Sweet Potato (vegan) Alfredo

sweet potato (vegan) alfredo / @loveandlemons

Less really is more… it’s a lesson I don’t think I’ll ever fully learn. For example, I often get flustered about what to make to post here. I’ll change my mind on my way to the grocery store and then change it another few times on my way home. This is a ridiculous (& expensive) habit because I end up buying way too much so I have options on hand to suit my indecisiveness. (Although, it all does get eaten eventually).

Every now and then I come up with something out of nothing, and those almost always end up being my favorite recipes. This one came about one chili night when I didn’t feel like leaving the house. It’s largely a pantry meal, if you count the fact that sweet potatoes, shallots and garlic can be stored for quite a while. And, surprise, surprise, it’s a new favorite.

sweet potato (vegan) alfredo / @loveandlemons

I knew cashew cream and pureed sweet potatoes would be a winning (and warming) combo, but I thought I’d take it a step further by roasting the veggies first. The slightly smoky flavor is subtle but worth the extra step. The sauce is the star here, but feel free to add in whatever additional veggies you like. You better bet this would have been packed full of green stuff had it been more convenient at the time. But I can’t complain, this was the perfect plate of creamy comfy food all on it’s own.

sweet potato (vegan) alfredo

Serves: serves 4-6
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked (ideally) overnight, then drain
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
  • ⅓ cup water, to thin (more as necessary)
  • 1 lb brown rice fettuccini (or any pasta you like)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup chives
  • a few pinches of red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel the sweet potato and slice into quarters. Peel the shallots and slice in half. Leave the garlic in it's paper, and place the sweet potato and shallot pieces on a foil lined baking sheet. Toss it all with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast, removing the garlic after the first 15 minutes. Roast until the sweet potatoes are tender and the shallots are browning around the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, cook your pasta until al dente, reserving some of the starchy pasta water.
  4. Drain your cashews and place them into a high speed blender with the sweet potato, shallots, (peeled) garlic, olive oil, balsamic, tomato paste, rosemary, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Puree, adding water as needed to get the blade moving. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. In a large skillet (or a bowl) toss the cooked pasta with some of the sauce. Add pasta water as needed to loosen, and add more sauce to your liking Add chopped chives, toasted pine nuts and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings and serve.
Feel free to toss in more veggies... steamed spinach, kale or roasted broccoli would be all be delicious additions.

Make ahead tip: store finished sauce in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When you're ready to serve, boil pasta and toss it all together.

For the smoothest sauce, a vitamix-like high powered blender is recommended. In a pinch, I can get away with soaking my cashews only 30 minutes.


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Claire

    Yum! This looks delicious!

  2. I am so intrigued by the combination of sweet potatoes and cashews–they are two of my favorite foods! I will definitely have to try this out sometime!!

    • Linda

      Can’t wait to try out this recipe! Do you have any substitution suggestions for the cashews if we have an allergy? Could almonds possibly work, or could you just omit the cashews?

      • jeanine

        Hi Linda, you can use almonds, although they become a little smooth than the cashews so I usually look for peeled raw almonds (I find them in the bulk bins). They’ll also get creamier if you soak them overnight. The nuts give a rich creamy texture, if you leave them out it’ll be more of a sweet potato puree rather than a cream sauce… hope that helps!

        • Karen

          What about almond flour as a substitute?

          • Jeanine Donofrio

            It’ll probably be too gritty – i would just stick to the cashews, I promise they’ll get the most creamy!

  3. Crista from peacelovequinoa.com

    i am in love with this recipe!! xox thanks for sharing.

  4. amanda from easylittletiger.com

    this looks absolutely delicious. i’m not vegan but man, vegan dishes like this are so good.

  5. I am the same way. Always, always changing my mind. It is terrible and I torture myself! LOL!

    The ones that just happen are always the best and my favorite too! This pasta looks incredible and I love cashew cream!

  6. Too often I get indecisive about what to make, and then in the fleeting moments of making a grocery list, I end up pulling idea together from what’s already on-hand. I agree, sometimes simplicity works best, and figuring out new ways to turn just a handful of ingredients into something wonderful. Like this!

  7. sounds very much like me here, I bought sweet potato a while ago wanting to make pot pie or something…but i am thinking to make this alfredo sauce. I love when dinner comes together with bare pantry.

  8. pang from circahappy.com

    Wow!!! Very interesting and mouthwatering recipe. I happen to have sweet potato on hand, yay!!!

  9. Justina from onedomesticgoddess.wordpress.com

    This looks delicious and such a fitting meal for a cold winter evening. That is such a good idea to make a sauce out of cashew milk and sweet potatoes.

  10. Millie from addalittle.wordpress.com

    Hi there – this looks so delicious! My mouth is watering just looking at the photos!
    Is it possible to use all natural (no salt, sugar, or oil) cashew butter instead of blending raw cashews as I don’t have a blender!
    Thanks 🙂

    • jeanine

      The sweet potato wouldn’t get nearly as creamy (the texture might be closer to mashed sweet potatoes than a cream sauce). The vitamix is super powerful… but let me know if you give it a try…

  11. Sarah

    I just made this, and it was amazing!! Definitely a new favorite. I added some smoked paprika to compliment the smokiness of the roasted veggies, and used sundried tomatoes rather than tomato paste. I love your recipes so much, and hope you never stop blogging!

    • jeanine

      glad you liked it, you’re so sweet 🙂 I’d been planning on trying it with smoked paprika – you must have read my mind!

  12. Tara

    What does it mean soak the cashews? What are they soaked in?

    • jeanine

      Soak them in water… it helps soften them before blending so your sauce is smooth and not chunky. Unless you’re using a high powered blender (vitamix or blendtec), then you don’t have to soak them as long. Strain out the water before you use them. (thanks for this comment – I’ll clarify this in the recipe!)

  13. Kim from fabfitsquadl.com

    This is awesome! Just made it with soba noodles. Can’t wait to try on veggies.

  14. Wow, this sweet potato cashew sauce is genius, and I can’t wait to try it after the holidays! I love brown rice pasta but have found it needs to be tossed with plenty of loose sauce since it absorbs a lot of liquid and can turn gummy quickly otherwise. So this looks like a perfect sauce for it!

    • I made this tonight and loved it! It was such a nice sauce and I see myself making it over and over. Thank you!

  15. Heather from theresnoplacelikeoz.com

    Made this last night and LOVED it!

    • jeanine

      so glad! thanks for coming back to let me know!

  16. Katherine

    Just made this and it is so, so good! I ended up using spaghetti squash instead of noodles, and it still rocked. Will make again for sure.

    • jeanine

      thanks Katherine! Glad you liked it – a much healthier version than mine with the spaghetti squash 🙂

  17. Brynrose

    Looks so yummy! Will be making it for date night tomorrow. Any idea what kind of wine would pair well with this?:)

    • jeanine

      I’m not a wine expert, but I would do a red that’s a bit fruity – pinot noir, sangiovese, or even syrah. For white – a fruity chardonnay. (the book What to Drink with What you Eat is a great resource for pairing food ingredients w/ wine – you might find it interesting to check out).

  18. ejbrammer

    I made this tonight and added red pepper flakes, as well as adding peas and sauteed red pepper to the pasta noodles (I used shells). YUM! I do wish I had a vitamix because it’s not as silky as yours but the flavors are still delicious. Thanks!

    • jeanine

      so glad you liked it!

  19. Stine

    I use a lot of your recipes when I cook, but I always forget to leave comments. This is one of my favourites, it is amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  20. In vegan cooking, what are cashews used to replace? In this recipe, what are they replacing?

    • jeanine

      blended up they turn into a creamy sauce – they’re used instead of cheese or heavy cream.

  21. Loraine from loandlil.com

    This is my first visit to your site and this sweet potato cashew cream over linguine sounds amazing. I can’t wait to try. TY 🙂

  22. Aubre

    I made this the other night and it was amazing! Followed the recipe exactly except instead of tomato paste I used some classic tomato sauce I had already open in the fridge. Also left out the chives and pepper flakes and instead topped with sun dried tomatoes and mixed in roasted cauliflower. So good! And we had a lot of sauce left over so we enjoyed it for a few lunches too. Thanks for being my favorite vegetarian/vegan food blog!

  23. Jenn

    I just made this for tonight’s dinner, I added 2 tbsp of veggie broth and 2 of almond milk, instead of water. It is soooooo delicious. Holy smokes. I can’t stop eating spoonfuls from my blender. Way to go.

    • jeanine

      Hi Jenn – so glad you liked it!

  24. Christine

    Wow! This was delicious! I am finding that I don’t miss cheese nearly as much anymore when I can make recipes like this one. It is so much more flavorful and I don’t feel so heavy and bloated afterwards. Thank you!

  25. Christine

    Wow! This was delicious! I am finding that I don’t miss cheese nearly as much anymore when I can make recipes like this one. It is so much more flavorful and I don’t feel so heavy and bloated afterwards. Thank you!

  26. pokadoo from peacelovequinoea.com.au

    if was yuck and yum at the same tome

  27. Steve from google.com

    I am no vegan. I like to consider myself an open minded carnivore that likes to eat anything and everything. But if I could cook all my meals that tasted this good, meat would not ever be needed. I was so impressed with this recipe. Skeptical at first but once I tasted the sauce after it came out of the food processor, I knew it was going to be amazing. I left out the chives and pine nuts and simply garnished with some fresh cut parsley and fresh cracked black pepper. Sooo good. I have a ton of sauce leftover too. Thinking about roasting some veggies and tossing them in the leftover sauce.

    • jeanine

      This is the best feedback ever – I’m so glad you liked it!! (even as a non-vegan!)

  28. E

    Made this recipe last night and it was delicious! I used tomato sauce instead of paste and also used less water. And used toasted sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts. Also goes great with bread alone! Will make again!

  29. Hilda

    Can you freeze the sauce for future use?

    • jeanine

      Hi Hilda,

      I haven’t tried freezing it – but I’m thinking the texture will probably change as it thaws – you might need to blend it again to make it creamy again.

  30. Jaska

    Hi Jeanine!
    Is there an alternative nut I can use instead of cashews because I have a family member who is allergic to it. I love all your recipes btw! <3 Thank you!

    • jeanine

      Hi Jaska, thanks! Try raw sunflower seeds. Full fat coconut milk (minus the water in this recipe), might also work although it would change the flavor slightly.

  31. Vanilla from itsmevanilla.blogspot.sg

    Amazing and super yummy!! Can’t wait to try them at home!

  32. Vanilla from itsmevanilla.blogspot.sg

    Amazing and super yummy!! Can’t wait to try them at home!

  33. Tally

    Best vegan Alfredo ever!!! Just made this and it turned out perfect! Didn’t change anything about the recipe except I did add 3 garlic cloves and 3 shallots. Used a white Hannah sweet potato for the right color. Wow what a treat! Thank you for this recipe! I’m allergic to nutritional yeast and most vegan Alfredo’s have nutritional yeast. This was the best alternative yet!! Rosemary and toasted pine nuts are such a perfect touch

    • jeanine

      Hi Tally, yay, I’m so glad you loved this one!

  34. Rachel Joy

    Can you recommend a couple possible subs for the balsamic vinegar? We love this recipe and I am out!! We have white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar though. Any thoughts for subs would be so appreciated!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Rachel, I’d go for the white wine vinegar – it should work just fine!

  35. Becks

    Hey Jeanine I just wanted to tell you that I just made this for dinner and it was divine!! I’m transitioning into a vegan diet and with delicious sauces like this one, who the hell needs dairy?! I added mushrooms to mine and it was better than the real thing. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Do you usually use the sauce for anything other than pasta?

  36. Rachel Joy

    We LOVE this recipe! I have made it many times now. It totally feeds my craving for creamy pasta sauce and the flavors are wonderful. And my toddler loves it too! I was wondering what size your shallots are usually? Sometimes I get some that are the size of small onions, others as small as large garlic cloves! So what size shallots did you use here? Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Rachel – I’m so happy to hear that it’s become a family favorite! My shallots are usually the size of garlic cloves.

  37. Roshani from roshanikhanna.in

    Oh my! Hubby would love this! Pinning now! Thanks for sharing! LOVE it. Thank you!

  38. Shilpa from gurgaonsex.com

    Mmmmmm…..yum. This looks totally amazing. I’m just starring at the screen looking at how delicious they look.

  39. Shadae

    I love cauliflower & cashew cream sauce (just made it for the umpteenth time)! I cannot wait to try it with sweet potato. I find when I up the veggie and reduce the cashews, it can sit in the fridge for 4-5 days. My oven is out of commission so I’ve been trying to make a ton of meals on the stove. I’m going to steam my sweet potatoes, sautéed the other ingredients, and add a bit of zucchini to the mix. Thanks for the idea!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I hope you like the sauce!

  40. Kali

    This might sound like a stupid question, but should i use sweet potatoes or yams? The reason i asked is that most sweet potato recipes really mean yams. Thanks so much.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kali, you can use either one interchangeably!

      • Kali

        I finally made this today. It was so delicious! I was a little nervous because I’m new to vegan cooking, but it was so easy. Served over brown jasmine rice. I will definitely make this again. Thanks so much.

        • Jeanine Donofrio

          Hi Kali, I’m so glad you loved it!

  41. Nicole

    This is AMAZING. I added lots of red pepper flakes and chives. I didn’t use pinenuts as I’m reserving my small stash for a pesto pasta. The rosemary adds such a winter comfort layer. Very rich, not an everyday meal – although super simple to prepare.

  42. I love Croatia

    Absolutely stunning! Thank you on a recipe!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.