This simple vegan sun-dried tomato pasta features a garlicky cream sauce filled with chewy and bold-in-flavor sun-dried tomatoes with soft spinach and al dente pasta. A perfect quick meal to make on busy weeknights and it fits many diets, such as vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free.
We are well in the middle of the summer and I know most of us prefer to spend time not in the kitchen but outside in the sun instead. So here is a quick and easy vegan pasta recipe for when you need a quick weeknight dinner done in under 30 minutes that everyone will love: vegan creamy sun-dried tomato pasta.
But just like in my most recent oat milk Alfredo pasta sauce recipe, this time I was looking for a no-cashew lighter cream sauce that's also made without cream, dairy or butter.
This recipe truly is amazing: so simple, but the creamy vegan pasta sauce is ultra flavorful and so rich in texture, you will go for seconds I am sure. It is perfect for the summer or anytime you are looking for a lighter pasta meal, but still want something super tasty and satisfying.
The sun-dried tomatoes simmer in an oat milk-flour light cream sauce that's generously flavored with garlic, dried herbs and nutritional yeast. While they soften in the pan, the chewy tomatoes turn the sauce into an appetizing pink cream sauce and bring so much bold and umami deep flavors to the whole dish. It does taste like a tomato Alfredo sauce, so amazing!
This dish also is super versatile and can be used as a base to add a ton of extra veggies. Make it part of your meal-prep rotation, it stores and reheats so well, plus it is super healthy and the leftovers make for such a delicious and filling lunch the next day.
Let me know if gave it a try! ❤️
Why you will love this recipe
- Perfect easy and quick weeknight dinner recipe your whole family will love
- Super creamy sauce made without heavy cream, dairy or nuts (no cashews)
- Flavorful sauce that's infused with delicious sun-dried tomato and garlic flavors
- Very versatile pasta recipe
- No blender smooth sauce
- Healthy recipe that actually feels like you are indulging!
- Can be done in under 30 minutes
- Can be made ahead and reheats well
- Vegan and dairy-free, plus easy-to-make gluten-free
Ingredients you'll need
- Pasta of choice: I think short pasta works better for that kind of sauce, but feel free to use any kind. I used half of a 16 oz box of small rigatoni, but penne, farfalle, fusilli or ziti would all work well to grab the sauce better. For a nice boost in protein, then choose whole-wheat pasta!
- Sun-dried tomatoes: I used oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes as I prefer their chewy texture better. Be sure to pat them very well so the sauce isn't too oily. If you prefer, you can also use sun-dried tomatoes that come in vacuum-sealed packaging in the pantry, although you will have to rehydrate those.
- Flour: I used regular unbleached all-purpose, but this recipe works with whole wheat flour too. The flour is mixed with the milk to thicken the sauce similar to a bechamel sauce.
- Plant-based milk: I love cooking with oat milk from Oatly, but use your favorite kind, as long as it is unsweetened and unflavored. Almond milk and soy milk also are good choices and choose full-fat if possible for best texture.
- Onion: I love adding an onion to a vegan cream sauce, it adds so much flavor!
- Fresh garlic: important also to flavor the cream sauce. I used 3 cloves, but add as many garlic cloves as you want.
- Nutritional yeast: adds a mild cheesy flavor and a deeper umami flavor to the sauce that's so amazing, but if you don't have any, then you can omit it.
- Dried herbs: I used a mix of dried basil and oregano, but an Italian herbs mix would also be great.
- Spinach: or baby kale, to add some more texture and a little bit of green!
How to make a creamy vegan sun-dried tomato pasta
To make this recipe quickly, then get the pasta water to boil and start the sauce right away, so everything is ready at the same time.
Cook the pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then, cook your pasta al dente.
Keep some pasta cooking water aside and then drain the pasta.
Prepare the sun-dried tomatoes
While the pasta is cooking, then prepare the sun-dried tomatoes.
- If using oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, then drain them well and also, use paper towels to absorb the extra oil. It is ok if they break a little!
- If using sun-dried tomatoes that aren't kept in oil, then soak them in hot water for about 15-30 minutes, then drain well.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and set them aside.
Make the sauce
In a medium size bowl, add the flour and nutritional yeast and then, pour the plant milk over. Whisk well to combine and set aside.
Warm up a large pan with a little oil (or not, can be made oil-free) and then, add the onion with a good pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring often or until they start to soften and brown. Then, add the garlic, dried herbs (basil and oregano) and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes (stir often so the garlic doesn't burn).
Give another whisk to the bowl with the milk and then pour in the pan. Stir to combine, bring to a simmer and then keep on medium heat until thicker. Add the spinach and let them wilt in the sauce, which should take 1-2 minutes.
Combine and serve
Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the sauce and stir to combine. If the sauce is too thick, then you can add some pasta cooking water to thin it out. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste, then serve.
- Make sure to cook the pasta al dente or even slightly undercooked. The noodles will keep cooking in the sauce and you don't want them to turn mushy!
- And don't forget to keep some of the pasta cooking water aside, you might need it later to loosen up the consistency and the starchy water also helps turn the sauce to a super luscious texture.
- Be aware of some kinds of plant-based milk as they sometimes have sneaky flavoring ingredients hard to detect when reading the ingredient list. Especially oat milk: oats are naturally pretty sweet and I find some brands of oat milk to be too sweet for cooking savory recipes, even if there is no added sweetener. You can taste the milk before adding it to the pan just to be sure! My favorite plant milk definitely is Oatly here in the USA and I know in Canada the brand Not Milk is great for savory cooking too.
This pasta meal is simple and quick enough for weeknights, but also scrumptious enough for date-night in during the weekend. Serve with a side of crusty bread and a green salad for such an amazing Italian-style dinner. Or, you can also serve it with a side veggie, such as broccoli, to boost your dinner with more nutrients.
I also like to sprinkle some vegan parmesan cheese over. My homemade dairy-free parmesan is great here and you can make it ahead and just keep it in your pantry. But also, store-bought vegan parmesan cheese would be a good choice.
More sun-dried tomato pasta topping ideas include lemon juice, ground black pepper, fresh herbs (such as fresh basil), vegan mascarpone cheese or vegan cashew ricotta cheese for more creaminess or even simply a dash or two of nutritional yeast for an added cheesy flavor.
Variations to the recipe
There are so many ways you can modify this recipe and make it your own. The silky-smooth cream sauce studded with chewy sun-dried tomato and spinach would pair well with the addition of:
- More veggies: mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini or red pepper. Simply cook them first in the pan with the onion before adding the cream sauce.
- Ultra-rich sauce: you could swap the regular plant-based milk for unsweetened coconut milk. In that case, add only half the amount of flour recommended.
- Spicy: add a dash of red pepper flakes to the sauce to add some heat.
- Flavor-booster: smoked paprika, miso paste, harissa paste, dijon mustard or lemon juice are all great addition for this sauce if you were looking to tweak or boost the flavors even more.
- Extra tomato: add a handful of sliced cherry tomato or diced regular tomato to the pan or also include a spoonful of tomato paste to turn the cream sauce to a creamy tomato sauce.
- Extra protein: to make your meal higher in plant-based protein and more filling, then you can use whole wheat pasta, lentil pasta or chickpea pasta, but also, add some roasted tofu, chickpeas, green peas, white beans or tempeh to the sauce.
You can keep the leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
To reheat, then use the microwave or the stove and add an extra splash of plant-based milk and stir to loosen up the sauce consistency as needed.
I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
Yes, you can make this whole pasta dish completely oil-free. In that case, use vacuum-sealed sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil) and rehydrate them in hot water for at least 20 minutes before draining and chopping them. Also, to cook the vegetables, simply use a little water instead of oil to prevent the veggies from sticking to the pan.
Yes, you can also make this recipe GF by using a certified 1:1 GF flour, such s the one from Bob's Red Mill to make the cream sauce. Also, be sure to make this recipe with your favorite GF pasta!
You can swap the flour for cornstarch, although use half the amount recommended. If the sauce needs to be thickened a little more, then do not just add cornstarch to the pan, always stir it first with a small amount of cold water or milk before pouring it into a simmering pan to avoid clumping.
More vegan creamy pasta recipes you might like
- Creamy harissa pasta
- Vegan creamy lemon garlic pasta
- 20-min creamy miso udon
- Coconut milk mac and cheese
- Vegan peanut noodles
- Creamy gochujang pasta
- Vegan mac and cheese without cashews
- Coconut milk pasta sauce
- Vegan broccoli avocado pasta
- Baked cauliflower mac and cheese
- Vegan tomato creamy pasta
- Creamy pasta with hummus
- Tikka masala pasta
I hope you like this vegan creamy sun-dried tomato pasta recipe 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!
Vegan Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
- 8 oz pasta of your choice - I used small rigatoni
- 1 small onion - diced
- 3 cloves of garlic - crushed
- 1 tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes (or 4 oz) - packed in oil or not
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 cups plant-based milk - plain and unsweetened, I used Oat milk from Oatly
- 3-4 cups baby spinach or kale
- salt - to taste
- Cook the pasta al dente accordingly to the packaging. You can reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water aside in case you need to thin out the sauce later, then drain the pasta.
- In a small mug or bowl, add the flour, nutritional yeast and pour the milk over. Use a whisk to combine until smooth. Set aside.
- Also, if using oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, then drain them well and then pat dry using paper towels. If using sun-dried tomatoes not in oil, then cover them with hot water and let them soak for at least 20-30 minutes (2 hours is better), then drain and pat them dry as well. Then, roughly chop the tomatoes.
- In a large pan, cook the onion with a little oil and a good pinch of salt on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until tender and slightly browned. Then, add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, dried basil and oregano. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes stirring often (make sure the garlic does not burn).
- Give another whisk to the flour-milk mixture and then pour over in the pan. Stir right away and bring to a simmer. Then, keep cooking until the sauce thickens. Add the spinach, adjust salt to your liking and add some pasta cooking water if the sauce gets too thick. Cook until the spinach is tender and wilted. Then, add the cooked pasta, stir to combine and warm up, then serve.
- Storage: keep the leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. You can add an extra splash of milk to loosen up the consistency and use the microwave or the stove to reheat.
- You can add extra veggies to the pasta sauce, such as asparagus, pepper, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. Other flavorful ingredients you can add are lemon juice, red pepper flakes, miso paste, harissa paste, etc. Check out the blog post for more details!