Made with simple pantry ingredients, this vegan creamy tomato pasta is perfect for babies and kids with a dairy allergy. It is super versatile and easy to make!
Our family is not vegan and boy do we love our cheese! So even though I’ve seen many.many recipes for cashew cream/cheese sauce, I never attempted to make it at home.
That is until I became a mom and started experimenting with ways to cut back on sodium without sacrificing flavor.
And you guys! This cashew cream sauce is seriously everything! It even got my broccoli-hating son to eat his mini trees with much gusto! It’s silky-smooth, creamy, velvety, rich, alfredo-y, filling..let’s see how many adjectives I can use here. You’d think there’s a ton of heavy cream involved, but nope! just cashews. It’d be perfect over pasta, casserole, rice, roasted veggies, and so much more!
Cashews - be sure to use raw, not roasted. It will result in a neutral taste.
Vegetables - feel free to use whatever you have on hand! That's the beauty of this recipe
Pasta - I recommend using a legume-based pasta, like lentils or chickpeas, for a boost of iron
Kidney beans - can substitute with other bean of choice
Related post: Best iron-rich foods for babies and toddlers
How to soak cashews
Making the cashew cream pasta sauce is SUPER simple. However, you do need to plan ahead because the cashews NEED to soak prior. The softer they are, the smoother and creamier the sauce will be.
I highly recommend making the sauce at least a day before Otherwise, you’ll have to juggle a lot the day of and end up with loads of dishes.
As all of our schedules are different, I thought it’d be helpful to provide you with the different soaking methods. Choose the one that works best for you and plan accordingly.
- Overnight soak: This method is my go-to method. It does take the longest but it’s easy and the cashews will retain the most nutritional value. It also makes for a milder-tasting sauce. Add the cashews to a container, fill with water to cover, and soak in the fridge overnight or for 6-8 hours during the day. If you soak overnight, be sure to rinse and drain in the morning. It can taste bitter if soaked for too long.
- Hot water soak: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the cashews, cover the pot, and leave for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain.
How to make cashew pasta sauce
So easy. Just add the soaked cashews to a blender with water and blend until smooth! I highly recommend making the sauce ahead of time so that you can whip up this dish in 20 minutes or less!
How to make kid-friendly vegan tomato pasta
- Cook onion.
- Add the rest of the vegetables and seasonings
- Add tomato sauce and cook, covered, until veggies are soft.
- Add pasta, beans, and cashew pasta sauce
Frequently Asked Questions
While the final outcome will be different, soaked pumpkin and sunflower seeds, tahini, or silken tofu are the best substitutes.
Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 4-5 days
Serving Suggestions for babies and kids
As iron is a super important nutrient for babies and toddlers, especially, I highly recommend using legume-based pasta, like red lentils or chickpea.
For babies, start with a small amount and flatten the beans.
Here's another iron-rich baby pasta recipe!
Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!
Vegan Creamy Tomato Pasta
- 1 cup cashews (140g) soaked overnight
- ¾ cups water
- 8 oz. pasta of choice , I like to use legume-based pasta for iron
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 medium zucchini chopped
- 8 oz. mushrooms sliced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 15 ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
- 15 ounce can no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- Toppings: fresh basil nutritional yeast or cheese if not vegan (recommend parmesan or mozzarella)
For cashew cream sauce
- Drain cashew that’s been soaked overnight (see note). Add to blender with ¾ cup water and blend until it reaches a creamy consistency. Add more water if it’s to thick
- Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Be sure to reserve some pasta water.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the onion, Cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Add the rest of the vegetables along with oregano and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
- Add pasta and cashew cream to the pan and stir to combine. Add pasta water to thin out the sauce, if necessary. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Top with fresh basil and nutritional yeast (or cheese if not vegan).