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Stunningly delicious vegan Penne alla Vodka! This recipe for creamy vodka sauce with penne is anything but boring! Delicious, quick and easy to make!

vegan penne alla vodka in a skillet
Table of Contents

Vodka in pasta? Maybe this sounds a little foreign to you at first, but don’t worry, it’s a great combination! Plus, you don’t have to be a vodka drinker to enjoy this recipe! 😉

Penne Alla Vodka is a classic Italian-American pasta dish that has a warm and inviting flavor profile. This vegan version keeps the same comforting flavors, but substitutes a creamy sauce for the more traditional dairy-based sauce with one simple ingredient swap.

Penne Alla Vodka Recipe Step 5

As a pasta fan, you really need to try this vegan vodka pasta recipe. It’s delicious, creamy, and easy to cook in just 15 minutes. The vodka sauce makes for a unique flavor, just lovely.

Besides vodka, the sauce is made with tomato passata and vegan cream (I like to use soy- or oat cream).

If you can’t find a plant-based cream alternative in the supermarket, you can prepare this vegan cashew cream with raw cashews as a dairy-free alternative. Vegetarians and flexitarians are welcome to use regular cream as per the original recipe.

Note: The alcohol content from the vodka does evaporate when you boil down the sauce, but only partially. Therefore, I do not advise this recipe for pregnant women or children! It is rather a recipe for a romantic candlelight dinner, and should stay away from the family table. However, you are welcome to prepare the vegan penne alla vodka recipe without vodka so that you can enjoy it with your family. It results in an especially creamy, alcohol-free tomato pasta main dish!

vegan vodka pasta in a blue plate garnished with parsley

💡Origin

Penne alla Vodka became famous in Italy and America in the 1980s, but it’s somewhat controversial who actually invented the recipe. However, it clearly became a star when supermodel Gigi Hadid posted her version on social media. She has helped the Italian dish to create a worldwide sensation.

🍝 Ingredients

See recipe card for quantities.

Penne Alla Vodka Ingredients
  • Pasta → I recommend Penne, Rigatoni, or pasta of your choice. For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free pasta (e.g. from Barilla). You can also use whole wheat or spelt pasta, these satiate a little longer.
  • Vodka → The icing on the cake of this recipe! If you don’t have any vodka on hand, a mild gin will also do the trick. 
  • Tomato Passata→ Use a high-quality tomato passata (I love the one from Mutti – this tastes very aromatic and intense). It can be replaced by canned whole or chopped tomatoes, but if so, I recommend boiling the sauce for a little longer.
  • Dairy-Free Cream → Makes the vodka sauce particularly creamy. I like to use oat or soy cream for the vegan vodka sauce.
  • Onion & Garlic → Adds flavor! Feel free to substitute a shallot for the onion.
  • Red Pepper Flakes → Gives a mild spiciness. Optional, can easily be omitted.
  • Flat Leaf Parsley → Adds some color to this dish. Fresh basil would work too.
  • Olive Oil → For sautéing the onions & garlic. Also works with vegan butter or vegetable oil.
  • Salt, Pepper, Sugar → To taste!

👩‍🍳 Visual Step-by-Step Instructions

This visual step-by-step instruction will help you along the way – definitely recommended if you’re a cooking beginner! 😉

  • Cook penne according to the packet instructions in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Keep some pasta cooking water aside for later. Drain over a sieve.
  • Heat a skillet or pot with olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced onion and garlic, sauté for 3 minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  • Deglaze with vodka and let it bubble until reduced to half. → Don’t let the vodka evaporate completely, a little vodka in the sauce is desired for the taste.
  • Stir in the tomato passata, red pepper flakes, and sugar and let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the plant-based cream and season with salt and black pepper. 
Penne Alla Vodka Recipe Step 1-4
  • Add the cooked pasta and toss for one minute, allowing the penne to soak up the vodka sauce. → Add some reserved pasta cooking water if the sauce thickens too much.
  • Serve with chopped parsley!
Penne Alla Vodka Recipe Step 5

Hint: Feel free to serve the pasta with some vegan Parmesan cheese.

🍝 More Creamy Pasta Recipes

If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. 

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📖 Recipe

vegan penne alla vodka in a skillet

Vegan Penne Alla Vodka

Stunningly delicious vegan Penne alla Vodka! This recipe for creamy vodka sauce with penne is anything but boring! Delicious, quick and easy to make!
Author : Aline Cueni
5 from 3 votes

Click on the stars to leave a vote!

Prep Time :5 minutes
Cook Time :15 minutes
Total Time :20 minutes
Servings : 2
Calories : 542kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 7 oz (200 g) penne or rigatoni
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) vodka also works with a mild gin
  • ¾ cup (200 g) tomato passata or tomato sauce
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • cup (80 ml) vegan cream
  • ¼ tsp salt or more to season
  • ¼ tsp black pepper or more to season
  • 2 tbsp Italian parsley (flat-leaf) chopped

Instructions
 

  • Cook penne according to the packet instructions in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Keep some pasta cooking water aside for later. Drain over a sieve.
  • Heat a skillet or pot with olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced onion and garlic, sauté for 3 minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  • Deglaze with vodka and let it bubble until reduced to half. → Don’t let the vodka evaporate completely, a little vodka in the sauce is desired for the taste.
  • Stir in the tomato passata, red pepper flakes, and sugar and let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the plant-based cream and season with salt and black pepper. 
  • Add the cooked pasta and toss for one minute, allowing the penne to soak up the vodka sauce. → Add some reserved pasta cooking water if the sauce thickens too much.
  • Serve with chopped parsley! Hint: Feel free to serve the pasta with some vegan Parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • Red Pepper Flakes: Omit if you don’t like hot food or don’t have them at home.
  • Plant-Based Cream: You can use any plant-based cream (I love soy or oat cream), even this homemade vegan cashew cream.
  • Keeps fresh for 3 days. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Gluten-Free: Regular pasta can be replaced with gluten-free pasta.

Nutrition

Calories: 542kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 113mg | Potassium: 756mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 638IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 3mg

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Recipe Rating




5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Omg SO YUM!! I made this tonight and after I tasted the final product went back and made a second batch Bc I knew the family would devour!! Also love that it’s cashew-free (I’m very allergic) as a lot of the vodka recipes I looked at contained them. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Jen, thank you so much for your kind comment! I am super happy that you like this recipe!
      All the best,
      Aline

    1. I am happy to hear that, Nicole! Please adjust it to your taste and use less onion the next time! I love it when my readers find their own taste and are able to alter the recipe accordingly! ❤️