Are you eating dairy-free and worried that creamy pasta is off the table? Think again! This vegan pasta is made with a creamy cashew-based sauce that’s thickened until rich and velvety with a secret ingredient. It’s a quick and easy vegan pasta, perfect for weeknight dinners.
This vegan pasta is cooked in one skillet—no need to bring out an extra pot to cook the pasta separately. It's the perfect way to get dinner on the table with minimal mess. It uses just one skillet to cook the pasta and the sauce, and your blender (or immersion blender) to create an irresistibly creamy sauce that the whole family will love. In fact, I suspect no one will guess it's vegan.
The Milk Matters
Choose an unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk for this recipe. If you use anything sweetened, like a milk alternative labeled as “original,” the sauce will taste slightly sweet—you wouldn’t want that. I prefer plain unsweetened almond milk, but if you want an extra creamy sauce, use coconut milk or vegan half and half.
You Say Potato, I Say Thickener!
Potatoes are the secret ingredient to create a thick and creamy sauce. The starch in the potato acts as a thickener, absorbing excess liquid in the sauce. Yukon potatoes have a thin skin, meaning you can even keep the skin on.
Cashews Are a Vegan’s Best Friend
Cashews are a common ingredient in creamy vegan dishes like ice cream, cheesecake, and pasta sauces. Unlike roasted cashews, raw cashews are like milk in flavor and color, making them perfect for mimicking the creaminess of milk. Be sure to purchase cashews that are unsalted. Oftentimes, recipes require soaking cashews overnight to soften, but I prefer to boil them in a plant-based milk to soften them in just 10 minutes!
The Secret Sauce for Cheesy Flavor
This vegan dish uses two special ingredients—nutritional yeast and miso—for a punch of cheesy umami flavor without dairy cheese. Nutritional yeast can be found in the health food aisle of most grocery stores, and is great sprinkled on popcorn, eggs, or even broccoli! Miso paste can be found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. I like using white miso for its sweet, milky flavor.
Two Fun Twists
- Love mac and cheese? Add a chopped carrot when boiling the cashews for an orange “cheese” sauce that looks like cheddar!
- Add some veggies, like frozen peas, steamed broccoli, or cauliflower to the pasta.
More Vegan Dinners
The Creamiest Vegan Pasta
I love using fettuccine pasta, but the sauce is great with any shape your family loves, like elbow, farfalle, fusilli, or rigatoni.
3/4 cup unsalted raw cashews
1 small or 1/2 medium Yukon gold potato, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup plain almond milk, unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons white miso
4 1/2 cups water, divided
1 pound dry fettuccine pasta (see Recipe Note)
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
Make the sauce:
In a medium pot, combine the cashews, potatoes, nutritional yeast, garlic, almond milk, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until you can pierce a fork through the potatoes.
Blend the sauce:
Transfer the cashew mixture into a blender, add the miso and 1 cup water, and blend until smooth. Set it aside.
You can use an immersion blender to blend the cashew mixture, miso, and water directly in the pot. Be careful! Keep the blade submerged the whole time so that it doesn't splatter hot liquid on you.
Cook the pasta:
In a large, deep skillet, bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil over high heat. As soon as it comes up to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the noodles don't stick to each other.
Then, pour in the cashew mixture, gently pushing the pasta down to fully submerge it in the creamy liquid.
Reduce the heat to medium heat and gently cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is cooked through, about 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken—add more water 1/4 cup at a time if it thickens too quickly and it looks dry.
If the sauce starts sticking to the bottom of the skillet, reduce the heat to low and add a couple tablespoons of water as you stir the pasta.
Taste and season with more salt and black pepper.
Top with parsley and serve.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 9g||12%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||8%|
|Total Carbohydrate 69g||25%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||19%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 5mg||26%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|