Creamy Vegan Pasta

This creamy vegan pasta is coated in a luscious sauce that's entirely dairy-free! It's a tangy blend of white beans, lemon juice & nutritional yeast.

Vegan Pasta

This creamy vegan pasta is my favorite recipe to make when I’m craving comfort food but don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen. From start to finish, it takes just over 20 minutes to make, so it’s the perfect weeknight meal. All you need to do is boil the pasta, blend up the sauce, sauté onion and broccoli, and toss it all together. Then, you can sit down to devour warm bowls of noodles and veggies coated with this super creamy vegan pasta sauce. While this sauce looks like a rich cream or cheese sauce, it’s actually a tangy, luscious blend of white beans, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. So this recipe is not only quick & comforting, but it’s also healthy!

Vegan Pasta Recipe Ingredients

Vegan Pasta Recipe Ingredients

Of course, this creamy vegan pasta sauce is totally dairy-free, but it’s also different than many vegan pasta sauces I make. Often, I turn to raw cashews or coconut milk in these recipes, but this time, I went in a different direction. Here’s what I used:

  • White beans are the secret ingredient that make this sauce thick, smooth, and creamy! They also add a good amount of plant-based protein. Use canned beans, or cook your own.
  • Lemon juice brightens it up.
  • Olive oil adds richness.
  • Nutritional yeast fills this vegan pasta with yummy cheese-like flavor.
  • Onion powder & garlic amp up the savory, umami flavors in this recipe.
  • Vegetable broth (and pasta cooking water, if you like) loosens the sauce as needed.
  • Pasta. I used small shell pasta, but use what you have on hand. Orecchiette, bow ties, or rigatoni would all be great. Read the label on your pasta to make sure it’s vegan – most dried pastas are.
  • Broccoli and chopped up broccoli stems. This recipe is a great way to use up the whole vegetable. If your broccoli still has leaves attached, toss those in too!
  • And pine nuts add a delicious crunch!

One note about this recipe – it’s not mac and cheese. I know it looks cheesy, but this sauce isn’t meant to recreate cheese (head over here if that’s what you’re looking for). Instead, it’s a tangy, comforting garlic pasta that’s delicious in its own way.

Creamy Vegan Pasta Recipe

Easy Vegan Pasta Recipe Variations

This vegan pasta is a great recipe to play with! The creamy, luscious vegan pasta sauce is a fantastic starting point for different combinations of vegetables, noodles, seasonings, and more. Here are a few ideas for changing it up:

  1. Switch the vegetables. Sautéed broccoli and onion are my go-to veggies here, but roasted broccoli, roasted cauliflower or Brussels sprouts would also be delicious. In the summer, stir in roasted tomatoes. In the spring, add market-fresh asparagus.
  2. Skip the actual pasta. Instead of regular pasta, serve this sauce over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
  3. Spice it up. I love adding a few pinches of red pepper flakes to my bowl. Pickled jalapeños would be another fun, punchy addition.
  4. Get creative with flavor add-ins. Amp up this creamy vegan pasta with chopped sun-dried tomatoes, dollops of vegan pesto, or fresh basil leaves.

Vegan Pasta

If you love this vegan pasta recipe…

Head over here to find more of my favorite plant-based recipes, or try one of these delicious pasta dishes next!


4.9 from 76 reviews

Creamy Vegan Pasta

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This creamy vegan pasta is the perfect weeknight meal! Coated in a tangy, luscious white bean sauce, it's comforting, healthy, and easy to make.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups small shell pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cups broccoli florets, chopped stems, and leaves (keep stems separate)
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • lemon wedges, for serving
For the creamy vegan pasta sauce:
  • 1½ cups cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth, more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast*
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Make the sauce: In a blender, combine the white beans, broth, lemon juice, olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chopped broccoli stems and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add the broccoli florets and leaves and a splash of water or vegetable broth. Cover and turn off the heat.
  5. Allow the broccoli to steam for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender but still bright green. Add the pasta, then stir in ¾ of the sauce, adding more broth if the sauce is too dry.
  6. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and lemon juice, as desired, and portion into bowls. Divide the remaining sauce onto each bowl. Top with the pine nuts and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

 

114 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Doug
    07.20.2021

    Well I royally messed this one up. I was not aware of the difference between. Nutritional yeast and regular yeast. Ruined the entire pasta. Just a warning for the rookie cooks such as myself.

  2. Jennifer cortes
    07.20.2021

    Hi I am making this now and would like to know if I need to drain the can of beans before I purée them. Thanks!

    • Jennifer cortes
      07.20.2021

      Oops actually I see it now. The answer is yes lol. Can’t wait to try it 🙂

  3. Wendy Taylor
    07.09.2021

    Should the sauce be heated before serving? Trying this tonite! Just seemed odd serving room temp
    Sauce from the blender over hot pasta and veggies.
    Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.09.2021

      Hi Wendy, I’ve found it to be hot enough once it’s over the hot pasta in the hot pan, but you could turn on the heat and heat it just until it’s warmed through if that wasn’t hot enough.

  4. Amanda
    06.17.2021

    Day One is a success thanks to this recipe! My daughter convinced me to go vegan with her. This was delicious, and we both loved it.

  5. V Aragon
    06.05.2021

    My Fiance has wanted to go completely vegan but it’s been hard since me and our boys are devoted meat eaters. I started meal preping for the work week and decided to find some easy recipes for her. I made this recipe and few others for her meals for the week. They turned out great and she loves them. Im still not convinced to go completely vegan but the butternut squash soup I made was amazing. She is happy with her meals and I will continue to make her meals from this site along with making mine. Thank you for posting these and making them easy to make. I will try new ones next week.

  6. Dave
    04.25.2021

    Delicious recipe! Much better than you’d expect for something so quick and easy to make. Made it as written except I was a bit short on broccoli so I added some diced red pepper. Looks like it would be great to play around with seasoning wise and too to use up whatever veggies are kicking around. This is going into our regular rotation.

  7. Bobbee
    04.24.2021

    This was delicious! Do you happen to have the nutritional information? Calories? Thanks!

  8. Carolyn
    04.10.2021

    This is quite delicious! I made it for the second time last night and we liked it even better the second time.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.11.2021

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  9. Megan Hosch
    04.02.2021

    Made this with rice pasta elbows, added beet greens from my garden and felt that the sauce needed a touch of sweetness. Added 1 tablespoon of honey. This recipe was fantastic.

  10. Martyna Szyller
    03.23.2021

    Wow. I wasn’t sure if I’d like this but it tastes amazing! Added some fresh chillis. Thank you!!

  11. Andréanne R
    03.23.2021

    I love this recipe! It’s quick and tastes amazing!
    I didn’t have the ingredients to double the sauce today and added 200 ml soya cream -it still tasted great.

  12. Leanna
    03.22.2021

    Could chickpeas be used in place of the white beans?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.22.2021

      yep, they can!

  13. Maria
    03.18.2021

    I’m so excited to make this tonight! Do you know if the sauce freezes well? I live alone and would love to store leftovers in the freezer!

  14. Danielle from Simplylivinlife.com
    03.07.2021

    Absolutely delicious, I didn’t use pine nuts but follow the recipe to a T with everything else and it came out delicious, I was actually surprised how good it came out and I’ve made it 5 times since, it’s become a favorite

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.08.2021

      I’m so happy to hear it’s a favorite!

  15. Linda
    03.01.2021

    Visually it’s a beautiful dish but the flavour profile was something I wasn’t used to. While it wasn’t my favourite, it did grow on me after a few bites. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  16. You just got my lunch for tomorrow. No need to scratch my head any longer. Thanks

  17. Anni
    02.14.2021

    cups are really annoying, i would like it a lot if you could add different measurements, at least grams, it would make it a lot easier to follow this recipe

  18. Lana
    02.12.2021

    I have made around 10 of your recipes. This was the first one I made and my favorite. That is saying a lot, because all of the recipes I have made so far are delicious. Your Shokshuka recipe is on deck for tomorrow.

    Thank you for having such a wonderful vegetarian blog! ❤️

  19. Ruth
    02.07.2021

    REAL WINNER! Just made this for Sunday dinner. Added a dash of cayenne cause we like the stuff. Could cut back on pasta and make with more veggies like sliced carrots., cauliflower too. Could also serve over Rice of choice as well.

  20. Kristin
    01.30.2021

    This is a great recipe. I added artichoke hearts and diced tomatoes. My whole family loved it! Thank you!!

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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.