This vegan roasted butternut squash fettuccine alfredo is creamy, satisfying, and packed with feel-good ingredients. A simple, garlicky vegan cauliflower-cashew alfredo sauce is tossed with heaps of warm fettuccine. The pasta is then topped with roasted butternut squash and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan.
Clearly, I’ve got pasta on my mind these days. Or at least I did when I was writing and testing January’s recipes back in November.
Honestly though, it’s a rare week in my life when a pasta craving doesn’t strike at least once, especially during the winter months.
However, given that it’s January and people are often looking for healthful, extra-nourishing meals this time of year, this vegan fettuccine alfredo is designed to be both comforting and nutrient-dense.
The vegan alfredo sauce is a simplified and adjusted version of the sauce from this lemon-pepper pasta. Boiled cauliflower and raw cashews still serve as the base, only the amount of nutritional yeast is upped to create a richer parmesan flavor, the amount of cashews are increased just a pinch to create a creamier sauce, and the lemon juice is dropped in favor of a more subtle tang from a splash of apple cider vinegar.
Also, filtered water is used in place of plant-based milk. This is because filtered water guarantees a more reliable and consistent flavor from one home to the next. Unfortunately, some brands of plant-based milk add “natural flavors” to even the unsweetened “plain” versions of their milk, and I’ve found that those particular types of plant-based milk can introduce an undesirable sweetness into dishes like this one and mess with the overall flavor.
Even with water, this sauce turns out so rich and creamy that you won’t notice the absence of plant-based milk. I mean, look…
To make this vegan roasted butternut squash fettuccine alfredo, you’ll start by roasting a butternut squash.
A small to medium butternut squash is plenty for this recipe, but feel free to use a large one if you’d like extra.
Peel, seed, and cube the butternut squash and add it to a lined baking pan with a drizzle of olive oil.
Toss to coat and roast the squash for 25 minutes, or until it’s soft and tender but not yet mushy. You want it to be soft and silky but not so soft that it mushes into the pasta.
As the squash roasts, you’ll cook 12 ounces of fettuccine or other ribbon-like pasta.
Then, you’ll get to work on the sauce.
To make this simple cauliflower-cashew alfredo sauce, you’ll start by boiling about 2 cups of fresh cauliflower florets.
Once the florets are fork-tender, add them to a blender along with filtered water, raw cashews, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Blend on high for two minutes, or until you have a super smooth and creamy sauce.
Then, add about six cloves of minced garlic to a large sauté pan with a bit of olive oil. Sauté the garlic for just a minute or two, or until it softens and mellows. Then, stir in the cauliflower-cashew sauce and simmer for just a minute, or until the sauce begins to thicken.
Next, add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat. If you’d like, you can thin the sauce with a bit of reserved pasta water.
Taste and generously season with sea salt and black pepper.
Divide the pasta amongst roomy bowls and top with the roasted butternut squash and a generous sprinkle of vegan parmesan.
Then, twirl, savor, and repeat.
This vegan fettuccine alfredo is rich, creamy, and satisfying yet nourishing at the same time. Thanks to the cauliflower and butternut squash, this decadent pasta packs a punch of vitamin c, vitamin k, vitamin a, folate, fiber, b6, and manganese.
Have your creamy Italian pasta and feel good, too!
Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Fettuccine Alfredo
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into small (1/2-inch) cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Sea salt as needed
- 12 ounces fettuccine or linguine pasta
- 2 cups small (1-inch) fresh cauliflower florets
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least two hours (unless using a high-speed blender)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 recipe Vegan Parmesan Cheese (optional but recommended)
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- Spread the squash into an even layer in the lined pan, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and toss to coat. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender (but not mushy) and beginning to caramelize, tossing at the halfway point.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon sea salt. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions (you want the pasta to have a nice al dente bite to it). Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and boil for 7 minutes, or until very fork-tender. Strain off the water.
- Add the boiled cauliflower florets, filtered water, cashews, nutritional yeast, vinegar, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and black pepper to a blender (do not use a food processor). Blend on high for 2 minutes, or until completely smooth and creamy. Set within reach of the stove.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the garlic in a large sauté pan over low heat. Cook for 2 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.
- Stir in the cauliflower sauce, and simmer for 1 minute, or until warmed through.
- Turn off the heat, add the pasta to the pan, and toss to coat. If a slightly thinner sauce is desired, add a bit of the reserved cooking water, one small splash at a time, as needed to thin. (Note: If you add cooking water, you'll need to increase the seasoning to accommodate.)
- Taste and generously season with more sea salt and black pepper, if desired.
- Divide the pasta between bowls and top with the roasted butternut squash and parmesan (if using). Serve immediately.