Inspired by summer produce and a love for pasta, we dreamt up this dish with sautéed yellow squash, red onion, roasted cherry tomatoes, and a light vegan white sauce.
The result is an incredibly hearty yet light pasta with an abundance of vegetables and greens. The perfect plant-based side or entrée for summer and beyond. Just 10 ingredients required. Let’s do this!
For the veggies, we sautéed squash with onion, then added salt, pepper, Italian herbs, and red pepper flake for more seasoning and a little heat. Once the veggies were tender, we stirred in spinach and cooked until just wilted.
Depending on the season, these veggies could be swapped out for whatever is fresh and available. Other veggies we think would be good include red bell pepper, asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts, and roasted cauliflower. And for the spinach, we think other delicate greens would sub nicely.
For the tomatoes, we went with slow-roasted tomatoes. The process of slow roasting intensifies the flavor and makes them taste like candy!
How to Make a White Sauce For Pasta
To make a vegan white pasta sauce, we used a base of cashews because they yield a creamy texture and neutral flavor.
They’re added to a small blender with garlic for zing and nutritional yeast for cheesiness. Salt enhances all the flavors and water or almond milk is added to thin into a pourable sauce.
Then the sauce gets poured over the veggies and pasta and the mixture is tossed until combined. Then the slow-roasted tomatoes are gently stirred in. The result is a colorful vegan white pasta filled with fresh summer veggies!
Finally, we like to garnish with fresh herbs (such as basil or parsley), vegan parmesan cheese, and an extra sprinkle of red pepper flake!
We hope you LOVE this creamy white pasta! It’s:
It’s delicious served on its own or alongside salads, veggies, or Italian-inspired dishes! We think it would pair especially well with our Chickpea Caesar Salad, Lemony Arugula Salad, and/or Best Vegan Meatballs.
More Vegan Pasta Recipes
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Servings 4 (Servings)
- 1 cup cherry / grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 tsp oil of choice
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 2 cloves garlic, plus more to taste
- 2-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup water or unsweetened almond milk (we did half of each)
- Water to cook
- 1 healthy pinch sea salt
- 10 ounces gluten-free pasta (ensure vegan-friendly as needed // we prefer Trader Joe’s brown rice quinoa fusilli)
- 1 tsp oil (or sub water, adding more as needed as it evaporates)
- 1/3 cup sliced red onion
- 1 cup sliced yellow squash or zucchini
- 1 healthy pinch each sea salt and black pepper
- 1 tsp dried Italian herbs (oregano and basil // optional)
- 1 pinch red pepper flake (optional)
- 2 cups spinach (or other delicate green // we found sturdy greens, e.g. kale, to add too much chew)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (148 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and toss with a little oil and sea salt. Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up and place on the center rack of your oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the edges have shriveled and the tomatoes have shrunken slightly.
In the meantime, prepare sauce by soaking raw cashews in very hot water for 30 minutes.
Once the cashews are almost done soaking, bring a pot of water to a boil and season with a healthy pinch of salt. Once boiling, add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain and set aside until serving (ideally the pasta is ready within a few minutes of serving — try to time accordingly).
After the 30 minutes are up, drain and rinse cashews and add to a small blender. Add remaining sauce ingredients (garlic, nutritional yeast, salt, and water or almond milk — we used half water, half almond milk) and blend until creamy and smooth. The sauce should be thin and pourable (add more water as needed).
Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more nutritional yeast for cheesiness, salt to taste, or garlic for zing. Set aside.
Once your sauce is ready, the tomatoes are nearly done roasting, and the pasta is almost ready, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add a small amount of oil to coat pan (if oil-free, use water) and add sliced onion and yellow squash. Season with salt and pepper, Italian seasonings (optional) and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional). Ensure the squash is in a single layer and not overlapping so it gets evenly cooked.
Once browned on the underside, use tongs or a spatula to flip the squash and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes more. Once onion and squash are tender and slightly brown, add spinach (or other greens of choice), and stir to combine. Season with another pinch salt and pepper.
Add cooked drained pasta to the pan and pour over the sauce. Toss to combine. Lastly, add the roasted tomatoes and stir.
Serve immediately as is, or garnish with fresh herbs (such as parsley or basil), vegan parmesan cheese, or red pepper flake (all optional). Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days (reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until hot, adding a little dairy-free milk if it appears dry). Not freezer friendly.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with avocado oil and water instead of almond milk, and without optional ingredients.
Serving: 1 serving Calories: 373 Carbohydrates: 64.3 g Protein: 11.9 g Fat: 9.3 g Saturated Fat: 1.2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.24 g Monounsaturated Fat: 4.17 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 367 mg Potassium: 450 mg Fiber: 5.3 g Sugar: 3.3 g Vitamin A: 1794 IU Vitamin C: 17.71 mg Calcium: 38.55 mg Iron: 2.51 mg