Creamy Vegan Vodka Sauce Pasta
Looking for a healthy and easy pasta recipe for dinner? Look no further! This Creamy Vegan Vodka Sauce pasta comes together in just 30 minutes and can be made with any type of pasta you love! (like penne a la vodka, rigatoni or farfelle)
Vegan Vodka sauce made with cashews
Is there anything better than a cozy bowl of homemade pasta sauce for dinner? Answer: no, no there is not. Honestly, I think it’s one of my all-time favourite recipes to make. There’s something special about making pasta at home with a homemade sauce rather than grabbing pasta sauce from a jar.
Every summer I love to make a big batch of my homemade tomato sauce and freeze it to have on hand for future pasta recipes, but when I don’t have any on hand using a can of San Marzano tomatoes works wonders for a seriously delicious homemade vegan vodka sauce.
This Vegan Vodka Sauce is made with a base of cashew cream to create that super luscious and creamy sauce. The cashews are very mild in flavour and when blended with water turn into a delicious cream. This will be our substitute for heavy cream that is traditionally used in vodka sauce.
Traditionally vodka pasta is made with penne (called penne alla vodka), but this sauce is honestly amazing with any type of pasta you love. For this recipe, I’m using farfalle because it’s fun 😉
What is Vodka Sauce?
Vodka sauce is a type of pasta sauce that is rooted in Italian-American cuisine made from tomato sauce, herbs, vodka and heavy cream. It is similar to a rose sauce but has the addition of vodka which helps balance out the tomatoes and cream in the sauce. The vodka cooks off so there is no alcohol in the sauce, and it doesn’t taste like vodka.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Ready in 30 minutes: who wants to wait around for hours to let a pasta sauce cook? This quicky vodka sauce will be ready in just 30 minutes!
- Vegan & dairy-free: whether or not you’re vegan or dairy-free, I garuntee you’ll love this sauce and won’t miss the heavy cream.
- Can be made gluten-free: want to make this entire dish gluten-free? Just use you’re favourite gluten-free pasta!
- High in protein: the cashew cream adds protein to the sauce. Each bowl of vodka sauce pasta pasta packs 14 grams of protein!
- Freezer-friendly: Vodka sauce can be frozen so you can have it ready to go for quick and easy dinners.
What is Vodka Sauce made of? (Ingredients)
- Raw cashews– this is how to make a non-dairy vodka sauce. The raw cashews get blended and turn into a rich and creamy sauce.
- Olive oil-to sautee the shallots and garlic. A good quality olive oil will give the best flavour to the dish
- Shallots-You can also use a regular onion, but shallots give a slighty more “buttery” taste to the sauce.
- Garlic-fresh garlic cloves here! No powder.
- Vodka-A good quality vodka will give the best flavour. The alcohol in the vodka does cook off, so it won’t taste like you’re actually eating vodka. My favourite vodka brand to use is Tito’s.
- San Marzano canned tomatoes-These are the best type of canned tomatoes to use in this sauce. The type and brand of canned tomatoes you use will have a big impact on the overall flavour of the sauce, so use a good quality brand.
- Salt & pepper-to taste. You can also use salt to the water to cook your pastas which will infuse the pasta with flavour.
- Water-This is added to the blender with the cashews and tomato sauce to help thin it out
- Chili flakes-for a little bit of heat.
- Pasta of choice-You can go traditional here and make a classic vegan penne a la vodka, or you can mix it up and use a different shape.
How to make Vegan Vodka Sauce Pasta (step-by-step instructions)
Start by sauteing the shallots and garlic in a pan or a pot of olive oil for about 3-4 minutes until fragrant and translucent. Then add in the canned tomatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring and letting the tomatoes cook down into a sauce for 10-15 minutes.
Next, add the sauce to a high-speed blender with some raw cashews and chili flakes and blend until smooth and creamy.
Tip: make sure to blend it enough so there aren’t any little bits of cashews left and the sauce becomes nice and creamy.
Add the sauce back to your pan or pot and add the pasta, stir together for a couple of minutes fo the sauce thickens around the noodles.
Serve the pasta on its own or top it off with some fresh basil, vegan parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast or chili flakes.
Tips for making this vegan vodka pasta perfectly
- Soak the cashews in hot water. this will help soften the cashews and make them easier to blend so you don’t end up with little bits of cashews in your sauce.
- Salt the pasta water. This is what will infuse the actual pasta with flavour and give you a more flavourful pasta dish in the end.
- Make sure to let the vodka cook off. You’ll know it’s cooked off when there is no liquid left in the pan. This is important to have a pasta with great flavour.
- If you’re sauce tastes a bit acidic, add 1 tsp brown sugar or coconut sugar. Sometimes canned tomatoes or tomato pasta (depending on the type and brand) can have a bit of a strong acidic taste to them. If you find this is the case with your sauce, try adding 1-2 tsp of brown sugar to it. The sugar will help balance the acidity of the tomateoes. (This is also why I recommend San Marzano tomatoes for this sauce!)
How to store
Vodka Sauce Pasta: store leftover sauced pasta in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. If the sauce is very thick, add a small splash of water when cooking to help thin it out.
Vodka Sauce: store leftover vegan vodka sauce in the fridge in a jar for up to 7 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To freeze let the sauce cool completely then transfer to an airtight container and place in the freezer. Defrost on the counter or in the microwave.
The Vodka can simply be committed from the sauce entirely! Just skip adding it and move right to the next step.
Nope! All the alcohol in the vodka gets cooked off, so the pasta sauce will not get you drunk.
The vodka adds a touch of sharpness to the sauce that helps balance out the flavour in the tomatoes. The Vodka also helps elevate and bring out the tomato flavour. (Don’t worry, the sauce definitely doesn’t taste like you’re drinking a glass of vodka)
Traditional vodka sauce can sometimes be seen as being unhealthy since it’s generally made with a lot of heavy cream. This Vegan Vodka Sauce is a healthy alternative made with cashews that are high in protein and fibre.
Yes! If you want to make this recipe nut-free, you can use 1/2 cup coconut cream to replace the cashews and water.
Yes! This is like a veganized version of Gigi Hadid’s vodka sauce.
More pasta recipes to try
- One Pot Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff
- Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- Vegan Lemon Asparagus Pasta
- Vegan Taco Pasta
- Vegan One Pot Pasta
If you tried this Creamy Vegan Vodka Sauce Pasta or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!Print
Creamy Vegan Vodka Sauce Pasta
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Cook
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegan
This Vegan Vodka Sauce Pasta is ready in 30 minutes and is made healthier than a traditional vodka sauce with a cashew cream sauce!
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped shallots
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 cup vodka (optional)
- 1 1/4 cups canned tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 8–10 oz pasta of choice (approx 250 grams)
- Soak the cashews in a bowl of hot water for 1 hour, then drain and set aside.
- Add the olive oil to a pot or skillet on medium-high heat, then add the shallots and garlic and sautee on medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the vodka let the alcohol evaporate, then add canned tomatoes, tomato, salt and pepper and mix everything together for 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover and let the tomateos simmer for 10-15 minutes. (This will help them build flavour)
- Transfer the tomato sauce to a blender with cashews, chili flakes and water. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions (don’t forget to salt the pasta water!), then add the pasta and sauce back to the pan and let cook together on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta.
- Serve with additional chili flakes and fresh basil you like!
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 480
- Sugar: 5.7g
- Sodium: 100mg
- Fat: 16.4g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 64.7g
- Fiber: 4.5g
- Protein: 14g
Keywords: Vegan vodka sauce, vegan penne a la vodka, vegan vodka pasta sauce, non dairy vodka sauce
We really enjoyed this – so easy!! Didn’t use oil and it was delicious! Thank you!
Happy you enjoyed it Alice 🙂