This Easy Vegan Broccoli Alfredo Pasta is the perfect easy weekday meal for Meatless Monday. This creamy dairy-free Alfredo sauce is made from cauliflower and cashews. Toss in crisp-tender broccoli for a well-rounded dinner in just about 30 minutes!
Alfredo is one of my favorite pasta sauces. I’m truly obsessed. I especially love the Shrimp Alfredo from Red Lobster! However, since I’ve been trying to eat less dairy, I decided it was time to make my own vegan alfredo sauce that’s every bit as creamy, satisfying, and flavorful as the dairy-based version.
Five Reasons to Love Creamy Vegan Alfredo Pasta.
It’s Vegan + Plant-based
Super easy and fast to make (plus, no crazy clean-up! Everything is made in a blender!)
Enough cheesy flavor without the cheese!
Full of flavor + so creamy! (The best reason!)
Perfect for any time of day—Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast (if that’s your thing), whatever!
How to Make Easy Vegan Broccoli Alfredo Pasta.
In my book, pasta recipes should be quick, easy, and always satisfying. And this 25-minute Alfredo recipe checks all of those boxes.
Ingredients for Vegan Cream Sauce.
You don’t need any fancy ingredients to pull off this fast plant-based dinner. In addition to your favorite pasta (I recommend pappardelle) and any cheesy toppings you may like, you’ll need:
1 head cauliflower. It should weigh about 1 pound.
Raw cashews. Soak the nuts overnight in a bowl with enough water to fully submerge the cashews. Leave it out overnight for the best results. If you’re in a time crunch, you can use boiling water and soak for 3 to 4 hours. Soaking the nuts allows them to whip up into the fluffiest, creamiest texture to coat your pasta.
Vegetable broth. Choose low-sodium broth to manage the salt level in this dish.
Garlic cloves. Because every good alfredo recipe needs a boost of garlic!
Smoked paprika. This adds just a hint of smokiness and spice to the sauce.
Nutritional yeast. A must-have vegan pantry item to add super cheesy umami flavor without any dairy.
Unsweetened almond milk. You can use another unsweetened plant-based milk if you prefer, such as coconut, soy, or cashew. Oat milk may be a little too sweet for this sauce.
Lemon juice. This brings the sauce to life with bright, citrusy freshness.
After you have all of your ingredients out and ready to go, here’s how to throw this one-pot dinner together:
First, cook your pasta according to the package instructions. I recommend adding 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the pasta cooking water. If you’re using pappardelle like I did, I recommend taking about 2 minutes off of the cooking time. I cooked my pasta for 6-8 minutes so it stays al dente.
Meanwhile, in a medium pot, add the cauliflower and veggie broth and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer until the cauliflower has softened about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Next, carefully add the cooked cauliflower (along with any little stock that might be included) into a high-powered blender. Add the drained, soaked cashews, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, Almond milk, and lemon juice, blending until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Fill the now-empty medium pot with well-salted water and bring it to a boil. Add the chopped broccoli florets and cook for 3-4 minutes, until bright green and crisp-tender before draining and submerging the broccoli in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Combine the pasta and Alfredo sauce in a skillet over low heat and stir until well combined and the noodles are fully coated in sauce.
Lastly, toss in the cooked broccoli and gently mix until well incorporated. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired. Remove from heat.
Serve your pasta in bowls and lightly sprinkle with additional nutritional yeast (or vegan parmesan cheese), if desired.
Other Veggies to Add.
You can easily customize this healthy dinner recipe if you’re not a fan of (or are simply out) of broccoli. Many of our Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables work well in this pasta. Any greens like kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, bok choy, or cabbage are tasty, vitamin-rich additions to your dinner. You can also add sautéed mushrooms, carrots, onions, bell peppers, or leeks to add crunch, color, flavor, and nutrition to this recipe.
Serving and Storage Suggestions.
This pasta is best enjoyed right away, fresh out of the skillet. However, you can also store it for a quick, healthy lunch the next day. Cool the pasta and pack it into an airtight container. Enjoy within four days.
The noodles and cooked broccoli won’t freeze and defrost well. However, you can freeze the cauliflower-cashew alfredo in an airtight container for up to three months. Then, when you’re ready to serve, simply thaw the sauce until it releases from the container then reheat on the stove. If it’s thicker than you’d like, add more broth or dairy-free milk to reach your desired consistency.
More Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes.
This Vegan Chickpea + Broccoli Mashed Potato Bowl is the perfect easy weekday meal or perhaps something simple for a laid-back weekend. Based with creamy mashed potatoes and topped with a spicy BBQ Sriracha Chickpea and Broccoli combination.
When it comes to this Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheeserecipe, it is by far more than a fork full of goodness! Super creamy, light, a crunchy crust, and loaded with flavor, this ‘Mac + Cheese” is made from gluten-free macaroni, savory seasonings, a bit of buffalo sauce, and cashews (the cream sauce). Completely vegan and gluten-free and perfect for your Thanksgiving menu.
This Cranberry Jerk Meatballs + Herbed Mashed Potatoes recipe is the epitome of comfort food in a bowl. Slow cook homemade meatballs in a savory cranberry-jerk sauce, and maple syrup. The perfect dish for any time of the day. All vegan ingredients.
This Vegan Lentil Wellington is truly something amazing! Wrapped in a nice herb-infused, flaky crust, and stuffed with a meaty filling, this Holiday main dish is one for the crowd.
This Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe is the warmth of great flavors and succulent taste of nuttiness from the topped roasted chickpeas which is beautifully paired with a creamy base that makes this bowl of goodness completely irresistible. Super easy to make, All Vegan, Gluten-free, and whipped together in less than 45 minutes.
This Vegan Curry Chickpea Mashed Potato Bowlis the perfect easy weeknight meal! Ready in no time, this flavorful dish comes with a creamy coconut + turmeric-spiced curry, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and spinach; all atop velvety vegan mozzarella and butter mashed potatoes. A killer combo, indeed!
When it comes to vegan recipes, there’s no need to be overwhelmed! It’s easier than you think to make a dish that’s plant-based without sacrificing flavor, texture, or satiety.
Of course, if you do find yourself stuck, then I’m here to help with my Vegan Archives section of the blog.
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If you choose to make this Easy Vegan Broccoli Alfredo Pasta recipe or any other recipe from us, be sure to tag us on Instagram at #Orchidsandsweettea so that we can share the love!
1(16 oz.) packagePappardelle pasta (You can substitute w/ your own fave pasta!; See Notes for GF option.)
1TbspExtra virgin olive oil (I use California Ranch Farms)
1mediumbroccoli head, chopped into florets
Vegan Alfredo Sauce:
1mediumcauliflower head, chopped into florets
1/2cupcashews, soaked overnight(See Notes!)
4garlic cloves, minced
2-3Tbspsnutritional yeast(I use Bragg's)
1Tbspjuice of a lemon
1 1/2cupsorganic vegetable stock, low-sodium(I use Pacific Foods)
1 1/2cupsAlmond milk, unsweetened (I use Califia Farms; You can use your fave plant-based milk)
1Tbspred pepper flakes
To begin, cook pasta according to packaging (adding 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil to water). NOTE: Pappardelle pasta doesn’t take a long time to cook, usually 8-10 minutes (however, you should cook at 6-8 minutes or so—‘al dente’).
Meanwhile, in a medium pot, add the cauliflower and veggie broth and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer until cauliflower has softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Next, carefully add the cooked cauliflower (along with any little stock that might be included) into a high-powered blender. Add in the soaked cashews, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, Almond milk, and lemon juice, blending until smooth and creamy.
In a medium pot, bring water to a boil and add in chopped broccoli heads. Allow broccoli to cook for 3-4 minutes (al dente) before draining them and adding them directly in iced cold water (to further stop the cooking process).
Add pasta and Alfredo sauce together in a skillet on low heat and stir until well combined.
Lastly, toss in cooked broccoli and gently mix again until well incorporated. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired. Remove from heat.
Serve your pasta in prepared dishes and lightly sprinkle with additional nutritional yeast (or vegan parmesan cheese), if desired.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. Re-heat when ready to serve.
SOAKED CASHEWS: To best soak cashews, add 1 cup of cashews to a bowl or measuring cup and cover with cold water, sealing the top with plastic wrap and leaving it out (at room temp.) overnight. When ready to use, drain and rinse. If not able to soak overnight, simply cover cashews with boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes, drain, + rinse.
GLUTEN-FREE: To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free pasta.
PASTA: You can use long pastas like Pappardelle, Fettuccine, etc. however, I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that pasta is fully manageable and fully coated.Otherwise, other pastas such as Penne, Rigatoni, etc. are perfect.
WHAT PLANT-BASED MILKS ARE GOOD FOR THIS RECIPE? My go-to plant-based milk is Almond milk from Califia Farms. However, you can always use your fave or one of the following: coconut milk, oat milk (froths/foams VERY WELL), flax milk, etc.