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.
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.
For the vegan Alfredo sauce:
- ½ cup raw cashews soaked in water 4-8 hours, then rinsed and drained
- ¼ pound firm tofu drained
- ⅔ cup unflavored soy or almond milk
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice about 1 lemon
- Salt to taste
For the cashew Parmesan (optional):
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ 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
- ½ pound dry fettuccine pasta cooked according to package directions
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
Make the vegan Alfredo sauce:
- 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.
Make the Cashew Parmesan:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- 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.
- 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.
Make the Fettuccine Kalefredo:
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
- 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.
- 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.
- Divide onto plates and top with cashew Parmesan, if using.
I'm going to text this recipe to my brother, he would absolutely love this. It does look really tasty. Thanks for sharing & happy Thursday!
Awesome! Thank you and happy Thursday to you as well!! 🙂
This looks SOOO good. I have to find time to try it out! 🙂
I hope you do find the time! I think you'll love it!!
Liz @ Tip Top Shape says
This looks absolutely delicious!!! I definitely wouldn't be apprehensive to eat your food!
Haha! Glad to hear it. Thanks Liz!
Millie | Add A Little says
This looks amazing and nutritious! Yum!
Yum is right. 🙂 Thanks Millie!
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
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!
Traci | Vanilla And Bean says
Lovely recipe, Alissa. I can see how the cashews would make a creamy sauce and the cashew parm is a must! Pure comfort food! Thank you for sharing!
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!
betsy shipley says
Making it tonight! I have been making the cheese recipes from Miyoko Schinner's Artisan vegan cheese so I want to try this since it's quick.
Yes! This is definitely some quick and easy cheezy vegan goodness ;). I hope you enjoy it!
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.
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! 🙂
This sounds wonderful, but what could I sub for the tofu? Soy and I don't like each other. Thanks.
Cauliflower works by the way instead of Tofu..i used 1/2 pound
I would add some liquid smoke.Makes it even better
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. 🙂
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.
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!
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. 😉
Oh my, this is amazing. I am SO making this! Lovely recipe, Bec x
Thanks so much Bec! Enjoy it!!
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!
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. 😉
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.
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. 🙂
I was looking for inspiration to cook my kale, found your recipe and I am looking forward to trying it!!!!
Yay! This is definitely an excellent way to use up some kale. Enjoy!!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
Awesome! So glad you liked it!
Scott Jasper says
"kalefredo", nice 🙂 haha I really enjoy nutritional yeast. It has a really nice cheesy flavour without being too dense.