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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.
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.
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
- Place the cashews in a small bowl.
- Cover the cashews with boiling water and let soak them soak until tender.
- Transfer drained cashews to a blender.
- Add fresh water and salt. Blend until smooth.
cook the tomato sauce and pasta
- Add your tomato paste, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pasta water to the onions and garlic.
- Bring sauce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened and darker in color.
- While sauce is simmering, transfer pasta, cashew cream and remaining pasta cooking water to the sauce.
- Toss until the sauce coats the pasta well.
tips for making VEgan Tomato Pasta
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
POPULAR SUBSTITUTIONS & ADDITIONS
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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
- Hummus Pasta
- Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes
- Cauliflower Alfredo
- Pumpkin Pasta with Crispy Sage
- Lemon Pasta
- Avocado Pasta Salad
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
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.