Vegan or not, this one pot pasta is absolutely delicious! And I can almost guarantee that if you serve this to someone who didn't know there wasn't any dairy, they wouldn't be able to tell. Beyond being incredible delicious, this vegan vodka sauce is also easy to throw together AND made in one pot!
I like to keep ingredients purposeful, which is why I try and keep them short too. With the right ingredients, spices, herbs and such, you can create delicious meals. For this vegan one pot pasta, here are the ingredients you'll need. Notice that there are only 9 listed! The other two are salt (and pepper) and water, I gotchu ;)
Use any type of pasta you want for this recipe. I went with a big rigatoni shape, because I love it. However, I think a smaller shape would actually work better, penne is also a good idea to keep this as a classic vegan penne alla vodka.
Gluten-free pasta will work as well, however you may need to adjust the timing.
You're using a whole yellow onion here. It provides lots of flavour. Just be sure to chop it fairly fine and uniform.
Smashed garlic cloves add more flavour as well, and you'll need four to five cloves. I use four, some people really love garlic, so go ahead and add more if you want.
The trick to making this vegan vodka sauce is cashews. Personally, I love how it adds so much creaminess to dishes and doesn't have a strong flavour.
If you need a nut-free option, try using another heavy cream replacement (such as soy). Coconut cream will work, but it will leave a coconut flavour so I'm not sure how well it would do here.
And if you're fine with dairy, use heavy cream. You'll need about 3/4 to 1 cup for this recipe.
We're only using tomato paste here. It's more concentrated, so it adds even more flavour. You'll use one whole 4.5 oz can (or tube). Trust me, this is SO much better than using canned tomatoes.
A pinch of chili flakes is essential in my opinion because it adds some subtle heat. Add as much or as little as you want.
The fresh basil for garnish is optional, but strongly recommended. It adds more than colour, it helps to freshen up this pasta and add just a bit of green to it.
For cooking and to finish off this creamy vegan pasta, some good quality extra virgin olive oil is also needed.
What's a vodka sauce without vodka. The alcohol is cooked off, but is necessary to deglaze the pot and for adding sharpness and balancing the sweetness of the tomatoes and the cream. You can read more about how this works, here!
The first thing you'll want to do soak your cashews. In a pinch (often times, I do this) is soak them in just boiled water for 30 minutes or so. That softens them enough to be blended in my vitamix. Ideally, soak them for longer, but you know, life happens ;)
Next, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook for about five minutes, until softened. Then add in the smashed garlic and cook for two to three minutes longer, until fragrant and just starting to brown (not burn). Note: you should use whole garlic that has been smashed, not minced because that will burn too quickly.
Now, add in the tomato paste, red pepper flakes and salt. Mix well to combine and cook for about five to seven minutes over medium-low heat. You want to brown the tomato paste a little, so cook it until it changes to an even deeper red colour.
Time for vodka! Add in your vodka and deglaze the pan. Take a shot for yourself, if you want, it makes cooking a little more interesting.
Now, go ahead and add in your pasta and water. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes (the large tubes take a while). It's best to follow the directions on your pasta container.
Keep stirring! One pot pastas need lots of stirring, otherwise they will stick to the bottom of the pan. Think of this like a risotto, and keep stirring. Add more water if it needs it a little at a time.
While the pasta is cooking, drain your cashews and add them to the blender with water. Blend on high until very smooth and creamy.
When your pasta is just about finished cooking, add in the cashew cream and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and top with some basil. Enjoy!
I do love one pot pastas because it means less clean up and also I really enjoy how the pasta soaks up the water it's being cooked in, which tastes great! But, there are some tips to making one pot pastas work, so here they are:
Are you ready to make some vegan vodka sauce? Let's get to it!
As always, if you make this vegan vodka 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!
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This one pot penne alla vodka is packed with flavor and is ready in no time. And it just so happens to be vegan!
Stir continuously for best results and to avoid any sticking.
Start with 3 cups of water, and add more as you are cooking.
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