Creamy Vegan Pasta

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and trying a new combination of ingredients today. Yes, that is real Parmesan cheese on it in the pictures, and yes, that would make it non-vegan. If you don’t want the cheese on top, simply don’t use it. šŸ™‚

I saw this recipe on Instagram the other day and it got me curious. Can a sauce really be creamy if there is no dairy in it? I’m not vegan so I’ve always used milk, cream, butter, or whatever diary is appropriate to the recipe, when I want something to be creamy.

A cashew puree mixed with marinara does cut the acidity of the tomato based sauce, so I think on some level this combination of ingredients does make a “creamy” sauce. I don’t think that you can truly do an apples to apples comparison of an original recipe versus a vegan version. Substitutions will not yield the same taste or texture or both.

Whether you’re vegan or not, this is really a delicious meal. Plus, it’s very easy and quick to make. Well, relatively at least. It’s the kind of meal that you’ll turn to when you’re interested in making something from scratch and have a half hour, not 2 hours. šŸ™‚

Creamy Vegan Pasta Recipe
(Makes about 6 to 8 servings)


  • 1 pound of pasta (I used Rigatoni.)
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water (plus a little more to mix if you need it) – Either will work well here.
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 jar of tomato sauce (My favorite is Bertoli and I used the traditional marinara with this recipe.)


  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, add the cashews, the broth or water, and the salt and then blend it until it’s smooth. Make sure you scrape the sides down to get it mixed thoroughly.
  3. If needed, add a tablespoon or two more of the broth or water. You’ll be able to tell that it needs it because it will seem too pasty and will not blend properly. The need for this mostly depends on the size of your cashews (or how broken up they are) because that tends to change slightly how much you can fit in a cup.
  4. Once the pasta is done cooking, drain it, and then add it back to the pot.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and add the jar of tomato sauce and the cashew cream to the pot and stir everything together. (See Notes below.)
  6. (Optional) I topped the pasta with Parmesan cheese and sprouts. Obviously, if you want a true dairy free dish then make sure that you skip the cheese or use a dairy free option.

Note 1: If you don’t think that you’ll eat all of the pasta then I recommend that you store the pasta separately from the sauce and use only the amount that you want for the portioned pasta. I find that reheating the leftover pasta with the sauce on the side is much better because it won’t soak into the pasta during storage.

Note 2: The color of your sauce may be different than mine, depending on what kind of jar of pasta sauce you use.

Source: Pinch of Yum


  1. Victoria Cooke says:

    Very interesting, Tina. I want some now!

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