Creamy Pasta Pomodoro

This healthy & hearty pasta pomodoro will become your go-to weeknight dinner! The creamy sauce is bursting with tangy tomato flavor.

Creamy Pasta Pomodoro

Is there anything better than creamy pasta? How about creamy tomato pasta! I’m so excited about this pasta pomodoro recipe because it is basically everything I want to eat for dinner any night of the week. Big, hearty rigatoni noodles are coated in a tangy, luscious creamy tomato sauce. Plus, it’s a healthy bowl of pasta because there are quite a few yummy sautéed vegetables mixed in here as well.

This post is in partnership with Mutti Tomatoes, Italy’s #1 tomato brand, which is perfect timing because we are really craving summer food over here… even though it’s only April and summer is still a while away. Thanks to Mutti, we can dream of Italian summer nights with their fresh-tasting 100% Italian tomatoes, which are picked at their peak ripeness and packed with only a pinch of sea salt.

This recipe starts with my go-to Marinara sauce. Aside from using it to make the creamy pasta sauce in this final recipe, it’s a simple, quick pantry-based recipe that you should keep in your back pocket. It’s delicious on pasta, pizza, or even spaghetti squash. Everyone needs a basic marinara recipe and this one is mine.

Creamy Pasta Pomodoro

Creamy Pasta Pomodoro

Now to make marinara just a little bit more exciting… we’re blending it into a creamy pasta sauce! Oh, and I forgot to mention, we’re not using cream or cheese… but no one has to know that. To make the creamy pomodoro sauce, simply blend the marinara with cashews and tomato paste.

For this recipe I use Mutti Double Concentrated Tomato Paste. This is not any ordinary tomato paste – this tomato paste is so wonderful because it comes in a tube instead of a tiny can! I often like to use just a little bit of tomato paste to dramatically punch up flavors in sauces and soups. It’s SO convenient to be able to use a tablespoon and store the rest (it lasts a really long time) without having to make use of an entire can.

How to make Pasta Pomodoro

Because this is a vegetable blog, I like to serve my pasta with equal parts vegetable. Zucchini, spinach, arugula, fresh thyme, and Mutti Cherry Tomatoes make this creamy pasta pomodoro light and fresh.

Creamy Pasta Pomodoro ingredients

Take a look at that creamy sauce!

Creamy Pasta Pomodoro

If you love this pasta pomodoro recipe…

Check out this post for more vegan recipes, then try one of these favorite pasta recipes:

For more easy dinner ideas, check out this post!

Creamy Pasta Pomodoro

rate this recipe:
4.83 from 39 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves 4
Creamy pasta pomodoro is a quick and easy weeknight meal. Hearty rigatoni pasta noodles are coated in a tangy, luscious tomato sauce.


Basic marinara

Creamy Tomato Sauce

  • Marinara recipe, from above
  • ¼ cup raw cashews* (see note)
  • ½ tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt

For the pasta

  • 10 ounces rigatoni
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin half moons
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 14-ounce cans Mutti Cherry Tomatoes, drained
  • 6 cups spinach or mix of spinach & arugula
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley or sliced basil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Make the marinara sauce: Heat the olive oil in a small pot over low heat. Add the shallot, garlic, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomatoes and their juices, balsamic vinegar, cane sugar, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Make the creamy sauce: Add the marinara to a blender with the cashews, tomato paste, salt, and ¼ cup of water. Blend until smooth. Set aside until ready to use. Before serving, stir in ¼ cup hot pasta cooking water to loosen it up so that it’ll nicely coat the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions or until al dente.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat generous drizzles of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, thyme, and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Sautee, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes or until heated through. Add the spinach and gently toss until wilted. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.
  • Scoop the pasta into individual bowls, add scoops of the creamy sauce, and toss to coat. Distribute the vegetables among the bowls and top with parsley and or basil. Season to taste and serve.


*If you're not using a high powered blender, such as a Vitamix, soak the cashews for 2+ hours to make a creamier sauce. Drain before adding to the recipe. 

This post is in partnership with Mutti. 



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Erika

    Hi! If I wanted to use a jar of marinara sauce to save time, how much would I use for the creamy tomato sauce part of the recipe? Thanks:)

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Erika – about 14 ounces.

  2. Lauren Etienne

    This was amazing!! I couldn’t find canned cherry tomatoes so I used fresh and I served it over homemade fettuccini pasta! So delicious!

  3. Sharon Lane

    This was so good! My husband, who is not vegan or even vegetarian loved it, and he knew it was vegan. I loved it too. So did our dogs, lol. I did adjust the recipe a little. I did an 8th cup of red wine instead of the vinegar, and did fresh basil instead of spinach. Great recipe. Thank you for sharing!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Sharon, I’m so glad you all loved it!

  4. Cristina

    5 stars
    This was easy to make and a hit with the family! Always appreciate vegan recipes that my entire family will enjoy including the non-vegans.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Cristina, I’m so glad everyone loved it!

  5. Kylie

    5 stars
    I made this without any planning so I subbed pine nuts for the cashews. It was so frickin good I had to remind myself not to stick my tongue in the blender. I will definitely make this again with cashews

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      haha so glad you loved it!

  6. JD

    2 stars
    Can’t say I liked the cashew tomato sauce… it tastes too much of nut.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi, did you use unroasted, unsalted cashews? They have a fairly neutral flavor, whereas roasted cashews will give this sauce a strong cashew-y taste.

  7. Natalie

    This looks absolutely delicious! On my list to make this week for sure 🙂

  8. Shaynie

    2 stars
    I was hoping this dish would be a lot better than it was. I come from a place where I never buy pasta sauce and instead I always make my own so when it come to making this I was expecting it would taste very different since it does methods I don’t do and adds additional ingredients (like pre cooking then blending and also the addition of cashews). I didn’t feel like it had enough flavour or depth. And the amounts this recipe called for was tiny and pointless.. I added a lot more than required of everything except salt (since I didn’t think all needed lots of salt) it would also be great to know the calories one serving of this contains to ensure your meeting your calorie intake.

    I had olives on the side but would have put them inside if I had remembered and used broccoli instead of spinach just for more bulk

  9. Emily

    I would love to make this, but my fiance has a nut allergy. Are there any substitutes you could recommend for the cashews??

  10. Michelle Crowe

    I love this dish! It’s so easy to make and so good. I love that my kids request it. I use regular cherry tomatoes and crushed tomatoes as it is usually what I have in stock and works. I could easily see switching out to different vegetables as needed, like butternut squash.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Michelle, I’m so glad it’s been a hit with everyone!

  11. Madoka

    5 stars
    Ever since I found this recipe, my boyfriend and I have been OBSESSED. This sauce is awesome, I make giant batches and jar it so I always have some on hand.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad it’s been such a hit!

  12. Julie

    If I am using fresh cherry tomatoes instead of canned, how many should I use? 1 lb?
    How should I prep them?
    Also, I can’t find chopped tomatoes, only diced or crushed. Which should I use?
    Can’t wait to make it.
    Thank you.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Julie, you can use diced or crushed. I haven’t made this with fresh tomatoes so I’m not sure exactly the amount. I have a yummy cherry tomato pasta recipe coming up in a few weeks if you want to wait for that one.

  13. Devon

    5 stars
    Made this tonight. Completely obsessed. Wow wow wow. Thank you for this recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  14. Lindsay

    5 stars
    Simple ingredients, absolutely delicious! The sauce is so good and the veggies pair so well with it. My husband isn’t vegan so we added chicken to his. We both really loved it and will make it again Thank you for the recipe!

  15. Alexa Reynoso

    4 stars
    what could u replace the cashews with that’s not a nut overall it was good

  16. Karen

    5 stars
    I’m the 69th comment hehe

  17. Jeanine Donofrio

    Hi Jeannine – we’ll get that fixed, thanks for pointing that out!

  18. AM

    5 stars
    This came out so good! A couple small tweaks that worked for me: I let the cashews soak in the 1/4 cup of water while I made everything else, because I’ve seen that in other recipes, and I think it helped them blend into the sauce at the end.

    I also used fresh cherry tomatoes instead of canned – I tossed them with a bit of olive oil and roasted them up in the oven until they burst.

    I’ll definitely be making this one again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Amelia, I’m so glad you loved it!

  19. Yvonne

    5 stars
    I made this last night, and it was really good. My husband loved it! I couldn’t find canned cherry tomatoes, so I quickly broiled fresh cherry tomatoes to soften them up and slightly char them.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.