Here's What You Can Substitute For Milk In Alfredo Sauce

Traditional Alfredo sauce is a simple yet decadent mixture of Parmesan cheese, butter, and milk or heavy cream (via Food & Wine). Given that all the core ingredients contain dairy, it may seem like a dairy-free version would be utterly impossible to craft — after all, if you're substituting every single ingredient, is it truly an Alfredo sauce anymore?

However, if you're desperate for your favorite dairy-packed pasta dish, but can't consume dairy for either health reasons or because of a personal preference, don't worry. Simply Whisked crafted a version that manages to maintain the creamy, silky texture and taste of a traditional Alfredo sauce with absolutely no dairy whatsoever. The secret? Cashews.

The recipe starts out with raw cashews, which are boiled and processed to craft a cashew cream. Then, as with many Italian dishes, garlic is sautéed in a pan with some olive oil. Add a bit of flour to craft a roux, incorporate some broth (either chicken broth or vegetable broth, depending on if you're simply going dairy-free or are looking to create a fully vegan sauce), the cashew cream, full-fat coconut milk, salt and pepper, and a spoonful of nutritional yeast (via Simply Whisked).

The cashew cream and full-fat coconut milk add the signature richness, and nutritional yeast provides the perfect cheesy, salty substitute for Parmesan, according to Chatelaine.

Other options for a dairy-free Alfredo

Your options in the quest for a dairy-free Alfredo sauce don't end with cashews, however. If you can't eat nuts, or simply don't want to go through the process of boiling and blitzing your raw cashews, here are a few additional methods to consider.

Minimalist Baker crafts a sauce featuring unsweetened plain almond milk, nutritional yeast, and vegan Parmesan cheese. Alternatively, you can add a healthy dose of protein by blending soft tofu and your preferred non-dairy milk as the base for another version of dairy-free Alfredo from Silk. Or, you can follow the lead of The Endless Meal and incorporate some extra vegetables with a sauce that uses chopped cauliflower as the primary component.

You can play around with whatever non-dairy options you prefer. The primary goal is simply to emulate that creamy, decadent texture, and the hint of cheesy, salty flavor found in the Parmesan.

It's no surprise that dairy-free diners would be interested in revamping the classic sauce, as it has been around for over a century, according to Cookist. The outlet says that the sauce was created in 1914 to solve digestive issues a pregnant Italian woman was facing. A restaurant owner named Alfredo di Lelio crafted the dish for his pregnant wife, who was having trouble keeping anything down. The simple mixture of butter, Parmesan, and cream did the trick. A few years later two American actors visited the restaurant, sampled di Lelio's concoction, and spread the word about the tasty dish. The rest, as they say, is history.