Vegan alfredo that will take your taste buds straight back to Olive Garden. Gluten and coconut-free with nut-free option.
I used the Olive Garden recipe for alfredo sauce and swapped the ingredients for my vegan alternatives. The result? whenever I feed it to anyone, they inevitably exclaim, ”Wow! This tastes like Olive Garden!”
This recipe is perfect if you:
• are vegan
• are just dairy-free
• are coconut-free
• are soy-free
• are gluten-free
• are not vegan but don’t have any heavy whipping cream on hand
• believe cauliflower as alfredo sauce is affront to all things good in the world (it’s actually delicious, though)
The Olive Garden recipe itself is stupid simple: butter, garlic, cream, and parmesan. Thanks to my hacks, it was almost as simple in a vegan version.
- Butter – vegan butter, of course. I love Country Crock plant butter sticks – any of the varieties, I don’t have a favorite. Use what you love and is safe for you, though!
- Garlic – minced, paste, or powder. Whatever you have will work! If you’re garlic-free, try some asafoetida powder – but only a pinch!
- Milk – I use extra creamy oat milk from Planet Oat. Use a creamy milk that you like and is UNSWEETENED. If the milk is sweet, the sauce will be sweet. Cashew or macadamia milks are great if you can do nuts. Hemp or flax work if you can’t. Almond and rice are very thin, but work if it’s your safe milk!
- Parmesan – vegan parm! I use my easy recipe for parmesan in this recipe, but use what you’ve got. The more it actually tastes like parm, the better your finished sauce will taste. PLEASE NOTE: if you use an oil-based parmesan, it will not thicken your sauce. You might need to add another thickener like mashed potato flakes, cassava flour, or a slurry.
- Mayonnaise – Yes, mayo. If you’re new here, you might be shocked. If you know me, you probably smirked and thought, ”of course it has mayo!” But mayo + milk = heavy cream. It’s one if my BEST hacks for dairy-free cooking. It works in soups, sauces, cheeses, in drinks like eggnog, and even sweets like my famous caramel.
And that’s it! You can add salt and pepper to taste if you’d like, but these are the five ingredients you need to get amazing vegan alfredo sauce that tastes like Olive Garden made it!
- Melt your butter in a large saucepan or deep skillet over medium heat.
- Once the butter is simmering, add in your garlic. This will burn quickly, so stir it up as fast as you can.
- Pour in your milk. The recipe calls for four cups, but we are only going to add in three. This is so that we have an extra cup in case our sauce gets too thick later on. Whisk this mixture well until it comes back up to a boil.
- Once your mixture comes to a boil, add in your parmesan. Add it slowly, whisking continuously. My parmesan recipe has tapioca/arrowroot starch in it and if any clumps heat up before being whisked in, they will gelatinize. You’ll get boba Alfredo. I don’t think anyone wants that.
if your parmesan happens to gelatinize into boba balls, just run the sauce through a fine mesh sieve and return to the pan
- Continue whisking the sauce until it thickens.
- Once the sauce thickens, turn off the heat.
- With the heat off, whisk in your mayonnaise. The residual heat from the sauce will melt it in. It’ll emulsify into everything and give you a beautiful creamy Alfredo.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. I also like to taste test to see if I want more garlic. Inevitably I do because I LOVE GARLIC SO MUCH. So feel free to add more than what the recipe calls for (I left the amount lower in the card, because I know most people aren’t like me).
- Toss a pound of cooked pasta in the sauce and coat it well.
- Serve the pasta immediately. Garnish with more parmesan and chopped parsley if desired.
Can I add anything else to this vegan alfredo sauce?
Heck yeah you can!! Add in your favorite vegetables for starters. Great choices include:
- broccoli (especially broccolini/tenderstem!)
- brussels sprouts
- bell peppers
You can also add in your favorite proteins. I love adding Daring Chicken (this link is for 16.5 pounds of it, but you can see the ingredients and nutrition info) or Beyond’s hot Italian sausage. If you want to go more of a whole food route, my all time favorite is pan fried sliced portobello mushrooms.
How do I store this Alfredo sauce?
Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, either just the sauce or mixed with the pasta. When reheating it, if the pasta is already mixed in, just add a little milk to bring the consistency back. Just like dairy Alfredo, this one thickens up and dries out substantially after being added to the pasta. A bit of milk will help bring it back to life.
Isn’t this just gravy?
It depends on what your definition of gravy is! A thickened sauce? Well then, yeah. It’s a gravy. But so is marinara and regular Alfredo and the cheese in Mac and cheese. So if it makes you feel better, you can call it gravy. I won’t though. 😉
Isn’t this just a béchamel sauce?
Not really, no. That’s milk that has been thickened with flour and has some flavors added. We are thickening with cheese. Plant based cheese, yes – but it functions the same as the dairy version. And no one would dare call dairy Alfredo béchamel.
Pin it for later:
- 1/4 c vegan butter (1/2 stick, 55g)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 4 c vegan milk, divided (950ml)
- 1 c vegan parmesan (100g)
- 1/2 c vegan mayo (115g)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt your butter over medium heat in a large pan, bring to simmer
- Add the garlic and stir well
- Add 3c of the milk and stir well
- Once the milk comes to a boil, gradually whisk in the cheese
- Continue whisking until the mixture thickens (if you used an oil-based parmesan instead of my recipe, you may need to thicken with something else such as a slurry or mashed potato flakes).
- Turn off the heat and whisk in the mayonnaise
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Toss with a pound of cooked pasta and add more milk if the sauce is too thick.
- Serve immediately.
- Garnish with parmesan and parsley and enjoy.
PLEASE NOTE: if you use an oil-based parmesan, it will not thicken your sauce. You might need to add another thickener like mashed potato flakes, cassava flour, or a slurry.
For more details on ingredients, substitutions, and the cooking process, please see the blog post.