This creamy silken tofu pasta sauce has all the rich texture and satisfying flavor of classic alfredo- only it's completely vegan. The best part? It's loaded with plant-based protein. Made with just a few basic ingredients and a blender, this simple white sauce is the perfect easy recipe to throw together when you're craving comfort food.
You Will Love This Recipe
- It's super simple. This sauce takes less than 10 minutes to throw together, meaning you can make it while your pasta boils.
- It's the perfect creamy texture. Really, you won't believe how luscious this sauce is!
- It's healthed up. This creamy sauce swaps out heavy cream, parmesan, and butter for plant-based alternatives rich in healthy fats and protein.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Extra-firm silken tofu: If you can't find extra-firm, use the firmest silken tofu you can find.
- Pasta (and reserved pasta water): I've used chickpea pasta for even more protein, but feel free to use your favorite pasta!
- Nutritional yeast: "Nooch" adds that cheesy flavor, but you can try vegan parmesan cheese or chickpea flour if you're out.
- Lemon juice: Fresh is best, but premade is fine, too.
- Olive oil: I love olive oil for its health benefits, but avocado or another neutral-flavored oil should work.
- Seasonings: Salt, black pepper, onion, and garlic powder make for a simple yet impactful combo. Feel free to add fresh onion and garlic if you'd prefer.
- Garnishes: A pinch of red pepper flakes and a sprinkle of fresh parsley pair perfectly with this creamy alfredo sauce, but I suspect other fresh herbs or a bit of lemon zest would be tasty too!
Why Silken Tofu?
While you may have seen vegan alfredo sauce made from cashew cream, coconut milk, or regular tofu, here's why I love silken tofu for creamy vegan pasta recipes:
- Silken tofu does not require soaking or a high-speed blender to whip up, making for easier last-minute prep.
- Silken tofu is rich in protein, making for a more satiating meal.
- Unlike block or "regular" tofu, silken tofu does not contain curds, making for the creamiest pasta sauce.
To start, boil your pasta in salted water for 1-2 minutes less than the package directions for al dente pasta. Reserve about a cup of pasta water a few minutes into cooking the pasta.
From here, using a standard or immersion blender, blend all of your sauce ingredients until smooth, including half of the reserved pasta water.
When the pasta has finished cooking, strain it and add it back to the pot. Add the sauce and stir to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add some more pasta water. If the sauce is too thin, cook over medium heat until it's just right.
From here, you can garnish your pasta and serve!
- Add a bit of cornstarch for a cheese topping that browns like real cheese, like I use in my baked spaghetti recipe.
- Use block extra firm tofu for a vegan ricotta or cottage cheese substitute.
- Use your favorite gluten-free pasta to make a completely gluten-free dish. All the rest of the ingredients are naturally gluten-free!
Make-ahead: This sauce can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored in the fridge. If you do not have pasta water on hand, add a quarter teaspoon of corn starch to a cup of water and heat it.
Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Reheat: Use a large skillet over medium heat to reheat leftovers until heated through. You may want to add some water or plant-based milk if the pasta looks a bit dry.
- I love to get some veggies into this pasta by adding steamed peas, baby spinach, or roasting some broccoli and adding that to the pasta, similar to my broccoli chickpea pasta recipe.
- If you are behind on making the sauce, drizzle a bit of olive oil over your pasta and toss it so it doesn't stick.
- Eco tip: To store the remainder of your fresh parsley, trim the stems and place it upright in a mason jar with a bit of water (like a bouquet) in the fridge.
You can use any pasta, but I find fettuccine or linguine goes well with this creamy sauce, especially if you are going for classic fettuccine alfredo pasta.
Yup, silken tofu is readily available in most grocery stores. Sometimes, it is next to the regular block tofu in the refrigerated section. Other times, it is stored with other non-perishables, sometimes in the "world foods" section.
Absolutely! This sauce can also be used as a creamy base for casseroles and veggie dishes, or as a creamy dip for crusty bread or crackers. In place of pasta water, you can mix ¼ teaspoon of cornstarch into water and heat before blending it with the rest of the ingredients.
Silken tofu can be eaten right out of the package, so there is no concern with getting this sauce to a certain temperature. Just heat it until it is warm enough to be tasty.
Creamy Silken Tofu Pasta Sauce (Vegan Alfredo)
- 8 ounces pasta
- 1 cup pasta water, divided
- 1 (~12.3 ounce) block extra firm silken tofu
- ¼ cup lemon juice (juice of about ½ - 1 lemon)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (or two cloves fresh garlic)
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder (or ½ a fresh onion, sautéed)
- Cook pasta per package directions (or 1-2 minutes less than instructions for al dente pasta) in salted water. When the pasta has cooked for several minutes, remove 1 cup of pasta water.
- Add all ingredients, including ½ cup of the pasta water, to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender jar intermittently.
- When the pasta has finished cooking, strain but do not rinse it. Instead, return it back to the pot and pour the sauce over top.
- Stir until the sauce has thoroughly coated the pasta. If the sauce seems too thick, add some more pasta water. If it seems too thin, heat the pasta over medium heat until it thickens.
- Divide pasta into four servings, optionally add garnishes, and serve.
- Store leftover pasta in the fridge for 4-5 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Nutrition facts are calculated without pasta or garnishes. Nutrition facts may vary based on ingredients and brands used.