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Vegan Vodka Sauce

Creamy and indulgent, this vegan vodka sauce pairs perfectly with your favorite al dente pasta. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve this recipe with a bottle of your favorite vegan wine for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.

Penne pasta with vegan vodka sauce in bowls garnished with fresh basil leaves.

What I love about vegan vodka sauce

Vodka sauce has always been one of my favorite pasta sauce options, but it’s often loaded with heavy cream and sometimes even chicken broth. To make it dairy free and vegan-friendly, I’ve substituted the heavy cream for some simple vegan ingredients.

Since coconut cream isn’t as thick as a heavy cream, I added a little of vegan cream cheese to my recipe which adds a richness that the coconut cream alone can’t provide. It’s a simple addition that makes a world of difference.

And, while I normally use crushed tomatoes for my marinara sauce, I prefer tomato puree for this recipe because it’s super smooth which creates a silky, luxurious texture for this vodka sauce.

Penne pasta with vegan vodka sauce in bowls garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Here’s what you’ll need to make it

Penne pasta with vegan vodka sauce in bowls garnished with fresh basil leaves.

How to make vegan vodka sauce

Sauté the garlic.

Simmer the vodka. Add the vodka along with the tomatoes and bring the pot to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes, and it will start to reduce and thicken.

Add the cream. Stir in the coconut cream and vegan cream cheese and allow it to melt. When the sauce thicken is to your liking (it should at least coat the back of a spoon), adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper, to taste. Toss with your desired pasta.

Cook your pasta. While this step isn’t necessary for making the sauce itself, you will obviously need pasta to serve it. I recommend choosing a pasta with ridges to hold the sauce and cooking your pasta to al dente.

And, don’t forget to salt your pasta water. It’s the only way you can actually season the pasta itself, and it will make a huge difference in your final dish.

Quick tip: This recipe makes enough sauce for about 2 pounds of pasta. That’s two meals for us, so we normally save the remaining sauce for another meal. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. You can also freeze the sauce if you don’t plan on using it within that time frame.

Penne pasta with vegan vodka sauce being stirred with a wooden spoon in a stockpot.

FAQs and tips on making vegan vodka sauce

Can kids have vodka sauce?

Yes. While there is actual vodka in the recipe, it is safe for kids to have vodka sauce as long as the sauce is cooked thoroughly and there is no lingering alcohol content.

What’s vodka sauce made of?

Vodka sauce is a tomato based pasta sauce that’s infused with vodka and cream. The combination of the three main ingredients creates a silky, indulgent sauce that is well-integrated and balanced. In addition to those ingredients, various recipes often include a combination of onion, garlic, crushed red pepper and olive oil or butter.

Why does my vodka sauce taste bitter?

There are several reasons your vodka sauce might taste bitter. Most likely, you’ve added too much vodka to your recipe, so make sure you’re measuring correctly with a liquid measuring cup.
Another possibility is that you may have not cooked your sauce long enough for the alcohol to cook out. Make sure you’re simmering it for at least 15 minutes.
Alternatively, if you leave out the cream (or in this case the coconut cream/vegan cream cheese) you will throw off the balance of flavors in the dish. The fats in the creams are necessary to blend with the acid/bitter flavors of the vodka.

Penne pasta with vegan vodka sauce in bowls garnished with fresh basil leaves.

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Vegan Vodka Sauce


Description

Creamy and indulgent, this vegan vodka sauce pairs perfectly with your favorite al dente pasta. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve this recipe with a bottle of your favorite vegan wine for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 cup vodka*

  • 1 28-ounce can tomato puree

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1/2 package vegan cream cheese**

  • Salt & pepper, to taste


Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil to medium-high. Add vegan butter and allow it to melt completely.
  2. Then, add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the vodka and tomato puree, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow the sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk and vegan cream cheese and continue cooking until melted.
  5. Before serving, adjust seasoning with salt & pepper to taste.

Notes

*Not all vodka is vegan. You can find a vegan friendly vodka through websites such as barnivore.com

**Vegan cream cheese ingredients vary by product and may contain nuts or other allergens, so be sure to check labels to ensure the ingredients meet allergy restrictions.

  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 205
  • Sugar: 4.8 g
  • Sodium: 358.3 mg
  • Fat: 11.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.4 g
  • Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Protein: 2.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: vegan vodka sauce, pink vodka sauce, spicy vodka sauce, dairy free vodka sauce, dairy free pink vodka sauce

Last Updated on February 2, 2022 by Melissa Belanger

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