Dreams of Cream Sauce
Oh for the love of food, please go make this. This vegan cashew alfredo sauce has been on the agenda for ages, and my only regret is that I am only getting to it now. Life. Changing.
I don’t know about you guys, but a creamy pasta dish was one of my ultimate loves in food-life. But it’s SO heavy! I loved every bite in the moment, but always felt a twinge of regret afterward. And that was before I (more or less) nixed the dairy and gluten.
It was a rare treat, reserved only for when I went out to eat at an Italian restaurant in the winter. But when I did indulge, the more cream sauce, the better. Topped with a little parmesan, and oh my taste buds were in heaven. I’d usually get chicken alfredo and ask for broccoli on top if it wasn’t already part of the dish. Because broccoli made me feel healthier about it, but let’s be real it’s the perfect vehicle for that much extra sauce.
But once I eliminated dairy and gluten, my beloved pasta alfredo was relegated to my dreamworld. Or so I thought. Enter zoodles and cashews – two saviors of the clean eating food world.
Clean-Eating Hack: Raw Vegan Cashew Cream Sauce
I’ve made plenty of recipes using cashews in place of something or other, including cashew butter and my vegan queso dip. I knew that paired with right ingredients, it would blend up to make a perfectly smooth cream sauce. But oh my gosh seeing it transform and tasting the final product was pure magic.
I threw the cashews in a food processor thinned them with water. Then I tossed in some garlic, lemon, sea salt, and nutritional yeast to make it savory. Bam, done.
I ribboned some zucchini to stand in for the noodles, steamed up some broccoli, then warmed it all together for a few minutes on the stove. Violà – the perfect balance of decadent flavor with pure, healthy ingredients.
No joke, this is meal perfection. And I have lots of extra cream sauce in the fridge to top my zucchini, kelp, and shirataki noodles. For real, creamy noodles for days, and zero heaviness, bloat, or guilt.
Public service announcement: your taste buds, bellies, and beloveds will all love you for this.
Cashew Health Benefits
Cashews are obviously – for those of you familiar with my blog and my recipes – full of health benefits. They are high in healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Fat is an essential component of our diet, but not all fats are created equal.
Unfortunately all fats have been seen as the enemy for decades, when really they are crucial for optimal functioning of our body and our brain in particular. Healthy fats from plants like nuts and avocados reduce cravings and can even boost metabolism and help in weight loss.
Cashews are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They’re rich in vitamins K, E, and B6, which support healthy blood, metabolism, and hair skin and nails, plus provide antioxidant power.
Perhaps even more important is their mineral content: cashews contain copper, iron, magnesium and selenium. Minerals are just as important for body function as vitamins, yet are often forgotten. Copper is important for blood health, while magnesium is crucial for immunity and stress-management. Selenium also functions as a powerful antioxidant.
Fun fact: cashews are not nuts, nor are they legumes. They are drupes, aka a form of seed in the stone-fruit category! And they are indeed paleo-friendly.
Vegan Cashew Alfredo Cream Sauce
A delicious non-dairy version of your favorite cream sauce, made clean super-easy with cashews! Raw, vegan, and paleo-friendly.
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast optional
Soak the cashews in filtered water for 2-3 hours. Drain and rinse the cashews in fresh.
Place the cashews in your food processor (or high speed blender) and add the water, garlic, lemon, sea salt, and nutritional yeast. Blend on high until smooth and creamy (Be patient – will take at least several minutes.) This should result in a smooth, creamy consistency, but if you feel you want to thin it further, add more water, one tablespoon at a time.
Done! Heat up and serve with your favorite vegetables, zucchini noodles, or gluten-free pasta. Store leftover sauce in the fridge and use within a week or so.