This Alfredo pasta is super creamy, cheesy and thick with no dairy, no cashews, and no coconut! It's thickened with cauliflower and chickpeas for a light and healthy pasta that has plenty of protein with no meat.
A few months ago I posted this Healthy Chicken + Veggie Alfredo Bake and it's been one of my most popular recipes. So, I thought it was about time I created a vegan version.
This plant-based Alfredo is super thick and cheesy, but doesn't have any cheese in it! There's also no cashews or coconut milk, and just minimal ingredients.
I also just had to put spinach and mushrooms because I always like veggies in my dinner (but if you don't--just skip it! less ingredients that way too😂)
How do You Make Alfredo Without Dairy?
In this lighter Alfredo, I used low fat milk, potatoes, and fat free (or reduced fat) cheese to make the sauce. However, fat free cheese is still cheese and contains dairy.
If you're a vegan, then I'm sure you've heard of or used nutritional yeast before. But if you're new to it, I'll explain.
Nutritional yeast is not the same kind of yeast that you put in bread. The yeast cells are not alive and it's made to be used in cooking. It has a cheesy and slightly nutty flavor that works great as a cheese replacement.
Nutritional yeast is also a very healthy option; it is a great source of protein (and a complete protein too!), and vitamins and trace minerals. These vitamins are mostly B vitamins, including B12! Trace minerals include zinc, selenium, manganese, and molybdenum.
To thicken the sauce without any cream or cheese, I used cauliflower! It's low in fat, carbs, and calories!
Cauliflower contains many vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Plus, you're getting in an extra serving of vegetables!
It gets very creamy when blended with some dairy free milk (I used almond, but you can use any kind!) making it perfect for an Alfredo sauce.
And in case you were wondering, we do NOT steam our vegetables here. You better believe this cauliflower was pan-fried, seared, and full of flavor!
Chickpeas are the second thickener to go in the sauce! While I could've just left it at cauliflower, I didn't want to miss out on a chance to add in more protein!
The chickpeas are also seared with the cauliflower for maximum flavor. Then we sprinkle on all the seasonings because that's what makes it delicious!
Make sure to peel your chickpeas before cooking to get the best possible texture.
Does Vegan Alfredo Have Enough Protein?
For vegan recipes, the common concern is always "how will you get enough protein with no meat?"
There are so many ways to incorporate protein in your diet besides animal products. In this recipe, there is plenty of protein from the nutritional yeast, chickpeas, and a small amount from the spinach and mushrooms.
So I would say yes, there is definitely enough protein in this recipe! If you want to increase the cheesiness and protein content, feel free to add more nutritional yeast.
You can also choose a plant-based milk that has a higher protein content such as soy milk or oat milk.
More recipes you might love:
Healthy Vegan Chickpea Alfredo with Spinach and Mushrooms
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas drained, rinsed, and peeled
- ½ medium head cauliflower florets
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic herb seasoning
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- 8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms about 3 cups
- 3 cups spinach
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 lb cooked whole grain pasta I used penne
- ½ cup dairy free milk plus more for consistency
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on 75% heat. Cook the onion for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add the cauliflower and cook for 3 minutes, then add chickpeas and garlic. Season with all the seasonings listed minus 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until everything is fully cooked.
- Transfer the cauliflower and chickpeas to a blender with the nutritional yeast and milk. Blend until very smooth. Keep adding milk until it is the consistency you want.
- In the same pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil. on 75% heat and add the mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes, then add spinach and cook for another minute until they both are softened. Season with the remaining teaspoon salt.
- Combine the pasta, spinach and mushrooms, and sauce and mix until fully combined. Serve and enjoy.