I’m calling this my Fall rigatoni. You want comfort? You want a heaping bowl full of delicious pasta in the most decadent, creamy sauce? Then this spicy vegan pasta is for you.
I actually tested this one back in June, but held onto it for a few months until the weather cooled down a bit; it felt more like a late September recipe than a summer one. I can’t even tell you how rich and wonderful this pasta is- and, it’s vegan!
The secret to this recipe is using Beyond Meat’s new sausage offerings. No, this isn’t sponsored and I suppose technically you could sub in another sausage. However, there are a few things that I really love about the Beyond brand that I think it’s worth it for this meal.
For one, their vegan sausages come with an edible casing! Perfect for grilling and they easily slip off to reveal sausage that can easily be broken down into crumbles. I’ve essentially taken a spicy sausage pasta recipe sans pork sans dairy but NOT sans flavor. For my non-vegan friends, I swear that you won’t be able to tell the difference. I made this for my family when I was home a few months ago and even my die-hard carnivore sister had seconds.
I grab mine at Whole Foods, though they are in several retailers (store located here). I’ve written about this a few times over on Instagram, but I don’t stress that these sausages are much higher in fat than other plant-based protein options. For one, I’m not eating them often. They are much more expensive than my beloved tofu and lentils and therefore, they are a treat. Secondly, I may be a long-time vegetarian, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love the fatty taste of ‘meat’. These new offerings from Beyond (and other brands) make me feel like I still get to enjoy these delicious foods on occasion, without having to actually eat meat!
This spicy vegan pasta is also perfect as date night pasta. I don’t know about you, but decadent meals like this always feel like they’re worthy of date-night in. Now that we’ve got a toddler and another one on the way, it’s become harder and harder for BL to find quality time for one another.
However, we can almost always make time for dinner after we put Van to bed. As this pasta is fairly easy to put together, I can get started on it while BL tackles bedtime. I think a good glass of red wine would also be the perfect accompaniment! Ya know, if one if you isn’t currently pregnant.
Last thing! This recipe calls for cashew cream, which is my plant-based version of heavy cream. Depending on the power of your blender, it may require some advance soaking.
If I’m in a rush (99% of the time), then I will throw boiling hot water over my cashews to quick soak for 10 minutes, then drain and puree. I’m using a BlendTec blender, which is fairly high-powered and has no problem creaming the cashews after a quick soak. If you’re using a lower-powered blender, then I’d recommend soaking the cashews for at least an hour ahead of time.
That’s it! Hope you enjoy this spicy vegan pasta as much as we did. It’s INCREDIBLE!
Spicy Vegan Pasta with Sausage! This easy date-night pasta is so incredible, you’d never guess it was meat and dairy-free! If you love healthy Italian food, then you’ve gotta try this easy vegan pasta.
- 1 lb. rigatoni pasta with 2 cups reserved pasta water (after the pasta is cooked)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 package vegan sausage, casings removed and roughly chopped** (see notes for recommendations)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine or vegetable broth
- 1 cup cashew cream* (see notes)
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- red pepper flakes, for topping
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook according to package directions. Drain, reserving 2 cups of starchy pasta water.
- Heat olive oil in a large deep pot over medium high heat. Add the celery and onion and cook until very soft, about 10-15 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking into small pieces until browned and crispy.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add in the garlic, fennel seeds and tomato paste. Saute until paste is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add in the wine or broth and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot to get the browned pieces of sausage that have stuck to the pain. Cook until reduced, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add in the cashew cream, spinach and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water. Let simmer for 5 minutes and add in the salt to taste.
- Add in the cooked pasta to the sauce and add a little reserved pasta water at a time, stirring to incorporate, adding as much pasta water as needed to let the sauce cling to the noodles. Stir in red pepper flakes, if desired, and serve.
*To make cashew cream, pour boiling water over 3/4 cup raw cashews and let soak for 30 minutes. Puree with 1 cup water or broth until very creamy and smooth. You may need more water. Depending on the power of your blender, this may take 5 minutes.
** I used the Beyond Meat Hot Italian Sausage and OH MY GOSH. Highly, highly recommend using those if you can find them. I know they are expensive, but I think they are worth it. Other recommended brands are the Field Roast Italian Sausage, sliced
Keywords: easy vegan pasta