This creamy Vegan Buffalo Alfredo feels so indulgent and decadent and is a perfect weeknight meal! It's made with hidden veggies (cauliflower) and cashews for a cheesy texture without the dairy. Vegan & easily made gluten free!
Have you tried a cauliflower based sauce yet? It may sound strange at first, but it's the key ingredient to a deliciously creamy and dairy-free sauce, trust me!
I'm a spicy type of lady and I absolutely am a sucker for all things buffalo. (The hot sauce, not the animal.)
This sauce is a beautiful marriage of buttery alfredo and spicy buffalo. Frankly, it's a bit adicting, my partner and I could not get enough!
I like to pair my pasta some air fried tofu and veggies for a thoroughly satisfying meal.
Gather your ingredients
- penne - or your favorite pasta!
- cauliflower - the secret to the sauce! Quickly steamed cauliflower is the based of this alfredo sauce. Not only does it lead to an incredibly smooth texture, but the mild flavor leaves so much room to season to alfredo perfection.
- raw cashews - Just a small handful of cashews is all you need to take this sauce from good to "oh my goodness this is the creamiest alfredo ever".
- buffalo hot sauce - adjust to your level of spicy! I wrote the recipe to begin pretty mild, that way everyone can add more to their liking when it's served.
- water or unsweetened non-dairy milk
- nutritional yeast - Adds a cheesy, umami to the sauce that should not be passed over!
- Spices - Pantry friendly spices like salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder are all you need. I like the addition of a pinch of celery seed for another level of flavor, but that's an optional addition.
- tapioca starch - Tapioca starch gives the sauce a stringy, cheese like texture that I think adds to the eating experience. This however, is also optional if it is not available to you.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Vegan Buffalo Alfredo Penne
Follow these four simple steps! (See recipe card for complete instructions)
- Cook the pasta & reserve some pasta water
- Steam the cauliflower and cashews
- Blend everything (except the pasta) until smooth and creamy
- Toss the pasta with the sauce and cook for a few more minutes.
Could this recipe be any easier??
It's absolutely ideal for a quick meal, but it also gives you time to get creative or add it some other yummy additions, if you fancy!
As written, this recipe is 100% vegan and oil free! Check out this list of ways to customize your buffalo alfredo sauce:
- Gluten Free- swap the pasta for your favorite gluten free variety
- Even Spicier- Top with more hot sauce or some thinly sliced serrano peppers or jalapenos to make this dish super spicy!
- Baby Greens- I have a deep love for baby spinach and believe it belongs in basically everything. So toss in a few handfuls when heating the sauce and pasta for a splash of color and get in those greens!
- Nut Free- If you need to make this nut free, I recommend swapping the cashews with hemp hearts and adding them directly to the blender. (If making this swap, do not cook them with the cauliflower.)
Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Reheat on the stove top or microwave until warm throughout. Thin with a splash of unsweetened soy milk or water if needed.
I would not recommend freezing cooked pasta. I have not tested freezing the sauce on it's own, but I suspect it would hold up well. Leave a comment if you try it!
Yes, the Buffalo Alfredo Sauce is gluten free. (Swap the wheat-based pasta for a gluten free variety.)
The sauce can be made ahead of time. Store the room temperature sauce in the fridge for up to 5 days. Cook the pasta fresh when ready to eat.
If unavailable, the tapioca starch can be completely omitted. If you would like to swap it for something else, use arrowroot flour. I would not recommend cornstarch as it would not give the same result in texture.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below! Take a picture and tag me on Instagram @samcookskindness !
Vegan Buffalo Alfredo Penne
- 16 ounces penne or similar pasta (gluten free if desired)
- ½ medium cauliflower head (about 12 ounces) chopped roughly into florets
- ⅓ cup raw cashews
- ⅓ cup buffalo hot sauce (I use Frank's)
- 2 cups water or unsweetened non-dairy milk
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon celery seed optional
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch* optional
- Cook penne according to package instructions, reserving a cup of pasta water.
- In a medium saucepan, add cauliflower, cashews, 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Set over medium-high heat, cover and cook for 12-14 minutes until cauliflower is fork tender.
- To a blender carefully add contents of pot and all of the remaining ingredients. Blend until completely smooth and creamy.
- Add sauce and cooked pasta to the saucepan and heat over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring well. Taste, thinning sauce with pasta water if needed (start with ¼ cup at a time) or adding more hot sauce to your taste.
Recipe Notes*Tapioca Starch- swap for arrowroot flour or omit. I would not recommend using cornstarch as it will effect the texture. Storage - Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Toppings & Additions - Top with air fried tofu, stir in baby spinach or serve with roasted veggies for a complete meal! I also like to top mine with thinly sliced serranoes or jalapenos for an even spicier kick!
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Okay… YUM! Gosh this recipe was so tasty. The whole family loved it so much there wasn’t even any leftovers!