Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

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!

Are you a fan of chickpeas like me? You’ll love this easy chana masala and mom’s brown chickpea curry soup.

creamy pasta with spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes and chickpeas served in white plates.

Ingredient notes

  • Pasta- macaroni, fusilli or penne.
  • Garlic
  • 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!

ingredients for creamy pasta with spinach.

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!

creamy vegan garlic pasta with roasted tomatoes and chickpeas served in a white ceramic plate.

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.

Make-ahead option

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.

Serving suggestions

This creamy garlic pasta goes well with

More pasta recipes

creamy vegan garlic pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes in a pan.

Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

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, sweet roasted tomatoes and…
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
resting time 5 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5 people
Calories 355 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni uncooked (penne or fusilli also works)
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups canned
  • 2 cups spinach chopped and loosely packed
  • 1 carrot medium, grated
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup cashews
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 green chili minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

Roast cherry tomatoes

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Spread out the cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and roast for 20 minutes.
    They can also be roasted on the stovetop in a saute pan with 1 teaspoon oil for about 20 minutes.

Cook the dried chickpeas, if using

  • Soak them overnight or 6 hours minimum. Drain and place in the pressure cooker or instant pot with 2 cups water. Cook for 6 whistles and turn off the flame. Let the pressure release naturally.
    For instant pot, cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Drain and keep aside.

Cook the pasta

  • Boil a large pot of water, add the pasta and cook al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta, toss with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and keep aside.

Make the cashew alfredo sauce

  • Soak the cashews in 1/4 cup of water for 15 minutes and blend into a smooth paste.
  • Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet, add minced garlic and chilies and saute on medium heat for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the almond milk, cashew paste and Italian seasoning. Mix well and bring the mixture to a boil on medium flame. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until you get the desired consistency (when the sauce coats the back of a spoon).

Vegan garlic pasta

  • Mix in spinach and grated carrots, chickpeas. Add salt and pepper as required. Simmer for 5 minutes.
    If the sauce becomes too thick, add a few tablespoons of water drained from the cooked chickpeas. Adjust the consistency of the sauce according to your preference. Turn off the flame.
  • Add pasta and roasted cherry tomatoes and toss. Serve and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • 1/2 cup of Sun dried tomatoes can be used in place of roasted cherry tomatoes.
  • If you don’t have Italian seasoning, add 1/4 teaspoons each of dried basil, oregano, parsley and thyme.
  • Green chili gives a unique flavor to the creamy sauce. The spice gets balanced out by the chickpeas and the cashew sauce
  • If you don’t mind dairy, you can use whole milk instead of almond milk.
  • Reserve the water from cooking the chickpeas and the pasta. Either can be used to adjust the sauce, if it gets too thick. This also makes the sauce creamier.
Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
Keyword almond milk pasta sauce, creamy veggie pasta, plant based pasta, vegan cashew alfredo sauce, vegan garlic pasta, vegan protein pasta

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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.

(Source: https://blog.choosechickapea.com/top-ten-facts-chickpeas-post)

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4 thoughts on “Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes”

    1. Hi Justina, thanks for trying the recipe and giving feedback. That means so much to me.
      It depends on the blender you use. I use the small spice grinder with less liquid first, then add some later. That way it gives a smooth paste. I think I should add that in recipe notes. Thanks again!

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