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Indulge in this Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta recipe tonight. It’s rich, creamy, hearty, and packed with protein. Vegan, Gluten-Free option, Oil-Free option.
This Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta is made with al dente pasta tossed together with a homemade cashew cream sauce, tender mushrooms, flavor-packed sun-dried tomatoes, vibrant spinach until thick and creamy. Get ready to bring the flavors of Italy to your dinner table in just over 30 minutes.
Table of Contents
All About This Creamy Pasta
I’ve got pretty high standards when it comes to homemade pasta dishes. They’ve got to be simple enough to throw together on a busy weeknight, made with budget-friendly, fresh ingredients, include a good source of plant protein, and be generous in the flavor department. So when I share a new pasta recipe on the blog, you know it’s going to check alllll the boxes. This sun-dried tomato pasta recipe has a rich tomato flavor, the perfect creaminess, and is well worth dirtying an extra pot. If you’re one of the many that love my Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff, I’m confident this creamy sun-dried tomato dish is going to quickly become one of your new favorite pasta recipes.
Ingredients for Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
Making a delicious pasta from scratch thankfully can be done with minimal ingredients that are both affordable and nutritious. In fact, this restaurant-worthy meal is made with just 11 ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cashews: The key to a creamy, dairy-free pasta sauce. When blended in a high-speed blender, cashews create a creamy sauce that’s similar in richness to heavy cream.
- Tomatoes: In addition to oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes you’ll need tomato paste. Both add a unique, robust flavor that helps balance the creaminess of the cashews.
- Pasta: Any pasta shape of choice will work. I opted for short cut pasta because I find it easier to toss in the creamy sauce, but if you have spaghetti or linguine on hand, both will do just fine.
- Capers: Add a tangy, saltiness that enhances the flavors of the sun-dried tomatoes. A little goes a long way, but is highly recommended.
- Chickpeas: What’s a weeknight dinner without a little protein? I opted for creamy chickpeas, but feel free to use another protein of choice.
- Spinach: Fresh baby spinach gives this pasta a final boost of nutrition and a nice pop of color. Feel free to use another leafy green such as baby kale or even fresh arugula for a peppery spin.
How to Make Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
- Make the cashew cream by blending the cashews, tomato paste, salt and water until smooth.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Sauté the aromatics, mushrooms, and seasonings until fragrant and the mushrooms have darkened.
- Add in the chickpeas and cashew cream sauce and mix well to incorporate the flavors.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the spinach and cooked pasta and cook until the spinach has wilted.
- Serve warm as desired.
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Repurpose the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar. Don’t let all that good flavor go to waste! Use a tablespoon of it in this recipe to sauté with, then reserve the rest for future recipes that could use an added oomph. You won’t be sorry.
- Don’t rinse the pasta! Rinsing the pasta is a popular cooking hack used to stop the cooking process and prevent the pasta from becoming overdone. Although this is a great trick to use when making a Mediterranean Pasta Salad, you don’t want to do that here! Instead, cook the pasta until al dente, drain the pasta water, then set aside without rinsing. This excess starchy water on the pasta will help thicken the flavorful sauce and make your dish ultra creamy.
This creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta makes for an easy weeknight meal, a hearty meal prep, or a cozy weekend dinner. Served topped with fresh basil, vegan parmesan cheese and additional red pepper flakes. It’s hearty enough to be enjoyed as a stand alone meal, but can be paired with easy sides such as a Tomato Cucumber Basil Salad, Pesto Star Bread or simple salads.
How to Store Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
Leftover pasta will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container. I wouldn’t recommend freezing this pasta dish. Instead, if you are looking for freezer friendly dinners, I’d recommend my Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili or Classic Lentil Soup.
Reheat on the stovetop in a warm skillet or in the microwave until warmed through.
Substitutions and Variations
- Gluten-free option: Swap the wheat-based pasta with a gluten-free variety of choice.
- Oil-free option: Omit the olive oil and sauté the aromatics in water or vegetable broth and use sun-dried tomatoes that are dry packed.
- Nut-free option: If you are allergic to nuts or cooking for a friend with an allergy, replace the cashews with 1/2 cup of raw sunflower seeds instead.
- Add an alternative protein: If chickpeas aren’t your thing, try adding your favorite plant-based proteins such as vegan Italian sausage or vegan chicken strips. If using, I recommend sautéing during step 3.
Yes – a jar of sun-dried tomatoes is essentially a jar of dehydrated tomatoes packed in oil for additional flavor. These tomatoes are typically placed in the sun for a week or two, or until the sun has completely dried them out.
If your sun-dried tomatoes were packed in oil, no, they have already been rehydrated with the oil, helping to soften their texture. If you are making this pasta recipe oil-free and opted for dry packed tomatoes, I’d recommend rehydrating them in either broth or even wine. Check out this helpful guide from America’s Test Kitchen: The Best Way to Rehydrate Sun-Dried Tomatoes.
Great question! Sun-dried tomatoes are incredibly versatile and can be used to make Hummus Pinwheels, a Quinoa & Arugula Salad, a Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing, or fold them in a Vegan Breakfast Burrito.
Pasta is almost always vegan, with the exception of fresh pastas that are typically made with egg. If you are purchasing dried pasta, particularly short cut pasta varieties, they should always be vegan but check the ingredients label just in case.
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Chickpeas
For the Cashew Cream:
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for pasta
- 1 cup water
For the Pasta:
- 8 ounces dry pasta gluten-free if necessary
- 1 tablespoon olive oil*
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 4 ounces baby spinach
- Fresh basil for garnish (optional)
- Make the Cashew Cream: Add the soaked cashews to a high-speed blender along with the tomato paste, salt, and water. Blend on high for 30-45 seconds, until smooth. Set aside.
- Cook the Pasta: Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the package instructions. Once the pasta water begins to foam, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta once cooked, but do not rinse.
- Sauté: Warm the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes (if using) and capers and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until sizzling. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have darkened and released most of their liquid.
- Add Seasonings: Add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and basil to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Make it Saucy: Add the chickpeas the the blended cashew cream sauce to the pan and mix well. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then add in 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the reserved pasta water and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Final Touches: Add the spinach and drained pasta to the sauce and mix well, cooking until the spinach has wilted. If the sauce is to thick for your liking you can thin it out with the additional reserved pasta water.
- Serve & Store: Serve warm, topped with fresh basil or as desired. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Olive Oil: I like to use the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes for an extra flavor boost!
- Cashews: You can soak your cashews in water overnight in the fridge, or cover with boiling water and let sit for at least 30 minutes before using. For a nut-free option, use sunflower seeds instead of cashews!