Creamy Vegan Cashew Tomato Pasta

4.98 from 138 votes

This Creamy Vegan Tomato Pasta is made with a cashew cream sauce. It's the secret ingredient that adds a creamy texture and lighter color!

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This creamy vegan pasta is made with a silky cashew pasta sauce flavored with lightly caramelized onions and garlic, with just a hint of spice and bright tomatoes, and topped with fresh sweet basil. If you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal, this creamy vegan pasta is sure to please.

Overhead shot of two vegan creamy tomato pasta bowls

Looking for a creamy vegan pasta dish that doesn’t rely on cream? I’ve got you! How? With cashew cream! This creamy tomato sauce uses a technique that involves softening cashews and then blending them with water until they create a creamy, luscious texture – and essentially sauce! It’s easy to make and is sure to please vegans and meat-eaters alike.

why you’ll love this Tomato Cashew Pasta

  • It’s luscious, creamy, and completely dairy-free – your non-vegan friends and family will be amazed that it’s made without cream!
  • It’s easy to make with just a few simple ingredients that you likely have on hand.
  • It’s a great way to use up leftover tomatoes from the garden or Farmer’s Market.
  • The sauce is subtly spiced with just a hint of garlic and onion – perfect for anyone who likes their pasta dishes with well-rounded flavor.
  • It’s versatile and can be used on any type of pasta or even zoodles.

ingredients to make vegan creamy pasta

  • Cashews: Used with water to create a rich sauce that gives the perfect cream-like consistency.
  • Tomatoes: I used canned diced tomatoes with tomato paste for this recipe, but you could also use fresh tomatoes or even tomato sauce in place of the diced canned tomatoes.
  • Pasta: I used rigatoni for this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite type of pasta.
  • Garlic & Onion: For flavor! You could also add in some other veggies like mushrooms, zucchini, or eggplant.
  • Olive Oil: Helps soften and caramelize the garlic and onions.
  • Spices: I use red pepper flakes for that subtle spiciness, but you could also use cayenne pepper or leave it out altogether.
Ingredients to make the recipe

How to Make CREAMY Vegan Tomato Pasta

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of creamy pasta sauces. And this vegan tomato pasta is one of my favorites! It’s simple to make and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients or steps. You’ll need to make the cashew cream sauce first and then toss with the pasta and quick tomato sauce.

make the cashew cream sauce

  1. Place the cashews in a small bowl.
  2. Cover the cashews with boiling water and let soak them soak until tender.
  3. Transfer drained cashews to a blender.
  4. Add fresh water and salt. Blend until smooth.
4 image collage to show how to make the cashew cream

cook the tomato sauce and pasta

  1. Add your tomato paste, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pasta water to the onions and garlic.
  2. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened and darker in color.
  3. While sauce is simmering, transfer pasta, cashew cream and remaining pasta cooking water to the sauce.
  4. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta well.
4 image collage to show how to make the tomato sauce and then combine with the cashew cream and pasta

tips for making VEgan Tomato Pasta

  1. Soak the cashews overnight. While you only need to soak for one hour, soaking them overnight will help them blend smoothly and create a creamier sauce.
  2. Make the sauce the day before. This will help the flavors develop and give you a quick and easy meal to heat up on a busy weeknight.
  3. Add more or less pasta water to achieve the desired consistency. I like my sauce creamy, but you could also add more water if you want a thinner sauce.
  4. Salt your pasta water heavily. If you’ve heard the saying “salt it like the ocean” it’s not an exaggeration. That’s because salting the cooking water helps to develop the best flavor in pasta.
  5. Put any leftover cream to good use. If you decide not to add all the cashew cream, or you make half the amount of pasta, don’t let the extra go to waste! Cashew cream makes a great vegan thickener for pureed vegetable soups or salad dressings. You can even use blend it with some honey or maple syrup for a great fresh fruit dip.
  • Add plant-based protein. Crumble up some plant-based ground and add it to the sauce for a hearty, protein-packed meal.
  • Add veggies. As I mentioned above, this creamy tomato pasta is delicious with mushrooms, zucchini, or eggplant added in.
  • Use fresh tomatoes. If you have fresh tomatoes on hand, you can absolutely use them in place of the canned diced tomatoes. Use 2-3 large tomatoes or 5-6 medium tomatoes.
  • Use gluten-free pasta. If you need a gluten-free option, be sure to use a grain-free pasta.
  • Try different spices. Like things a little spicier? Add in some cayenne pepper or black pepper for an extra kick.

HOW TO REHEAT & STORE

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat, place the desired amount of pasta in a pot and heat over medium-heat until warmed through. Add a little bit of water to help thin out the sauce if needed.

HOW LONG WILL This Vegan tomato pasta LAST IN THE FRIDGE?

When stored in an airtight container, this creamy vegan pasta will last in the fridge for up to four days.

CAN I FREEZE CAshew Pasta Sauce?

Yes! If you want to make a big batch of this creamy vegan pasta sauce, you can freeze it for later. Simply place the desired amount in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to two months. It’s the perfect make-ahead meal for busy weeknights!

When you’re ready to eat, thaw the sauce in the fridge overnight and then heat it up on the stove. You may need to add a little bit of water to thin it out since it will thicken as it freezes.

frequently asked questions

Why is my pasta sauce watery?

If you end up with a watery pasta sauce, it’s likely because you added too much water when blending the cashews. Be sure to drain and rinse the cashews before adding them to the blender, and only add enough water to help them blend smoothly.

My pasta sauce is too thick, what can I do?

If your pasta sauce is too thick, simply add a little bit more of the pasta cooking water until it reaches the desired consistency. Make sure to save the water for this reason.

I don’t have a high-powered blender; can I use a food processor instead?

Yes, you can absolutely use a food processor for this recipe. You may need to blend the cashew cream sauce for a longer period of time to get it creamy and smooth.

Fork taking bite of vegan creamy tomato pasta from bowl

Best of all, it only requires a few simple ingredients. Not to mention it’s delicious and will please even the most discerning palate. So gather up your cashews, tomatoes, and pantry staples, and let’s get cooking! Give this recipe a try today and see for yourself how amazing vegan pasta can be!

more vegan pasta recipes

If you try this feel good Vegan Creamy Tomato Pasta recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

This Creamy Vegan Tomato Pasta was originally published on January 10, 2018. The recipe has been modified and the post now includes new step-by-step photos for how to make the pasta recipe.

Creamy Vegan Cashew Tomato Pasta

This Creamy Vegan Tomato Pasta is made with a cashew cream sauce. It's the secret ingredient that adds a creamy texture and lighter color!
5 from 138 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Main Course
Calories 473
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup water
  • ¾ teaspoon salt divided
  • 16 ounces rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak until cashews are tender, 60 minutes.
  • Drain cashews and transfer to a blender with ½ cup fresh water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 2-3 minutes less than the time indicated on the package. Reserve 1 ½ cups pasta cooking water.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until darkened in color, about 2 minutes. Then add diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ cup reserved pasta water. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened and darker in color, about 10 minutes.
  • While sauce is simmering, transfer pasta, cashew cream and remaining 1 cup of the pasta cooking water to the sauce and toss until the sauce coats the pasta well. Top with basil, and serve immediately.

Notes

Make Ahead: Both the tomato sauce and the cashew cream can easily be made ahead of time, so feel free to prep them in advance. When you’re ready to eat, just heat up the sauce in a pan with the cashew cream, make the pasta, and toss it all together!
Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. It will last about 4-5 days in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 473kcal, Carbohydrates: 70g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Sodium: 496mg, Potassium: 600mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 280IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Overhead shot of two vegan creamy tomato pasta bowls

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Comments

  1. This was amazing. Best creamy tomato pasta I’ve ever had. After trying this, I think cashew cream is better for creamy tomato sauce than dairy cream. I cooked some sliced baby portobellos with a teaspoon of refined coconut oil and a little balsamic vinegar. I also rehydrated a cup of TVP chunks with No Chicken Better Than Bullion, poultry seasoning and garlic powder. It was just like having ground sausage in it. I tried the pasta before adding the mushrooms and meat. It was great both ways. Thank you for sharing this excellent recipe. I will be making this again and again.

  2. I’m no where near vegan, but I love cashews so this intrigued me… OMG!!!… I have to say it… Mmmmm, it’s SO good!!! 😁

  3. OOPS! I did it again. I made the Sauce over Lentil Spaghetti. Once you try this amazing recipe, you won’t go back to Alfredo Sauce.

  4. Another amazing recipe Yumna! As someone who needs to eat dairy free, this was incredible. It was so creamy and really felt like I was eating a true creamy tomato pasta dish 🙂 Even my kids loved it! I did soak the cashews overnight. This will definitely be on repeat in our house!

  5. This was another hit in our house! The recipe was delicious and I kept eating the chicken that I almost forgot to leave some for the salad! My 4 year old kitchen assistant loved marinating the chicken and the spice made the chicken smell SO GOOD! For our dressing, we mixed tahini with Greek Yoghurt, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, lemon juice and parsley! It was so creamy and and tasty! The salad was delicious and satisfied our cravings! We loved this!

    1. I think you meant to leave this comment for the Chicken Shawarma Salad, but I love that! That sounds delicious. Yay!!

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