Aug 18, 2010

alfredo primavera

When I was in my twenties, many moons ago, I worked with my brother who was the executive chef of some posh restaurant on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. I told you we have this culinary-curse. We worked long hours and were exhausted. Before we'd leave for home after yet another 14 hour day, he'd always make me Primavera Alfredo. Tons of cream and cheese and some vegetables to honor the 'Primavera' part - summer squash, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli.

I had tried for years to make Alfredo vegan. So many recipes with tofu and soy cheese and soy cream cheese - oh! the variations! No good. Hadn't found a single one that was up to par.

Until the humble cashew. As I've blogged before, nuts are our friends. Nuts are healthy, terribly delicious and marvelously versatile - much like soy. Since soy is something I love but know that, say it with me,...too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing, I wanted an alternative. Besides, soy always left a gritty texture in the sauce, unless it was silken and silken tofu and I do not get along. It has an odd flavor that I just can't get past.

On to the Alfredo...easy, creamy and delicious! Just make sure to strain your cashew milk before using it otherwise you will get the same texture as with the tofu - gritty!

Use whatever summer veggies you have (or spring veggies as the name 'Primavera' implies), but if you use eggplant, salt it a little and let it drain for 15 minutes - the eggplant will hold its shape better. Use tomatoes in the sauce cautiously as you are not going for tomato sauce here. In fact, adding them raw at the end is great.

Cost Breakdown:
cashews: $2
nutritional yeast: $.50
summer veg: $5
pasta: $3
Total to feed a family of 5:


  1. I'm with ya!

    It was really really good!!

    I love Alfredo and to make it without dairy and cholesterol, but still with all the creaminess and richness is really really good!

  2. Oh yeah, any creamy pasta, I'm all over it--this looks delicious!

  3. Mmm, I love a good cashew cream sauce. I had raw pasta at a restaurant on vacation in Chicago with a cashew pesto and it was incredible.

  4. Oh, wow does this look good, and no soy! It's going on my menu plan for sure. :)

  5. I love cashews, and you are so right, nuts are our friends, this looks amazing, I can hardly wait!

  6. This is great. What an incredible substitute for heavy cream. I love it. This will be on my "must make" list. Thank you for sharing.

  7. This would pass muster even with my husband, the Italian king. Nay to tofu cream cheese in alfredo. Yay to this!

  8. Very beautiful dish. I love the idea of a veggie alfredo, even though I'd stick with the cheese. We always go with broccoli or chicken so mixing in a variety will be a nice change. Thanks for the idea.

  9. Epicurean, I'm right there regarding the 'cream' sauce and pasta. Love it!

    Evan, this is different from a raw cashew sauce because the heat thickens it. Nevertheless, cashews are the bomb.

    Kim, I was thinking of you while making it.

    Thanks, foodthinking!

    Madin, correct! Not only is it healthier because it has no cholesterol and better fat content, but it would actually be lower in calories - but, I haven't crunched the numbers, yet.

    GiGi, you are one lucky woman to have an Italian for a hubby.

    Christiane, keep the cheese, add more veggies and dump the chicken. And if you are daring, sub the cashew cream for the heavy cream.

  10. Cashews do indeed make great sauces and they are a fantastic tofu/soy replacement!

  11. Excellent idea using cashew milk. What else could I use cashew mile in so it doesn't get wasted???

  12. You wouldn't buy the milk - you would make it so there is no need to worry about waste. I have found that the nut milks you purchase are heated already and would not have the thickening power that you need in this recipe (or any that call for thickening).

    The recipe details this. Let me know if you have any questions :)


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