This quick and tasty creamy vegan garlic pasta is an easy vegan dinner idea that’s perfect for busy weeknights. Plus, it can also be gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta. To save time and to have this dish ready even quicker, you can pre-make and refrigerate the sauce until you’re ready to use it!
Freshly cooked pasta coated with a flavour-packed garlicky, dairy-free creamy pasta sauce. Doesn’t that sound delicious?!
It’s similar to vegan garlic Alfredo, but not quite the same. This dish is creamy and filled with garlic and Italian spice flavours, and the best part? It’s SO, SO easy and quick to make.
Most creamy vegan pasta sauce recipes call for cashews or a non-dairy milk and flour mixture to achieve that creaminess, but this garlic sauce recipe contains no cheese, no cream, it’s dairy-free, cashew free, nut-free, and flour-free.
Want to know how to make it? Read on!
Ingredients You’ll Need
The ingredients you’ll need are simple, pasta, onions, garlic, broth, soft (also referred to as “silken”) tofu, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt pepper, Italian seasoning, dried parsley, and oil.
Pasta – I like to use fettuccine for this recipe, but feel free to use your favourite kind. Use gluten-free pasta to make the recipe gluten-free.
Soft / Silken Tofu – This is the secret ingredient that makes this vegan pasta sauce creamy. I have not used any other type of tofu to make this recipe, this type will give you the creamiest and smoothest texture.
Italian Seasoning – This is simply a blend of spices and it can be found in the spice section of your grocery store. If you don’t have it or can’t find it, feel free to use your favourite spices.
Oil – A little oil is used to sauté the onions and garlic. If you prefer to not use oil, you can use broth or water instead.
Garlic – You’ll need 6-8 cloves of garlic for this recipe, 6 will give you a sauce that’s packed with a lot of garlic flavour but 8 will make it even stronger. The amount you use is up to you!
Broth – I use a low sodium vegetable broth but if you don’t have any, you can use unsweetened non-dairy milk instead. I used to make it with dairy-free milk before but found that the broth gives the sauce a lot more flavour.
Feel free to customize this recipe by adding some veggies to the finished sauce. Some suggestions: sliced and sautéed mushrooms, roasted asparagus, roasted broccoli or roasted cauliflower.
The Garlic Pasta Sauce
The star of this recipe is definitely the vegan garlic pasta sauce. It’s where all the flavour lives and it contains a little bit of a secret ingredients: silken tofu (or soft tofu, same thing!).
The tofu is the base of the sauce and gives it that creaminess we all love, without any oil, cream, or butter. (Just like my vegan veggie dip!)
The sauce also has a few other additions to build up the flavours that make this dish so delicious.
You can even make the sauce in advance and refrigerate it for later to make preparing your dinner even quicker. When ready, make your pasta, warm up the sauce, and serve.
How to Make It
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions at the end of this post.)
This is one of the quickest and easiest dinner recipes I make. There aren’t many steps and the longest step is probably boiling the pasta.
First, you’ll get the pasta started, when it’s boiling, prepare the vegan garlic cream sauce.
Start by sautéing the onions and garlic. When done, add the garlic and onions and the rest of the ingredients, except the parsley flakes, to a blender. Blend until it’s smooth and creamy and then pour the sauce into a skillet that’s on low heat, to warm it up.
You’ll then whisk the parsley flakes into the sauce, then add the cooked pasta and toss to coat all the noodles with the sauce.
And that’s all. See? Quick and easy!
This recipe is best served right away. I don’t recommend combining the pasta with the sauce and then saving it for later.
When this is done, the pasta absorbs the sauce as it sits and then ends up dry and not very saucy.
If you do want to make this meal in advance of serving it, you can do so by pre-making the sauce (see above), and refrigerating until you’re ready to use it.
Garnishes and Side Ideas
This dish is great on its own, but you can add garnishes or enjoy it with a side dish, if you’d like.
Here are some ideas:
- freshly chopped parsley (like in the pictures!)
- vegan Parmesan
- red pepper flakes
- roasted Brussels sprouts
- roasted broccoli
- roasted garlic cauliflower (for a little extra punch of garlic!)
- roasted asparagus
- sautéed mushrooms
My favourite way to serve it is with parsley, garlic cauliflower, and vegan Parmesan, but play around with different combos to see what you like best.
This recipe is best when served immediately after preparing but if you have leftovers, cool completely, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Reheat in a skillet over medium heat and add a splash of broth to loosen up the sauce since it thickens up when refrigerated.
The sauce cannot be premade to be frozen. Silken tofu does not freeze well, so the texture of your sauce will no longer be smooth and creamy when thawed.
Tips for Success
- Use the correct amount of pasta for the recipe. Too much pasta will result in a dry pasta dinner with barely any sauce to coat all the noodles. If you want to use more pasta than what’s called for, you can always double the sauce recipe. Using a little less pasta than what is called for will result in extra saucy noodles, which is not necessarily a bad thing!
- If you make the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it for later, it will thicken, but when reheated, it should return to the original consistency. If you want to thin it out further when reheating it, you can add a tablespoon or two of broth.
I like to make this meal with long noodles. I always use gluten-free fettuccine or spaghetti noodles, but any type of pasta will work. Just be sure to use the amount stated in the recipe. And in case you are wondering, most dry pasta is vegan, but there are some brands that contain eggs, so always read the ingredients list if you aren’t sure.
Tofu on its own doesn’t have much flavour, but it does have a very subtle “tofu” flavour that I would describe as “earthy?” If you make this recipe exactly as it’s written, you’ll end up with a creamy, garlicky sauce that contains no tofu flavour, at all. No one will know this dish contains tofu!
You can get away with blending it with a stick / hand blender, but for the smoothest, creamiest sauce, a blender is recommended.
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If You Make This Recipe…
…please let me know! You can do so by leaving me a comment below or by sharing a pic on Instagram and tagging me (I’m @delightfuladventures over there!)
And If You Like This Recipe…
…you may also like these other easy vegan dinner recipes:
- Vegan Peanut Noodles
- One-Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta
- Mushroom Stew
- Taco Rice Bowls
- Lentil Sloppy Joes
- Vegan Bolognese Spaghetti
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Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta
- 340 g (12 oz) fettuccine pasta
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (use water or broth for oil-free)
- ½ (50g) small yellow onion, diced
- 6-8 cloves (14-18g) pressed or finely minced garlic (see note below)
- 300 g soft / silken tofu (roughly 1 ¼ cup)
- ¾ cup (180ml) vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dry parsley flakes
- Prepare pasta using directions on package. Drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes, until the onions begins to brown.
- Remove skillet from the heat and add onion and garlic mixture, tofu, broth, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper to a blender. Blend until mixture is smooth.
- Pour mixture back into the same skillet and set heat to low. Whisk in parsley flakes. Heat until the sauce is warm and slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
- Add cooked pasta to the skillet and gently toss using tongs until all noodles are coated with the sauce. Serve immediately.
- Please read through all info and tips above before making this recipe.
- This recipe makes 2 meal-sized servings or 4 smaller lunch-sized servings.
- The amount of garlic you use will depend on how strong you want the garlic flavour to be. Use 6 if you want it to be less strong, 8 for a strong garlic flavour.
- To make this recipe without added oil, use water or broth to sauté the onions and garlic.
- Use a regular blender, high-speed blender, or even a stick blender to blend the sauce.
- This recipe is best when served immediately after preparing but if you have leftovers, cool completely, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat and add a splash of broth to loosen up the sauce as it thickens up when refrigerated.
- To save time, the sauce can be pre-made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to use, prepare pasta, add the sauce to a skillet over medium heat to warm up and add prepared pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
- The sauce cannot be frozen. Silken tofu does not freeze well, so the texture of your sauce will no longer be smooth and creamy when thawed.
- Nutrition info is based on 1 of 4 servings of the recipe prepared as written, using gluten-free fettuccine a low sodium vegetable broth, and with no garnishes. Nutrition info is only to be used as a rough guide. Click to learn how nutrition info is calculated on this website.
This post was updated in February 2021 to add more helpful info and the recipe was updated slightly to make it even more flavourful.