This gluten and dairy free cashew alfredo sauce recipe is so simple and easy to make! Serve this creamy sauce over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash for a quick and delicious meal that's SCD, Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, and Whole30! The recipe is gluten free, grain free, dairy free, and soy free.
Alfredo sauce was always a favorite of mine prior to starting the specific carbohydrate diet. I always enjoyed the creaminess and richness of it but heavy cream is a no-no on the diet (and for my stomach now).
I've tried making an alfredo sauce using homemade SCD yogurt, but the sauce always split on me and to be honest...the taste just wasn't there either.
Que the cashews! Incredibly, the cashews lend a creaminess to the sauce (which is TOTALLY dairy free by the way) and provide the perfect base for the rest of the ingredients.
Does it taste EXACTLY like traditional alfredo sauce??? Let's be real, of course it doesn't BUT it's pretty gosh darn close and it certainly satisfies my craving for a creamy sauce!
What is alfredo sauce?
Alfredo sauce originated in Italy and is a white sauce made of butter, parmesan cheese, and heavy cream.
My low carb, dairy free take on this traditional sauce uses cashews, lemon juice, salt, water, and sauteed onion and garlic.
How to make dairy free cashew alfredo sauce
The most time consuming part of this recipe is allowing the cashews to soak. You might be tempted to skip this step but DON'T! Soaked cashews are easier to digest AND they're easier to blend which ensures that the alfredo sauce is creamy without any grittiness.
Soak the cashews in a large bowl for six hours before draining and rinsing them with fresh water. Place in a high speed blender along with fresh lemon juice and sea salt.
Saute chopped onions in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the onions begin to look translucent, add minced garlic and saute for one more minute.
Add the sauteed onions and garlic to the blender and blend on high speed. With the motor running slowly pour in water until the sauce is your desired consistency.
I like my alfredo sauce a bit on the thicker side but if you'd like it thinner, simply add more water.
Once the cashew alfredo sauce is smooth and creamy, transfer back to the skillet and heat just until warmed! That's it!
Serve this over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash for a delicious gluten free Italian inspired meal!
Cashew Alfredo Sauce Tips
- Sauteing the onions and garlic brings out their natural sweetness and when combined with the lemon juice gives the sauce an almost cheese-y flavor, so don't skip it!
- If you're short on time and have an Instant Pot, simply place the raw cashews in the pressure cooker along with one cup of water. Pressure cook for two minutes and then immediately release the pressure. The cashews will be fork tender! Drain and rinse the cashews before continuing with the rest of the recipe.
Try these healthier takes on Italian classics!
- Zucchini Cannelloni with a Butternut Squash Filling
- Roasted Beetroot Sauce
- Noodle-less Butternut Squash Lasagna
If you’ve made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below!
Cashew Alfredo Sauce
- 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
- ¼ cup diced Spanish onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Place raw cashews in a large bowl and fill with water. Cover the bowl and allow the cashews to soak for 6 hours.
- Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Place them in a high speed blender along with the lemon juice and sea salt.
- In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onions and cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Add the minced garlic and continue sauteing for 1 more minute or until the onions are translucent and have begun to brown slightly.
- Place the sauteed onions and garlic in the blender and blend on high speed adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the sauce is at your desired consistency.
- Scrape off any pieces of garlic or onion that might be stuck to the skillet. Warm the skillet over medium heat and add the alfredo sauce. Heat the sauce until warmed through. Serve over your choice of zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
- Leftovers can be covered and stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
- Use more or less water as needed to achieve your desired alfredo sauce consistency.
- ¼ cup of alfredo sauce is considered a serving.