Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo
This dreamy, creamy vegan pumpkin alfredo is the perfect Fall dinner! Just 30 minutes to this healthier spin on the classic dish, it’s filled with pumpkin puree and a luscious cashew “heavy cream.” Dairy free and delicious!
Sauce-y, pumpkin-y pasta that is oh so cozy, filled with the flavors of the season and only takes about 30 minutes to get on the table? Now that is definitely how we celebrate the start of fall.
And did I mention that there’s absolutely no heavy cream involved in this dreamy vegan pumpkin alfredo?
And that even the dairy-loving members of your household will not mind one little bit? Because it’s so incredibly creamy and luscious that you can’t even tell?
Cozy fall food for the win.
And we have all this to thank from one of my favorite foods, the nutty delicious little cashew. We blend some together with a bit of broth and almond milk to make a cashew “heavy cream.” <— The husband actually thought it was heavy cream when he saw it – tricky tricky!
Between our tricky heavy cream, pumpkin puree and a touch more almond milk, we are left with a crazy simple sauce that is packed with flavor and delightfully pretty in color (and not to mention won’t leave you feeling all weighed down and heavy).
It gets tossed with piping hot whole wheat fettuccine, spooned into a bowl and then off we go. Pumpkin perfection.
Tips & Tricks
- While this dish is super fast to pull together, you do need to plan ahead and allow time for the cashews to soak in water. I do this right before I go to bed so that it’s ready for dinner the next day. Easy peasy and takes one minute or less.
- Let’s talk about blending up the cashew heavy cream. While a high speed blender is really nice here, it will work just fine in a regular blender. You will likely need to process it a bit longer to get it smooth but that’s okay. And let’s be real for a sec – even if your blender doesn’t get it perfectly 100% smooth it doesn’t matter – you really won’t notice in the final dish. I used a regular blender up until a few months ago and never had issues.
- Your pumpkin sauce will likely finish cooking a few minutes before the pasta is done – so just turn off the heat as directed (and then give it a whisk occasionally as you wait for the fettuccine).
- If you can’t find whole wheat fettuccine (which can sometimes be a bit tricky to find), linguine or spaghetti will absolutely work instead. Or really any pasta shape – ziti, shells, rigatoni.
- And finally, let’s talk serving! I love this pasta with something green on the side – i.e. either my go-to green beans or a simple salad. Perrrrfecto.
Additional Vegan Dinners You Might Enjoy:
- Dairy Free Vodka Sauce
- Vegan Zuppa Toscana
- Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce
- Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Dairy Free Tomato Soup
- Coconut Chickpea Curry
- Spicy Broccoli Carrot Noodle Stir-Fry
Did you make this recipe? Rate and review it down below! I’d love to hear from you.
For the cashew “heavy cream”:
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- ½ cup unsweetened plain almond milk
For the pasta:
- 12 ounces whole wheat fettuccine
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- chopped fresh sage and / or chopped raw walnuts or pecans, for garnish
For the cashew “heavy cream”:
- Add the raw cashews to a small bowl. Cover with water and allow the cashews to soak for at least 8 hours (or up to overnight). Drain and rinse well.
- Add the cashews, broth and milk to a blender. Process until completely smooth, then set aside.
For the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the fettuccine and cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, reserving the pasta water for later.
- Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. When hot, add in the onion and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add in the almond milk, pumpkin puree, salt, pepper, nutmeg and the cashew cream. Whisk until smooth. Continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, whisking frequently, until the sauce has thickened slightly.*
- Remove from the heat and add the drained pasta to the skillet. Toss to combine, adding some of the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce to your liking (I usually add about ½ cup or so**).
- Taste and season with additional salt / pepper (I usually add about ¼ to ½ teaspoon more salt). Serve garnished with some fresh sage and / or chopped nuts!
Be sure to plan ahead for this recipe and allow time for the cashews to soak! Prep time does not include the soak time for the cashews.
*You don’t want the sauce to come to a full simmer during this time - we’re just very gently simmering and warming and letting it thicken a bit. So if needed, turn down the heat.
**The pasta sauce will thicken as it sits - so I tend to add a bit more pasta water upfront. The ½ cup will likely look like more than you need, but if you let it sit for a few minutes you’ll see what I mean about the thickening. Along those lines, I like to add even more pasta water for leftovers / second helpings - so don’t dump the pasta water - keep it in case you want more!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 434Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 292mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 13gSugar: 6gProtein: 15g
Nutrition data shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator and is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for a medical professional’s advice.