You won’t believe this sun-dried tomato pasta is completely vegan! The decadent, velvety sauce coats the noodles perfectly to create this healthy pasta recipe (yes, pasta can be healthy!). Top this pasta off with fresh basil or parsley for an easy weeknight dinner win!

Bowl of creamy sundried tomato pasta with ingredients and sauce surrounding the bowl in small containers

A warm bowl of pasta is one of the most comforting meals to enjoy no matter what time of year. It’s cozy, comforting, and just makes you feel good. As a Registered Dietitian, I’m here to assure you that pasta can absolutely be part of a healthy diet and lifestyle! Don’t believe me? Check out my recipe for healthy green sauce for pasta – it uses an ENTIRE BAG of spinach.

This vegan creamy sun dried tomato pasta sauce tastes rich and decadent, however, it’s filled with nutritious plant-based ingredients! Most pasta cream sauces call for heavy cream, but this recipe uses cashews to create that thick and creamy texture (which also makes it completely vegan).

The best part? This recipe is quick and easy enough to make on a weeknight. The sauce is made in a blender, with minimal cooking required. In addition to being vegan, this sauce is also gluten free (be sure to use gluten free pasta for a completely gluten free meal).

Ingredients in vegan sun-dried tomato pasta sauce

Here are all the ingredients you need to make this creamy sundried tomato pasta sauce:

  • Cashews: raw, unsalted cashews are best.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: packed in oil in a jar. Do not use dry sun-dried tomatoes from a bag.
  • White onion
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Lemon juice
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper
  • Fresh basil or parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • Pasta: I’ve had this pasta sauce with both penne and fettuccine, and both were wonderful!

Best types of pasta to eat with creamy sauces

Long, thick pasta shapes are usually best for thick and creamy sauces. The ample surface area on ribbon-like noodles helps the sauce cling to the pasta evenly. Pasta shapes like fettuccine, pappardelle, linguine, and tagliatelle would all pair nicely with this sun-dried tomato pasta sauce.

Short, tubular pasta shapes are another good choice for this creamy pasta sauce. Shapes such as penne, rigatoni, and ziti are good for holding onto the sauce inside and outside the tube shape.

Sun-dried tomato pasta sauce ingredients measured out in ramekins on a wooden cutting board

Cashews nutrition benefits

Cashew nuts pack a big nutritional punch. With their soft texture and mild flavor, cashews are easily blended into a creamy texture with water, making them perfect for creamy vegan recipes, like this one!

A one ounce serving of cashews has plenty of nutritional value:

  • 5 grams of plant-based protein
  • Rich in healthy fats: 7 grams of heart healthy monounsaturated fat, and 2.2 grams of healthy polyunsaturated fat
  • 20% of your daily needs for magnesium
  • A good source of other micronutrients, including copper, zinc, selenium, and thiamine

When cooking with cashews for creamy sauces, choose raw, unsalted cashews for best results.

More creamy cashew-based vegan pasta sauces to try: Creamy Rosé Tomato Basil Sauce and Creamy Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce Pasta

Sun dried tomatoes nutrition benefits

Sun dried tomatoes are simply fresh tomatoes that have been dried out and lose most of their moisture in the process. Drying tomatoes concentrates their delicious flavor, making it even more potent.

Sun dried tomatoes are rich in these nutrients:

  • The antioxidant lycopene, which is linked to reduced risk of heart disease and cancer
  • Immune supporting vitamin C, as well as other micronutrients like vitamin A, fotate, and magnesium
  • Dietary fiber

Nutritional yeast nutrition benefits

Nutritional yeast is a vegan food product that has a nutty, cheesy flavor. It also has a lot of nutrition benefits! A 1.5 tablespoon serving of nutritional yeast provides:

  • 8 grams of plant-based protein
  • 3 grams of dietary fiber
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals, especially B Vitamins

Nutritional yeast is one of the few plant-based sources of Vitamin B12. If you follow a vegan diet, including fortified nutritional yeast in your daily diet can help prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.

Jar of sun dried tomato pasta sauce with a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and small bowl of sun dried tomatoes

How to make this sun dried tomato sauce with pasta

Soak raw, unsalted cashews in warm water for at least 15 minutes, or overnight.

Chop up onion, celery, and carrots to make a mirepoix. A mirepoix is simply an equal amount of diced carrots, celery, and onion which provides a savory flavor base for meals. Mince the garlic, then saute the mirepoix and garlic together in olive oil on the stovetop. Add salt and peppers, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until vegetables are softened and fragrant.

While the vegetables cook, prepare the pasta according to package instructions in salted water. Reserve ~1/2 cup of pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce and help the sauce stick to the pasta noodles.

Make the sauce in the blender

Combine cashews, water, cooked vegetables, sun dried tomatoes, oil, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast in a blender. I used this high powered Vitamix blender. Blend until completely smooth and creamy, with no chunks remaining.

Strain the pasta, then toss it with sauce and pasta water. Mix until pasta is evenly coated in sauce. Serve immediately with chopped fresh basil or parsley and freshly cracked pepper for garish.

Hand swirling sun dried tomato sauce pasta with a fork from a white bowl with some ingredients behind the bowl

Storing leftover pasta and pasta sauce

This recipe (with pasta) serves 4-6. If you have leftover pasta, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Reheat it in the microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute and it’s ready to eat again!

Note that this recipe makes a lot of sauce – about 3 cups. In order for the blender to blend properly, we need to add enough water so it blends up smooth and creamy. You can keep leftover sauce in a glass container or jar in the fridge for up to 5 days. Try leftover sauce as a spread on sandwiches!

Additionally, you can freeze leftover sauce. Keep it in the freezer for up to three months, and defrost it completely before you use it.

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

Print

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta (Vegan, Gluten Free)

You won’t believe this sun-dried tomato pasta is completely vegan! The decadent, velvety sauce coats the noodles perfectly to create this healthy pasta recipe (yes, pasta can be healthy!). Top this pasta off with fresh basil or parsley for an easy weeknight dinner win!

  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 34 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: blender
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Sauce

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 heaping cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, strained from oil
  • 1 tbsp oil from sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

  • 1 lb dried pasta, such as fettuccine 
  • Chopped fresh basil or parsley (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place cashews in a bowl and fill the bowl with hot water, submerging the cashews. Soak for at least 15 minutes (or overnight), then strain and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a saute pan. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and stir to combine. Add a generous shake of salt and pepper, plus the red pepper flakes. Cook vegetables for 5-10 minutes, until carrots become tender and soft.
  3. While the vegetables cook, prepare the pasta according to package instructions in salted water. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water.
  4. In a blender, combine the cashews, cooked vegetables, sun dried tomatoes, oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, 2 cups of water, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend on high until very smooth and creamy, with no chunks remaining.
  5. Strain the pasta, then add it back to the heated pot. Add 1 1/2 cups of sauce and the pasta water, then stir to mix everything together. Mix until the pasta is evenly coated throughout.
  6. Serve immediately with lots of fresh parsley and freshly cracked black pepper.

Notes

This recipe makes a lot of sauce. In order for the sauce to blend well and form the proper creamy consistency, you need to add enough ingredients to the blender in the quantities listed. You can use leftover sauce as a spread for sandwiches or whisked into salad dressing. You can also freeze the sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Keywords: vegan, gluten free, creamy sundried tomato pasta

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Bowl of creamy sundried tomato pasta with ingredients and sauce surrounding the bowl in small containers