White bean alfredo pasta! Easy and tasty vegan alfredo sauce using cashews and beans. Our kids love this cashew alfredo sauce over shells and elbows.
Alfredo sauce is a beloved go-to pasta sauce for many families – because it’s delicious!
But with traditional alfredo ingredients being butter and heavy cream, you may be wondering how to make a comparable plant-based substitute.
We’ve been working on this one and are excited to share a recipe for alfredo sauce using a white bean and cashew base. Kid-tested, dietitian mama approved!
Why We Love Beans
Beans are often hit or miss with kids, which is one reason we like to present them in a variety of ways.
Beans are also a versatile way to provide micronutrients like calcium, folate, and potassium.
Just a half-cup serving contains around 25% of your child’s daily needs for iron, too!
In this recipe, we chose to use canned white beans because of their neutral flavor and color, and smooth, creamy consistency when blended.
Benefits of Cashews
The other main ingredient in this alfredo sauce is cashews.
By soaking and blending them with liquid, cashews make the perfect plant-based cream for soups, sauces, and cheezy dips.
They’re also a good source of protein and fiber, as well as an array of micronutrients like copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc.
We’ve used soaked, blended cashews in this recipe to make the creamiest plant-based alfredo sauce you’ve ever tasted.
How to Make It
All you need is a saucepan and a blender to make your sauce, which you’ll then pour over your cooked pasta (we recommend small noodles like elbows or shells).
First, we suggest soaking your raw cashews in hot water for 20-30 minutes (you could also soak them overnight if you have time) to help soften them for this recipe.
If you don’t have time to soak them, that’s okay – you might just need to blend your sauce a bit longer.
This is also a good time to cook your pasta.
Make a note that once your pasta is done cooking, don’t discard the water. You’ll use some of this in your sauce, so you can drain the liquid into another container for later use.
While your cashews finish soaking, you’ll cook some thinly sliced garlic cloves in a sauce pan in a little bit of olive oil. You only need to cook this for about 30 seconds to make it deliciously fragrant and soft.
Then, you’re going to combine dried oregano, salt, cashews, white beans, nutritional yeast and the cooked garlic with oil you just prepared in a blender. Pulse about 10 times until just broken down.
Add in 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water and puree until creamy and smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add in more pasta water, a tablespoon at a time.
Next, it’s time to toss your sauce with lemon juice and your prepared pasta.
Season with salt and pepper per your preferences.
Note that this dish tends to thicken the longer it sits. You might want to add a little more reserve pasta liquid to thin it out as needed.
Find the full printable recipe below.
White Bean Alfredo Pasta
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, preferably soaked for 30 minutes
- 1 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water, or vegetable broth
- 12 oz cooked small pasta, like elbows or shells
- 1/2 small lemon, juiced
- Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and add the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring the entire time, taking care not to burn. Remove and set aside.
- Add the oregano, salt, cashews, white beans, nutritional yeast and cooked garlic with oil into a blender and pulse 10 times until just broken down. Add in 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water and puree until creamy and smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add in more pasta water, a tablespoon at a time.
- Add the bean sauce to the cooked pasta along with the lemon juice and toss to combine. Season to taste, adding more salt/pepper as desired. Thin as needed with reserved pasta water, this pasta will thicken as it sits!
We hope you love this white bean alfredo pasta! It’s an easy and tasty vegan alfredo sauce using cashews and beans that you can serve for any meal. Try this cashew alfredo sauce next time you need a quick, healthy pasta dish.
Chime In: Have you ever used white beans and/or cashews in this way before? If you make this recipe, tag us on IG @plantbasedjuniors – we love seeing your plates!
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