easy plant based cashew Alfredo

Vegan Alfredo Mushroom Pasta

Yep, you read the title right, vegan alfredo mushroom pasta. Sometimes pasta is the only way to go. It’s creamy, cheesy, earthy and incredibly indulgent. This recipe is also super easy to customize. So you’ve got some leftover broccoli in the fridge? Use it. All you have is linguine instead of penne you say, go for it.

What really makes this recipe, is our flavorful vegan alfredo sauce and the seared mushrooms. Recipes are meant to be fun. So feel free to experiment with your culinary instincts, or just go for our delicious recipe as it is.

You’ll love this recipe

Comfort food heaven anyone?

Sacred Italian pasta, or American spin off?

We came up with this recipe because simply enough, Luna had a craving for a white sauce pasta. Not surprisingly, according to our research, one particular stomach with a craving for plain pasta is what led to the creation of fettuccine alfredo as we (Americans) know it.

In 1914, Alfredo di Leli owned a restaurant in Rome called Via della Scrofa. At the time his wife was pregnant and suffering from intense nausea. Unable to keep her food down, Alfredo would make her a plain white pasta. He used any type of pasta with a butter and parmigiano-reggiano sauce. His wife ate the dish regularly, and eventually Alfredo placed the sauce on the menu. It came with the special house made pasta of the day.

The story continues, that 2 American Hollywood stars came to his restaurant and ordered the pasta of the day. Which was fettuccine pasta, with the butter parmigiano sauce. They loved it so much they asked for the recipe and took it home with them to the states. Eventually other American celebrities came to visit Via della Scrofa. Everyone wanted to try Alfredo’s fettuccine, and the restaurant became a hit tourist destination.

Although this dish is basically considered butter and noodles by italian standards, in the United States, the dish gained popularity. In Italy, to order fettuccine alfredo, you would have to ask for fettuccine al burro. This means pasta in bianco, or fettuccine burro e parmigiano. If you order “fettuccine Alfredo” in Italy, no one will know what youre talking about. But for Americans Fettuccine Alfredo stuck.

In terms of the americanized recipe, It is not uncommon to find alfredo sauce containing heavy cream, butter and parmigiano. In Italy the sauce is exquisitely butter and parmigiano.

Why the difference?

Well the quality of butter and cheese in Italy is simply better. The cheese and butter are already so thick and creamy there is no need for heavy cream.

Even though this story is not about a plant based dish it is always interesting to learn about the origins of food.

Our recipe is 100% free of butter, heavy cream and parmigiano. This is exactly why, especially through a culinary lense, vegan food is so interesting.

How to sauce, vegan style

To make a successful vegan copycat recipe, our most precious ingredient to work with will be cashews. Cashews are an amazing and slightly underrated nut. At least underrated by the majority of folks. Typically, when making a vegan recipe that has a cheesy, creamy component, cashews are the perfect go-to. You can use them to make anything from creamy sauces, to milkshakes, and raw vegan desserts. Cashews can even be made into vegan butter and cheese. Incredible right?? For one nut to be so versatile.

Once soaked, soft and tender, the cashews are blended with the other ingredients to make a stick to your noodles, not running away on your plate pasta sauce. It is quick and easy to make, and packed with healthy nutrients as with most of our recipes!

Cashews are also a good source of magnesium, which is vital for the healthy development of bones, muscles, tissues, and the body’s organs. Magnesium helps maintain blood pressure, boost immunity, maintain nerve function, and keep the bones strong.

Pro Tip

If you do not have time to soak the cashews for hours, here are several methods to get cashews nice and soft.

Cashew based Alfredo Sauce

It was a bit of a challenge to find the right components to mimic this iconic pasta dish. Usually the Americanized alfredo sauce simmers heavy cream with the parmigiano to achieve the desired consistency.

soaking cashews

Although we knew cashews would be the perfect texture supplement, what about the flavor?

For this recipe, in addition to cashews we use salt, black pepper, unsweetened soy milk, turmeric, and lemon juice.

All these ingredients together, create a fantastic vegan alfredo sauce. Honestly, salt and pepper are no brainers. The soy milk helps everything blend smoothly. It is important to note, purchase unsweetened non-vanilla plant milk. We did accidentally buy unsweetened vanilla soy milk the first time we tested this recipe. To say the least it was an interesting experience, imagine alfredo sauce with hints of vanilla… not the best flavor combo!

The turmeric is not completely necessary, but we like to play with our food if you haven’t noticed. Luna is always trying to add extra nutrients here and there whenever possible.

Turmeric contains curcumin which is known to help reduce bodily inflammation. Not only is turmeric a superfood but also add a nice light yellow hue to the sauce. The amount used in this recipe is light allowing the color to present itself prominently without affecting the flavor.

The lemon juice mimics the light twang cheese has. It also acts as the acid component in the dish balancing the fattiness of the cashews.

Pro Tip

We recommend using a high powered blender such as a NutriBullet, Ninja, or Vitamix to ensure a super smooth consistency.

Meaty Mushrooms

In the original dish there were no mushrooms, but there also weren’t any cashews or turmeric. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to upgrade this dish. Makes me almost want to call it “Oh-yes-extra-mushrooms-please-dairy-free-alfredo-pasta.” Not to mention this newer rendition is much friendlier to your health and the environment.

When properly cooked, mushrooms are some of the most satisfying flavors and textures to incorporate into a plant based diet. Mushrooms are the closest in terms of texture and flavor to meat. The trick to really getting the most out of your mushrooms, is by searing them correctly.

Pro Tip

Make sure to have a hot pan before adding the mushrooms to the saute pan. ALWAYS use a large enough pan, so that the mushrooms have space between one another. Using a smaller pan will crowd the mushrooms, causing them to steam rather than sear.

Cooking Pasta

Lastly, let’s talk about cooking pasta. It sounds quite simple….. and it is! There are just a couple of pro tips we have to ensure perfectly cooked pasta.

Penne Pasta for cashew Alfredo mushroom recipe

The pasta water should be salty like the sea. This seasons the pasta from the inside out.

Make sure the water is boiling rapidly before adding pasta. It’s important that the temperature doesn’t drop once the pasta is added.

Save a bit of pasta water. Always make sure when cooking pasta dishes to reserve a bit of the pasta cooking water.

Mix the reserved starchy water with the sauce. This will allow the alfredo sauce to stick to all that pasta and mushrooms.

Adding starchy water will also help with consistency of the sauce so it’s not too thick.

If you tried one of our recipes or found our articles helpful, lettuce know in the comments below how it turned out!

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Peas,
Luna & Nate

Vegan Alfredo Mushroom Pasta

Recipe by Lettuce Live in Peas Course: Main EntreesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calories

469

kcal
Total time

30

minutes

Delicious plant based alfredo mushroom pasta.

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Penne Pasta

  • 3 Cups Baby Portobello Mushrooms

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper

  • 1 Cup Raw Cashews

  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Soy Milk

  • 1/8 tsp Turmeric, Optional

  • 4 Tbsp Lemon Juice

  • 1 Clove Raw Garlic

  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper

  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley

Directions

  • To begin this recipe you will need soaked cashews. Soak the cashews overnight or minimum of 4 hours. If you are in a rush you can also boil the cashews for 10 minutes and this will make them softer and easier to blend.
  • Combine the soaked cashews with the soy milk, turmeric, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, 1/4 tsp of salt. and 1/8th tsp pf black pepper. Blend until smooth.
  • Take the baby bella mushrooms and cut them into 1/4s. If the mushrooms are bigger you can cut them into 1/6ths, or even 1/8ths.
  • Sear the mushrooms
  • Chop the parsley up roughly and set aside to mix into the pasta at the end.
  • Next, place a large pot of water on to boil the pasta. Pro-Tip: Using a few tablespoons of salt will season your pasta and create a better tasting end result! Boil the pasta as instructed on the packaging.
  • While the pasta is boiling, heat a sauted pan for a minute or so over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan first, then add the chopped mushrooms 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8th tsp pepper. Sear the mushrooms for about 4 minutes until golden brown, turning every 30-45 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • After the pasta is finished boiling, strain the pasta using a colander. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water to mix in with the sauce (about 1/4 cup).
  • Pour the cashew alfredo sauce into the cooked pasta and stir.
  • Finally. add the sauteed mushrooms and fresh chopped parsley. Mix all the ingredients well. To garnish you can add more lemon, black pepper, parsley, or even crushed red pepper flakes to give it a kick!

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Nutrition Facts

6 servings per container


  • Amount Per ServingCalories469
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 33g 51%
    • Saturated Fat 6.3g 32%
  • Sodium 358mg 15%
  • Total Carbohydrate 38g 13%
    • Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
    • Sugars 8g
  • Protein 11g 22%

  • Vitamin A 6%
  • Vitamin C 12%
  • Calcium 7%
  • Iron 19%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

2 Comments

  1. This was a fantastic dish! I made it for my mom’s birthday dinner on Halloween. I used a little extra mushrooms (~2lbs.) and I didn’t have Himalayan salt, so I just used sea salt. Also, topped it with a little vegan Parmesan cheese. This dish is so delicious ? . I will definitely make it again.

    • LettuceLiveInPeas

      We are so happy you loved it! Everything is a little better anyways with extra mushrooms and cheese! 🙂 Thank you DeDe!

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