My go-to vegan vodka sauce - ideal for a lazy school-night dinner with a secret vegan hack to replace the double cream!
At this stage, I seriously have to ask myself am I making the vegan vodka sauce or is the vegan vodka sauce making me?? I genuinely don't know any more. I eat this stuff so often that I genuinely believe that it's responsible for providing the energy and nutrient behind some of my greatest actions.
Going down that slide at the kids playground so fast that I ripped my pants? Vegan vodka sauce fueled that. Sl*t dropping so hard at my brother's wedding that I ripped my pants? Vegan vodka sauce fueled that too. I can think of over fifteen occasions where vegan vodka sauce directly or indirectly resulted in me ripping my pants and I'm a bigger person all-round for those experiences.
Vodka sauce wasn't necessarily something I grew up with. It's not a huge thing over here in the UK, but that doesn't mean that it SHOULDNT BE! It also doesn't mean that it isn't begging to be veganised! I first had vegan vodka sauce in the USofA at a restaurant and it was a magical experience I was desperate to replicate.
BUT, the one rule I set for myself was this: NO CASHEWS! Yes, this is a creamy sauce and I'm going to make it without cashews. No ifs or buts! Instead we're going to use my all-time flavourite CANNELLINI CREAM! It's exactly what it sounds like, literally a blended tin of cannellini beans.
How do I make VEGAN VODKA SAUCE!?
As always, the FULL RECIPE is at the bottom of the page - scroll on down if you're in a hurry. If not, hey! Welcome! You're the best!! I'm gonna talk you through the process right now!
1. Start with (vegan) butter!
The challenge of this recipe is getting things really creamy. Obvs we can't just use cream like in a normal vodka sauce recipe, so to begin with, let's cook our onions off in vegan butter. I also use a little olive oil to keep things extra tasty but don't skip the vegan butter. You'll thank me later.
2. Fry off the onions and garlic
People tend to do one of two things when frying off onions and garlic: they under-do it, or the over-do it. We're going to take things until the garlic is JUST starting to pick up some lightly browned edges. Nothing more, nothing less. You'll find this is the optimal point for a sweet toasty flavour without any burnt bitterness.
3. Add your tomato puree!
In the UK we call it puree, in the US people call it tomato paste (which I think is a much more accurate description of this stuff). Either way, make sure you're using the thick stuff that comes in a tube or little can - not passata which is just sieved tomatoes.
And yes it'll feel like I'm asking you to add a lot of paste (a whole tube no less!) but don't be freaked out. It's worth it! It also feels like a long time to cook off the tomato sauce, but it's necessary to avoid a tangy bitter final product. Next up add your vodka to deglaze the pan.
4. Make your cannellini cream
My fave thing to do is empty an entire can of cannellini beans into a blender and watch the magic happen. It works even better if you also add some soy milk and some nutritional yeast, but the nooch is optional. Remember, don't drain the beans - add the soaking water to the blender too.
5. Add it all together!
Finally you're going to add the cannellini cream to the tomato sauce. Stir together until creamy AF and then add your cooked pasta. SUPER! And that's it! Magic! And not a single cashew in sight!
And that's how to make vegan vodka sauce!
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Vegan vodka sauce has been THIS EASY this WHOLE TIME!? The answer is yes, and now you're free to enjoy it EVERY DAY and get up to pant-ripping mischief like me!
WANT MORE EASY DINNERS!?
Why not try:
Vegan Vodka Sauce
- 200 g cannellini beans (from a can, drained)
- 4 tablespoon soy milk (unsweetened and unflavoured)
- 60 ml water
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 20 g vegan butter
- ½ onion (peeled and finely chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (peeled and finely sliced)
- Pinch red chilli flakes
- 150 g tomato puree (aka tomato paste)
- 100 ml vodka
- 450 g rigatoni
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Fresh basil for serving
- Fill a large saucepan half-way with water, add a few pinches of sea salt and place over medium heat.
- Open the can of cannellini beans and drain off the water. Transfer 200g of the beans to a high speed blender with the soy milk, water and nutritional yeast (optional). Blend until very smooth. Reserve the remaining beans in an airtight container in the fridge for a future recipe.200 g cannellini beans, 4 tablespoon soy milk, 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 60 ml water
- Place a large frying pan or wide saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil and vegan butter. When melted, add the onion, garlic and chilli flakes and fry for a few minutes until fragrant, but don't allow to brown.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 20 g vegan butter, ½ onion, 4 cloves garlic, Pinch red chilli flakes
- Add the tomato puree and stir well to coat the onion and garlic. Cook for a further 5-6 minutes, stirring often until the tomato puree has turned a deep red and is beginning to catch on the bottom of the pan.150 g tomato puree
- Add the vodka and stir (see notes below). Reduce the heat to low.100 ml vodka
- Add the cannellini cream and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and taste test the sauce before seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
- Add the rigatoni to the large saucepan of boiling water and cook according to the pack instructions or until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving around a cup of the cooking water then add the cooked pasta to the vodka sauce.450 g rigatoni
- Stir the pasta into the sauce and add some of the pasta cooking water, little by little, until the sauce is uniformly coating the pasta.
- Serve topped with ground black pepper and some fresh basil.sea salt and black pepper to taste, Fresh basil for serving