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This cashew pasta sauce is the perfect way to add a creamy twist to your favorite pasta dishes. Made with simple, wholesome ingredients, this sauce is a flavorful alternative to traditional dairy-based sauces.

An overhead shot of shell pasta tossed in cashew sauce.
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Cashew Alfredo Sauce

Wednesdays have become pasta night for us just like Fridays are pizza night (hello protein pizza, our favorite!). Having themed food nights really helps ease the decision fatigue that comes with constantly having to figure out what to make.

It can also add an element of fun and excitement too!

One of the great things about pasta is that it can be paired with endless sauce, protein, and vegetable options.

From this hidden veggie pasta sauce to this iron-rich baby pasta sauce to these no tomato sauces, there’s no way we can get tired of pasta night.

And if you’re in the mood for a healthier alternative to cream-based sauces, this dairy-free alfredo sauce is for you!

The combination of creamy cashews and cauliflower along with other flavorings create a luscious sauce that’s both satisfying and nourishing.

Ingredients

All the ingredients laid out on a white background.
  • Raw unsalted cashews – Along with cauliflower, they help make the sauce thick and creamy, mimicking the consistency of dairy cream. You can use roasted cashews to add an extra layer of flavor to the sauce.
  • Cauliflower – not only does it boost nutrition, it also makes the sauce smooth and creamy. And here’s how to cook cauliflower for babies.
  • Lemon juice – to brighten up the sauce. You can also add some lemon zest too.
  • Miso – adds a delicious umami flavor to this otherwise mild-flavored sauce. You must try this miso pasta next!
  • Vegetable broth – While you can use water, cooking the cauliflower, cashews, and pasta in broth will result in a creamier texture and richer flavor.

Choosing the Best Pasta Shape

While any pasta shape will work with this sauce, I prefer the short pasta shapes with ridges or grooves, like fusili, rigatoni, or corkscrew, as they really soak up this cashew cream sauce.

But if you are in the mood for fettucine alfredo, use thick noodles.

You can use regular, whole wheat, gluten-free pasta, or legume based pasta (e.g. chickpea, edamame, lentil) for extra protein, iron, and fiber.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Cauliflower and cashews in boiling pot on left and drained on the right.
Cooked pasta with sauce before combining.
  1. Add vegetable broth to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the cashews and cauliflower and cook until fork-tender, about 8-10 minutes. This also eliminates the need for soaking the cashews.
  2. Using a slotted soon, transfer cauliflower and cashews to a high-speed blender. Don’t drain the liquid! Add garlic, miso, lemon juice, and 3/4 cup of cooking liquid to blender and blend on high until completely smooth and creamy. Add more liquid if thinner consistency desired. Stir in nutritional yeast or parmesan (optional).
  3. Add additional water to the pot with the remaining broth. Bring to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving one cup of the cooking liquid, and return pasta back to the same pot.
  4. Stir in cashew sauce and toss until well coated. Add reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce, as needed.

Tips for Success

  • Be sure to save at least 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. It will help the creamy sauce to cling to the pasta.
  • Once blended, taste the sauce and adjust to your liking. We like it really garlicky so oftentimes will add more. You can add more lemon juice or nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor or parmesan cheese, if not vegan.

Serving Suggestions

Cashew pasta sauce with crackers and vegetables on the left and quesadilla with carrots and yogurt melts on the right.

To round out the meal, enjoy this green sauce pasta with some protein, such as:

And extra veggies never hurt 😉

Additionally, If you want to incorporate more variety into your child’s diet, store the sauce separately. You can stir it into oatmeal, lentils, and quinoa.

or

Spread on toast, mini pizza, or add to quesadillas and sandwiches.

It also makes for a delicious dip for vegetables and crackers. Here are the best crackers for babies and toddlers.

Storage Suggestions

I recommend storing the cashew sauce separately from the pasta in an airtight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can enjoy both cold or warm. Reheat briefly in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash or water.

You can also freeze for up to 3 months. If you want to freeze in single serving portions, transfer the leftovers to a freezer tray, freeze until solid, pop out the molds, and transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container.

You can also freeze cooked pasta too for a super quick freezer meal.

More Creamy Pasta Sauces

5 from 13 votes

Cashew Pasta Sauce

Made with simple, wholesome ingredients, this cashew pasta sauce is a flavorful alternative to traditional dairy-based sauces.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients 

  • 3 cups of cauliflower florets (12 ounces)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews (140g)
  • 2 teaspoons white miso paste
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 16 ounces Pasta

Instructions 

  • Add vegetable broth to a pot and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower and cashews, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until cauliflower is fork tender, about 8-10 minutes. Don't Drain!
  • Using a slotted soon, transfer cauliflower and cashews to a high-speed blender. Don't drain the liquid! Add garlic, miso, lemon juice, and 3/4 cup of cooking liquid to blender and blend on high until completely smooth and creamy. Add more liquid if thinner consistency desired. Stir in nutritional yeast or parmesan (optional).
  • Add additional water to the pot with the remaining broth. Bring to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving one cup of the cooking liquid, and return pasta back to the same pot.
  • Stir in cashew sauce and toss until well coated. Add reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce, as needed.

Notes

I strongly recommend combining enough pasta and sauce for one meal and reserving the rest of the sauce to enjoy in various ways throughout the week, as mentioned above.

Nutrition

Calories: 428kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 471mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 3mg
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About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

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12 Comments

  1. This has become a part of our regular rotation. I started making it when my son was 9 months old and would freeze in 1 oz portions just to put on toast for breakfasts. Now will usually have it in the freezer as needed for toast, as a dip for veggies, it’s also much loved when served with pasta now that he’s 14 months old! I’ve mixed in broccoli when I didn’t have enough cauliflower and still a hit. Much appreciated, thank you for these plant based, great high healthy fat/ protein recipes for our family.

    1. You just reminded me to make this again soon as it’s been awhile since we had it! Thank YOU for being here and for trying out my recipes :). It means so much to me.

    1. We, especially Caleb, LOVED it! We finished it off in 3 days and was still good on the last day. I’d say 3-5 days!