An easy, family friendly dinner that everyone loves! This lighter version of penne alla vodka subs heavy cream for protein dense white kidney beans, without sacrificing flavour or creaminess. Prepare to be impressed!
Penne alla vodka is not traditionally a nutritious dish. This version, however, is FAR healthier than any penne alla vodka I’ve ever tried. Bonus points for it being vegetarian and vegan friendly. Plus, the sauce is gluten free and you may use your favourite gluten free pasta, if needed.
It gets better! This vegan penne alla vodka is also nut free and soy free, making it allergen friendly too! Nutrient dense, and low fat, white beans, combined with luscious, lite coconut milk (the kind you get in a can) give this healthy penne alla vodka all the creamy, dreamy flavour you’re looking for. No cashews, and no tofu in this one.
What’s in vegan penne alla vodka?
- Vegan butter or margarine, or cooking oil, or skip for oil free and use water or broth for sautéing instead.
- Sliced cremini mushrooms
- Vodka, optional, but highly recommended.
- Tomato sauce
- Salt & oregano
- White kidney beans
- Lite coconut milk (the canned kind)
How to make healthy penne alla vodka? (err…healthier)
Start by melting the butter (if using) in a large pot and add your finely chopped shallots. Sauté until translucent, stirring often.
Then add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, stirring often.
Next, add the sliced mushrooms, and continue to sauté, until reduced and nicely carmelized.
Now, pour in the vodka, and cook until mostly evaporated. The alcohol content will cook out, but the robust flavour it leaves behind is incredible.
Finally, add the tomato sauce and seasonings to the pot and let your sauce simmer.
While the sauce is cooking, prepare a large pot of salted water to cook your pasta and bring it to a boil. Cook your penne according to package directions.
Meanwhile, prepare your vegan cream by adding the white beans and coconut milk to a blender. Then process until smooth, and set aside.
When your sauce is cooked, you may turn off the heat and pour in the bean and milk mixture.
Stir until combined and taste for salt and pepper. Add a little more seasoning if desired, at this time.
Drain your pasta and serve with a generous scoop of the sauce. Then garnish with fresh chives and enjoy.
Can I make it ahead?
Yes, you may fully prepare and cook your vodka sauce ahead of time. However, the pasta tastes best when freshly cooked.
If making the sauce ahead, refrigerate until you’re ready to eat. Then heat the sauce on stove top while you cook your pasta.
How long does it keep?
Leftovers keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Just reheat in a skillet and enjoy.
You may also freeze the fully cooked sauce in an air tight container for up to 6 weeks. However, I do not recommend freezing the pasta as it will get very soft and mushy. So freeze the sauce on its own and make fresh pasta on the day you’ll be enjoying.
More healthier vegan pasta recipes
- Vegan Pasta e Fagioli
- Sweet Potato Noodles w/ Vegan Alfredo Sauce
- Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi made from scratch!
- Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
- Vegetable Bolognese Zucchini Noodles
- 1 tbsp vegan butter or margarine omit for oil free and sauté in water or broth instead
- 2 shallots finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 200 g cremini mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 cup vodka optional, but recommended
- 32 oz homemade tomato sauce or store bought (4 cups)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1 cup white kidney beans cooked or canned
- 2/3 cup lite coconut milk canned
- 1 lb penne pasta gluten free if preferred
- Chopped fresh chives
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Melt the butter, if using, in a large sauce pot. Then add the shallots and sauté until translucent, approx 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds or so. Now add the sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms are reduced. This will take about 3-4 minutes.
- Next, pour in the vodka, and stir continuously until absorbed, about 1 minute. Then pour in the tomato sauce, salt and oregano and let your sauce simmer over medium/low heat for about 20-25 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil, and cook your penne according to the package directions for al dente pasta.
- Meanwhile, add your white beans and coconut milk to a blender and process until smooth. Set aside.
- Once your sauce is cooked, turn off the heat and pour in the bean and coconut milk mixture. Stir until combined. Taste and add a little more salt and pepper if you'd like.
- Drain your pasta and serve with a generous serving of the vodka sauce. Garnish with fresh chives or vegan parmesan cheese, if desired.