7 Vegan sauces for every pasta lover

Tomato sauce is delicious and it can be prepared in many varieties. Here are 7 vegan sauces you should definitely try. These vegan sauces are really easy to prepare and we bet every pasta addict will love it.

1. Marinara

Even though people should definitely try other types of vegan sauces, it’s still important to know how to make a good marinara sauce. Once you make your own, it’s almost impossible to buy jarred sauce ever again. The recipe is simple and only takes 20 minutes to make.

Let`s prepare Marinara: in a saucepan, heat a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and sauté a small diced red onion and 4 minced garlic cloves for a few minutes until they are softened. Add one 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes and one 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes to the pot. Mix in 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. dried basil, ½ tsp. ground fennel and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season with kosher salt and pepper according to your taste. Cover the pot and let cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. And that’s it! It’s ready to be used in your favorite Italian recipes.

2. Vegan Bolognese sauce

A variation on tomato sauce is Bolognese sauce. In Italy, it is known as ragu alla Bolognese or ragu which is a meat-based sauce that originated in Bologna, Italy. It is a time-consuming sauce that is different than the Bolognese made outside Italy that we are more familiar with. It is possible to make a meat-free Bolognese by using vegan “beef” crumbles, tempeh, ground nuts or my preference, lentils. So, to prepare this Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese you will need the following ingredients:

So to prepare this Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1⁄2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium courgette, chopped in half lengthways then sliced
  • 100g (4oz) mushrooms, chopped
  • 225g (8oz) veggie mince OR 1 tin whole cooked lentils
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes OR a large jar of pasta sauce, eg Meridian
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tsp basil
  • 2 tsp oregano

Optional: for a richer, creamier sauce, add 1 tbsp tahini or almond or cashew butter.

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese recipe. Fry the onion, red pepper (and celery if using) with extra virgin oil until soft. Add the garlic, courgette, and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown. Add herbs and veggie mince option and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. If the mixture sticks and needs a bit of moisture use some of the juice from the tinned tomatoes. If using the nut or seed butter option add them now, stirring it around so it melts in. Add the purée and tinned tomatoes, stir well and simmer for 10 minutes over a low heat. If using the lentil option add now and let them cook in for a couple of minutes, stirring well.

Your Vegan Bolognese sauce is ready. Serve on cooked spaghetti and garnish with grated dairy-free cheese or nutritional yeast flakes and chopped olives.

Puttanesca Sauce

It’s an unwritten law that one cannot discuss puttanesca sauce without sharing the lore behind its name. It’s believed that this sauce is named after prostitutes who made it because it was quick and easy to make between appointments and that the smell of it cooking would attract men to their bordellos. Puttanesca is a tomato-based sauce that is spicy, salty and delicious – just like those ladies. Traditional puttanesca uses anchovies, olives, and capers for salty flavor and garlic and red pepper flakes for spice. Anchovies are not vegan but that salty, fishy taste can be replicated by adding seaweed, kelp flakes, and tamari.

To make Vegan Puttanesca Sauce: heat 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté a chopped onion until softened, about 7 minutes. Add 5 or 6 minced garlic cloves and cook until the garlic is fragrant, (about 2 minutes). After this, add 2 Tbs. kelp flakes, 1 Tbs. tamari and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes and stir to coat the onion. Add in 2 Tbs. tomato paste and stir. Then add one 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes, ½ cup chopped Kalamata olives and 2 Tbs. drained capers. Season with sea salt and pepper according to your taste. Cover the pot and cook on low for 30 minutes until the sauce is thick. Turn off the heat and stir in 2 Tbs. chopped basil leaves and the zest of one lemon. Serve over pasta.

Garlic and Oil

Let’s move away from tomato sauces and talk about some other kind of pasta sauce. Garlic and oil or aglio e olio comes from Naples. It is a light sauce that is beyond easy to make. It’s simply garlic, extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes and fresh parsley for garnish.

To make Pasta Aglio Olio: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add kosher salt. Cook 1 lb. pasta according to the package directions. Heat 6 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add 6 minced cloves of garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the oil. Cook until the garlic is golden, about 2-3 minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn. Add kosher salt and black pepper according to your taste. Turn off the heat. When the pasta is ready, drain it and add it to the pan with the garlic oil. Turn the heat back on to medium and toss the pasta in the garlic oil until it’s fully coated. Cook until the pasta is hot. Sprinkle with 2 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley. Serve with vegan parmesan, if desired, though it is not used in traditional aglio olio dishes.

Alfredo Sauce

On the other end of the spectrum from garlic and oil is Alfredo sauce. Traditional Alfredo Sauce is made with lots of butter and Parmesan cheese that melts to coat the pasta in a rich, thick sauce. Alfredo sauce is incredible and luckily, we can make vegan Alfredo sauce that is not only healthier but also compassionate. There are a lot of ways to make it and it can be rich and decadent or decidedly lighter. You can use raw cashews and coconut milk to make a sauce that is rich, smooth, creamy and decadent. Although you might think fettuccine when you hear Alfredo, the combination with spiral pasta is the best choice because the shape allows it to hold more sauce than a long noodle where most of the sauce just drips off.

So for cashew-based Alfredo vegan sauce (for 4 serves) you will need the following ingredients: a cup cashews, soaked in water at least 2 hours, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari, 3-4 tablespoons water, kosher salt, and pepper, according to your taste.

Drain and rinse cashews. Combine all ingredients, including cashews, together in a blender until completely smooth. Add water until desired thickness is reached. Warm in a small saucepot on the stove and serve over pasta, rice or vegetables! You can store in a refrigerator for up to four days.

6. Pesto Sauce

To prepare pesto sauce you can use any kind of nut you like including peanuts, cashews and even pumpkin seeds. In a food processor, combine 4 cups of basil, ½ cup of walnuts, 4 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast or vegan grated parmesan, and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Process the ingredients while streaming 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil in, until the pesto is smooth. A trick that will help you to use less or no oil is to add in ½ an avocado for a healthy fat alternative. Loosen the pesto up with some of the starchy cooking water from the pasta to make an incredible pasta sauce.

7. Vegetable Sauce

One way to have your pasta but also make sure you get your veggies is to make pasta sauce out of the veggies. We represent you the recipe for Spicy Pumpkin Penne with Vegan Feta and Hazelnuts. The pumpkin puree makes a rich, creamy sauce and without any added cream so it’s figure-friendly. That means you can eat even more pasta.

The recipe for a vegetable sauce:

  1. Cook 1 lb. penne in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain the penne when al dente. Reserve up to ½ cup of the starchy cooking water in case you need to loosen the sauce later. Melt 3 Tbs. vegan butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Let the butter get slightly brown and nutty, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add 1 minced shallot and 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté about 2 minutes. Do not let them burn. Add ½ tsp. red pepper flakes and 1 Tbs. fresh sage (or 1 tsp. dried sage). Cook for another minute. Stir in 2 cups pumpkin puree. Whisk in 2 cups vegetable broth until you have a looser sauce. Season with kosher salt and pepper according to your taste.
  3. Add the drained penne to the saucepan. Toss to coat it with the pumpkin sauce. Toss the penne with 2 more Tbs. fresh sage, 6 oz. vegan feta and 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts (reserve some of each for garnish). Add 3 Tbs. chopped parsley to the penne. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved starchy cooking water to loosen it but you may not need to. Garnish with the remaining vegan feta and hazelnuts. Serve while hot.

These are 7 ways to make amazing vegan sauces for your pasta dishes and there are so much more variations of vegan sauces, it may take a second article. In the meantime, all this talk of pasta has made us hungry. So, which kind of these vegan sauces you like the most?

You should absolutely tray these vegan sauces and find your favorite one. So, which kind of these vegan sauces you will make first?


  1. www.onegreenplanet.org
  2. www.veganrecipeclub.org.uk