This creamy vegan pasta is made with tomato and basil and uses cashews to make it creamy and delicious. The perfect family meal for busy weeknights, it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and is packed with healthy ingredients.
I love quick and easy dinners like this creamy vegan pasta, especially ones that contain a variety of different food groups. This recipe uses whole wheat pasta, cashews, and vegetables including basil and tomatoes.
My three-year-old typically likes pasta with jarred tomato sauce so I wasn’t sure how she would react to this homemade sauce. But after one bite she was hooked! It still has that traditional tomato flavor, but creamier and more delicious.
Plus since everything is blended together, it has a silky smooth consistency – no weird bits or pieces that many kids dislike.
Creamy Cashew Sauce
This sauce is the star of the show, and it’s made from these simple and healthy ingredients:
Plus it couldn’t be easier to make. Simply add everything to a blender and viola! You have a delicious sauce for your pasta.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. When you make a purchase through links in this post, I may receive a small commission.
Health Benefits of Cashews
As a mom to a three-year-old, I’m always looking for easy ways to boost the nutrition in foods. Cashews are fantastic in this dish because they give pasta sauce a creamy yet light consistency. Plus, they are packed with:
- heart-healthy fat: kids need fat for proper brain development, to use as an energy source, and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins (like the vitamin A in tomatoes and vitamin K in basil)
- plant-based protein: to help them grow and develop properly
- fiber: for improved gut health and digestion
- minerals like zinc for immune health, iron to make red blood cells, and magnesium for strong bones
Cooking With Kids
Kids of all ages can make this creamy vegan pasta sauce. My three-year-old loves pulling off the basil leaves and dumping everything into the blender. Plus, when kids have a hand in preparing the meal, they are more likely to eat the food.
Cooking with your kids is especially great for picky eaters. They get to see, touch, smell and taste (sampling is recommended) each ingredient that is used. Even better, grow your own tomatoes and basil this summer and use it to make this pasta sauce.
Here are some kid-friendly tasks your child can help with:
- Pull basil leaves from the stem
- Break off a garlic clove
- Measure the ingredients
- Dump ingredients into the blender
- Be the official taste tester: kid’s love giving their opinion! Ask them if the sauce needs more salt, pepper or basil.
Creamy Vegan Pasta Tips:
Do I have to soak the Cashews?
If you don’t, soak the cashews in water for at least a couple hours or overnight and drain them before use for a silky smooth consistency.
What type of pasta to use?
Use whatever your family likes. We typically use regular pasta or whole wheat pasta, but feel free to use gluten-free pasta, chickpea pasta, ravioli, even zucchini or carrot noodles will work.
Canned or Fresh Tomatoes?
I typically use a can of diced or whole tomatoes. However you can also use tomato puree or even a cup and a half of pasta sauce. Or use two large fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped and cored.
Why Use Pasta Water?
Leftover pasta water is full of starch which makes the sauce even more luxurious, smooth and creamy. Plus it helps the pasta stick to the sauce. Alternatively, use 1/4 cup of hot water.
Creamy Vegan Pasta with Tomato and Basil
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta
- 14 oz can of tomatoes or two large tomatoes roughly chopped and cored
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup leftover pasta water or hot water
- 2 tbsp tomato paste optional
- 2 cloves garlic minced about 1 teaspoon
- 1 loosely packed cup of basil or 1 large handful
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp pepper, or to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add in pasta and cook according to the directions.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and process until smooth.
- Once the pasta is done cooking, drain it. Add the drained pasta back to the pot and gradually add pasta sauce until your desired amount is achieved. Stir and serve immediately. Save any leftover sauce.
- Tomato paste is optional but it gives the sauce a deeper tomato flavor.
- Gluten-free? Use gluten-free pasta.
- If you aren’t using a high-speed blender, soak the cashews in water for a few hours and drain them before blending.
- Store left over sauce in the fridge for up to three days. Use it as a spread on toast, sandwiches or wraps, or as a dip for veggies or pita bread.
For more easy meals check out these recipes:
Did you make this recipe? Please rate this recipe and leave a comment. I’d love to know how it turned out for you!