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Vegan Creamy Tomato Pasta

$7.90 Recipe/$1.98 Serving

Vegan creamy tomato pasta is the ultimate weeknight meal and is so easy to make! This healthy creamy vegan tomato pasta is a quick and delicious meal ready in about 15 minutes. Naturally dairy free, gluten free and plant based!

Creamy tomato pasta in a white bowl topped with basil.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Made with simple pantry ingredients – this healthy weeknight meal is perfect for those nights when you haven’t gone shopping and are looking for something to eat from what you have left in the pantry. You won’t believe how much flavor comes from these simple ingredients.
  • Ready in 15 minutes – you can make the sauce in the time it takes to bring water to a boil and cook the pasta, making it the perfect weekend or weeknight meals.
  • Rich, filling and so creamy – this creamy tomato sauce is made with soaked cashews and white beans. This combination of cashews and white beans makes the sauce so rich and creamy and the added white beans make it more filling.
  • Great for leftovers – this vegan creamy tomato sauce is just as good eaten as leftovers.
Ingredients to make vegan creamy tomato pasta.
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Ingredients

  • Onions and garlic – sauteed onions and garlic help to add a depth of flavor to the sauce. These ingredients are 100% optional so if you don’t have them on hand or don’t want to take the time to cook them, you can just omit them.
  • Olive oil – olive oil is used to cook the onions and garlic. If you are going to omit the onions and garlic, you can also omit this from the recipe.
  • Raw cashews – raw cashews help to create a creamy sauce and also add a bit of sweetness to the sauce. You can replace the cashews with hemp hearts (no soaking needed), tahini, avocado or more white beans to get the same texture.
  • White beans – white beans are added to the sauce to make it really thick and creamy. If you don’t have white beans, you can use more raw cashews, boiled potatoes or any of the alternatives listed for the cashews.
  • Canned tomatoes – canned tomatoes are great in this recipe because they are easy to keep in the pantry
  • Balsamic vinegar – balsamic vinegar cuts through the “canned tomato” taste and takes the sauce to the next level of deliciousness.
  • Spices: Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt – these spices help to add flavor to the tomato sauce and are all pantry staples so should be easy to find. If you do not have Italian seasoning, you can add 1 teaspoon of dried basil and parsley and ½ teaspoon of oregano to the sauce.
  • Gluten free pasta – I prefer to use a lentil based or chickpea based pasta to add more protein and fiber to this vegan dinner recipe. I find these pastas are much more filling and a great way to make a plant based meal that fills you up without leaving you feeling too heavy or stuffed.

How to make creamy vegan tomato pasta

Start by adding water to a large pot and put it over high heat to bring to a boil.

While the water is coming up to a boil, peel and chop the onion and garlic.

Measure out the cashews and add them to a bowl or cup, bring water to a boil in an electric kettle (or add extra water to the pot on the stove so you can get about 1 cup of boiling water before adding the pasta).

Preheat a small skillet over medium heat. One skillet is hot, add oil and onions, cook 2-3 minutes before adding the garlic. Cook another 2-3 minutes.

Steps on how to make sauteed onions and garlic.

Once water is boiling, take out 1 cup for the cashews (optional) and add the pasta to the boiling water. Let cashews sit for 5 minutes in hot water.

Open the can of tomatoes.

Rinse and drain the white beans.

After 5 minutes of soaking, drain the cashews.

Add tomatoes, white beans, cashews, sauteed onions and garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt and spices to a large blender. Blend on high for 1 minute.

Creamy tomato pasta sauce in a glass jar with a spoon of sauce.

Reserve ½ – 1 cup of pasta water before draining.

Drain the pasta and add it back to a pot. Pour the pasta sauce over the pasta. If needed, add some of the reserved pasta sauce to thin out the sauce.

Steps on how to make creamy tomato pasta.

Top tips

  • Use any kind of canned tomato you have on hand, whole peeled tomatoes, chopped tomatoes or crushed tomatoes. I don’t recommend tomato sauce unless the only ingredient is tomatoes as of that can have added sugars which will change the flavor of the sauce. If you don’t have canned tomatoes, you can use jarred spaghetti sauce in a pinch.
  • Make it nut free: Use hemp heart (no soaking), 1/4 cup tahini, a ripe avocado, or another can of drained beans in place of the cashews.
  • In a rush? Omit the onions and garlic from the sauce. The flavor is almost the same but will save you time in prep and with dishes to clean.
  • Note: If you are using a bullet style blender, you will likely need to make this sauce in batches, even with the largest blender cup. I recommend using about 1 cup of the canned tomatoes along with the cashews, beans, onions, garlic, vinegar and spices. Once smooth, add that directly to the pasta or to the storage container for the sauce. Then blend the rest of the canned tomatoes in the same blender without cleaning it out. This will get any left behind bits from the blender while getting those tomatoes smooth (takes 10-20 seconds). Once blended stir in with the creamy sauce.
  • Make ahead tip: You can make the sauce up to 5 days in advance so all you have to do is cook the pasta and pour the sauce over. You will want to let the sauce come up to room temperature or cook the pasta with the sauce to warm it up before serving.
  • For a slightly thinner sauce: before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Stir the cooking liquid into the pasta sauce 2-3 tablespoons at a time until you reach desired consistency.

Other ingredients you can add in to the pasta

  • More veggies: Sauteed zucchini, yellow squash or bell pepper, fresh or frozen spinach or kale, chopped fresh tomatoes (added at the end).
  • Spice: You can add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes if you love a little heat in your pasta sauce.
  • Fresh herbs: this recipe is meant to be made with pantry ingredients but if you have fresh herbs on hand, sprinkle in some fresh basil or Italian parsley at the end.
  • Deepen the tomato flavor: Add a tablespoon of tomato paste to the sauce or add chopped sundried tomatoes (in oil, drained) at the end.
Vegan creamy tomato pasta in a white bowl.

Common questions

How to make this nut free

The soaked cashews help to increase the creaminess of the sauce and really help make it silky and smooth. Some alternatives you could use to make this nut free:

  • Hemp hearts (no soaking required) – hemp hearts will make the sauce taste a little more grassy, you may want to add a pinch more garlic powder to help offset the flavor change.
  • Raw sunflower seeds (need soaking) – these will change the flavor slightly but not too much, as sunflower seeds don’t have that same natural sweetness as the cashews do.
  • Tahini – use ¼ cup to replace the cashews in this recipe. You may need to add some water as well (2 tbsp – ¼ cup depending on how thick or thin you want the sauce). This will change the flavor slightly, as tahini is not as naturally sweet as cashews are.
  • Avocado – this will help create that same creamy consistency without any seeds or nuts. The color will change slightly but it won’t be very noticeable.
  • Another can of white beans (drained) – if you are looking to keep the fat down in this recipe, use another can of white beans in place of the cashews. The sauce will be thick but not quite as creamy as the cashews make it but sill delicious.

How to soak cashews

Soaking cashews helps them break down easier in the blender and also helps the sauce get as thick and creamy as possible. When you soak cashews you want to drain the cashews and discard the soaking liquid.

  • In boiling water – use the water from an electric kettle or grab some of the boiling pasta water (use a ladle or glass measuring cup with a handle). Pour the boiling water over the cashews and let cashews soak at least 5 minutes.
  • On the counter – you can soak cashews on the counter 6-24 hours in room temperature water. Typically if I know I will be soaking cashews more than 24 hours, I put them in the fridge (covered).
  • In a pot of boiling water – you can bring the cashews and water up to a boil and boil for 3 minutes to help soften the cashews. Be careful when draining the cashews.
  • In the microwave – add just enough water to cover the cashews (be sure to use an large bowl or cup) and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let the cashews sit in the microwave at least 3 minutes before removing them (the bowl/glass may be hot so use oven mitts when removing).

Make ahead tips

Make the sauce up to 5 days in advance so all you have to do is boil the pasta. If you are in a rush on make ahead day, you can omit the onions and garlic and simply assemble the sauce using pantry ingredients.

Store the sauce in the fridge in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Freeze the sauce up to 3 months if you want to make a large batch to use over time. I recommend freezing the sauce flat by adding it to a freezer bag and laying the bag flat in the freezer. Once frozen, you can stack this easier than if it was a frozen block or glass jar.

Glass jar filled with creamy tomato pasta sauce.

Can you freeze leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze leftover pasta and sauce to use later. I would recommend freezing this vegan creamy tomato pasta in single serve servings for easy reheating. I love to use Soupercubes for this, as you can portion things out in ½, 1 cup or even 2 cup measurements depending on what a portion looks like for you. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.

Storing leftovers

  • Fridge: Store leftover creamy tomato pasta in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container. Note if you made this sauce in advance you may not be able to store it as long.
  • Freezer: Freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer safe bag. Be sure to label the bag with the name, date, use by date and any heating instructions.

Reheating leftovers

  • Stove – reheat over medium low heat covered, adding 2-3 tablespoons of water, broth or dairy free milk as needed to thin out the sauce.
  • Microwave – reheat 1:30 -2 minutes, stirring halfway through. You may need to add 2-3 tablespoons of water, broth or dairy free milk to thin out the sauce at the halfway point.

Substitutions

  • Onions and garlic – these are 100% optional ingredients and can be omitted if you do not have them on hand or cannot tolerate them.
  • Raw cashews – see all the tips above on how to substitute cashews. You can use hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, tahini, avocado or more beans.
  • White beans – if you don’t have any white beans on hand or cannot tolerate beans, you can increase the cashews to 1 cup or try 1.5 cups of steamed peeled white or yellow potatoes to keep the fat content down.
  • Canned tomatoes – you can use any canned tomatoes you have on hand, peeled, chopped or crushed. If you don’t have canned tomatoes, you can use a jar of pasta sauce in a pinch or even fresh tomatoes, roasted or cooked on the stove.
  • Balsamic vinegar – this helps to cut the canned tomato flavor from the tomatoes and makes the sauce have a deeper flavor. You can use 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar + 2 teaspoons of coconut aminos (or gluten free tamari or soy sauce if not gluten free) in place of the balsamic vinegar.
  • Spices – If you don’t have garlic powder on hand, you can use onion powder or 1-2 more cloves of fresh garlic. If you cannot tolerate garlic or onions, you can use 1 tablespoon of garlic olive oil in place of the garlic and garlic powder. If you don’t have Italian seasoning on hand use 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried parsley and ½ teaspoon dried oregano.
  • Gluten free pasta – use whatever gluten free pasta you love in any shape. I love to use chickpea or lentil pasta to make this more filling. If you are eating lower carbs, you can use hearts of palm pasta or make your own zucchini noodles or low carb noodles.
Forkful of creamy vegan tomato pasta.

If you love this recipe, you should try

Instant Pot Chickpea Pasta

Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

Creamy Lemon Tahini Pasta

Vegan Baked Ziti

★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
White bowl filled with creamy tomato pasta.

Vegan Creamy Tomato Pasta

$7.90 recipe/$1.98 Serving
Creamy vegan tomato pasta is the perfect weeknight meal. Ready in just 15 minutes, this creamy tomato pasta is easy to make, incredibly filling and the ultimate comfort food. This healthy recipe is gluten free, dairy free and plant based.
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: creamy vegan tomato pasta, vegan creamy tomato pasta
Prep Time: 7 mins
Cook Time: 7 mins
Total Time: 14 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • While water is coming up to a boil, chop the onion and slice the garlic.
  • Place a small skillet over medium heat to preheat.
  • Add cashews to a bowl or glass and bring water to a boil in an electric kettle or plan on getting about 1 cup of boiling water from the pot when it comes up to a boil before adding the pasta.
  • Once skillet is preheated, add the onion and cook 2-3 minutes. After 2-3 minutes, add the sliced garlic and turn down to medium low heat and cook 1-2 more minutes then turn off the pan.
  • Pour boiling water over the cashews, allow the cashews to soak for 5 minutes.
  • Add pasta to boiling water.
  • Rinse and drain the white beans and open the can of tomatoes.
  • After 5 minutes of soaking drain the cashews and add the tomatoes, cashews, white beans, balsamic vinegar, italian seasoning, salt and garlic powder to the blender. Blend 1 minute until smooth.
  • Before draining the pasta, take 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the water. Once pasta is done cooking, drain the pasta.
  • Pour the sauce over the pasta. Stir well. If needed add 2-3 tablespoons of cooking liquid at a time to the pasta until it is the consistency you are looking for.

Notes

Top tips
  • You can use any kind of canned tomato you have on hand, whole peeled tomatoes, chopped tomatoes or crushed tomatoes. I don’t recommend tomato sauce unless the only ingredient is tomatoes as of that can have added sugars which will change the flavor of the sauce. If you don’t have canned tomatoes, you can use jarred spaghetti sauce in a pinch.
  • In a rush? Omit the onions and garlic from the sauce. The flavor is almost the same but will save you time in prep and with dishes to clean.
  • Note: If you are using a bullet style blender, you will likely need to make this sauce in batches, even with the largest blender cup. I recommend using about 1 cup of the canned tomatoes along with the cashews, beans, onions, garlic, vinegar and spices. Once smooth, add that directly to the pasta or to the storage container for the sauce. Then blend the rest of the canned tomatoes in the same blender without cleaning it out. This will get any left behind bits from the blender while getting those tomatoes smooth (takes 10-20 seconds). Once blended stir in with the creamy sauce.
  • Make ahead tips: You can make the sauce up to 5 days in advance so all you have to do is cook the pasta and pour the sauce over. You will want to let the sauce come up to room temperature or cook the pasta with the sauce to warm it up before serving.
  • For a slightly thinner sauce: before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Stir the cooking liquid into the pasta sauce 2-3 tablespoons at a time until you reach desired consistency.
Other ingredients you can add in to the pasta:
  • More veggies: Sauteed zucchini, yellow squash or bell peppers, fresh or frozen spinach or kale, chopped fresh tomatoes (added at the end).
  • Spice: You can add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Fresh herbs: if you have fresh herbs on hand, sprinkle in some fresh basil or Italian parsley at the end.
  • Deepen the tomato flavor: Add a tablespoon of tomato paste to the sauce or add chopped sundried tomatoes (in oil, drained) at the end.
How to make this nut free
  • Hemp hearts (no soaking required) – hemp hearts will make the sauce taste a little more grassy, you may want to add a pinch more garlic powder to help offset the flavor change.
  • Raw sunflower seeds (need soaking) – these will change the flavor slightly but not too much, as sunflower seeds don’t have that same natural sweetness as the cashews do.
  • Tahini – use ¼ cup to replace the cashews in this recipe. You may need to add some water as well (2 tbsp – ¼ cup depending on how thick or thin you want the sauce). This will change the flavor slightly, as tahini is not as naturally sweet as cashews are.
  • Avocado – this will help create that same creamy consistency without any seeds or nuts. The color will change slightly but it won’t be very noticeable.
  • Another can of white beans (drained) – if you are looking to keep the fat down in this recipe, use another can of white beans in place of the cashews. The sauce will be thick but not quite as creamy as the cashews make it but sill delicious.
How to soak cashews
  • In boiling water – use the water from an electric kettle or grab some of the boiling pasta water (use a ladle or glass measuring cup with a handle). Pour the boiling water over the cashews and let cashews soak at least 5 minutes.
  • On the counter – you can soak cashews on the counter 6-24 hours in room temperature water. Typically if I know I will be soaking cashews more than 24 hours, I put them in the fridge (covered).
  • In a pot of boiling water – you can bring the cashews and water up to a boil and boil for 3 minutes to help soften the cashews. Be careful when draining the cashews.
  • Microwave – add just enough water to cover the cashews (be sure to use an large bowl or cup) and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let the cashews sit in the microwave at least 3 minutes before removing them (the bowl/glass may be hot so use oven mitts when removing).
Can you freeze leftovers?
Yes, you can freeze leftover pasta and sauce to use later. I would recommend freezing this vegan creamy tomato pasta in single serve servings for easy reheating. I love to use Soupercubes for this, as you can portion things out in ½, 1 cup or even 2 cup measurements depending on what a portion looks like for you. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.
Storing leftovers
  • Fridge: Store leftover creamy tomato pasta in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container. Note if you made this sauce in advance you may not be able to store it as long.
  • Freezer: Freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer safe bag. Be sure to label the bag with the name, date, use by date and any heating instructions.
Reheating leftovers
  • Stove – reheat over medium low heat covered, adding 2-3 tablespoons of water, broth or dairy free milk as needed to thin out the sauce.
  • Microwave – reheat 1:30 -2 minutes, stirring halfway through. You may need to add 2-3 tablespoons of water, broth or dairy free milk to thin out the sauce at the halfway point.
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
426
Fat
 
12
g
Carbohydrates
 
65
g
Fiber
 
15
g
Sugar
 
13
g
Protein
 
25
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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