clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
vertical photo of vegan penne alla vodka

Vegan Penne alla Vodka Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 small servings


Learn how to make a creamy, restaurant-worthy vegan penne alla vodka in your home kitchen! It’s made with simple ingredients and just 30 minutes. Serve as an easy weeknight meal or date-night main course! 



  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons oil or vegan butter
  • 1 shallot, finely minced (or 1/3 cup diced onions)
  • 10 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Black pepper, as desired

Additional Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
  • Finely chopped parsley or basil, for garnish
  • Vegan parmesan cheese, to top 


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Once it is boiling, remove the pot from heat and add the cashews. Soak for 20 minutes or until softened and drain.
  3. Transfer the cashews to a high-speed blender along with 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth and half of the 28-ounce can of tomatoes* (see notes). Blend on high until smooth and set aside.
  4. In a separate large pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once warmed, add the shallot and sauté for 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes, and continue to cook until the shallots are translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 more minutes.
  5. Next, add the vodka, the remaining crushed tomatoes, the blended cashew mixture, tomato paste, basil, and oregano. Bring the mixture to a low boil and lower it to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the alcohol cooks off, stirring often.
  6. When the pot of water is boiling, cook the penne pasta until al dente, according to the package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain and set aside.
  7. Once the sauce has cooked down, mix in the vegan parmesan cheese—season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in pasta water as needed to make the sauce smooth and silky.
  8. Serve the sauce over your favorite penne and top with additional herbs and vegan parmesan cheese.


  • We only added 1/2 of the can of tomatoes to the blender as we wanted the sauce to have small chunks still. If you want the sauce to be completely smooth, blend all the tomatoes.
  • We prefer to use San Marzano tomatoes as they are sweeter, less acidic, and more flavorful than Roma tomatoes.
  • Choose a neutral, smooth, and middle-of-the-road vodka.
  • If you want to use fresh oregano, opt for 3x the amount, or to taste. 
  • For Vegan Parmesan Cheese, brands we like are Violife and Follow Your Heart.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Entree, Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Italian