This quick and easy vegan pasta recipe is SO flavorful, thanks to gochujang paste! All done within 20 minutes and completely dairy-free, the pasta sauce is ultra creamy, rich and VERY simple to make. Feel free to make it more or less spicy depending on your taste.
Here is a stunning recipe for any spicy food lover!
And not any kind of spicy recipe: a super creamy, rich and saucy spicy pasta recipe. It has such an amazing kick in flavors and the most incredible texture. My husband and I were stunned! We literally were fighting over the leftover pasta in the pan.
If you have never had or cooked with Gochujang paste (Korean chili paste), now is the time to run to the grocery store.
It will be a great discovery, I promise!
This red chili pepper paste is typically used to make marinades for meat or Korean-style sauces (such as in the popular Tteokbokki dish). But here, we are going to use it to flavor a very easy scallion dairy-free cream sauce to toss with regular pasta. Kinda of a Korean-Italian fusion dish!
The gochujang pasta sauce is all done by the time the noodles are cooked, which makes it a great meal to make when you don't feel like cooking too much. And wow, be ready for a whole lot of flavor! It might remind you of a creamy vodka sauce with its rich glossy pink allure, but with a different flavor profile.
Ok, let me know what you think! 😀
What is Gochujang paste
Gochujang is a spicy fermented red chili paste that's typically used in Korean cooking. It is made out of chili powder, glutinous rice, meju (fermented soy bean) powder, barley malt powder and some salt. It is sometimes also called "hot pepper paste" or even "Korean BBQ sauce".
Aside from the predominant spicy kick you get from this paste, there is also a background of sweet flavor from the glutinous rice with some hint of smokiness. The consistency is a little sticky and viscous, similar to a tomato paste.
You can find gochujang in most grocery stores, normally in the Asian section and you will typically find it in a tub container. If you cannot find it, a trip to an Asian grocery store will totally be worth the time!
Add the paste in soups, stews, sauces, dips and marinades. You can also make gochujang crispy tofu! It will add lots of flavor without much effort!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Nice combination of spicy, sweet and smoky flavors
- AMAZING creamy rich consistency
- Ultra fast to make, I'm talking about 20 minutes!
- Great weeknight or in-house date night dinner
- Simple recipe with a short list of ingredients
Ingredients you will need
- Pasta: choose your favorite kind. I used whole grain linguini noodles, but any pasta, short or long, would work. I think rigatoni would be great for this recipe as well.
- Gochujang paste: star of this recipe! Adjust how much you add to the sauce depending on how spicy you want it to be. I used the gochujang paste from the brand Lucky Food that I found at Whole Food Markets, but use any kind!
- Canned coconut milk: use either full-fat or low-fat coconut milk, although the full-fat version will make your sauce richer.
- Tomato paste: I like using this tomato paste tube from Amore that I keep in the fridge. This way, I can just use a small amount at a time in recipes instead of opening a big can.
- Garlic: I used 4 large cloves of garlic to get a lot of flavor in the sauce.
- Green onions: could also be swapped for shallots or a small yellow onion finely diced.
- Nutritional yeast: if you don't have it, then just omit it. It adds a subtle cheesy and umami flavor to the sauce.
How to make gochujang pasta
Boil the noodles
Start by cooking the pasta. The sauce will be done very quickly, so you want to get a head start with the pasta. Once done, drain well and set aside (or simply scoop the noodles right into the pan if the sauce is done at the same time).
Cook the aromatics
Warm up a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat with a little oil (optional). Then, add the green onions, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook while stirring often for about 2 minutes or until softened. Watch carefully so the garlic doesn't burn and add a little splash of water if it turns brown too quickly.
Then, add the gochujang paste, tomato paste and nutritional yeast. Stir to cover the green onions with the paste (for about 30-60 seconds) and then add the coconut milk.
Keep heating the sauce on medium heat and stir well until all the red gochujang paste is dissolved within the coconut milk. The paste is very glutinous and sticky, so you might have to stir for a minute or two to get the whole sauce to turn pink and uniform.
Then, simmer the sauce for about 5 minutes while stirring often.
Combine and serve
Once the sauce is done, then add the noodles to the pan and stir to combine.
Serve right away while still warm and top with more green onions, ground black pepper and red pepper flakes if you want more heat.
Watch how to make it
- The noodles will keep cooking slightly once transferred to the pan with the sauce, so you want to be sure you don't overcook them (aim to cook them al dente).
- You may want to keep some of pasta cooking water aside before draining the noodles in case you need to loosen up the sauce later.
- Have everything ready to go before you start the sauce! It will only take a few minutes to make and you won't want to let the sauce simmer for too long waiting for the noodles to be done as the coconut milk could curdle meanwhile. So, be sure all the ingredients are chopped and even your can of coconut milk opened and wait for the noodles to be half way done before starting the sauce.
- If you end up having the sauce ready before the noodles are done, then simply remove the sauce from the heat or keep it on very low heat, and warm up again once combined with the pasta.
- The reason why you will want to add the paste to the pan before adding the coconut milk is that roasting the paste shortly will help caramelize and develop even more flavor to the sauce.
- You will have to adjust the amount of gochujang you add to the sauce depending on how much heat you are looking for. For me, 2 tablespoons was perfect, but my husband definitely would have taken more. So taste the sauce before adding the noodles to adjust to your taste!
- I like this meal very saucy, so I only use about half of a pound for the amount of sauce. But, feel free to add more noodles if you want!
How to make gochujang pasta without coconut milk
If you don't want to use canned coconut milk, then there are other recipes you can use as the basic cream sauce:
- Vegan bechamel: simply use a bechamel instead of the coconut milk for a lower-in-fat + nut-free version. Make the whole bechamel recipe right in the pan after you cooked the green onions with the garlic. Similar to this cauliflower gratin, you can sprinkle the flour over the green onions and keep going with the bechamel sauce from this point. Then, add the gochujang paste once the bechamel has thickened to your liking.
- Vegan white sauce: this recipe is a cashew-based dairy-free sauce that would work wonderfully in this recipe as well. Blend the sauce and then pour into the pan over the green onions and garlic before adding the gochujang and tomato paste. In that case, skip simmering the sauce altogether and simply warm up and remove from the heat right away.
Serve warm with extra green onions and a crack of black pepper. Chopped fresh chives also would be amazing over your dish.
If you have a vegan parmesan cheese, then definitely add some as well. Fresh herbs, such as parsley, would also add some freshness to the dish.
We enjoy this recipe as a full meal. Using whole wheat noodles makes it so much more filling and satisfying. But, if you are looking for more protein, then pair with roasted tofu, lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, etc. You can also include some veggies as part of the sauce, such as broccoli, mushrooms or spinach. In that case, simply roast the veggies in the pan before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Leftovers can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The sauce will thicken while cooling down, so you will have to loosen up the consistency with a splash of water or plain vegan milk.
Simply reheat using the stove or the microwave. Leftovers are great to enjoy for lunch the next day!
More vegan creamy pasta recipes you might like
- Green pasta sauce
- Coconut milk pasta
- Garlic tahini pasta
- No cashew vegan mac and cheese
- Broccoli avocado pasta
- Baked cauliflower mac and cheese
- Creamy tomato pasta
- Vegan cajun pasta
- Vegetable pasta sauce
I hope you like this gochujang pasta as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Creamy Gochujang Pasta
- ½ lb pasta of your choice - cooked al dente, I used whole wheat linguini
- 4 green onions - sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic - crushed
- 2-3 tbsp korean chili paste (Gochujang)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 15.5 oz coconut milk - low or full-fat
- salt - to your taste
- Cook the pasta all dente. Keep some cooking pasta water to use to thin the sauce, if needed. Then, drain well.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Start by warming a large non-stick pan with a little oil (optional). Then, add the green onions, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook for about 1-2 minutes stirring constantly so the garlic doesn't burn.
- Then, add the gochujang paste, tomato paste, nutritional yeast and stir well to cover the green onions. Cook for about 30-60 seconds and then, pour the coconut milk over and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes stirring often.
- Taste to adjust salt and add more gochujang paste if you want it to be spicier. Also, add some pasta cooking water if you need to loosen up the sauce.
- Stir in the cooked pasta, toss and serve right away with more green onions and ground black pepper.
- Make sure you have everything ready-to-go before starting the recipe. I recommend starting the sauce once the pasta is halfway done (you don't want to keep simmering the coconut milk for too long) and also, be sure to chop and even open your can of coconut milk before starting the sauce, it will go fast!
- Keep leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, use the stove or the microwave and add a splash of water to loosen up the sauce as needed.
- To boost your meal with more protein, then pair with some tofu, tempeh, lentils or chickpeas.