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. Shilpa from gurgaonsex.com

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

  2. Roshani from roshanikhanna.in

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. Vanilla from itsmevanilla.blogspot.sg

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

  8. Vanilla from itsmevanilla.blogspot.sg

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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!)

  13. pokadoo from peacelovequinoea.com.au

    if was yuck and yum at the same tome

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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 🙂

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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.