Creamy, spicy, and flavorful, this Vegan Cajun Pasta may just be your new favorite dinner. Enjoy on its own or top it with your favorite plant based protein.
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Hey Internet, you know me, I LOVE pasta. To me, it’s the ultimate comfort food. ESPECIALLY creamy pasta.
And lately, it’s been freaking freezing here in the Chicago suburbs. One cannot subsist on soup alone, so here we are, back with another pasta dish. This creamy vegan cajun pasta is ridiculously delicious.
AND it’s another vegan one pot pasta, so there’s no straining and no draining.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like a little spiciness adds to the warming effect of a hot bowl of creamy vegan Cajun pasta.
I actually used to hate spicy food, but I’m trying to train myself to like it. And as far as spicy goes, my friends who like spicy food would try this and laugh at me, telling me it’s mild.
The great thing about this dish is that you can add extra heat if you like, or go heavier on the tomatoes and less on the cajun seasoning if you’re not a spice fan. I’ll even throw in a cajun seasoning recipe so you could make your own not-spicy version if you like (see the ingredients section below).
This pasta is also loaded with veggies.
Now, for protein. If you want to add protein, you can but it’s not necessary. You could use high protein pasta, as well.
But, let’s talk more about that pasta, because yum.
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Why This Recipe Works
I used to think vegan one pot pasta recipes were magic and there was no way I could invent my own. But I started playing with them and found a good rule of thumb is to use as much liquid as you do pasta.
That’s right, there’s no draining this pot of vegan Cajun pasta, and the liquid we cook it in is more flavorful than just water!
I used vegan chicken broth for this recipe--and when I say that, I mean I used Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base, which is a stock concentrate that tastes like vegan chicken broth but it’s totally vegan.
Vegetable broth would work just fine in its place.
I also only used 3 cups of broth (for 4 cups of pasta), and added in a can of fire roasted tomatoes instead. The liquid from the tomatoes + the broth was enough to cook the pasta through.
But before I put any pasta in, I sauteed some vegetables in the pot.
Now, if you like your vegetables super soft, you can just leave them in and put the pasta on top.
However, if you’re like me and still like your veggies to have a bit of texture to them, take them out of the pot and put them in a bowl, then continue on with the recipe (notes on how to do this are written into the recipe).
Anyway, after the pasta is in, you want to stir it often and each time, press it down lightly so that it’s in the liquid. And keep it covered as much as possible.
It might sound a little intimidating at first, but I promise this creamy vegan Cajun pasta is SO easy to make, and it’s like any of my other 20-30 minute pasta dinners in that it’s simple and tasty.
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- 1 small yellow onion, quartered and sliced
- 2-3 bell peppers (any color you like): You could substitute any quick cooking veggies you like, such as mushrooms, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, etc. But bell peppers and onions seemed to fit with the Cajun theme.
- 1-3 teaspoons (or more) Cajun seasoning: Use as much or as little as you like. I personally used about 3 teaspoons which was enough considering I also crusted my vegan chicken in it. Try making your own Cajun seasoning, if you’d like. I always do so I can customize the spice level.
- 14.5 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes: Regular canned diced tomatoes (or fresh) will also work here, but I love the smoky quality this gives the vegan Cajun pasta.
- 3 cups vegan chicken broth: I used vegan chicken broth as opposed to veggie broth here for the flavor. I personally love Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base (and mix it with hot water) as it keeps better and is more economical than carton vegan chicken broth. You can absolutely use prepared vegan chicken broth or even just vegetable broth though! Keep in mind you’ll need to season this to taste.
- 4-6 Green onions
- 4 cups (about 1 pound) pasta: Since this is a vegan one pot pasta, and we’re not going to drain it, I recommend using a short pasta like penne or rotini as opposed to spaghetti. You could use a whole wheat pasta if you prefer, or regular pasta will be fine. If you’re gluten-free, use a good gluten-free pasta you’ve cooked with before.
- ½ to ¾ cup canned coconut milk: To make things creamy at the end, I added a little coconut milk. You could also use cashew cream (soaked raw cashews blended with water), sunflower seed cream (soaked raw sunflower seeds blended with water), or just leave it out.
How to Make Vegan Cajun Pasta
- In a large nonstick pot over medium high heat, start sauteing your onion. You can use oil for this or just water or broth if you are oil-free. Saute the onions until they become translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Throw in the peppers and half of the cajun seasoning and saute for 2 minutes.
- Next add the fire roasted tomatoes. Stir well, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Now add the pasta and broth.
- Give it a thorough stir, turn the heat down to medium, and cover. Cook for 6 - 10 minutes, stirring frequently and ensuring there is enough liquid. Add a little only if all the liquid gets soaked up. Every pasta is different, so it’s good to have a little on reserve. Note if you run out liquid again you can just add a little water until there’s just enough to keep the dish moist.
- Once the pasta is fully cooked, add the white parts of the green onion and remaining Cajun seasoning. Give it a really good stir, taste it, and adjust any seasonings if needed. If you removed the peppers and onions earlier, add them back now. Let everything come to heat, about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the coconut milk / cashew cream / sunflower seed cream, stir well, and add the green parts of the green onion.
- Serve vegan Cajun pasta with a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan (try my vegan Parmesan topping) or more green onions, and if you’d like, serve it with a plant based protein.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container 3-5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
It can be spicy, yes. Not like SUPER spicy, but spicy is a subjective term. It all depends on your tastes and tolerance.
To make your vegan Cajun pasta MORE spicy, you can simply add a bit more cayenne pepper to your Cajun seasoning or directly to the pasta and give it a really good stir. If you’d like it to be LESS spicy, make your own Cajun seasoning and use less cayenne pepper (or none).
I highly recommend serving this along with some sort of plant based protein, either mixed in or not. I often make this with Cajun seasoning crusted soy curls or seitan chicken. It would also be great with my homemade vegan sausage or some store bought vegan sausages. Other proteins include: crispy tofu, panko tofu, baked tofu, air fried tofu, tempeh, chickpeas or white beans, or store bought vegan chicken alternatives. You can also serve it with some crusty bread and more veggies if you want, like a side of steamed or roasted broccoli (my favorite).
Pro Tips for Success
- I HIGHLY recommend making your own Cajun seasoning (plenty of recipes out there) as you can customize it for your flavor palate. You can not only customize the spice level, but you can leave out or add in other spices and dried herbs according to your tastes. Watching your salt? Leave it out. Love nutritional yeast? Add a little in (I do). You can even double it and leave yourself a shortcut for the next time you want to make vegan Cajun pasta.
- Definitely stir your pasta often (I do it every 3-4 minutes), but leave it covered so the steam helps to cook any pasta not submerged in the liquid.
- Don’t be too quick to add extra liquid--that can make the end result soupy.
- If using a gluten-free or whole wheat pasta, however, your cook time and liquid needs may be different. Monitor your pasta. If it has soaked up ALL the liquid and is not cooked yet, add in a bit more broth or water.
- Want to add vegan sausage (either homemade or store bought)? I recommend cooking it separately in a skillet so you can get a good sear on it, then add it to the pasta at the end (if sliced).
- Want to make your dish a little lighter? Try using blended silken tofu instead of the coconut to make it lighter, or you can omit that altogether. I also recommend trying a smaller portion and serving with a side salad as well.
More Quick Vegan Pasta Dinners
I probably love pasta more than anything--sorry Mr. Zardyplants, aka Paul (just kidding, I love you most).
Here’s some of my fave pasta dishes right now--if you loved this vegan Cajun pasta I bet you’ll like these:
- Vegan Garlic Noodles
- Vegan Baked Feta Pasta
- Chickpea Florentine (one pot)
- Vegan Ricotta Pasta with Tomatoes
- Savory Coconut Pasta
- Tahini Pasta with Broccolini
- Vegan Vodka Sauce (with pasta)
- Vegan Goulash (American/Chili Mac Style)
- Vegan Manicotti
- Pasta Puttanesca (one pot)
- Vegan Hamburger Helper