Vegan & Gluten-Free Pasta Alfredo with Sautéed Radicchio

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So, I had this really horrible/awkward dream that I had super hairy feet. Like, hobbit hairy. Like curly, dark hairs rising at least an inch off my foot. And because it was a dream, there was obviously no way I could shave it. Duh. Needless to say, I woke up rather pleased that I only have a normal amount of hair on my feet, and that if it ever becomes a problem I can totally shave it off. Awesome, right?

A close up of a pasta alfredo dish made with gluten-free noodles and a vegan cashew cream sauce.

Soo let’s talk about radicchio?

AJ recently purchased a cookbook for me just for fun out of the blue – he’s that kind of [amazing] guy. It’s called Bitter, by Jennifer McLagan, and I’m definitely going to do a review and share a recipe from it one of these days. But moral of the story is that I am now super into bitter foods. There are so many foods that I’ve avoided that I’ve been scared to try simply because I didn’t know what they were – and one of these is radicchio.

Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor via Amazon

Radicchio is often included in salad mixes, where those who are sensitive to bitter flavors generally pick around them. But if you concentrate on that bitter flavor and taste it for what it is, it can be real darn good! It looks like a mini head of red cabbage with very white ribs. The leaves aren’t packed super tight, so they will give a bit when squeezed.

Top down view of a vegan gluten-free pasta dish made with cashew cream alfredo sauce and topped with sauteed radicchio.

The other (and possibly main?) star of this show is the cashew cream sauce. Seriously, I never knew that alfredo sauce was even possible without the cream. So much cream! So I used cashews instead, and man am I stoked.

An entire head of red or maroon radicchio on a light background.

If I didn’t know it was made with cashews, I would never have guessed it was dairy free. So thick & creamy and cheesy tasting, without all the bad-for you ingredients! I am in love. I know I am not the first one to come up with this, not by a long shot, but that doesn’t curb my enthusiasm. This stuff is real.

An oblique view of a vegan Alfredo sauce made with cashew cream.

Another bonus? Gluten free noodles! I bought the brown rice penne noodles from Trader Joe’s and I loved them. Every time I use them I think “hey, these are good! We should use them more.”

An oblique view of a rice based gluten-free pasta made with dairy-free vegan Alfredo sauce made with creamed cashews.

But then next time I’m at the store, I just reach for the regular ones out of habit… and my whole plan goes down the drain. But not this time! This time I remembered, and I love love it. AJ didn’t even notice anything was off with the noodles – I told him after we ate that they were gluten-free. Not bad!

A close up of a human hand holding a fork with a bit of vegan Alfredo pasta with the remainder of the plate full in a diffused background.

This dish only takes about a half hour to make, though you do have to soak the cashews for one hour beforehand. I just threw them into some hot water together before we left for our bike ride, then made the meal when we got home. Very week-night friendly!

A blue ceramic plate full of a vegan pasta Alfredo that's also gluten-free and dairy-free. A bot of the cashew based Alfredo sauce is in the background.

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A close up of a ceramic blue plate full of a vegan pasta Alfredo sauce made with gluten-free noodles and a dairy-free cashew cream sauce and topped with sauteed radicchio.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Pasta Alfredo with Sautéed Radicchio


  • Author: Raquel Smith
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Comfort Food

Description

A vegan and gluten free recipe for pasta alfredo – but you’d never know! The delicious and rich cream sauce is cut by the slight bitterness of the radiccio, which makes for a very well-rounded dish.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 12-16 oz uncooked penne pasta,* gf if needed
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 head radicchio, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter, vegan or otherwise (I used Earth Balance)
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Measure out the water and heat in the microwave until boiling. Add the cashews and let soak for 1 hour, or more if necessary.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. When al dente, drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
  3. While the pasta cooks, add the cashews and their soaking water to a good quality blender and blend until very smooth. This may take a while, possibly up to 2 minutes. Feel the cream between your fingers to make sure it is not grainy (a tiny bit is okay). Transfer the cream back to a measuring cup and add water to bring it up to 1 1/4 cups. Mix well.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sliced garlic and let cook until they are just starting to brown, about one minute. Very carefully, pour the cashew cream into the butter, stirring while you pour if you can (use a long-handled spoon or wear protective gear if needed).
  5. Bring the sauce to a simmer and stir in the nutritional yeast and salt. Let it cook for another minute or two until nicely thickened.
  6. While the sauce thickens, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the chopped radiccio. Cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes, until softened but still recognizable.
  7. Toss the noodles and the cream sauce until evenly distributed, and serve with the radiccio on top. Enjoy!

Notes

– If you prefer a higher cream to noodle ratio, use 12 oz of pasta. We used 16.

Keywords: pasta alfredo, vegan, gluten-free, radicchio

If vegan pasta recipes makes your tongue tickle, then these will also make your tummy tingle:

Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 3rd, 2014. Last updated: October 31, 2018 at 4:49 am.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Raquel Smith

Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now being merged into Foodal).

A vegan and gluten free recipe for pasta alfredo – but you’d never know! The delicious and rich cream sauce is cut by the slight bitterness of the radiccio, which makes for a very well-rounded dish. #veganpasta #cashewcream #foodal

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