A creamy vegan tomato pasta sauce that’s simple to make, healthy and comforting is an easy go-to dinner idea. Stir in some tofu and serve straight away, or store in the fridge for a cold pasta dish! Gluten-free and oil-free.
Pasta: my go-to base for meals when I have no idea what to cook. Perfect as comfort food or a lighter, salad-y meal alike. Pasta is one of the loves of my life, basically. Throw it in a pot with a few ingredients or a sauce (which is basically what we’re doing today) and you’ve got a quick, cheap meal that never lets you down.
I’m now back from a one-week solo trip in Corfu. It was beautiful and I’m happy that I permitted myself to do very little while I was there – mostly relaxing, sleeping, eating and doing preparatory reading for uni – because now I genuinely feel recharged and well rested. Speaking of uni, that’s one of the reasons why I don’t have a bad case of holiday blues. The next big stage of my life is just three weeks away! Three weeks! The excitement definitely outweighs my fair share of worries.
I know that as a student, meals that are quick and convenient, but healthy and filling at the same time will be more important to me than ever. I can’t wait to share my experience of living a healthy vegan lifestyle at university with all of you, and it’s certainly going to involve plenty of meals like this creamy tomato sauce pasta with tofu.
Delicious vegan tomato pasta sauce
I’m a huge fan of tomato-based sauces. Sure, cashew ones are delicious, but cashews can be expensive and no matter how hard I try, I always forget to soak them. Plus, it’s very much possible to make a creamy pasta sauce without cashews using coconut milk, or any other plant milk options such as soy or oat if you want to keep it nut-free.
The tofu is a highly-recommended extra. It’s great not only for extra texture and flavour, but a boost of vegan protein. If you want to up the protein content of this meal even more, use a bean or legume pasta variety – those often taste better anyway in my opinion. However, if you want to minimise cooking time, leave the tofu out or stir in pre-cooked beans of your choice at the end.
This easy pasta recipe is:
- Rich and flavourful
- Slightly smoky
- Easy to make
- Meal prep and lunchbox friendly
- Delicious eaten either hot or cold
- Gluten-free, as long as you use gluten-free pasta
How to make creamy vegan pasta
We’ll start by marinading the tofu. If you use the extra firm variety, this shouldn’t need much more than 15 or so minutes. Simply chop it into bite sized pieces and stir together with tamari, rice vinegar and garlic granules. Set aside.
While the tofu is marinading, add the sauce ingredients to a blender or food processor. It will look quite runny, but don’t worry because it will thicken up during the cooking process. If you don’t have a blender/food processor, you can whisk them together using a fork, but be sure to mince the garlic beforehand.
Next, add the tofu cubes together with the leftover marinade to a non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until they are lightly golden brown. Transfer those to a plate and set them aside. Alternatively, you can bake the tofu in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C/392 F for 15 minutes – this is a good option if your tofu tends to stick to your frying pan, but you don’t want to use oil.
After softening red onion and red bell pepper in the same frying pan, lower the heat and pour in the sauce together with the arrowroot (cornstarch works too). Simmer for a few minutes until it thickens and then stir in (al dente) cooked pasta of your choice. I used gluten-free penne, but any pasta shape will be delicious. I love serving this with avocado and/or some soy yoghurt on top!
Other recipes you might enjoy…
- If you’re a tomato sauce fan, check out my Quinoa And Tempeh With Tomato Sauce recipe.
- Easy Black Bean And Vegetable Rice Soup: another cosy and simple dinner idea.
- Make this for friends and Roasted Cauliflower Bites With A Mild Peanut Dip as a side dish!
Let me know in the comments: what’s your favourite way to eat pasta? If you give this recipe a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations!
Creamy Tomato Pasta With Tofu (Vegan, Gluten-free option)
A creamy vegan tomato pasta sauce that's simple to make, healthy and comforting is an easy go-to dinner idea. Stir in some tofu and serve straight away, or store in the fridge for a cold pasta dish! Gluten-free and oil-free.
- 1 block (280g) extra firm tofu, cut into bite sized cubes
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp garlic granules
- 1 can (400ml) tinned tomatoes
- 2/3 can (267ml) coconut milk, either full fat or light
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh taragon
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion granules
- 6 tbsp gluten-free nutritional yeast
- juice of 1 lemon
- generous amount black pepper
- 250 g gluten-free penne
- 1 small red onion
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 2-3 tsp arrowroot powder
- 4 tbsp soy or coconut yoghurt, to serve optional
Add the tofu cubes to a bowl with the tamari, rice vinegar and garlic granules. Stir well and set aside to marinade for 15 minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, garlic cloves, taragon, paprika, onion granules, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and black pepper into a blender or food processor. Blend until thoroughly combined and set aside.
Start cooking your pasta according to packaging instructions. Meanwhile, to a non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat, add the tofu with the marinade and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until golden. Remove and set aside.
Cook the red onion and bell pepper in the same frying pan with 1-2 tbsps water for 2 minutes, until softened.
Lower the heat and pour in the sauce along with the arrowroot powder. Simmer and stir frequently on a low-medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken.
Stir in the pasta and the tofu and combine well with the sauce. Serve immediately with soy/coconut yoghurt, or store in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
* Can be switched for any pasta of your choice
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