Recently I’ve been all about the carbs.
Just because I’ve been watching my gluten intake doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a hearty plate of pasta.
After perfecting my Best Vegan Gluten Free Mac ‘n’ Cheese, I wanted to make an equally fast recipe with a slight twist; one that involved vegan cream cheese. Because, yum.
Who wouldn’t want cream cheese in their pasta? That’s what I wanna know.
This recipe is simple, requiring just 30 minutes from start to finish.
The base ingredients are gluten free penne (I list my go-to brands below) and asparagus and mushrooms sautéed in garlic.
The star of the show, however, is the sauce.
This sauce is a simple blend of vegan cream cheese, garlic, almond milk, nutritional yeast, vegan parmesan cheese, lemon juice and red pepper flakes.
The result is an insanely creamy sauce that comes together in no time and has the perfect balance of “cheesiness” and spice. I think I’m in love.
I hope you guys LOVE this pasta! It’s:
Loaded with vegetables
This is the perfect pasta to make for spring, utilizing all the gorgeous green asparagus you can get your hands on. This would also be a great one for feeding a crowd, as it’s undetectably vegan and gluten free so everyone can enjoy without missing out on flavor.
If you give this recipe a try, let us know what you think! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see what you come up with!
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp or 12 g)
- 1 cup (54 g) thinly sliced baby bella or crimini mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups (200 g) roughly chopped asparagus
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 10 ounces (283 g) gluten free penne*
- 2 Tbsp (20 ml) olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced + divided (3 Tbsp or 15 g)
- 8 ounces (227 g) vegan cream cheese*
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1/4 cup (20 g) vegan parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1 Tbsp (3 g) nutritional yeast
- 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, 4 cloves garlic, mushrooms, and asparagus. Season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper and stir.
- Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are slightly browned and the asparagus is tender. Remove from skillet and set aside. (If you prefer more tender asparagus, cook longer. If you prefer it with more bite, cook 2-3 minutes.)
- At this time, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with sea salt. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions, then drain and set aside.
- Lower heat on the skillet to low and add 2 Tbsp olive oil and 4 cloves minced garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
- To a blender add remaining 2 cloves raw minced garlic, 4 cloves sautéed garlic,vegan cream cheese, almond milk, vegan parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, red pepper flake, and another healthy pinch sea salt and black pepper.
- Blend until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for cheesiness, raw garlic for zing, red pepper flake for heat, lemon juice for acidity/brightness, or salt for saltiness. Mix once more and add back to skillet.
- Heat the sauce over medium heat to warm until slightly bubbly, then reduce heat to low to keep warm. Stir occasionally.
- Add cooked drained pasta directly to the sauce along with sautéed asparagus and mushrooms. Toss to coat and enjoy immediately with additional vegan parmesan cheese. Fresh parsley would also make a fresh, colorful garnish.
- Best when fresh, though leftovers keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a bit of almond milk if it’s dried out.
*My favorite vegan cream cheeses are by Tofutti and Trader Joe's. But if you can't find vegan cream cheese, you can try subbing 1 cup soaked cashews in its place. However, I haven't tested the recipe this way and can't guarantee the results. For other similar options, check out my Best Vegan Gluten Free Mac 'n' Cheese.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 4 servings without additional vegan parmesan cheese.