Creamy Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce with Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shell Pasta

Creamy Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce with Crispy Roasted Brussels and Shell Pasta

Fettuccine Alfredo is a classic Italian creation that is essentially egg noodle pasta smothered in a rich sauce of butter and Parmesan cheese, and sometimes cream. When I first became a vegetarian, it was one of the only dishes I could eat when dining out, assuming it was on the menu, unless I wanted a boring salad with little substance instead. Of course, now that vegetarianism has become a choice for a much greater number of people worldwide, vegetarian options are more varied in restaurants now than ever before.

But what to do for vegans if they remember this dish and enjoyed it? After all, butter and cheese are off limits. I'm not strictly vegan, so I can still enjoy the classic preparation, and have made it at home, but I wanted to try a vegan version, with the twist of adding some grilled vegetables on the side too with the sauce. Cashews and nutritional yeast to the rescue again! I used shell pasta instead of fettuccine to "cradle" the cashew Alfredo sauce. The result was a filling and comforting chilly weather meal. I didn't miss the cheese and I don't think you will either. As always, nuts and nutritional yeast makes for a nice substitute that is protein rich and wholesomely delicious and satisfying.

"Alfredo" sauce:
  • 1 1/3 cups raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained
  • juice from 1 small lemon (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon white (shiro) miso
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • almond milk or more water as needed
  • sea salt to taste
Other ingredients:
  • 1 lb (450 g) Brussels sprouts, outer leaves peeled, and halved
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked shell pasta
  • To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. The sauce should be somewhat thick, but add a bit more water or almond milk to reach desired consistency. Taste for salt and set aside until ready to use.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat an oven to 375°. In a medium bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. Roast for about 25 to 30 minutes, turning halfway through the roasting time, until the Brussels sprouts are golden and the edges begin to get crispy.
  • While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain well.
  • To serve, transfer the pasta to the bowl that the Brussels sprouts were tossed in. Add spoonfuls of the cashew sauce, toss, and then toss in some of the cooked Brussels sprouts. Season with a little more salt and pepper and more sauce if desired, and serve hot.
  • Refrigerate leftover sauce for 2 to 3 days and use again with pasta or as a dip for fresh cut vegetables.