Made with simple and minimal ingredients, this Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta is comforting and creamy. This is the perfect weeknight dinner to whip up when you want something that's fast and easy but still tastes delicious. It also happens to be dairy-free, nut-free, and can be made gluten-free!
Oh, how I love pasta! What is more comforting than a big bowl of pasta and garlic bread? I love a creamy, buttery pasta but this easy vegan red pepper sauce really hits the spot!
It's made with simple ingredients like jarred roasted red peppers, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, and dried herbs and is blended to creamy perfection without cream or cashews.
This post has been updated as of September 2022 with new photos and more information but the recipe that follows is the same. Enjoy!
Vegan pasta sauce from scratch couldn't be easier or more delicious than this creamy roasted red pepper pasta sauce. It's made without cream, nuts, or even plant-based milk. You might think- where is the creamy element? But trust me, it's creamy!
- Pasta Noodles: I used fettuccine noodles- but you can use shells, rigatoni, penne, or pasta of your choice. You can use whole wheat pasta or gluten-free pasta as well.
- Onion & Garlic: These ingredients are a must in terms of flavor. They are sautéed until soft and starting to brown then added to the blender along with the remaining ingredients.
- Jarred Roasted Red Bell Peppers: The star of our pasta dish is a jar of roasted bell peppers. You'll need a 16oz jar of red peppers that equals about two whole red bell peppers worth of roasted peppers. You can find these in most grocery stores or online.
- Tomato Sauce: Just ¼ cup but adds acidity and an umami taste..
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes: For umami as well- this contributes to the flavor of the sauce. I use Bob's Red Mill.
- Herbs & Seasonings: This pasta sauce includes dried oregano, dried basil, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Seems minimal but it is full of flavor.
The beauty of this simple sauce is that it can be whipped up in minutes but you will need a blender. I use a Nutribullet and it's the perfect size and blender for recipes like this one.
Blending this homemade pasta sauce is what's going to give it its creamy texture- you're not going to be reaching for jarred pasta sauce after trying this.
How to Make This Recipe
Cook pasta noodles according to the package- you’ll need ½ pound of pasta. Save at least ½ cup of salted pasta water to thin out the sauce.
Dice the onion and garlic. Sauté the onion in olive oil on medium-high heat until soft and starting to brown, about 5-7 minutes. This is where our flavor comes from so don’t skip over this part- the onions need to be sautéed before blending.
Add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant.
Toss the onion and garlic into a blender along with the roasted red peppers- make sure you drain the liquid off the peppers, no need to rinse them. Add in the nutritional yeast, tomato sauce, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as well. Blend until smooth.
Taste and adjust the following: salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Pour the blended roasted red pepper sauce into a pan on medium heat and stir until hot- add in a splash of the pasta water to thin out the sauce if desired. You may or may not need the entire ½ cup.
Toss in the cooked pasta and stir to coat. Top with fresh parsley or fresh basil and serve.
Tips & Tricks
Don't skip out on the onions and garlic! This is where the bulk of our flavor will come from. Cook the onions in the pan until they are soft and start to brown. Then, add the garlic and continue to cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
Use jarred roasted red peppers for convenience. I always have a jar of roasted peppers in my fridge because they are so tasty when added to an abundance of different sauces and dishes- this one included!
Always salt your pasta water! This is an essential step. Salting water adds flavor to the pasta and we will be reserving a cup of that pasta water to add to our pasta sauce to thin it out.
Substitutions & Additions
Make it gluten-free: The red pepper pasta sauce is already gluten-free. Simply switch out the pasta with your favorite gluten-free pasta- I love lentil pasta.
Make it extra spicy: Extra red pepper flakes! I typically add some in the sauce and as a garnish on top.
Make it less spicy: This dish is slightly spicy. If you're sensitive to heat, leave out the chili flakes or add just a pinch!
Dried Herbs: Instead of dried herbs, you can use fresh herbs or an Italian seasoning blend.
Garnish Options: I keep it simple with some fresh parsley but basil, oregano, or vegan parm would be delicious as well.
Flavor Additions: Dress this recipe up by adding some vegan sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, chopped red bell pepper for texture, or a dash of smoked paprika.
For Extra Creaminess: I think this recipe is creamy as is but if you want to kick up the creaminess- add a splash of vegan heavy cream, blend in some soaked cashews, or add a splash of canned coconut milk.
You can serve your creamy vegan pasta as is but everything is better with bread!
- Serve with a fresh baguette, Garlic Knots, or Vegan Garlic Parmesan & Herb Star Bread.
- Serve with a side salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, and tomato with an Italian dressing.
Storage & Reheating
Store: Transfer leftover pasta to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheating: Reheat over medium heat- add a splash of water or plant milk to thin it out.
Freeze: This pasta dish can be frozen for up to 2 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge before following reheating instructions above.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have found them in nearly every grocery store near me- chain or local.
You can definitely roast your own red peppers if you have the time. Erin from Well Plated has a detailed recipe that I recommend if you're going to make the peppers homemade.
Simply replace the pasta with gluten-free pasta. The sauce is already naturally gluten-free.
More Pasta Recipes You’ll Love:
- Vegan Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower
- Vegan Tofu Bolognese Sauce
- Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo with Cashews
Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- ½ lb Fettuccine Noodles or pasta of choice
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Sweet Onion diced
- 5-6 Garlic Cloves minced
- 16 oz Jarred Roasted Red Bell Peppers drained
- ¼ cup Tomato Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
- ½ teaspoon Salt more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- Cook pasta noodles according to the package- you'll need ½ pound of pasta. Save at least ½ cup of salted pasta water to thin out the sauce.
- Dice the onion and garlic. Sauté the onion on medium-high heat until soft and starting to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Toss the onion and garlic into a blender along with the roasted red peppers- make sure you drain the liquid off the peppers, no need to rinse them. Add in the nutritional yeast, tomato sauce, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as well. Blend until smooth.
- Taste and adjust the following: salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Pour the blended sauce into a pan on medium heat and stir until hot- add in a splash of the pasta water to thin out the sauce if desired. You may or may not need the entire ½ cup.
- Toss in the cooked pasta and stir to coat. Top with fresh parsley or basil and serve.