might be the tahini making it bitter.

    • Hmm, sorry about that. I don’t know, is your tahini bitter on its own? The tahini I buy is never bitter and I’ve never noticed bitterness in this sauce, it’s always very light and creamy. I couldn’t imagine what other ingredient would make it better (except maybe cauliflower), or perhaps burning/overcooking the sauce. But beyond those ideas, I really don’t know.

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