Vegan Vodka Sauce

Vegan Vodka Sauce

Ladies and gentleman (or however else you identify, we don’t judge), I’d like to introduce you to the star of any vegan pasta dish. We are proud to present…

Drum roll please…

Our delicious Vegan Vodka Sauce!

*crowd goes wild*

Okay, that’s all for today. We’ll see you next time!

Wait, you want more than that? Okay fine. Let’s talk about our Vegan Vodka Sauce. 

Vodka sauce was always one of those things that we really craved when we had pasta. We’ve done the classics: tomato basil sauce, pesto, vegan fettuccine alfredo (let us know if you want us to do our own vegan fettuccine alfredo), the whole 9 yards. But, vodka sauce was one of the ones that was hard to nail. It’s a little bit of a tougher recipe to make vegan, because you have to have a really good vegan cream. We had tried all of the store-bought ones, and had never really landed on one that we loved. Some were too sweet, some were too bland, but they all weren’t right. 

We realized we had to make our own. We had the high-powered blender and the will to make it happen, all we needed to do was make it. It’s a 1:2 ratio of cashews to water. It makes a pretty thick cream, so if you don’t have a high-powered blender like this one, you may want to strain it through cheesecloth or something similar to get the fine bits of cashew out. Blenders like that can be a bit of an investment, but they’re so useful in vegan cooking

The other star of the show here is the vegan parmesan cheese. This one is also pretty simple, but it’s such a useful staple to have around the house. Anywhere you’d use crumbled parmesan cheese is fair game for this stuff. Pesto, pizza, you name it. Plus, cashews+salt+nutritional yeast=how could that possibly go wrong?

Tips and tricks:

There’s not a whole lot that could really go wrong here. However, we want to add a couple of helpful hints.

  1. If you only have 1 blender, make the parmesan first, set it aside, then make the cream. It’s all going in the same dish, but it helps to cut down on those mid-cooking-frenzied, “Oh, shoot. I need to wash that dish/tool.”
  2. Go ahead and make the whole batch! If you end up making more sauce than you need, this sauce freezes very well. 

Vegan Vodka Sauce

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr


Sauce Base:

  • 1 medium/large onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 28 oz can tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup basil
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp salt

Cashew Cream:

  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • ½ cup water

Vegan Parmesan:

  • ½ cup cashews
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt


Soak the cashews:

  • Set the ¼ cup of cashews to boil in a small to medium sized saucepan filled with water. Once boiling, turn the temperature down to low. If it’s not rolling, that’s fine.

Make the tomato sauce base:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven or large saute pan.
  • Chop the onion and the garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the pan with the oil. Cook the onion and garlic for a few minutes, until the onion is translucent and everything is fragrant.
  • Chop the basil leaves into ribbons. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, water, basil, red pepper flakes, and salt to the pan, and stir to combine. Cook down to desired consistency. Should be “sauce”-y.

Make the vegan parmesan:

  • While the tomato sauce is thickening, make the vegan parmesan. Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-powered blender and blend into a fine powder. Think of the size and shape of grated parmesan. Note: the cashews for the parmesan are not the soaked cashews.

Make the cashew cream:

  • Once the vegan parmesan is done, make the cashew cream. Add the soaked cashews and a fresh ½ cup of water to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

Bring it all together:

  • Once the tomato sauce is thickened, add the cashew cream and stir to combine. Add vegan parmesan to taste (you might not use all of it). Serve hot on your favorite pasta (we love Banza chickpea pasta and homemade gnocchi!).

If you love this recipe as much as we did, make sure to pin it on Pinterest and like our post on Instagram! And check out our other recipes, like our Chipotle Bean and Cheese Quesadillas for lunch and our Tofu Chocolate Pudding for dessert!