Vegan Fettuccine Kalefredo

Vegan Fettuccine Kalefredo Photos by Emily Caruso

Most people love to eat, so when you love to cook, dinner company is never too tough to come by. There’s always been one group of friends and family members that seem a little nervous about eating my cooking; this would be, namely, folks who are afraid to have a vegetarian cook for them. The usual explanation has to do with some apprehension over what I’ll put in the food—in particular, whether tofu will be an ingredient. My standard response is to vow to make pasta. Nobody’s afraid of pasta, and pasta doesn’t generally have tofu in it. Well…except this one does.

Interestingly enough, the pasta those guests are most likely to request is the one that I’ve decided to throw tofu into: fettuccine Alfredo. The thing that sets this one apart from any that I’ve ever served is that it’s vegan, so there’s bound to be some unexpected ingredients in order to create the rich, creamy goodness my dinner company generally seeks.

Kale for Fettuccine
Cashews were an obvious choice for a vegan Alfredo sauce. They blend up smooth and milky, making an ideal substitute for the heavy cream found in classic Alfredo. The tofu is a bit less obvious of a choice, but it gives the sauce a nice body, so it coats the noodles thickly, just like dairy versions (which sometimes include an egg yolk). To really replicate the fettuccine Alfredo we’ve all grown to love, I included some optional cashew Parmesan in the recipe. This part isn’t an absolute requirement, but if you’re one who goes for heaps of extra cheesiness on your pasta, you’ll appreciate the texture and mild tang that this adds.

If the tofu doesn’t scare your dinner guests off (you know, assuming you admitted there’s tofu in here), I’m betting they’ll be a-OK with some kale in their vegan fettuccine Alfredo. And the kale is a welcome addition indeed—not just because the inclusion of some greens makes me feel better about eating one of the most decadent pasta dishes in existence, but because the flavor of some garlicky sautéed kale goes amazingly well with the mild creaminess of the Alfredo sauce.

This post was originally published on October 23, 2014.

Fettuccine Kalefredo

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Fettuccine Kalefredo

This vegan take on fettuccine Alfredo is made with a creamy cashew sauce that's made extra thick and luxurious by blending in tofu. Tender bits of garlicky sauteed kale compliment the richness of the Alfredo sauce.


    For the vegan Alfredo sauce:
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours, then rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 pound firm tofu, drained
  • 2/3 cup unflavored soy or almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • Salt to taste
  • For the cashew Parmesan (optional):
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the Fettuccine Kalefredo:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 pound dry fettuccine pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


    Make the vegan Alfredo sauce:
  1. Place cashews in a food processor fitted with an S-blade and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of bowl as needed. Add the tofu, milk, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and blend until creamy. Taste and add additional salt if desired.
  2. Make the Cashew Parmesan:
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and pulse a few times, until the cashews are finely ground.
  5. Distribute the mixture in an even layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture darkens slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  6. Make the Fettuccine Kalefredo:
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  8. Add the kale and vegetable broth. Gently toss the kale a few times to coat with olive oil and broth. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, until kale is tender, uncovering and tossing again once or twice during cooking.
  9. Remove the cover from the saucepan and add the cooked fettuccine, Alfredo sauce, salt and pepper. Quickly mix everything using a fork and cook about 1 more minute, just until everything is heated through.
  10. Divide onto plates and top with cashew Parmesan, if using.


This is best eaten right away, as that's when the sauce is creamiest. If you wait a few minutes or have leftovers, add a few splashes of soy milk or almond milk to regain some of the creaminess.


About Alissa

Alissa Saenz crafts vegan recipes for her blog Connoisseurus Veg. When she’s not cooking and blogging about it, she’s probably engaging in some form of yoga, arts & crafts, or lawyering.   Read more from Alissa →

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  1. says

    WOW – I am making this ASAP. I am currently obsessed with cashew cheese and have made veggie lasagna 3 times in the past month. This will be a good change!!! <3

    • AlissaAlissa says

      I fully support you making this ASAP and I can totally relate to the cashew obsession. 😉
      If you like veggie lasagna I think you’ll probably dig this as well!

    • AlissaAlissa says

      Absolutely! In fact, the weather chilled a bit just as I was getting ready to make it, so I was getting a hankering for some comfort food – it worked out perfectly. Thanks Traci!

  2. says

    Perfect timing! I have a pile of kale in my refrigerator and I didn’t want to do the same old things I usually do with kale. I’ll make this for dinner tomorrow. I’m excited to try it, since I love kale with pasta.

    • AlissaAlissa says

      Awesome! This was definitely a fun new way for me to put some kale to use. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂

      • AlissaAlissa says

        Thanks Cory! I have yet to experiment with cauliflower Alfredo, but I love the idea. Also love the idea of some liquid smoke – I’ve been throwing it into everything lately. 🙂

    • AlissaAlissa says

      My first attempt at this didn’t include any tofu. It was quite tasty, just not as thick and creamy as the version with tofu. So you could just leave it out – though you might need to adjust the liquid content a bit and maybe increase the sauce to pasta ratio a bit.

  3. Joanne Bruno says

    I’m currently on a self-enforced wedding diet (not fun!) but am still craving ALL THE COMFORT FOODS. This sounds like a great way to make a healthier version of alfredo sauce. I’ll just have to hide the fact that there’s tofu in it from my fiance!

    • AlissaAlissa says

      Ahhh…that’s rough! I think you can totally get away with a plate of this though. I mean, half the sauce is tofu! Also, I’m betting your fiance will have no idea there’s tofu in it. 😉

  4. Anita says

    I made this last night for my boyfriend and his two cheese-monster daughters. The ultimate test. They LOVED it! It was so tasty and the texture and consistency of the Cashew-Tofu sauce is exactly what you crave when you want Alfredo. They had NO IDEA it was vegan. Nice work!

    • AlissaAlissa says

      YES! This is what I was hoping to hear!! I’m so glad you all enjoyed it. Thank you for letting me know. I might just have to serve a plate of this to my tofu fearing dad. 😉

  5. Kinsey says

    This was the best fettuccine alfredo I have ever had, hands down (vegan and non-vegan). It was not as rich as the restaurant ones are (which is a good thing) and it tasted delicious! Will definitely be making again in the future.


    • says

      Awesome! That’s pretty much my assessment of this too – I liked that it was a bit lightened up compared to restaurant versions. So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. Melissa says

    I made this last night, my sister (meat and dairy queen) couldn’t even tell it was completely vegan!! I accidently added 2 cups of kale. I don’t love kale, as HARD as I try. I’ve literally tried probably 20 different recipes with kale, nothing has really hit it out of the park. BUTTTTTTTTTTTT THIS recipe was fabulous, I liked the oopsy version I made and I can’t wait to make it again with the appropriate amount of kale!!

    I was wondering, how many calories would you say per serving?

    • AlissaAlissa says

      Awesome! Glad this one did it for you! I don’t have the nutritional information, but I wouldn’t consider this a low calorie dish. It’s definitely indulgent, though a bit lighter than traditional fettuccine Alfredo. You could take a crack at the calorie calculation using this calculator.

  7. Stephanie says

    I made this, and it’s delicious. My kids also love it. However I served it for a second night, as leftovers, and my son developed hives all over his trunk and groin. He’s had walnuts regularly, I’m wondering in yeast flakes can cause this reaction? I’ve tried googling, and nothing.

    • AlissaAlissa says

      Glad you enjoyed it, but sorry about your son! I’ve never heard of anyone reacting like that to nutritional yeast, but I guess it’s possible that he could be allergic.

  8. Vrindi says

    I made this for dinner last night and it was amazing! I’ve been craving Alfredo sauce since going vegetarian and gluten free, and haven’t found a sauce that didn’t have eggs or wheat. I’m trying to eat more vegan meals, and this really hit the spot! Thanks for this recipe!

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