This creamy vegan pasta is coated in a luscious sauce that's entirely dairy-free! It's a tangy blend of white beans, lemon juice & nutritional yeast.
This creamy vegan pasta is my favorite recipe to make when I’m craving comfort food but don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen. From start to finish, it takes just over 20 minutes to make, so it’s the perfect weeknight meal. All you need to do is boil the pasta, blend up the sauce, sauté onion and broccoli, and toss it all together. Then, you can sit down to devour warm bowls of noodles and veggies coated with this super creamy vegan pasta sauce. While this sauce looks like a rich cream or cheese sauce, it’s actually a tangy, luscious blend of white beans, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. So this recipe is not only quick & comforting, but it’s also healthy!
Vegan Pasta Recipe Ingredients
Of course, this creamy vegan pasta sauce is totally dairy-free, but it’s also different than many vegan pasta sauces I make. Often, I turn to raw cashews or coconut milk in these recipes, but this time, I went in a different direction. Here’s what I used:
- White beans are the secret ingredient that make this sauce thick, smooth, and creamy! They also add a good amount of plant-based protein. Use canned beans, or cook your own.
- Lemon juice brightens it up.
- Olive oil adds richness.
- Nutritional yeast fills this vegan pasta with yummy cheese-like flavor.
- Onion powder & garlic amp up the savory, umami flavors in this recipe.
- Vegetable broth (and pasta cooking water, if you like) loosens the sauce as needed.
- Pasta. I used small shell pasta, but use what you have on hand. Orecchiette, bow ties, or rigatoni would all be great. Read the label on your pasta to make sure it’s vegan – most dried pastas are.
- Broccoli and chopped up broccoli stems. This recipe is a great way to use up the whole vegetable. If your broccoli still has leaves attached, toss those in too!
- And pine nuts add a delicious crunch!
One note about this recipe – it’s not mac and cheese. I know it looks cheesy, but this sauce isn’t meant to recreate cheese (head over here if that’s what you’re looking for). Instead, it’s a tangy, comforting garlic pasta that’s delicious in its own way.
Easy Vegan Pasta Recipe Variations
This vegan pasta is a great recipe to play with! The creamy, luscious vegan pasta sauce is a fantastic starting point for different combinations of vegetables, noodles, seasonings, and more. Here are a few ideas for changing it up:
- Switch the vegetables. Sautéed broccoli and onion are my go-to veggies here, but roasted broccoli, roasted cauliflower or Brussels sprouts would also be delicious. In the summer, stir in roasted tomatoes. In the spring, add market-fresh asparagus.
- Skip the actual pasta. Instead of regular pasta, serve this sauce over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
- Spice it up. I love adding a few pinches of red pepper flakes to my bowl. Pickled jalapeños would be another fun, punchy addition.
- Get creative with flavor add-ins. Amp up this creamy vegan pasta with chopped sun-dried tomatoes, dollops of vegan pesto, or fresh basil leaves.
If you love this vegan pasta recipe…
Head over here to find more of my favorite plant-based recipes, or try one of these delicious pasta dishes next!
- Pasta pomodoro with creamy vegan tomato sauce
- Roasted vegetable pasta
- Carrot tomato tagliatelle
- Easy baked ziti
- Roasted vegetable lasagna
- Fettuccine Alfredo with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
Creamy Vegan Pasta
- 2½ cups small shell pasta
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 5 cups broccoli florets, chopped stems, and leaves (keep stems separate)
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- lemon wedges, for serving
- 1½ cups cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup vegetable broth, more as needed
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast*
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Make the sauce: In a blender, combine the white beans, broth, lemon juice, olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chopped broccoli stems and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add the broccoli florets and leaves and a splash of water or vegetable broth. Cover and turn off the heat.
- Allow the broccoli to steam for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender but still bright green. Add the pasta, then stir in ¾ of the sauce, adding more broth if the sauce is too dry.
- Season to taste with more salt, pepper and lemon juice, as desired, and portion into bowls. Divide the remaining sauce onto each bowl. Top with the pine nuts and serve with lemon wedges on the side.