I used to make this creamy sausage spinach pasta with regular ingredients all the time but I wanted to challenge myself and recreate my recipe with plant-based ingredients. To be honest, I was very surprised with how well it turned out because it almost tasted like the real thing!
The cashew cream in this dish is a serious game changer for dairy alternatives, so I highly recommend that you give it a try. It’s a great substitute for heavy cream because it provides the same creamy luscious texture for this pasta. When making this recipe, I couldn’t find nutritional yeast anywhere so I got a little creative and made a ‘parmesan cheese’ substitute with raw cashews instead! While it’s not an exact replica of cheese, I must say – it’s pretty darn close!
If you’re looking to incorporate more plant-based ingredients into your diet, you HAVE TO give this recipe a try! I promise you won’t be disappointed. 🙂
Why you’ll love this recipe
This healthy and delicious vegan sausage pasta recipe is convenient to make and easily customizable. Depending on your preferences and desires, you can use any type of meat substitute and throw in any veggies you like!
Since this is a recipe that you can whip up in as fast as 30 minutes, it’s perfect for weeknights or when you want to impress a loved one on a date night in.
The juiciness of the vegan sausages that I used pairs really well with the tomato sauce but the addition of the cashew cream is what makes this dish really special. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even serve the pasta with some homemade garlic bread. I swear you’ll be thinking about this meal for days!
How do I prepare Vegan Sausage Pasta?
Pasta is undeniably a comfort food and this 100% plant-based version is just as hearty (and delicious) as the original. To make this recipe, just follow the steps below:
Step 1: Make the cashew cream
To start, soak the raw cashews in hot water for 20 minutes.
Then, drain the water and transfer the cashews into a high-speed blender with salt and water.
Blend the mixture until completely smooth, then set aside.
Step 2: Make the cashew parmesan
In a clean high-speed blender or food processor, combine the raw cashews, salt, garlic powder, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes. Blend until the ingredients turn into a fine powder.
Step 3: Prepare the pasta
To cook the pasta, boil a pot of water and add a generous amount of salt.
Once the water is in a roiling boil, add the penne or pasta of your choice and cook until al dente or your desired doneness.
Step 4: Cook the ‘sausage’
While the pasta is cooking, remove the ‘sausage’ from the casing.
Preheat some oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the ‘sausage’ and make sure to break the ‘sausage’ into small chunks with your spatula.
Toss in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the ‘sausage’ has browned.
Step 5: Make the sauce
In the same pan, pour in the vegetable stock and flour. Make sure to whisk the flour well into the stock so it doesn’t form any lumps.
When the sauce has slightly thickened, add the canned tomatoes, cashew cream, spinach, salt, pepper, and cooked pasta.
Give the ingredients a good mix to combine everything together.
Step 6: Serve!
Transfer the pasta to a plate and sprinkle a generous amount of the cashew ‘parmesan’. Serve and enjoy!
Cooking tips for Vegan Sausage Pasta
This vegan sausage pasta recipe is as easy as cooking a regular pasta dish, but here are a couple of tips to keep in mind that can help you make the perfect version every single time:
- Don’t skip the step of adding salt to the water when boiling the pasta. The salt helps build the flavors in the pasta and the overall dish.
- Be sure to use raw unsalted cashews for the cream and ‘parmesan’
- When making the cashew cream, you want to use a high-speed blender for a silky smooth, creamy sauce. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, I recommend soaking the cashews overnight before blending. Soaking the cashews overnight will make it easier to blend.
- Feel free to substitute the meat alternative and vegetables used in this recipe. This recipe is very customizable so be sure to make it how you like!
Penne pasta: I like to use penne pasta for this recipe, but you can also swap it for any type of pasta that you prefer, including spaghetti, rigatoni, or fusilli.
Plant-based sausage: the plant-based sausage makes this a hearty and filling dish but you can skip it if you’d like. Also, feel free to substitute this with any other plant-based meat alternatives!
Garlic: garlic is a classic ingredient in pasta and this is no exception! It adds a beautiful aroma and fragrance which I absolutely love.
Spinach: I love the addition of spinach to this recipe because it’s healthy and wilts nicely into the pasta. You can also use any leafy greens of your choice, including watercress, arugula, or even kale.
Vegetable broth: the vegetable broth builds the flavor of the sauce but you can also substitute it with white wine or just water.
All-purpose flour: all-purpose flour plays an essential role in this pasta because it acts as the thickening agent for the sauce. If you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative, you can also use cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
Canned diced tomatoes: you can also swap the canned version with some fresh tomatoes by dicing them into small pieces before tossing them into the sauce.
Raw unsalted cashews: the raw unsalted cashews are used for both the cream and ‘parmesan’. When soaked in hot water and blended for the ‘cream’, it turns into a beautiful luscious creamy texture that’s perfect as a substitute for dairy cream. When blended into a fine powder for the ‘parmesan’ it adds the nuttiness and texture that is commonly associated with parmesan cheese. Raw cashews can be substitutes cashews with raw unsalted sunflower seeds.
Cashew ‘parmesan’: if you’re in a pinch and can’t make the cashew parmesan, you can top the pasta with some nutritional yeast instead.
Pasta Sauce Customizations
To make this recipe your own, you can also experiment with adding your favorite vegetables and ingredients. Here are some of my favorite vegetables that I think work really well in this pasta!
1. Mushrooms – mushrooms are always an excellent addition to pasta! Any mushroom from baby bella, shiitake, portabella, or button mushrooms would be delicious in this pasta. Just make sure to saute them with the vegan ‘sausage’ until they’re brown to bring out their flavors.
2. Broccoli – you can’t really go wrong with broccoli in pasta! I recommend blanching the broccoli first and then cutting them up into bite-sized pieces before tossing them into the sauce.
3. Bell peppers – bell peppers add a subtle sweetness to the sauce and taste great with tomatoes! You can use red bell peppers (which are the sweetest) or use a combination of yellow, orange, and green bell peppers too! I recommend sauteing them with the ‘sausage’ to help soften them up.
4. Carrots – similar to bell peppers, carrots also add a hint of sweetness to the sauce. Just make sure to dice them into small pieces and saute them with the ‘sausage’.
5. Hot peppers – if you want to add some spice to this pasta, a jalapeno, serrano or even Thai chili will do the trick. Optionally, you can deseed the peppers to reduce the spiciness. Just chop them up finely then add the peppers along with the garlic and ‘sausage’.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is vegan sausage meat made of?
Vegan sausages are meat alternatives made with plant-based ingredients. It contains a variety of ingredients depending on the brand you choose. Some varieties are made from some type of vegetable protein, like soy or pea protein, and mixed with vegetable oil, like canola, olive, sunflower, or coconut to make it juicy. Spices and aromatics, like garlic, onion powder, basil, and oregano are also added to build the flavors. Some sausages even contain a combination of peppers to make them spicy!
I recommend checking the nutrition label of the packaging to be sure what the vegan sausage is made of.
What is cashew cream?
Cashew cream is a dairy-free substitute for heavy cream or milk in recipes like this one. Aside from pasta, you can also use it for soups, salad dressings, and ganache for desserts because it adds a thick and velvety texture to them. It’s very important to soak the raw unsalted cashews in hot water for at least 20 minutes or overnight to allow their starch to swell and gelatinize. This will make the cream light and soft to resemble real cream.
If you’re allergic to cashews, sunflower seeds also make excellent substitutes for them. Just use the same amount, and you’ll also need to soak them in hot water.
Can you store and reheat Vegan Sausage Pasta?
If you have any leftovers, you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container, and they will last for up to 5 days. If you need to reheat them, place them in a pan with a few tablespoons of vegetable stock and heat them for a few minutes while stirring. You can also do this in a microwave by reheating them for 2 to 3 minutes or until the pasta is warmed all the way through.
Looking for more easy and delicious vegetarian recipes?
If this recipe has activated your appetite for more pasta, you can check out these recipes below:
1. Air Fryer Salt and Pepper Tofu – if you’re looking for something that’s light, healthy, and protein-packed, give my salty and peppery air fryer tofu a try!
2. Mushroom Rice Bowl – this one-pot mushroom rice bowl is super healthy, and delicious, and comes together in under 30 minutes! If you’re a mushroom lover like me, you’re going to love this recipe!
3. Baked Vegan Katsu with Eggplant – this crispy eggplant katsu is also another vegan, plant-based version of the original eggplant katsu. It’s super tasty and pairs deliciously with the chipotle lime dipping sauce!
4. Impossible Mapo Tofu – if you love mapo tofu but you’re looking for a healthier alternative with plant-based meat, this is the recipe for you!
5. Taiwanese Sesame Noodles – ma jiang mian or Taiwanese sesame noodles are one of those quick 10-minute meals that you can make any day of the week. This dish has a nice combination of salty and sweet from all the delicious sauce condiments!
Vegan Sausage Pasta
- 10 ounces penne
- 8 ounces plant based sausage casing removed
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 tbsp garlic minced
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth or white wine
- 1/2 tbsp flour
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup cashew cream
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cashew Parmesan to taste
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/3 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 red pepper flakes
- To prepare the cashew cream, start by soaking the cashews in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain then transfer into a high-speed blender with salt and water. Blend until smooth. Set aside for later.
- To prepare the cashew 'parmesan', combine raw cashews, salt, garlic powder, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes in a clean blender. Blend it into a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl then set aside.
- Boil a pot of water over medium high heat and salt it generously. Add the penne or pasta of the choice and cook until the desired doneness.
- Heat a pan with oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and break it up into small chunks with your spatula. Toss in the garlic then cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sausage has browned.
- Pour in the vegetable stock and flour. Make sure to whisk the flour into the stock so there are no lumps.
- When the mixture has slightly thickened, add the canned tomatoes, cashew cream, spinach, salt, pepper, and cooked pasta.
- Mix until fully combined and top with cashew parmesan to taste. Serve and enjoy!
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*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that where I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. *