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Cashew Alfredo Sauce

What you need: 

1/2 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cups boiling water (best to use starchy pasta-cooking water)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1-3 garlic cloves, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
salt and pepper, to taste

What you do: 

1. Place raw cashews (not roasted!) in a food processor and pulse until nuts are very fine. Carefully add in the boiling water; process until smooth.
2. Add the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and nutritional yeast; process again until smooth.
3. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
It's in the blending process that the sauce thickens, which is why using starchy water is your best bet, so it takes a while. If it isn't thickening enough for you, heat it in a saucepan over a low temperature for a few minutes, and that should do the trick.
Serve over cooked pasta. I like some steamed broccoli and red bell peppers added to mine.'

Preparation Time: 
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I had to use a coffee grinder for the cashews (because our faithful old food processor went bang and died last week) and then I put all the ingredients in a blender, and it worked just fine and dandy. I also threw some black peppercorns into the whizz.

The sauce was a little too thin for my liking, so I simmered it on the stove and whisked in a spoonful of wheaten cornflour, which did the trick. I think the garlic would have been left tasting a bit raw if I hadn't simmered it for a few minutes, anyway.

Marvellous recipe, thanks!


I made this last week. i was looking for something quick that i had everything on hand for and this did the trick. i think it will lend itself nicely to embellishments in the future!


This was great.  I had to use dry roasted/unsalted cashews because raw cashews were out of stock at my local co-op, and it was still great.  I topped it with some vegan mozzarella and broiled it.  I think cashews are where it's at for alfredo!


I just made this last night... great! I used a little less water and it thickened up just fine, especially as it cooled a little. It's really making a nut cream (between cashew milk and cashew butter) so thickens just from the emulsion, and I guess cashew oil is more solid at room temperature? A half cup has about six grams of saturated fat so that makes sense. Anyway this is a perfect alfredo sauce.

If you have tahini on hand, you can make a sesame alfredo sauce in a similar way, starting with tahini, less water (and not boiling). I've made that before (and blending in some ripe roma tomatoes is amazing!). But it has a stronger nutty flavor (to me) than the cashew.


This recipe is easy to make with on-hand ingredients.  The flavor is good as is, but also leaves room for personal adaptation.  I added some potato flakes to substitute for starchy pasta water.  I added too many flakes and it became a bit too thick, but that's okay because it became a good dipping sauce.


I was just wondering, how many servings will this make?  Thanks.

It made between 1 1/2 and 2 cups of sauce.  For pasta, it depends on the serving size and whether you like what you're serving smothered in sauce.  It was enough for a head of broccoli.


I was just wondering, how many servings will this make?  Thanks.


This was fantastic, and so easy! I will definitely make this again. My spouse was shocked that it was vegan--it has a very luxurious flavor and texture. Thank you very much for this recipe!



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