A Can Of White Beans Is The Key To Creamy Dairy-Free Alfredo Sauce

It can be tough to stay away from dairy, especially with deliciously rich sauces like Alfredo out there, just asking to be poured onto pasta. But if you love this sauce but not the dairy-filled ingredients it comes with (typically heavy cream, butter, and parmesan), try omitting them in favor of white beans.

What does this substitution achieve? When blended up, white beans have a thick, creamy consistency — and when combined with the right seasonings, you can make a tasty, savory sauce reminiscent of Alfredo. The legumes won't overpower the sauce but will create a perfect base for the rest of the ingredients, which is why a white bean puree is often used to thicken soup or mash on toast. And the lack of dairy isn't the only nutritional reason to sub these in. One cup of cannellini beans boasts 17 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber, along with significant amounts of copper, iron, and magnesium.

How to make white bean Alfredo sauce

Using white beans in your Alfredo sauce doesn't involve a 1:1 substitution to any of the dairy ingredients in the typical version. Essentially, you're rebuilding a vegan sauce around the legumes, adding in a few different ingredients to mimic the flavor of the original. You can use cans of cannellini, navy, or great northern white beans, but stick to one of these, as veering into chickpeas or pinto beans will alter the taste of your end product. Instead of butter, you'll want to go with olive oil for an entirely dairy-free sauce, and to replicate the taste of parmesan cheese, use a little nutritional yeast.

First, you'll want to sauté your aromatics, such as garlic and shallot. Then, add in the rest of your ingredients, including the beans and some lemon juice, and blend everything after cooking. Or, you can simply pulverize your cooked aromatics in the blender with the rest of your ingredients until the veggies become creamy. The advantage of the former option is that you can boil your beans for a few minutes so they get extra soft, making blending even easier. In either case, you'll likely want to add in a half cup of veggie broth per 15-ounce can of white beans, since they'll produce a thick puree otherwise. Then, pour over pasta and dig in.