Dairy-free “Fettuccine” Alfredo with Shrimp

If you know me, you know I love real cream, and real butter. Bill and I usually do okay eating cream and butter as well. We cook with butter a lot, but don’t use cream daily-well at least I don’t,but if you follow our Instagram, and see all of Bill’s attempts at latte art, you’ll see he’s been eating cream a lot lately. Making a real Alfredo sauce would not be hard, and would be quite tasty! I know many of you cannot have dairy, so I decided to try making a recipe for dairy-free Alfredo sauce.

paleo alfredo pasta-2

My method of choice was making a cashew cream. I love cashews-they are one of the few nuts I still like on their own (okay, well they are actually seeds, botanically speaking). Paleo has sort of made me hate nuts. Too many snacks of raw almonds I guess. Unless it’s a nut flour, I want nothing to do with it. Not even nut butters…grosses me out. Weird, right? Anyway…I do like cashews, and I like ice cream made out of cashew cream, so I decided to try Alfredo made out of cashew cream.

paleo alfredo pasta-1

First thing I did was soak the cashews overnight, and since I’m lazy sometimes, I let them soak for about 24 hours. It didn’t cause any issues. Then I drained the cashews from the water, and blended them with about 1/2 cup of water (might have been 3/4 cup) in our Blendtec. I wanted to use just enough water to make the cashews blend, but not too much that it made the sauce too loose. I knew my plan was to use zucchini noodles, which adds more water to the sauce. I really wanted to keep this sauce thick, so I used as little water as possible. Once the cashews were blended, I seasoned them with onion, garlic, and salt and pepper. I tasted it as I went along until the flavor was right. I didn’t worry too much about a strong flavor in the cashew cream, because I knew there would be fresh garlic, and more salt and pepper in the finished sauce when I finished the meal. Then, since I’m lazy again sometimes…I put the cashew cream in the fridge and didn’t touch it again for 24 hours. No big deal. It was totally fine, and good for all of you to know that you can prep your cream, and have it ready for when you need it!

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Bill and I made this meal together. I peeled and deveined the shrimp (worst job ever), while he rinsed the zucchini, spiral sliced it, and put it in our steamer pot. By the way, we totally have a pasta steamer pot-that we registered for (on purpose), for our wedding, with the idea in mind that we would use it for steaming veggies and squash noodles. We love it! Anyway…Bill steamed the “noodles,” while I finished the sauce. I sautéed the shrimp with garlic, adding a pinch of salt and pepper, and the parsley, and then the cashew cream. The cream was really thick after being in the fridge overnight, but once it warmed up with the shrimp it became more like a cream sauce. With the addition of the zucchini noodles, it became even creamier. I also added an extra tablespoon of ghee (okay-really we used butter, but if you want to avoid as much dairy as possible, use ghee) because I thought it would add flavor and better texture to the sauce.

This recipe was super delicious! If you cannot have dairy you will love it! I will make a real dairy Alfredo sauce and post that as an option as well if you cannot eat cashews, but can have cream and butter. Enjoy!

Dairy-free “Fettuccine” Alfredo with Shrimp

This thick and creamy Alfredo recipe is dairy-free, though you'd never know! You can customize the recipe to your liking, making it with chicken instead of shrimp, and spaghetti squash instead of zucchini.

Serves: 4

Serves: 4decrease servingsincrease servings



Note, these instructions are written assuming the standard serving size, since you have modified the number of servings, these steps may need to be modified for best results
  1. Pour the organic cashews into a glass bowl, cover with filtered water, then covering the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel, and soak overnight in the fridge.
  2. After the cashews have soaked overnight, drain the water from them. Place the soaked cashews in a high speed blender or food processor.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of filtered water to the cashews, and blend until smooth. You can add more water if your cashews aren't blending enough, but less water will result in a thicker sauce.
  4. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to the cashews, and blend again until smooth. At this point you can keep the seasoned cashew cream in the fridge until you are going to make the meal.
  5. Using a spiral slicer, slice your zucchini into noodles, and place in a steamer basket in a pot on the stove to steam.
  6. Heat the pot with the zucchini noodles over medium heat, and steam until they are slightly soft, about 10 minutes.
  7. If your shrimp is not peeled and deveined, be sure to do that before cooking the shrimp.
  8. Melt one tablespoon of ghee in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shrimp to the pot, along with the smashed garlic cloves, and saute until the shrimp is pink on either side.
  9. Add the parsley to the pot, and continue to saute.
  10. Once the shrimp is cooked through, turn the burner down to medium-low heat, and add the seasoned cashew cream to the pot, stirring to combine. Add the second tablespoon of ghee, and season with additional salt and black pepper if needed.
  11. Add the steamed zucchini noodles to the sauce pot, and stir to combine the noodles with the sauce mixture. This will allow the noodles to cook a bit more, as well as add more water to the sauce which is why it is best to keep the sauce on the thicker side.
  12. Turn the burner down to low heat, and simmer until serving.
  13. Serve, and garnish with additional fresh parsley if desired.


If you are allergic to shellfish, you can make this recipe by adding chicken to replace the shrimp. You can also use coconut oil to cook the shrimp (or chicken) if you prefer to not use ghee, but the ghee will add better flavor. If you do okay with grass-fed butter, you can use that to cook the shrimp as well.

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    1. keri.brewster
      February 10, 2014

      How many servings does this make?

    2. February 10, 2014

      Hi Keri –

      The recipe serves 4, which for some reason is not displaying in the blog post, but it is on the recipe.

      Thanks for letting us know!

    3. rjd303
      May 25, 2014

      Absolutely delicious recipe!!! I will definitely be making this again and again!!

    4. shaeb
      March 18, 2015

      As this has ghee in it, wouldn’t this mean its not dairy free?

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