Vegan Vodka Sauce with Rigatoni

rigatoni with vegan vodka sauce in a white bowl

Vegan vodka sauce offers the same rich, creamy texture as the traditional recipe but without heavy cream, butter, or milk. It’s a dairy-free dinner dream made for the plant-based, the lactose-intolerant, or flexitarians looking to work their meat-free muscle.

This luscious, loveable pasta recipe is easy to make on a weeknight; simply boil pasta and toss with a flavorful sauce of sharp, sweet shallot, spicy red pepper flakes, savory tomato paste, creamy coconut milk, and of course, a splash of vodka. Paired with an acidic, crisp salad, vegan penne alla vodka (or in this case, rigatoni) is a nutritious dinner recipe that’ll turn any Wednesday into a special occasion. In my opinion, pasta night is always worth celebrating—especially when it’s this good.

What can I use instead of heavy cream in vodka sauce?

Coconut milk is the fastest, easiest substitute for heavy cream. Just open a can and pour it in (bonus: this recipe uses an entire can). You can also blend raw cashews in a high-speed blender to create a kind of cashew “cream.” If using cashew cream, use half as much as you would coconut milk. If you’re not vegan or dairy-free, you can also use whole milk or half-n-half.

How to make vegan vodka sauce

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously. Add in the rigatoni and cook for 1 minute less than package directions. Scoop out 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta.

tomato paste in a skillet

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet (or another pot) over medium-low. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and cook until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, followed by the tomato paste and cook until it’s loosened, bright orange-red, and starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add a splash of pasta water if the tomato paste starts to burn. Add in the vodka and simmer until almost completely evaporated, 3-5 minutes.

vegan vodka sauce in a skillet

Slowly add in the coconut milk, stirring constantly, until a smooth sauce forms. Turn off the heat, add in the red wine vinegar, a big pinch of salt, and several cranks of black pepper. Taste the sauce and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar as desired.

vegan vodka sauce and rigatoni in a skillet

Add the pasta to the pan with the sauce. Turn the heat back on to medium-high and simmer the pasta with the sauce, stirring constantly, until the sauce evenly coats the pasta, and the pasta is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add a splash of pasta water if the sauce is too thick (if you’re using regular coconut milk, you will probably need about ¼ cup of water, lite coconut milk usually does not need any added water). Taste again and adjust seasonings as necessary.

rigatoni with vegan vodka sauce in a white bowl with a fork

Serve with extra black pepper and dairy-free Parmesan cheese.

What to serve with this pasta dish

Vegan Vodka Sauce with Rigatoni

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.83 out of 5)
Loading...
Dinner American
By Samantha Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

Easy vegan vodka sauce made with coconut milk for a luscious, creamy pasta without the dairy.

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 1 lb rigatoni or penne
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 1 14-oz can coconut milk (regular or lite, use a mild-flavored brand such as Thai Kitchen)
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Nutritional yeast or dairy-free Parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously. Add in the rigatoni and cook for 1 minute less than package directions. Scoop out 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta.

2

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet (or another pot) over medium-low. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and cook until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, followed by the tomato paste and cook until it’s loosened, bright orange-red, and starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add a splash of pasta water if the tomato paste starts to burn. Add in the vodka and simmer until almost completely evaporated, 3-5 minutes. Slowly add in the coconut milk, stirring constantly, until a smooth sauce forms. Turn off the heat, add in the red wine vinegar, a big pinch of salt, and several cranks of black pepper. Taste the sauce and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar as desired.

3

Add the pasta to the pan with the sauce. Turn the heat back on to medium-high and simmer the pasta with the sauce, stirring constantly, until the sauce evenly coats the pasta, and the pasta is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add a splash of pasta water if the sauce is too thick (if you’re using regular coconut milk, you will probably need about ¼ cup of water, lite coconut milk usually does not need any added water). Taste again and adjust seasonings as necessary.

4

Serve with extra black pepper and dairy-free Parmesan cheese.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.