Ultra luscious and flavorful, this Vegan Creamy Pasta takes only 20 minutes to make with simple ingredients you’re likely to have in your kitchen. This is a super versatile dish you can customize with your favorite seasonings and add-ins, as well as adjusting the flavors to suit your tastes.
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Hey Internet, this is the creamiest, most luscious pasta I have ever made. And if you know this site, you know I make a lot of pasta. It’s my favorite comfort food!
I’m no stranger to creamy vegan pasta, like my vegan garlic noodles which has as much garlic as this recipe haha, vegan macaroni salad, vegan Brie pasta, vegan tahini pasta, vegan vodka sauce (with pasta of course!), vegan cacio e pepe, and vegan pasta primavera to name a few.
I am so excited to share this recipe with you today. Whenever I make it my husband and I just inhale it. There are rarely leftovers.
As mentioned above, this recipe is fantastically customizable. You can change the seasonings, add veggies, etc. Really make it your own--or honestly it’s really amazing as written.
Why This Recipe Works
This is a very simple recipe. The aromatics (shallots and garlic in this case) get sauteed in a pan, then you add non-dairy milk, let it simmer, then a little of the pasta cooking water, some flavorings, and finally some vegan cheese (optional) and toss it with the cooked pasta. Super easy!
There’s a few things that really help this recipe work well: using a thick non-dairy milk for one. If we use a non-dairy milk that’s super thin (like carton almond milk, for instance), the sauce won’t come together as smoothly and quickly.
But don’t despair, if you can’t find a thicker non-dairy milk (like a full fat carton milk such as oat milk or an unflavored unsweetened creamer or even canned full fat coconut milk) or if you can’t make your own thicker non-dairy milk like I did, there are alternatives. You can always make a quick cornstarch or arrowroot slurry by whisking 1 tablespoon of the thickener with 2 tablespoons of water and pouring it into your simmering sauce. As you stir, it will thicken.
The other thing is that this recipe is super customizable. So if you don’t love garlic as much as we do, you can use way less and it will still be good.
And if you’d rather change up the flavors a bit you can do so.
And if you want to make it without oil, that’s easy.
Do what works for you!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta: It starts with the pasta of your choice. Start cooking that for about 10 minutes before you start the sauce (so we can save some of the pasta water and add it to our sauce). Any kind of pasta will work--even gluten-free or legume-based options. Just cook according to package directions. Size and shape don’t matter too much either. I like this vegan creamy pasta with long, thick noodles, so I used bucatini.
- Vegan butter or broth: I like to cook the shallot and garlic in vegan butter for this recipe, but you can also substitute oil or vegetable broth. If using broth, use 2-3 tablespoons, and add a little more if things start to stick.
- Shallots: I used a large shallot or this recipe as I love the flavor it gives. A sweet or yellow onion (a small one, or half of a medium) would work just as well. Or omit if you don’t want to use onion.
- Garlic: We used a lot of garlic because we absolutely love it, but feel free to adjust to your personal taste. We used a whole medium head of garlic (cloves peeled and minced).
- Thick non-dairy milk: You want a thicker, creamier non-dairy milk for this recipe (think similar to the consistency of whole milk). You can use full fat carton milks like oat milk, or an unflavored unsweetened coffee creamer or even canned coconut milk (full fat, not light). You could also use homemade nut milk like we do. In this case, we used an almond milk made from soaking 1 cup of raw pasteurized almonds for 8 hours, drained and blended with 4 cups of filtered water. We strain our on-dairy milk through a nut milk bag (or cheesecloth but the bag is more sustainable and filters out more of the pulp (which we save to put in other dishes) after this process. This ratio makes a nice thick, creamy nut milk. If you cannot find or make a thicker non-dairy milk, see the notes section of the recipe card below or the “Why This Recipe Works” section above.
- Pasta water: Saving a bit of the pasta water is a great trick used by chefs and other trained and/or experienced cooks. The starch released into the water helps bind a sauce together and make it more cohesive and more likely to stick to the pasta. I like to put a glass measuring cup below my strainer. When I drain the cooked pasta over the sink, the measuring cup catches the water and I can add it to my sauce.
- Agave or organic sugar: A tiny pinch of sweetness nicely balances this recipe--I’m talking only 1 teaspoon… but it’s optional.
- Reduced sodium soy sauce: This might seem like a strange addition in this Italian-inspired recipe but I love the saltiness and depth of flavor it gives the sauce. You can certainly skip it and just salt the sauce to your individual taste.
- Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper: You should season according to taste. Many things will have an impact on how salty your sauce is, so tread lightly with that salt! If you salt your pasta water, you may want to use a little less in the sauce so keep that in mind. I love adding fresh cracked black pepper to this too. Once you try fresh cracked, it’s hard to go back to store-bought ground pepper.
- Dried oregano flakes and red pepper flakes (optional): You can use any herb you like--basil or thyme would also be good here. I love the extra flavor these give the sauce. And if you don’t like heat, leave out the red pepper flakes. I like it so I added it to mine.
- Finely grated vegan parmesan (optional): This is a great addition to thicken the sauce and make it ultra flavorful. We love Violife vegan parmesan block, which I grate with a microplane or zester to achieve finely grated vegan cheese that melts quickly into the sauce. You could also buy one of the shakers of vegan parmesan cheese that’s more of a “powdered” style. Or use nutritional yeast. My one minute vegan parmesan topping would also be delicious here! Or leave out if you prefer, just keep in mind the sauce will be a little thinner. Simply simmer it for a few more minutes to let it thicken a little more.
- Fresh parsley: I love a little fresh chopped parsley in this, but it’s optional.
- Other add-ins: If you’d like to add cooked veggies like asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. feel free! They’d be delicious in this dish.
How to Make Vegan Creamy Pasta Step By Step
- Start by making your pasta according to package directions.
- Before you drain the cooked pasta, place a glass measuring cup or a ceramic bowl in the sink underneath your pasta strainer or colander. Save about a cup of the water--I only used ¾ cup but it never hurts to have extra. Alternatively, carefully, scoop out enough pasta water with a measuring cup right before you strain the pasta. This is a little tricky to do without touching the water, so I usually use the aforementioned method.
- When the pasta is about halfway cooked (or you’re welcome to wait till the pasta is done so you don’t have to balance two tasks at once), start your sauce.
- Melt the vegan butter in a large nonstick skillet or pot over medium high heat. Once melted, add the shallots and saute for 1-2 minutes. Next, add the garlic and saute for another minute until fragrant.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add in the thick non-dairy milk, stir, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down slightly to keep it from boiling--it should just be a strong simmer with small bubbles. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until the sauce has thickened a bit.
- Now add ¾ cup of reserved pasta water, salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, and reduced sodium soy sauce (if using). Stir and let simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two. Then stir in the vegan parmesan till it melts and finally toss with your pasta. Garnish with the finely chopped parsley and enjoy!
- Refrigerate leftovers for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Keep in mind that gluten-free pastas might not have the best texture after the first day or two--I’ve had the best luck with brown rice & quinoa blend pasta when I’ve worked with gluten-free stuff.
Frequently Asked Questions
I recommend serving this vegan creamy pasta with finely chopped fresh parsley, a little extra vegan parmesan, and red pepper flakes. It goes great alongside a steamed or roasted vegetable. I highly recommend air fryer frozen brussels sprouts (or fresh works too), asparagus, broccolini or broccoli, etc. Or a side salad is good too! You could also try adding a protein to this, like my crispy tofu, vegan steak, or seitan chicken.
This pasta keeps for about 3-4 days in the fridge. A lot of the sauce will be absorbed, so technically it’s best on the first night, but it still tastes good a few days after. Just less creamy. You could always make a little more sauce to reheat it with.
Just store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I like to use glass food storage containers because they don’t stain or harbor smells.
- If gluten-free, simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta. It may absorb a little differently than regular gluten pasta but it will still taste delicious.
- If oil-free, saute your shallot and garlic in 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable broth. Just add a splash extra if things start to stick. I highly recommend a good quality non-stick skillet.
- If you’re insistent on using jarred minced garlic, that’s fine. But fresh minced garlic tastes a lot different, and in my opinion a lot better. But, I’m a bit of a food snob and I admit that.
- You definitely need a thicker unsweetened non-dairy milk like a full fat oat milk, canned coconut milk, a creamy thick cashew milk, an unsweetened and unflavored non-dairy creamer, or Silk’s Wonder Milk or Not Milk are good too. If you can’t find one of these, you can whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder with 2 tablespoons of water. Pour that into the simmering sauce (a few minutes after you add your thinner non-dairy milk) and whisk until it thickens slightly. Continue with the recipe after that.
- Fresh cracked black pepper tastes infinitely better than store-bought ground pepper. Try it!
- Saute, steam, roast, or air fry some veggies to serve in or alongside this dish, such as green beans, broccolini or broccoli, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, etc.
More Recipes Like This
Love pasta dishes? I’ve got tons.
- Vegan Ranch Pasta Salad
- Vegan Baked Feta Pasta
- Pasta with Vegan Meat Sauce
- Vegan Carbonara
- Vegan Drunken Noodles
- Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Cashew Pesto with pasta
- Vegan Goulash
- Vegan Ragu
The list goes on.
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