This green pasta sauce makes for such an amazing vegan family dinner that's nourishing and healthy. The sauce is very flavorful and comes together quickly. Also, kids love it! 100% dairy-free and naturally gluten-free.
An ultra rich pasta sauce made without heavy cream, butter, cheese or any dairy at all? Actually, that's completely vegan and healthy? Yes! I got this Italian-style creamy green pasta sauce that will hit the spot next time you crave a yummy creamy noodle dish.
And everyone absolutely loved this creamy green pasta sauce over here. I often make a vegan pesto pasta meal during the week as it is so quick, but they always crave more luscious sauces. This creamy green sauce is a smooth version of a pesto sauce and it worked out so well.
It is rich in flavor and the silky texture is so amazing. Also boosted with tons of healthy green veggies such as spinach, basil and green peas and no one will see a thing. Such a great way to eat more veggies and squeeze in a few extra nutrients in your day without realizing it that much.
This recipe requires a quick soak of 15 minutes, but once that's done, the sauce is ready within 5 minutes. All you have to do is to blend all the ingredients together to a smooth texture and then, simply combine with warm noodles. I like that the sauce is ready by the time the pasta is cooked, which is perfect for busy weeknight dinners.
The flavor is kinda smooth and bold at the same time. You can taste some hints of basil, garlic and lemon without any bitterness or strong "green" flavor at all. I believe that the raw cashews add a mild natural sweetness that balances everything perfectly, on top of bringing healthy fats to carry out the flavor to your tastebuds more efficiently.
I hope you give this recipe a try! If you do, please let me know if you liked it below! 😀
What you'll love about this recipe
- Simple and quick recipe, done by the time the noodles are cooked!
- Yummy creamy consistency
- Very flavorful
- Hides a fair amount of veggies and is a nutritious recipe
- Versatile (can be used for pasta, salads, pizza, grain bowls or even over tacos!)
- Great for meal-prep and makes for amazing leftovers
What you'll need
- Cashews: the base of the sauce for a creamy and rich consistency.
- Green peas: simply use frozen peas for convenience.
- Spinach: baby or regular, they add lots of nutrients on top of turning the sauce into a deeper green color.
- Basil: essential for a pesto flavor, although you could use other fresh herbs such as cilantro or parsley.
- Garlic: adds great flavor.
- Lemon juice: for a nice tangy punch.
- Plant-based milk: choose any kind you like as long as it is plain and unsweetened. (You can even taste your milk before to make sure there is no vanilla flavor, I learned the hard way that it is not always obvious by reading the ingredient list if there is vanilla or not).
How to make a green pasta sauce
Soak the raw cashews for 15 minutes (or more) in boiling water to help soften them before blending. You can also soak them overnight (or 8-12 hours) in fresh water.
Also, I'll usually pour boiling water over the frozen green peas at the same time just to help thaw them.
Drain well both the cashews and peas so you don't add extra water to the sauce.
Transfer the drained cashews and peas to a blender alongside all the other ingredients (spinach, basil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic and plant-based milk). Blend on high until really smooth. As needed, take a break or 2 to scrape the bottom and walls of the blender.
I like to simply poor the sauce over cooked noodles that are still pretty warm, then serve right away. If the noodles had enough time to cool down by the time the sauce is ready, then combine the noodles and the sauce into the pot you used to boil the pasta and warm up on medium-low heat while stirring constantly.
Watch how to make it
- You can also boil the cashews for 10 minutes instead of simply soaking them in boiling water if you want to ensure that the cashews are soft enough for blending. If you have a Vitamix or Blentec, this won't be necessary though.
- If you need to warm up the sauce, stir often and don't warm up on high heat as it tends to "cook" and coagulate the sauce (typical of any cashew sauces).
- Be sure to taste the sauce straight from the blender to adjust lemon juice, salt and even garlic amount to your preference. Also add more milk for a thinner consistency if needed.
- You will need RAW cashews, NOT roasted/salted. This is important!
There are many ways to customize this recipe depending on your taste.
Here are other ideas to include in the blender:
- Swap the spinach for kale. If you are worried the flavor will be too strong, then I recommend to first boil or steam the kale before blending.
- Use different herbs such as cilantro or parsley. You can also use a mix of a few different kinds.
- Instead of lemon juice, use lime juice or white white vinegar.
- For a little heat, include some jalapeño or red pepper flakes.
- If you are looking for more healthy fats, then add half of an avocado to the blender as well.
This green pea sauce is amazing for pasta and it is our favorite way to serve it. Use short or long noodles, although I love this recipe better with spaghetti or linguini.
When serving the noodles, you can add some beans, such as chickpeas or lentils, to add texture and extra protein. Tempeh or tofu would also make your meal a little more filling and higher in plant-based protein. I also love to serve with roasted tomatoes and vegan almond parmesan.
I actually like to have leftovers of the sauce as it goes well over a tofu buddha bowl, on pizza (try it with a buckwheat crust!) or even drizzled over roasted veggies or tacos (would pair well with vegan baked fish tacos).
Keep the sauce in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in a pan stirring often and add a splash of water or plant-based milk to help loosen the sauce.
I do not recommend to freeze this sauce.
I do recommend making this recipe using a high-speed blender as they are better to turn cashews into a creamy consistency. Regular blender might leave some small pieces of nuts.
Yes, the sauce is completely gluten-free! As needed, use gluten-free noodles such as the ones from the brand Jovial.
Yes, that would work. Thaw first and drain very well by pressing into a towel. Also, add half the amount recommend.
More vegan green sauces you might like
- Vegan walnut pesto
- Avocado green goddess dressing
- Dairy-free avocado ranch sauce
- Vegan creamy pesto sauce
- Vegan Italian dressing
- Creamy avocado pasta
- Vegan avocado lime crema
I hope you like this green pasta sauce 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!
Green Pasta Sauce
- Blender better results if using a high-speed blender
- 1½ cup raw cashews - unroasted and unsalted
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 cup (packed) baby spinach leaves - packed
- 10-15 leaves fresh basil
- 1 clove of garlic
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1¼ cup plant-based milk - plain and unsweetened
- 1 tsp salt - or to taste
- Soak the cashews in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Then, drain well and transfer to a blender. Also, soak the peas in hot water to help thaw them quicker, then drain and add to the blender as well.
- Add all the remaining ingredients to the blender and blend on high until very smooth. Take a few breaks to scrape the walls of the blender.
- Toss in warm pasta and enjoy!
- Store leftovers in an air-tight container for 3-4 days. Reheat with noodles in a pan stirring often and add a splash of water or plant-based milk to help loosen the sauce.
- Feel free to blend with other herbs such as cilantro or parsley and use steamed kale instead of spinach if desired. Also, add a jalapeño or some red pepper flakes for a little heat.
- Don't skip on soaking the cashews first as it will help soften them for better blending. You can also boil them for 10 minutes instead of simply soaking them.