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Learn how to make a creamy, hearty, flavor-packed vegan vodka sauce with simple ingredients and 30 minutes of your time! Serve it over your favorite penne, and you’ll have a perfect vegan penne alla vodka in no time.
This was one of my favorite dishes growing up, but I realized that I had never had it fresh while making it. We always had opted for a premade sauce from the grocery store, so it’s safe to say that this homemade vegan version truly knocked my socks off.
Penne Alla Vodka History
The exact origins of penne alla vodka are unclear and will vary depending on who you ask– two places that claim its origin are Italy and New York. But, regardless of its source, it is clear that the ingredients and cooking methods stemmed from traditional Italian cuisine.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Raw cashews: Instead of using heavy cream for our vodka sauce, we opted for an easy vegan swap, cashew cream! All you need to do is blend equal parts soaked raw cashews and liquid until smooth.
- Vegetable broth: Learn how to make your own at home here!
- Crushed Tomatoes: We prefer to use San Marzano tomatoes as they are sweeter, less acidic, and more flavorful than Roma tomatoes.
- Oil or Vegan Butter: For cooking down the aromatics.
- Shallots and Garlic: The simple yet essential aromatic flavor base to start this dish off right.
- Red Pepper Flakes: add a very minimal yet perfectly balanced amount of heat. Feel free to add more as you prefer!
- Vodka: Choose a neutral, smooth, and middle-of-the-road vodka.
- Tomato Paste: This helps deepen the flavor of the sauce.
- Basil: Used in the sauce and also for garnish.
- Dried Oregano: If you want to use fresh, opt for 3x the amount, or to taste.
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese: Brands we like are Violife and Follow Your Heart.
- Salt and Pepper: Season the sauce as needed.
- Pasta: For a traditional recipe, opt for penne. Rigatoni also works well, or you can use any pasta you choose.
Other things to consider adding:
- Vegan Italian Sausage
- Vegan Shrimp
- Vegan Bacon
- Vegan Chicken
- Fried Tofu Cubes
- Bell Peppers
What does the vodka do? Can penne alla vodka get you drunk?
Don’t worry; the alcohol cooks off, and you won’t be getting drunk from eating this pasta sauce. Vodka adds to the recipe’s aroma and acts as an emulsifier for the sauce, allowing the cream to meld with the tomato base.
If you liked this penne alla vodka recipe, check these out:
- Vegan Baked Ziti
- One-Pot Taco Pasta
- Easy Avocado Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Oil-Free Option)
- Instant Pot Pasta Fagioli (aka Pasta and Beans)
- One-Pot 5-Ingredient Hummus Pasta
- Vegan Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Simple Lemon Olive Oil Pasta (7-Ingredients)
Nutrition facts label provided by Nutri Fox.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional’s advice. This page may contain affiliate links, which means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!