Healthy Alfredo Sauce made with Cashews

Friday, October 2, 2009

My friend Mirien (who I've never actually met, but consider a friend nonetheless) is the queen of tweaking recipes to make them healthier. She has an arsenal of ideas for making just about everything better for you--less fat, more whole grain--and somehow they still taste great too. I love a good alfredo sauce, but feel guilty every time I eat it with all its cream and butter, so when I found Mirien's recipe for a healthier alfredo sauce made with the healthy fats of cashews instead of cream, I knew we needed to give it a try.

Little did I know just a couple days after printing this off from her site and filing it that my husband would declare that he was craving pasta with alfredo sauce. It was Sunday that day, which meant I'm off duty in the kitchen, so I handed him the recipe and told him to have fun. Glen was a little skeptical about its unique combination of ingredients, but dutifully got to work anyway while my mouth watered in anticipation.

The results were a thick, creamy sauce that exceeded our expectations in every way. Besides meeting with Glen's and mine approval, every single one of the kids also eagerly devoured their servings and asked for more. It was definitely a painless way to eat a little healthier, plus it's perfect for someone who needs to eat dairy free. Just omit the Parmesan and you've still got a thick, creamy sauce no one will believe doesn't have any milk products.

Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients:

1 cup raw cashew pieces
2-1/2  cups warm water
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 Tbs. minced garlic
1 tsp. lemon juice, if desired
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (omit if making dairy-free)
salt and pepper to taste

8-oz. pasta
chopped, sauteed (or grilled) chicken or seafood
Sauteed vegetables

In a blender or food processor pulse the cashews until they form a paste. Then add about a cup of the warm water and continue to process until smooth (or as close as you can get). Add remaining water and continue to blend.

In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil medium heat and saute the minced garlic until it just begins to brown slightly. Add the cashew/water mixture, stirring and scraping as it heats, until it begins to boil and thicken. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, and Parmesan, stirring until melted. If sauce is too thick, add a little more water.

Boil the pasta, then drain and add to the cashew mixture and stir to coat the noodles. Serve with chopped fresh parsley, if desired. Makes 4-6 servings.

**This sauce is perfect as a topping for chicken or seafood or even as a pizza sauce. **



SnoWhite October 2, 2009 at 12:59 PM  

You are too creative.

I'd say I'd try it... but with being allergic to cashews, I don't think that would be wise.

Coleens Recipes October 2, 2009 at 3:31 PM  

I can not wait to try this...if it is even half as good as you reported, this would be a Godsend.

Mirien October 2, 2009 at 8:04 PM  

I'm so glad you like it! It still amazes me how good this tastes. And thanks for counting me as one of your friends--I feel the same way about you. I'm always amazed as I read your posts to learn how much we have in common.

Rachel October 3, 2009 at 6:33 AM  

What a great idea...if only I wasn't allergic to cashews!!! I bet my husband and kids would love this, though! :)

Arlene Delloro October 3, 2009 at 7:00 AM  

What an intriguing recipe. I will have to get some cashews when I shop and give it a try. Getting the hubs to make it--you go, girl.

Katy ~ October 3, 2009 at 7:41 AM  

I am intrigued by the idea of a healthier version of alfredo (I had the full fat version last might for dinner at a restaurant LOL). I'm so afraid I'd miss the cream and butter. I have all the ingredients on hand to make this (love, love cashews!!), so I'm going to think on this. LOL. I'm such a scaredy!!

teresa October 3, 2009 at 12:08 PM  

oh this looks so yummy! i love the cashews!

Cassie February 3, 2011 at 12:58 PM  

I have seen various recipes for cashew alfredo and cashew "cream" sauces but most of them seem to call for a high speed Vitamix blender, which I don't have. I might give this a try with soy or almond milk instead of water! Thanks for posting this!

Amie September 14, 2011 at 1:54 PM  

This recipe is WAY impressive! I couldn't believe I was eating cashews in a sauce! Even Hubby couldn't tell that it was made from cashews! It's kind of like the whole "black bean brownie". It sounds crazy, but tastes amazing. Thanks for sharing this!

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About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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