Delicious vegan garlic pasta that is so creamy, you wouldn’t believe it has no cream in it! This is a loaded plant based pasta with cashew alfredo sauce and sweet roasted tomatoes.
About the recipe
This no-cheese vegan protein pasta is a wholesome meal with garlic, roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh vegetables like spinach and carrots. It is not only guilt-free but also an easy nutritious meal that you can quickly get to the table for a weeknight dinner.
AFter a few trials, I was able to successfully replace cheese flavor with the cashew-almond milk pasta sauce. But how can I get protein in pasta without meat? CHICKPEAS came to my rescue here. Full of plant-based protein, the flavor of chickpeas complemented by the white sauce with almond milk will get even the pickiest kid to love this healthy creamy pasta recipe WITHOUT CREAM. Shhh….nobody will even realize there’s no cream!
The chickpeas just blend in with this elbow pasta, making it look and taste awesome. Adding high-fibre beans like chickpeas drastically cuts down your refined carb intake since you’re replacing 1/2 the amount of pasta with chickpeas. This pasta recipe is for those of us who want a healthy nutritious meal, yet love our carbs!
- Pasta- macaroni, fusilli or penne.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Chickpeas- canned or soaked and cooked dry chickpeas.
- Vegetables- Spinach and carrots
- Cashews and almond milk for sauce
- Italian seasoning
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
So here comes another twist: there is an ingredient that most of you wouldn’t dare to add in pasta- green chili. I know, that might sound strange, but believe me, the spice gets balanced out by the chickpeas and the creamy cashew alfredo sauce.
I have tested out this recipe with 1, 2 or no chilies, and found that 2 medium-sized chilies work best for my family. (and we don’t eat very spicy food, you’ll realize if you have been following my recipes. I’ve used chilies in mint pesto recipe for pasta, too.) So you are free to choose the number of chilies according to your spice level, but I recommend at least 1 small chili for the enhanced flavor of the creamy pasta.
Oops, garlic, oil and Italian seasoning are out of the frame!
How to make vegan garlic pasta
We make this vegan creamy pasta sauce using cashew nuts and almond milk that are full of nutrients and vitamins instead of refined flour or cream. If you don’t mind dairy, you can use whole milk in place of almond milk. But I recommend almond milk for its rich flavor.
Canned chickpeas can be used for this recipe. Drain, rinse and use. If using dried chickpeas, soak overnight or for 8 hours minimum.
How to cook dry chickpeas in instant pot or pressure cooker:
Drain the chickpeas and add 2 cups of water. For the pressure cooker, cook for about 6 whistles on medium heat. Turn off the flame and let the pressure release naturally. Drain and let them cool. You might want to reserve some of the cooking water to use later, for thinning out the sauce if it becomes too thick.
To cook in an instant pot, pressure cook for 15 minutes at high pressure and wait for natural pressure release. Drain and cool the chickpeas.
How to roast cherry tomatoes
Drizzle oil and roast the cherry tomatoes in the oven at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for 20 minutes. They can also be roasted on the stovetop, in a saute pan with 1 teaspoon oil on a medium flame until done, for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta, prep the vegetables and prepare the sauce. Reserve some pasta water.
How to make white sauce with almond milk
Soak the cashews in 1/4 cup of water for 15 minutes and blend to make a smooth paste.
Take a wide, deep pan that can hold all of the pasta. Saute minced garlic and green chilies in olive oil, add almond milk, cashew paste, and Italian seasoning. Stir well and bring the sauce to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until it reaches the required consistency. (The creamy sauce should coat the back of a spoon.) If the sauce gets too thick, add some water from cooking the chickpeas or pasta and adjust the consistency to your preference.
Add chopped spinach, grated carrots and chickpeas. Add salt and pepper as required. Simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the flame.
Add the pasta and roasted tomatoes. Toss!
Let it sit for 5 minutes and….devour!
How to avoid your pasta turning mushy or gummy
- Cook pasta in a deep and wide pan with salted water about 4 cups per cup of dry pasta. (roughly 4 quarts per pound of pasta)
- Add pasta only after the water comes to a rolling boil.
- Keep stirring intermittently to keep the pasta from sticking together and to cook uniformly.
- Cook until the pasta is ALMOST done. Cook for about 5 minutes lesser than the time specified in the package instructions.
- Drain immediately and toss with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon per cup of uncooked pasta).
- Do not rinse the cooked pasta, unless you’re making pasta salad.
- Toss with the sauce just before serving.
This creamy pasta is best eaten fresh. It can be refrigerated for a couple of days or frozen for a month. Refrigerate the pasta water and add when you reheat the pasta.
This creamy garlic pasta goes well with
- Beet orange salad for a vegan meal.
- Italian potato croquettes for a vegetarian option.
- Baked thin-sliced chicken breasts or roasted chicken legs with olive oil for dinners with chicken.
- Sauteed shrimps with peppers or Citrus glazed salmon for an easy seafood dinner.
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Interesting facts about Chickpeas
- Chickpea flour can be used to make fritters, desserts and crepes.
- The brine from chickpeas can be used as an egg white replacement to make meringue.
- Fight wrinkles, age spots and even acne with a chickpea flour topical paste.
- Chickpea flour can be used to wash away dandruff from your hair.
- Chickpea coffee was first discovered in 1793 and adopted in areas of Germany in WWI.
- Chickpeas were fed to Roman stallions to increase their virility.
- The Ancient Romans believed that chickpeas were a gift from the Goddess Venus to help with fertility.
- In traditional Jewish birth celebrations like Shalom Zakhar, chickpeas are consumed as they represent the circle of life.