This vegan cajun pasta dish is so creamy, has an amazing smoky flavor profile and is packed with crunchy red peppers and onions. The zesty and savory cajun spices bring so much flavor to the rich-in-protein silky tofu sauce. It is a quick and easy recipe that comes together in under 30 minutes, perfect for busy week nights!
Let me introduce you to this cajun pasta dish that we cannot stop eating.
It is a creamy vegan pasta dish that's filled with amazing cajun flavor, super satisfying and also very healthy and high in plant-based protein. And just like my one-pot orzo skillet, it turns out that it is also super quick and easy to prepare, which makes it a perfect weeknight quick dinner. It's everything you want in one meal!
I'll admit that any creamy, saucy and rich pasta meal will win my heart over just about anything. But, in this case, there is something more to it. Maybe it's the large crunchy pieces of red pepper and sweet onion or the flavors from the cajun spice mix? Or the heavenly rich and pink coating sauce?
Good grief. I'm drooling just writing about it.
But what makes the cajun pasta sauce so deliciously creamy? Tofu! Yes, yes, regular firm tofu. When blended with vegan milk and the cajun spices, it becomes rich, silky and so flavorful. Then, paired with canned tomatoes for a boost in umami flavor. I love how this recipe also fits with so many diets as it is nut-free (choose oat milk), dairy-free, gluten-free (choose GF noodles), low-in-fat and also rich-in-protein.
Hopefully you give this recipe a try next time you crave a cajun inspired meal! 💛
Easy weeknight pasta dish
This vegan cajun pasta is not a one-pot meal, but really comes together so easily. You will have to cook the noodles in tandem with blending a sauce plus roasting the veggies. Then, combine and voila! Dinner is done in under 30 minutes. You can even use frozen peppers to reduce chopping time and prepare the blended sauce ahead of time.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Luscious creamy sauce made without any cream
- Highly adaptable recipe
- Packed with amazing cajun flavor with a hint of smokiness
- Nourishing and super filling
- Healthier than many other rich creamy sauces
- Nut-free and made without cashews
- SO delicious
Ingredients you will need
- Short pasta of your choice: I used the brown rice fusilli from Jovial, but any other kinds work well. I find that short noodles worked better as the sauce can be thick.
- Peppers: any colors, but I prefer the sweeter kinds like red pepper.
- Sweet onion: you will want to keep the onion crunchy, so choose a mild and sweeter type, such as Vidalia onion.
- Garlic: for flavoring.
- Firm tofu: not silken or soft, but firm tofu. Extra firm tofu should work well too.
- Vegan plain milk: make sure it is unsweetened and unflavored.
- Cajun spices: you can make your own cajun spices mix (check out this cajun seasoning recipe from gimme some oven!), but I prefer to simply use store bought. I love this cajun spice blend from Frontier, I use it often to make cajun salad dressings or sauces!
- Other pantry ingredients: nutritional yeast, corn starch, canned tomatoes (fire roasted, if possible) and salt.
How to make it
This pasta recipe comes together within 30 minutes and will be perfect for any busy weekday nights.
Step 1- Make the cajun pasta sauce
Add the tofu, vegan milk, cajun spices, nutritional yeast, salt and cornstarch to a blender and blend until very smooth. Take a few break to scrape the walls and make sure there are no clumps anymore. This might take a few minutes if you don't have a high-speed blender. Set the sauce aside.
Step 2- Cook the vegetables
In a large pan, warm up some oil (or not) on medium heat and then add the onion and peppers. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until browned and softened (try not to overcook them!). Then, add the garlic and cook for one minute before adding the canned tomatoes. Keep cooking for another 5-7 minutes stirring often.
Also, cook the pasta al dente while the vegetables are roasting, then drain well.
Step 3- Combine
Add the creamy sauce and the cooked pasta to the vegetables, stir and bring back to a simmer. Let it cook for a few minutes or until the sauce has a desired consistency. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Watch how to make it
Tips when preparing this vegan cajun pasta recipe
- Choose sweet onion (like Vidalia) instead of regular onion. If you don't have a Vidalia type, then grab a red onion. I love the hint of sweetness it brings to the dish and their mellow flavor is best since the vegetables are kept quite big and crisp.
- Do not overcook the vegetables! Keep them on the crunchy side, it will add so much texture to the rich and creamy sauce.
- Do not overcook the noodles either! Once cooked al dente, the noodles will be added to the warm creamy sauce where the noodles will likely cook a little more.
- I choose fire roasted canned diced tomatoes. If you use regular tomatoes, then I recommend you to add a pinch of smoked paprika to get a hint of smokiness.
Can I make this recipe soy-free?
Yes you can! In this case, skip on the bloc of tofu and the vegan milk. Instead, make my basic cashew cream sauce as directed and add the cajun spices to the sauce as well. This cashew sauce should thicken easily without adding cornstarch. Taste and adjust the flavor level to your liking before transferring to the pan with the veggies and the noodles.
Variations to the recipe
- Make it extra creamy: Use coconut milk instead of regular vegan milk.
- Make it spicy: Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes when serving or ground cayenne pepper to the blender.
- Make it higher in protein: Although this meal is already fairly high-in-protein, thanks to the blended tofu, you can also add a can of drained white bean to the pan when combining the pasta, or top the pasta with smoky tofu at serving.
- Make it loaded with veggies: add some broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, sweet corn, leafy green, cauliflower, etc.
This pasta dish is perfect as is and makes for a complete meal that's filled with plenty of protein and fiber to make you feel full for a while. If you want, you can also serve with a side of steamed green veggies, such as asparagus or broccoli. A side salad, such as my kale apple crunch salad, would also pair well with the flavor from this dish.
Serve warm sprinkled with red pepper flakes for a little heat and a generous amount of ground black pepper. A sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese would be great as well, if you have some ready-to-go.
Keep the leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. After resting for a while in the fridge, the noodles absorb some of the sauce, which can change the texture of the pasta. Just a reminder to keep your noodles al dente!
I don't recommend freezing this meal. The pasta could turn out too soft and almost mushy!
Simply add a splash of vegan milk to loosen up the sauce, stir and warm up either in the microwave or using the stove.
To make it completely gluten-free, then make sure to choose gluten-free noodles. The rest of the ingredients from the cajun sauce are completely gluten-free.
Not very much, although it has a strong flavor, mostly smoky. My kids loved it! If you are worried it is too much spicy or intense in smoky flavor, then start with a little less cajun spice blend and add more to the pan after tasting.
Other creamy pasta dishes you might like
- Butternut squash mac and cheese
- Cauliflower Alfredo
- Hidden vegetable pasta sauce
- Vegan white sauce for pasta
- Garlic cream primavera
- Tahini pasta
- Pasta with hummus and roasted vegetables
- Vegan creamy tomato pasta
- Vegan avocado broccoli pasta
- Vegan powdered cheese
- Vegan green pasta sauce
I hope you like this cajun pasta dish 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!
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Vegan Cajun Pasta - Simple & Creamy
For the sauce
- 8 oz firm tofu - drained (I use half of a 454g. (16oz) package)
- 1 ¼ cup vegan plain milk - unsweetened, choose nut-free if necessary
- 1 ½ tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3 tsp cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cornstarch
For the pasta
- 12 oz short pasta of your choice - cooked al dente
- 1 sweet onion (vidalia type), or red onion - sliced
- 2 large peppers (red, yellow or orange) - sliced
- 3 large cloves of garlic - crushed
- 14 oz canned diced tomatoes - fire roasted, see notes
Make the sauce
- In a blender, combine the tofu, vegan milk, nutritional yeast, cajun blend, salt and cornstarch. Blend until very smooth. Set aside.
Make the pasta
- In a large pan, cook the onion and pepper over medium-high heat stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Use a little oil if desired.
- Then, add the garlic and a good pinch of salt, stir for 30-60 seconds, then add the can of tomatoes. Cook uncovered for about 7 minutes or until most of the water from the tomatoes is evaporated and the vegetables are cooked to your taste (keep them crunchy!).
- Add the blended tofu sauce and cooked pasta (al dente!) to the pan and stir. Cook for a few minutes or until warmed up and the sauce has thickened up a bit. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve and enjoy!
- I use the brown rice fusilli from Jovial
- Do not overcook the pasta, they will keep cooking a little after transferring to the saucy pan.
- Do not overcook the vegetables, keeping them crunchy helps bring a pleasant contrasting texture with the rich sauce.
- You can make your own Cajun spice mix, but I use the store-bought Cajun seasoning blend from Frontier.
- If you do not have fire roasted canned tomatoes, then you can add a pinch of smoked paprika to add a hint of smoky flavor.
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