This vegan vodka sauce is made by blending up raw cashews, so it’s rich, creamy and delicious.
I’m not exactly sure why Vodka Sauce says “romance” to me. Maybe it’s the whole pasta thing with Lady and the Tramp, or perhaps it’s the fact that Rachael Ray dubbed her version of the dish You Won’t Be Single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta.
Personally, if I were to get a romantic dinner it would probably involve some tofu and fresh veggies (hint, hint, somebody who I hope reads this), but I do love me some vodka sauce when I’m in a splurging mood, and I suppose Valentine’s Day is just the time for splurging on some vegan vodka sauce.
I remember a few years ago one of Oprah’s nutritionists counseling her on air that she couldn’t drink alcohol if she wanted to maintain her weight, to which she responded that she was at least going to have a glass of wine on Valentine’s Day. It must be okay if Oprah thinks so. Splurge away!
This sauce is completely animal product-free, but totally rich, thanks to the magic of raw cashews. Very splurgable.
My vodka sauce actually started out years ago as an adaptation of the Rachael Ray sauce, but has since evolved into something different. In actuality, I don’t typically even eat this on pasta. If I did that I’d be snoring away within fifteen minutes of finishing dinner, leaving a very lonely Valentine.
The pasta in the photos did get eaten (thanks to my husband), but when dinner time came around I opted to pour this sauce atop some grilled polenta slices and Field Roast links, which was fantastic. This would also be delicious over spaghetti squash, roasted veggies, or in a vegan lasagna.
What’s your Valentine into? I’m sure whatever it is you can work this sauce into a delicious romantic dinner.
Tips for Making Awesome Vegan Vodka Sauce
- This recipe makes a very big batch, but I don’t recommend scaling down on the batch size unless you have a small blending device. Otherwise the cashews might not blend fully!
- The sauce is very freezer friendly! So use what you need and freeze the leftovers.
- Did you forget to soak your cashews? Try boiling them for 20 minutes instead.
- And for future reference, keep a stash of frozen soaked cashews on hand, so you never have to worry about forgetting! Just soak them and freeze them right in the soaking water. Then thaw, drain, rinse, and use like normal.
Vegan Vodka Sauce
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours and drained
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup vodka
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Fresh basil or parsley, for serving
Place the cashews and water into a food processor or blender. Blend unitl smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the pitcher or bowl as needed.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, When the oil is hot, add the onion. Sauté for about five minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute, until very fragrant.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and vodka. Bring the mixture to a simmer and reduce the heat to-medium low. Continue simmering for about fifteen minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit and the alcohol has cooked off.
Stir the cashew mixture into sauce and bring it back to a simmer, just for a minute, until heated throughout. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Serve over pasta of choice and garnish with fresh basil or parsley.
Since publishing this recipe, I've gone back and edited the post and updated the recipe to double the batch size, simply because many blending devices aren't large enough to completely blend a small batch of cashews. If you have a smaller device feel free to cut the recipe in half.