Fettuccine with Vegan Alfredo Sauce

This lightened up Fettuccine Alfredo uses cauliflower to create a rich vegan Alfredo sauce without the cream! It’s healthier, lighter, and just as tasty as the original version, in my opinion. Cauliflower Alfredo makes a wonderful weeknight dinner, and pasta is always a fantastic option for serving guests at a dinner party. If you’ve been wondering how to prepare a simple vegan Alfredo sauce from scratch, keep reading!

Fettuccine with Vegan Alfredo Sauce on white and grey plate, shot from overhead.

To be honest, I don’t think of this as a vegan fettuccine Alfredo. I just think of it as a healthier fettuccine Alfredo recipe that happens to be vegan.

Many people I know follow a strictly plant-based diet, and I think that’s wonderful. It’s incredibly difficult for me to do this because of my job, but I do try to minimize my intake of animal-based products for a variety of reasons.

Fettuccine with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce on a plate set over a napkin.

How to Make Vegan Alfredo Sauce

How do you create a vegan version of fettuccine Alfredo when you can’t use cream, butter, or cheese? The secret is cauliflower, which becomes incredibly thick and creamy when cooked down and pureed.

I’ve used cauliflower many times to create “cream” soups. It’s magical. You simply cook it down in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, preferably with some onions and maybe a bit of garlic. Add a bit of broth and finish it with some nondairy milk… done.

Obviously, there are usually a few more ingredients involved, as is the case below. But when I’m looking for a vegan alternative to a creamy pasta, this Alfredo recipe does the trick every single time!

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that’s typically sold in the form of a yellow powder or flakes. It has a nutty, savory flavor that, while strong on its own, makes a great addition to vegan recipes. Nutritional yeast brings the savory umami quality you’d normally get from an aged cheese like Parmesan.

For awhile it was only available in health food stores and online, but recently I’ve been seeing it in national chain grocery stores as well.

It’s an optional ingredient in this recipe, but if you can find some, I recommend giving it a try!

A photo of vegan fettuccine alfredo in a large saucepan with tongs.

Looking for more vegan recipes?

Check out my Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts, Crispy Baked Tofu with Broccoli, and Roasted Butternut Squash Soup!

5 from 4 votes
Vegan Alfredo Recipe
Fettuccine with Vegan Alfredo Sauce
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins

This lightened up Fettuccine with Vegan Alfredo Sauce uses cauliflower to create a wonderful, rich sauce that's full of flavor without the cream!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 350 kcal
Author: Jennifer Farley
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped (approximately 2 pounds or 3-4 cups)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 2/3 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk, (I like soy milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste (see notes)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup fresh grated vegan cheese
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, or to taste
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-low. Add onion to the pan with a pinch of salt and cook for 3-5 minutes until soft. Add the cauliflower and turn up the heat to medium. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring, until the cauliflower has softened up. Add the stock and water, then turn the heat to high. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover the pot and lower the heat. Simmer for 45 minutes.

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Prepare the pasta according to package instructions and set aside.

  3. Carefully ladle the sauce into a blender (in batches, if necessary). Puree until smooth and silky. Return the sauce to the pot and add the milk. Season with fresh grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cheese and/or nutritional yeast if using.

  4. Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve.
Recipe Notes

You can use ground black pepper instead of the white pepper. White pepper is only used here to keep the sauce uniform in color.

About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

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