As much as I love a creamy dairy filled sauce, sometimes, I also want a lighter version. And this creamy, dairy-free carrot pasta sauce is SO good, you won't miss the cream or cheese at all. Made with roasted carrots, cashews and spices it's extra creamy and also super bright and vibrant too. I love meal prepping a big batch of this and freezing leftovers for a quick weeknight dinner.
As much as I love my smoky roasted butternut squash pasta sauce, this new carrot pasta sauce comes very close. It's more spring friendly, making it perfect for this time of year when you still want something hearty, but also a little lighter. The carrot top and parsley pine nut gremolata is absolute perfection and I don't suggest skipping it. If you don't have carrots with the tops on, just use more parsley. And also, don't forget the Aleppo pepper in there, it brings some heat. But if you don't have it, feel free to use red pepper or chili flakes instead.
Basic pantry ingredients are all you'll need to whip up this delicious and creamy carrot pasta sauce (plus miso - which stays stored in the fridge). Here's everything you'll need!
Carrots (with tops on preferably): you'll need a small bunch of carrots for this recipe. I prefer to buy ones that have the tops on as this indicates they're fresher, plus the greens are going to be used for the gremolata as well. No need to peel them either, a lot of nutritional benefits lies in the skin, so just give it a good scrub before chopping and roasting.
Miso paste: yellow miso paste provides plenty of umami flavour and saltiness to the pasta sauce. Also, I just love how carrots and miso pair together, see this recipe for maple and miso roasted carrots.
Cashews: a small amount of raw cashews (soaked) adds richness and creaminess.
Nutritional Yeast: a sprinkle of one of my favourite ingredients adds more flavour and adds to the cheesy element.
Garlic: roasted garlic cloves are tossed in with the carrots and add tons of flavour.
Lemon: some acidity to balance everything out.
EVOO: extra virgin olive oil adds to the richness.
Spices: smoked paprika provides a smoky and savoury element, however, if you don't have, you can omit it.
Carrot tops: yes indeed, those green tops are not only edible, but also delicious, especially in this gremolata! They pair very well with parsley, so I've combined the two.
Parsley: I love fresh Italian parsley in pretty much every Italian dish (especially pasta) so it's no exception that I'm using it here too.
Lemon juice & zest: to brighten up the gremolata.
Pine nuts: toasted pine nuts are seriously SO good and they taste amazing in this gremolata. You can sub this for another toasted nut and/or seed if needed.
Aleppo pepper: I love the addition of Aleppo pepper in this. Aleppo pepper has more of a bright and fruity flavour (but still has some heat) than using straight chili flakes or red pepper flakes.
EVOO: to combine everything together.
Making this creamy carrot pasta sauce is actually quite easy. You can roast the carrots as I did, or cook them on the stovetop either by steaming them or pan frying them.
If roasting them, you'll start by preheating your oven. Then add the chopped carrots onto the baking sheet and toss them in some EVOO, salt and pepper. Add the garlic cloves as well. Roast for about 40 minutes, until fork tender. The garlic will be done sooner, so take those out after about 25 minutes.
Once they're cooked through, add them to your blender along with the soaked and drained cashews, miso, water, lemon, nutritional yeast, roasted garlic, EVOO and spices.
Blend until very smooth and creamy, adding more water if necessary to get to a smooth consistency.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add your pasta and cook according to package directions, and then set aside.
While your pasta is cooking, you can whip up the gremolata, by toasting the pine nuts first.
Once toasted, set them aside. Now, chop the carrot tops and parsley and add to a small bowl. Add the toasted pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, Aleppo pepper and salt. Drizzle the EVOO into the bowl and toss.
Add the carrot pasta sauce to your pasta and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. And don't forget to top it off with that delicious gremolata.
Serve with lots of that fresh gremolata on top, a drizzle more of EVOO and some flaky salt. When I served this to Shayne, he had no idea it had carrots in it and he absolutely LOVED this pasta. You will need to amp up the savoury aspect by adding the flavour elements I'm recommending. Such as the gremolata on top that really makes this dish special and stand out, so please don't skip it!
You can keep leftover pasta stored in the fridge for a few days. Just reheat on the stove if you can (or microwave it) and add a drizzle more of the carrot pasta sauce and EVOO before serving.
Keep leftover carrot pasta sauce in a sealed glass jar in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost it before using and heat it up slowly over a low heat when you're ready to use it.
I love pasta more than anything, so you know I have lots of other recipes to try! Most of them are vegan, as I don't use heavy cream very often (hardly ever) as it does not sit well with me.
Are you ready to make some creamy carrot pasta sauce? Let's get to it!
As always, if you make this creamy carrot pasta sauce recipe please share with me, by tagging me on Instagram or leave a comment and/or review below. I truly love seeing and hearing form you!
This recipe was inspired by this orecchiette with creamy carrot miso sauce from Sylvia of Feasting at Home.
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A creamy, dairy-free carrot pasta sauce made with roasted carrots, spices and topped with a flavorful carrot top and parsley gremolata.