Q: What’s creamy without cream, garlicky, rich, savory, and satisfies every carb dream in your life?
A: VEGAN VODKA PASTA, doh!
This is too simple. Chewy, dense pasta tossed and coated with a silky, garlicky sauce that sticks to every pasta curve in all the right ways. Finished off with the basics – olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes – because sometimes (always) simple is best.
And that’s it! Thank you and goodnight.
The sauce looks like this:
- Olive oil
- Tomato Paste
- And the surprise ingredient: Coconut milk
I made so many versions of vodka pasta in January (I was on a real kick) – some with tomato paste, some with diced tomatoes, some with onion, some with garlic… but ALL WITH HEAVY CREAM.
All that heavy cream started to get a little intense and regrettable, even for me. I wanted a way to make vodka pasta that didn’t feel like something so rich that I should only it eat once a year.
Enter: coconut milk.
Guys, I know it’s a little bizarre. Coconut milk? In pasta? And I hear you – if you don’t like coconut, go ahead and sit this one out. Or use something else besides the coconut milk. Like cashew cream or something. Or regular cream if you don’t care about the vegan thing. Because some of the flavor from the coconut milk does come through. And I know it sounds a little weird, but the unusual-ness all just really worked for me.
I found that by playing up other flavors (looking at you, garlic) and finishing with lots of salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, a drizzle of olive oil, or even nutritional yeast if you’re the sort of legit person who keeps nutritional yeast around (I am not), I could actually even appreciate the way the mild sweetness from the coconut milk kind of laced its way into every bite.
Chewy spiral pasta coated in sauce with just the right amount of cling, dusted with salt and pepper, steaming hot off the stove and piled high in your bowl?
Hard yes. I love it. I am bringing my best sweatshirt and Netflix and ultimate lounge mode self to this vegan vodka pasta party, and I. love. it.
Okay, your turn. Tell me what you think. Am I crazy?
A creamy, tangy, luscious, and SUPER easy take on vodka pasta – and vegan!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk
- 1 pound rotini (or any pasta, but rotini is fun)
- a little bit of reserved pasta water
- 1 teaspoons salt
- season to taste with more salt, black pepper, olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic salt, etc.
- Heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic, and saute until fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and stir until the tomato paste is a deep red color.
- Add the vodka – let it sizzle out. Add the coconut milk and salt. Let the mixture simmer a bit.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with the sauce (and a little reserved pasta water to achieve desired consistency).
- Curl up with a bowl of this goodness and enjoy.
Garlic: Stir your garlic constantly, and keep the heat low! You don’t want browned garlic – it’s bitter. If you happen to step away for a minute and your garlic browns (happens to me all the time), I recommend starting over! Normally I wouldn’t be so particular, but in a recipe where there’s only five ingredients and the garlic carries so much of the flavor, you want it to be just right.
Pasta: I used whole wheat because this recipe is happening during Sugar Free January and I’m trying to limit refined grains!
Vodka: Add more if you want! I found this post really interesting when researching vodka pasta flavors, amounts, etc.
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Sauté
- Cuisine: Italian-Inspired