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Eat Well Oct. 7. 2014
Condiments

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Oct. 7. 2014
Condiments
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Dietitian, Founder and CEO

This “Alfredo” sauce is the best. You’ll never believe it’s not a traditional Alfredo sauce either. I turned a classic and traditionally high calorie dish into one that will leave you feeling great, light on your feet, and maybe even with room for seconds. I used one of my favorite cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower, for the base alongside cashews and macadamia nuts rich in healthy fats and protein, and nutritional yeast for the creamiest vegan and non-dairy Alfredo sauce.

Growing up I was never much of a cheese lover (I know, gasp!) and especially not once I starting living dairy-free, but one dish that I often missed was Alfredo. The combination of an incredibly decadent and rich sauce covering every tiny curve of spaghetti noodles, topped with bold black pepper grounds, and fresh parsley is too good. I loved, and still do love, that combination. So today I’m sharing with you all how I get by still enjoying the essence of Alfredo, sans dairy and cheese. I first started making this Alfredo when I was making a transition into a more plant-centric lifestyle about 7 years ago. There have been so many changes to this core recipe from when I first started, but the recipe I’m sharing today is the one I’m most proud of and has received the most praise by my friends and family.

It shouldn’t be of surprise that I’m taking this opportunity to sneak in another veggie, and I’m sure many of you have guessed which one is responsible for giving this Alfredo the beautiful classic white color – cauliflower! Beloved cauliflower, I’ve used in it recipes such as pizza crusts, mashed “potatoes”, soup, buffalo bites, and more!

 

Cauliflower isn’t the only player in this non-dairy Alfredo sauce . What makes it almost identical to the original is cashews and macadamia nuts. Both of these nuts create an incredibly thick, creamy, and buttery flavor to the alfredo that you simply cannot obtain just using cauliflower. Obviously, if you’re watching your fat intake (even those that are healthy fats), then you could use extra cauliflower and reduce the nuts…but that would be a completely different recipe now wouldn’t it? I promise, give this one a shot first and share it with your friends.

Nutritional yeast not only gives this a cheesy flavor to some degree but also boosts this sauce with protein and B vitamins. I actually find myself sprinkling extra nutritional yeast on top after serving, because I really have a thing for nutritional yeast. It’s too good. Also, try adding in additional proteins and veggies like peas, carrots, broccoli, etc. My favorite additions are chickpeas, broccoli, and peas! Note: there is no replacement or substitution for nutritional yeast, it’s a must have in this recipe!

 

 

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
Recipe Type: sauce, entree
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3 cups sauce
A creamy non-dairy version of alfredo made with only whole food ingredients like cashews, macadamia nuts, and cauliflower. VGN GF Paleo
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cauliflower (about 1 small head)
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, soaked for at least 30 minutes
  • 1 cup homemade or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, adjust to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, for cooking
  • 1/4 cup onions, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Soak both macadamia nuts and cashews in water for at least 30 minutes or until softened. Discard water.
  2. Steam the cauliflower until tender, by using a steamer basket in a large pot with 2-3 inches of water. An option to steam via microwave.
  3. In a medium hot skillet, add olive oil, garlic and onions and sauté until tender. Do this while the cauliflower is steaming.
  4. Add all ingredients into a high speed blender, start with the almond milk and cauliflower, gradually adding in ALL remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust liquid by adding more almond milk if you prefer a thinner sauce.
  5. PASTA // Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta to package directions, 8-12 minutes roughly for brown rice and quinoa based pastas.
  6. Ladle the sauce on top of pasta, veggies, proteins, or grains to enjoy.
  7. Garnish with fresh parsley, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Store the sauce in an airtight container for leftovers and then reheat. Enjoy!
Notes
NUTRITIONAL YEAST // Don’t skip out on this one! It makes it a cheesy flavor.[br]HIGHER PROTEIN // sprinkle more nutritional yeast on top or add proteins mentioned in blog.

I love making this recipe on the weekends or for pasta night with B, he loves cheese (no really, he loves cheese), so anytime I can get him to eat veggies instead of cheese I jump on the opportunity. Luckily, he loves this sauce with gluten free pasta, he’ll typically top it with just a bit of fresh Parmesan instead of extra nutritional yeast, but hey it’s a compromise! I hope that you guys will try this out for yourselves, but also share a big pot with your friends, families, or my favorite is to make an Italian themed ladies night with your girls and watch sappy foreign Italian movies ha!

I hope you all enjoy this one as much as I’ve been over the years, promise me you’ll make this with your friends and share a picture of your ladies night using the #nutritionstripped!

xo McKel

p.s.

If you’re a fan of cheezy things, you’re going to LOVE these popular recipes:

Or try these other favorite Cauliflower recipes:

The Recipe

Serves 3 cups sauce

Print

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cauliflower (about 1 small head)
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, soaked for at least 30 minutes
  • 1 cup homemade or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, adjust to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, for cooking
  • 1/4 cup onions, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Soak both macadamia nuts and cashews in water for at least 30 minutes or until softened. Discard water.
  2. Steam the cauliflower until tender, by using a steamer basket in a large pot with 2-3 inches of water. An option to steam via microwave.
  3. In a medium hot skillet, add olive oil, garlic and onions and sauté until tender. Do this while the cauliflower is steaming.
  4. Add all ingredients into a high speed blender, start with the almond milk and cauliflower, gradually adding in ALL remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust liquid by adding more almond milk if you prefer a thinner sauce.
  5. PASTA // Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta to package directions, 8-12 minutes roughly for brown rice and quinoa based pastas.
  6. Ladle the sauce on top of pasta, veggies, proteins, or grains to enjoy.
  7. Garnish with fresh parsley, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Store the sauce in an airtight container for leftovers and then reheat. Enjoy!

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