Pile your plate with decadence and indulge your palate with this easy creamy pink sauce pasta recipe starring healthy vegan rose pasta sauce that's ready in 30 minutes.
Flavor and texture – Pink pasta sauce is the place where red sauce meets a creamy white sauce. Think marinara sauce and alfredo get married. The result? A tasty velvety, creamy sauce that melts in your mouth and is the ultimate comfort food.
Healthy vegan – This recipe doesn’t rely on heavy cream, heavy whipping cream, or cream cheese to create a creamy tomato sauce. A combination of cashews and plant- milk does the job and beyond. Believe me, you won’t even miss olive oil or any of the less healthy ingredients you might find in a traditional tomato cream sauce.
Weeknight simplicity – A satisfying homemade dinner with simple ingredients in 30 minutes, prep-to-table. The sauce takes about 10 minutes of cooking time, leaving you extra minutes to cook the pasta and make the cashew cream. And who has enough quick dinner ideas? Not me, for sure, and definitely not a luxury pasta dish suitable for company or easy weeknight dinners.
Cashews – Raw cashews blended with milk is our simple cashew cream that rivals any whole milk product. If you don't have a high-speed blender, start the prep process by soaking the cashews in boiling water for 15 minutes. That's enough time to prep the rest of the veggies and start boiling water for the pasta.
Plant milk – A cup of milk such as oat, almond, or whatever you like works here. Milk provides a better flavor than using water which could be used in a pinch.
Onion and garlic cloves – Pink pasta sauce isn’t traditionally served with extra veggies. But we aren't traditions, so you could most certainly add red bell peppers or chopped fresh spinach or other veggies of your choice if desired.
Dried herbs – I used Italian seasoning (Italian herb mix), red pepper flakes, and black pepper. If you don't have Italian seasoning, use dried basil and add a pinch of oregano if you have it. If you like spicy pastas, add more red chili flakes or add them as a topping.
Tomato paste – Also known as tomato puree, 2 tablespoons add more intense tomato flavors.
Tomato sauce – Use tomato sauce or tomato puree that is nothing but tomatoes. Some brands include extra spices or even oil, so be sure to read the label. I've not tried this recipe with fresh tomatoes. If you do, you might consider adding more tomato paste.
Canned tomatoes, such as cherry tomatoes packed in juice, can substitute for the tomato sauce. Puree the cherry tomatoes before adding them. Just add them to the blender with the cashews.
Pasta – The type of pasta used is entirely up to you. I’ve made this recipe with everything from penne pasta to spaghetti and regular pasta to whole wheat to gluten-free pasta – anything goes! Consult the package directions if you are not familiar with the kind of pasta you choose. Remember, cooked pasta should be al dente. That means not mushy, but toothsome. You should bite it, not have it melt into nothing when you taste it.
Pasta water – This is the simple pasta secret that should be shouted from every large pot because this is what makes creamy pasta. After the pasta cooks, reserve a cup of hot pasta water. And don’t keep it to yourself – everyone should be in on this simple step of any pasta cooking process.
- Be prepared. The cooking process goes quickly. Prepare the cashew cream before you start making the sauce.
- Heat the pot. Heat the cooking pot or large skillet (whatever you're using) before adding the onions. Keep it to medium heat, but hot enough that the onions will immediately start sizzling. This helps keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. This is a critical step if you are not using added oil.
- Make ahead. You can make the cashew cream and/or the sauce a day ahead if desired. You can even make a double batch and freeze it.
Putting it Together
- Reserve the water. Don't forget to reserve a cup of pasta water before you drain the pasta.
- Mix first. Mix the pasta and sauce first. You may want to add the pasta in batches in case you cooked too much. Even with the best intentions, leave room for error.
- Add water slowly. Add the water a little at a time, stirring continuously.
- Serve immediately. The pasta and sauce will be hot as long as you serve the dish immediately. If you want to heat it up before serving, keep the reserved water. Add a bit more if the pasta starts to dry out.
Pink pasta sauce is complemented by a variety of chopped herbs such as fresh basil or parsley. Our favorite thing to add is vegan parmesan cheese. Try baked hemp seed parm or grab a healthy, ready-made.
Pink pasta sauce refers to the color of the sauce, a blend of tomato and a white sauce. Vodka sauce is more specific and is a blend of marinara and alfredo sauce.
Absolutely. If you omit the onion and garlic, you can make the sauce entirely in the blender by adding the tomato paste, tomato sauce, seasonings along with the cashew cream.
Mushrooms make a tasty addition to pink sauce pasta. The easiest way to add them is to sauté them along with the onions. Allow the moisture in the mushrooms to cook down, then add the garlic and continue with the recipe.
Reheat pink sauce pasta in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add a bit of water so that the pasta doesn't dry out and the sauce remains creamy.
More Pasta Favorites
Easy Creamy Pink Sauce Pasta
Pile your plate with decadence with this easy creamy pink sauce pasta recipe featuring a healthy vegan rose sauce ready in 30 minutes.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegan
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked
- 1 cup plant milk
- 1 medium onion diced (1 cup)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 tablespoon of mixed Italian herbs or basil
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (tomato puree)
- 2 cups tomato sauce (tomato passata)
- 10 ounces (300 grams) dried pasta
- 1 cup of reserved pasta water
- Soak the cashews. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, soak the cashews in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes.
- Start the pasta water. Fill a large pot with water and heat it to boiling. Add the pasta when it reaches boiling as you prepare the sauce. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Make the cashew cream. Drain the cashews if you have soaked them, and then add them to a blender. Add 1 cup of plant milk and blend until smooth.
- Make the sauce. Heat a medium pot and when it’s hot, add the onions. Sauté the onions for 3 minutes, stirring them consistently. Then add the garlic, mixed herbs, pepper, and chili flakes and stir for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the tomato sauce and cashew cream and mix well.
- Add the pasta. Before draining the pasta, scoop out a cup of water. Drain the pasta and mix it with the sauce. Then add pasta water, a little at a time, until you have a creamy pink pasta dinner.
- Garnish with fresh basil or parsley or vegan parmesan cheese if desired.
- You can make the cashew cream and the entire sauce up to 2 days ahead. Heat the sauce for a few minutes before adding the pasta.
- You can add a variety of veggies such as bell peppers, chopped spinach, or mushrooms to pink pasta. Sauté peppers or mushrooms with the onions and add spinach right before finishing the sauce.
Keywords: pink sauce pasta, rose pasta sauce, vegan, Italian, plant-based, without cream, easy, creamy, healthy