Up until recently, I thought that Alfredo sauce was an American invention. I had never actually seen it offered on menus in authentic restaurants in Italy and came to the conclusion that we had made it up on the other side of the pond.
This all changed a few years ago.
One Saturday morning, my husband and I were deciding where to have lunch and he looked at me and said with total enthusiasm, “da Alfredo!!!” I had never been to any restaurant named “Alfredo” in Rome and asked him what was so special about it. He began describing their “special” dish made out of fresh egg fettuccine which is then “mantecato” (mixed by hand) with excessive amounts of butter and parmesan cheese in order to form an “Alfredo” sauce. My curiousity was peaked. (Mind you, I wasn’t vegan yet.) We went to ristorante Alfredo ordered two heaping plate of fettuccine Alfredo.
It was divine.
It was nothing like the bastardized American Alfredo Sauce that I had grown up with…full of cream and canned Béchamel sauce. After further investigation, I learned that fettuccine Alfredo was actually invented in that exact restaurant. For more information on the story or location, here is their site: Alfredo di Roma
We went back a few times and each time, thoroughly enjoyed this yummy dish. That is, until I became a nutrition fanatic. There is nothing about the original fettuccine Alfredo that is even remotely vegan or gluten free.
At the same time, it remained one of my favorite Roman dishes. Therefore, I spent a number of months attempting numerous variations and recipes for vegan Alfredo sauce and I think I finally found the answer:
Without further ado, I give you the recipe for what I believe to be the perfect healthy alternative for Alfredo sauce. *I have used it on zucchini noodles, gnocchi, and a number of other dishes and it never fails to deliver!
Vegan Alfredo Sauce
- 5 large garlic cloves
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped cauliflower florets
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 1 ¾ cups water
- 1 tbsp Herbamare (if you don’t have Herbamare, you can probably use vegetable broth instead of water)
- 1 heaping tsp nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste
- Roast the garlic by rubbing the cloves (with the skins on) with the olive oil. Wrap them in tinfoil and place them in the oven at 190C (375F) for about 35 minutes.
- Put the cauliflower, cashews, water and herbamare in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, add the nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cashews break apart easily.
- Pour into a blender (I used my Vitamix but I think an immersion blender would work too) and blend until completely creamy.
- When the garlic is ready, push it out of the skins and add to the blender. Blend for another 30 seconds.
- Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.
- Serve and enjoy!!!
*Store in the fridge
*This recipe has been inspired by and adapted from the original recipe at blendtec.com: Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce