I’ve had a fairly easy time giving up a lot of my favorite dairy-containing foods over the last year (yogurt, ice cream, cheese), but pasta and pizza have been tough ones for me. Pizza, I’ve recently discovered, works great cheese-less with a healthy shake of vegan parmesan. But pasta has mainly stumped me…until now.
One of the meals I’ve made for John and myself every week for the last several years is a lightened up Pesto Alfredo with some form of steamed veggie. I love the richness and creamy texture it offers. While I recognize there is a place for cashew-based sauces, I wanted something so undetectably creamy that it had to be nut free.
So I started with simple ingredients that I use in my original recipe, but swapped the regular milk for almond milk. As for the cheese? I supplemented other flavor in the form of shallot, garlic and roasted tomatoes. And when serving, I shake on a healthy amount vegan parm. The result? Pasta that sends me straight to creamy pasta heaven.
This is a 30-minute meal that’s virtually fool-proof. While you get your sauce going by sauteeing garlic and shallot in a little olive oil, roast your grape tomatoes. When you roast tomatoes in a little olive oil and sea salt, it enhances their natural flavor and gives them an almost smoky, fire-roasted taste, which pairs perfectly with the creamy garlic sauce.
Once your sauce is thickened you can either blend it for undetectable creaminess or leave it with a bit of texture. Then, all that’s left to do is toss in the tomatoes and garnish with fresh herbs, black pepper, or a little parm. This dish is so simple yet so flavorful! It’s:
& Surprisingly satisfying
I served ours with a little steamed broccoli and, of course, some white wine. What’s white pasta without white wine? This really is the perfect quick meal for weeknights that will please even picky eaters. Don’t even mention there’s no butter or cream and I’ll bet no one will notice. Cheers!
Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
- 3 cups grape tomatoes (halved)
- 10 ounces whole wheat pasta (such as penne, linguini, or fettuccine // use less if you want a higher sauce:pasta ratio // use gluten-free pasta for GF eaters)
- Olive oil
- 2 medium shallots (diced // 2 medium shallots yield ~1/4 cup or 40 g)
- 8 large cloves garlic (minced/grated // 8 large cloves yield ~1/4 cup or 24 g)
- 1 pinch each sea salt and black pepper
- 3-4 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour (or another thickener of choice)*
- 2 1/2 cups unsweetened plain Almond Breeze
- 2-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1-2 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (optional // plus more for serving)
- 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and toss tomatoes in a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Place cut side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish. Then set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. When done, drain, cover and set aside.
- In the meantime, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add 1 Tbsp (15 ml // use more, as needed, if increasing batch size) olive oil and the garlic and shallot. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper and stir frequently, cooking for 3-4 minutes until softened and fragrant.
- Stir in flour (or other thickener of choice – see notes) and mix with a whisk. Once combined, slowly whisk in the almond milk a little at a time so clumps don’t form. Then add nutritional yeast, another healthy pinch of salt and black pepper, and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes to thicken.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt to taste, more minced/pressed garlic for zing, or more nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor. Optional: You can also add 1-2 Tbsp of vegan parmesan for extra flavor at this time. Some readers also enjoyed adding 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice at this time for some brightness / acidity.)
- If you want an ultra creamy sauce, transfer sauce to a blender (or use an immersion blender) to blend the sauce until creamy and smooth. Place back in pan and reduce heat to a low simmer until desired thickness is reached.
- Once the sauce is to your desired thickness, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then add pasta and roasted tomatoes and stir.
- Serve immediately and garnish with extra black pepper, fresh basil, and/or vegan parmesan cheese. Best when fresh, but will keep for up to 2 days in fridge.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*Inspired by Kitchy Kitchen