Vegan Cacio e Pepe (Recipe)

Vegan Cacio e Pepe (Recipe)

If you’re looking for a delicious and dairy-free pasta dish, look no further than this Vegan Cacio e Pepe recipe. This plant-based twist on the classic Italian dish is the perfect choice for a comforting and healthy vegan dinner. Made with a homemade vegan cheese sauce and served with gluten-free spaghetti, this dish is a simple and satisfying option for any vegan comfort food craving.

Key Takeaways:

  • Enjoy a dairy-free and plant-based version of the classic Italian dish, Cacio e Pepe, with this Vegan Cacio e Pepe recipe.
  • Create a creamy and delicious vegan cheese sauce using soaked raw cashews as the base.
  • Dress up your plate with gluten-free spaghetti, homemade vegan cheese sauce, and a sprinkle of fresh basil for added flavor.
  • Indulge in a comforting and easy vegan pasta recipe that is perfect for any occasion.
  • Satisfy your cravings for both Italian cuisine and vegan comfort food with this simple and flavorful dish.

Why Soak Raw Cashews?

Raw cashews are a staple ingredient in many vegan cream-based recipes, known for their luxurious, smooth, and creamy texture when blended. However, to achieve that velvety consistency, it is essential to soak the cashews beforehand.

Soaking raw cashews softens their flesh, making them easier to blend into a creamy sauce. This step is particularly crucial when preparing vegan cheese sauces, where raw cashews serve as the base. By hydrating the cashews, the resulting sauce attains a creamy texture that mimics traditional dairy-based creams.

Soaking cashews overnight is the recommended method, as it allows ample time for the nuts to absorb water fully. However, if time is of the essence, soaking them in hot water for two hours can also yield satisfactory results.

Soaking Cashews: Step by Step

  1. Place the raw cashews in a bowl or container.
  2. Add enough water to cover the cashews generously.
  3. If soaking overnight, leave the cashews to soak for a minimum of 8-12 hours.
  4. If soaking for two hours, use hot water from the tap, ensuring it covers the cashews completely.
  5. After the designated soaking time, drain and rinse the cashews thoroughly.

Soaking raw cashews is a simple yet crucial step in vegan cream-based recipes. By softening the cashews, it allows for easy blending and results in a delightful creamy texture that elevates your dishes to new heights.

How to Make Vegan Cream Sauce

To create a delectable vegan cream sauce, you’ll need a few key ingredients: cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, peppercorns, miso paste, and sea salt. This sauce is a perfect addition to enhance the flavors of your favorite dishes, like vegan Cacio e Pepe.

Start by soaking cashews in water for a few hours or overnight. Soaking helps soften the cashews, making them easier to blend and achieving a creamy consistency.

After the cashews have soaked, drain and rinse them before transferring them to a blender. Add in nutritional yeast, which provides a cheesy flavor profile, and a splash of lemon juice for acidity and brightness.

For that distinctive Cacio e Pepe taste, incorporate peppercorns into the sauce. You can either crush them beforehand or leave them whole for a bolder flavor. Additionally, miso paste adds umami notes, while sea salt enhances the overall seasoning.

Blend all the ingredients together, gradually adding water to achieve your desired creamy consistency. Remember to taste and adjust the seasoning if needed before you finish blending.

And there you have it—a simple and flavorful vegan cream sauce made with cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, peppercorns, miso paste, and sea salt.

How to Make Vegan Cream Sauce – Ingredients

Nutritional yeast
Lemon juice
Miso paste
Sea salt

What is Cacio e Pepe?

Cacio e Pepe is a classic Italian pasta dish that originated in Rome. The literal translation of its name is “cheese and pepper,” which accurately describes its simple ingredients. Traditionally, it consists of pecorino romano cheese, black pepper, and pasta. The dish is known for its simplicity and deliciousness.

Key Ingredients of Cacio e Pepe:

  • Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Black pepper
  • Pasta

“Cacio e Pepe is the epitome of Italian cuisine – a timeless classic that celebrates the simplicity of quality ingredients.” – Chef Giorgio Mantovani

Despite its simplicity, Cacio e Pepe has gained popularity worldwide for its bold flavors and comforting appeal. The combination of sharp, salty cheese and the heat of freshly ground black pepper creates a harmonious taste that lingers on the palate. The dish’s beauty lies in its ability to showcase the essence of each ingredient, allowing them to shine.

Key Features of Cacio e Pepe Benefits
Classic Italian recipe Explores the rich culinary heritage of Italy
Simple ingredients Minimalistic and straightforward approach
Quick and easy preparation Perfect for busy weeknight meals
Deliciously comforting Satisfying and soul-warming

The Ultimate Vegan Cacio e Pepe Pasta

In this vegan version of Cacio e Pepe, the traditional cheese is replaced with a homemade vegan cheese sauce. While not exactly the same as the original, it still offers a satisfying creaminess and the spiciness of black pepper. What’s great about this recipe is that the sauce can be used in various ways, such as on pasta, as a base for white pizza, in lasagna, or even as a salad dressing. It is a versatile and comforting dish.

Why Choose Vegan Cacio e Pepe?

Vegan Cacio e Pepe is an excellent option for those looking to enjoy a comforting pasta dish while following a plant-based diet. By using a vegan cheese sauce, this dish maintains the creaminess and richness that the traditional version offers. The versatility of this sauce allows you to explore different culinary creations beyond pasta, making it a go-to recipe for various meals.

How to Make the Vegan Cheese Sauce

The key component of this vegan Cacio e Pepe is the delicious vegan cheese sauce. Made from a blend of soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and seasonings, this versatile sauce adds a creamy and cheesy element to the dish. Here’s a simple recipe to make the vegan cheese sauce:

  1. Soak one cup of raw cashews in water overnight or for at least four hours.
  2. Drain the soaked cashews and add them to a blender.
  3. Add three tablespoons of nutritional yeast, two tablespoons of lemon juice, one teaspoon of miso paste, one teaspoon of freshly ground black peppercorns, and half a teaspoon of sea salt.
  4. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding small amounts of water to reach the desired consistency.

This vegan cheese sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days, allowing you to use it for multiple recipes.

Recipe Variations and Serving Suggestions

While this vegan Cacio e Pepe recipe is a wonderful dish on its own, you can experiment with various additions and serving ideas to tailor it to your preferences. Here are a few suggestions:

  • For a burst of freshness, garnish the pasta with chopped basil or parsley.
  • Add sautéed mushrooms or roasted vegetables to enhance the flavors and textures.
  • Sprinkle some vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast on top for an extra cheesy touch.
  • For a protein boost, toss in some cooked chickpeas or white beans.

Feel free to get creative with this versatile vegan cheese sauce and make it your own. It’s the perfect comforting dish for any occasion, whether you’re enjoying a cozy night in or entertaining guests.

Pairing Suggestions

Vegan Cacio e Pepe pairs well with a variety of side dishes and beverages. Here are some ideas to complete your meal:

Side Dishes Beverages
Roasted Brussels sprouts Pinot Grigio
Caesar salad Chardonnay
Garlic bread Sparkling water with lemon
Grilled asparagus Herbal tea

These pairings complement the flavors of the vegan Cacio e Pepe and enhance your dining experience.

Ingredients for Vegan Cacio e Pepe

Creating a delicious vegan Cacio e Pepe requires a careful selection of ingredients that perfectly mimic the flavors and textures of the traditional dish. Here are the key ingredients you’ll need:

  • Gluten-Free Spaghetti: Choose gluten-free spaghetti to ensure the dish is suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or dietary restrictions.
  • Soaked Raw Cashews: Soaking raw cashews softens them, making them easy to blend into a creamy sauce that replaces the traditional cheese component.
  • Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor to the sauce, providing depth and richness.
  • Lemon Juice: The acidity of lemon juice brightens the flavors of the dish, adding a refreshing element to the creamy sauce.
  • Peppercorns: Peppercorns are a crucial ingredient for the distinctive cacio e pepe taste. Use freshly ground black pepper for optimal flavor.
  • Miso Paste (or Sea Salt): Miso paste lends umami flavor to the sauce. If you prefer to avoid miso, you can replace it with sea salt for seasoning.
  • Sea Salt: Sea salt adds a savory element and balances the flavors of the dish.
  • Filtered Water: Use filtered water to blend the ingredients into a smooth and creamy sauce.

Now that you have your ingredients ready, let’s dive into the step-by-step preparation of this delectable vegan Cacio e Pepe.

Ingredients: Quantity:
Gluten-Free Spaghetti 8 ounces
Soaked Raw Cashews 1 cup
Nutritional Yeast 2 tablespoons
Lemon Juice 1 tablespoon
Peppercorns 1 teaspoon (freshly ground)
Miso Paste (or Sea Salt) 1 teaspoon
Sea Salt to taste
Filtered Water 1/2 cup

Step-by-Step Preparation of Vegan Cacio e Pepe

Preparing the delicious vegan Cacio e Pepe is a simple and enjoyable process that involves a few key steps. Follow this step-by-step guide to create a delectable vegan pasta dish that will satisfy your taste buds.

1. Boiling Pasta

Start by boiling your favorite type of pasta in a pot of salted water until it reaches the desired level of tenderness, typically al dente. Remember to follow the instructions on the pasta package for precise cooking times.

2. Making Vegan Cream Sauce

While the pasta is cooking, you can prepare the vegan cream sauce that will give the Cacio e Pepe its creamy texture and delightful flavor.

Using a blender, combine soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, peppercorns, miso paste, sea salt, and filtered water. Blend until smooth and creamy.

3. Tossing Pasta in Sauce

After draining the cooked pasta, return it to the pot. Pour the vegan cream sauce over the pasta and toss gently until the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce and has a glossy consistency.

4. Garnish and Serve

Transfer the vegan Cacio e Pepe to serving plates or bowls. Finish off the dish by drizzling some olive oil on top and sprinkling it with crushed pepper. For an extra touch of flavor, you can optionally squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the dish. Enjoy your homemade vegan Cacio e Pepe!

Step Description
1 Boil pasta until al dente
2 Blend soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, peppercorns, miso paste, sea salt, and filtered water to make the vegan cream sauce
3 Toss cooked pasta in the vegan cream sauce until coated and glossy
4 Garnish with olive oil, crushed pepper, and optionally, a squeeze of lemon juice


Vegan Cacio e Pepe offers a delicious plant-based twist on the classic Italian dish. The creamy vegan cheese sauce, combined with the savory flavors of black pepper and optional toppings like basil and macadamia nuts, creates a satisfying and flavorful pasta dish. Whether you’re a vegan or simply looking to try a new recipe, this vegan Cacio e Pepe is a must-try option for a comforting and delicious meal.

By replacing traditional dairy cheese with a homemade vegan cheese sauce, this recipe caters to those following a plant-based lifestyle while still capturing the essence of the original dish. The creamy texture and tangy flavor of the vegan cheese sauce perfectly complement the robust taste of black pepper, resulting in a mouthwatering combination that will leave you craving more.

With its rich and savory flavors, vegan Cacio e Pepe stands as a testament to the versatility and creativity of plant-based cooking. Whether you’re enjoying it on its own or adding your own unique twist, such as garnishing with fresh basil or adding a sprinkle of macadamia nuts for extra crunch, this dish is sure to satisfy your comfort food cravings. So why not give it a try and let the flavors of vegan Cacio e Pepe transport you to the heart of Italy?


Is this recipe suitable for vegans and those on a dairy-free diet?

Yes, this recipe is perfect for vegans and those looking for a dairy-free pasta option. It uses a homemade vegan cheese sauce as a delicious alternative to traditional cheese.

How do soaking cashews affect the texture of the vegan cheese sauce?

Soaking cashews overnight or for a minimum of two hours softens their texture, making them easier to blend. This results in a luxurious, creamy consistency when making the vegan cheese sauce.

What ingredients are used to make the vegan cream sauce for this recipe?

The vegan cream sauce is made with soaked raw cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, peppercorns, miso paste (or sea salt), sea salt, and filtered water. These ingredients are blended together to create a flavorful and creamy sauce.

What is the traditional version of Cacio e Pepe?

The traditional Cacio e Pepe recipe consists of pecorino romano cheese, black pepper, and pasta. It is a simple yet delicious Italian pasta dish known for its minimal ingredients and delightful flavors.

How does the vegan version of Cacio e Pepe compare to the traditional recipe?

While the vegan version does not include traditional cheese, it offers a creamy vegan cheese sauce that provides a similar texture and flavor. The addition of black pepper and other optional toppings creates a satisfying and delicious vegan pasta dish.

What are the key ingredients used for vegan Cacio e Pepe?

To make vegan Cacio e Pepe, you will need gluten-free spaghetti, soaked raw cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, peppercorns, miso paste (or sea salt), sea salt, and filtered water.

Can you provide a step-by-step guide on how to prepare vegan Cacio e Pepe?

Certainly! The preparation involves boiling the pasta until al dente, making the vegan cream sauce by blending soaked cashews with the other ingredients, toasting crushed peppercorns in olive oil, and then combining the sauce with the cooked pasta. Toss the pasta in the sauce until it becomes glossy and serve with optional toppings like olive oil, crushed pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

What makes vegan Cacio e Pepe a great option for a comforting and delicious meal?

Vegan Cacio e Pepe offers a plant-based twist on the classic Italian dish, providing a creamy vegan cheese sauce and the spiciness of black pepper. The versatility of the sauce allows it to be used in various ways, making it a satisfying and flavorful option for a comforting and delicious meal.

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