Vegan Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce

This easy vegan spaghetti has a superb vegan marinara sauce of garlic, shallots, capers, and a bit of cashew cream. Pasta at its finest!

Vegan spaghetti

One night after a long night at work, Alex whipped us up an impromptu vegan spaghetti dinner. Rummaging around, he found some canned tomato puree and spaghetti noodles in the cupboard, and a few shallots in the pantry. Digging in the refrigerator, he unearthed some jarred capers and some leftover cashew cream. The vegan spaghetti and creamy marinara sauce that resulted was so good I kept asking him, how exactly did you do that? Of course his response was, I have no idea. He was cooking by intuition. After writing a food blog for years and then writing a cookbook, taking notes while cooking is second nature for us. But this one caught us on sneak attack. Keep reading for the story behind this easy vegan Italian recipe.

Related: Easy Marinara Sauce

Vegan marinara sauce

The story behind this vegan spaghetti

This vegan spaghetti with creamy marinara sauce has a supremely savory sauce: garlic, shallots, and capers all work together with cashew cream to make as much umami as possible. It’s so.darn.good. After remaking what he thought he did that fated evening several times, Alex was able to recreate the delicious vegan spaghetti he had made on a whim. Since we knew we’d be making this one for years later, this time we made sure to write it down!

We shot the photographs together, and after editing, Alex presented the final photos to me for this post. I couldn’t wait to see the photos of the creamy, comforting vegan spaghetti so I could remember eating it all over again. Except when we looked at them together, there was something not quite right. The image of the pasta was flat and lifeless. Something was not quite evoking the comforting, creamy umami experience that was the vegan spaghetti with creamy marinara. Both of us looked at it and said, Oh.

Related: Easy Vegetarian Recipes for Beginners | Romantic Dinner Ideas

A new perspective

Alex decided to go back to the drawing board with the same photo. He brought it up in Photoshop and this time put a new filter on it. The new filter made the colors shine and brought in a warmth that was missing from the original image. Then, instead of showing the entire plate of pasta, he cropped in so you could see the gooey details of the sauce and the contrasting tangles of the noodles. This time, when I looked at it, the photo said gooey, creamy, comforting vegan spaghetti.

Why am I telling this story? Because it’s like life, in a way. How many times do we look at an aspect of our lives and say Oh. That’s not quite what I was expecting. There’s something that’s not quite right. And it’s disheartening.

But what if, like Alex, we could apply a new filter to our lives? What if we had a new filter that enhanced the color and brightness? And what if we could crop in to where we could clearly see the detail (and a little bit of the mess!) and realize that what’s there is truly beautiful? A simple change of perspective can cultivate a heart of gratitude, if we let it.

And now, to go eat all the vegan spaghetti with creamy marinara sauce. PS. it’s also a fabulous used as a pizza sauce.

Related: Easy Dinner Recipes for Family

Vegan spaghetti

Tips for making vegan spaghetti

This is an incredibly easy vegan pasta recipe! It takes about 40 minutes to make, but half of that time is hands-off simmering time. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making this vegan spaghetti:

  • Soak the cashews — To create a super smooth cashew cream, it’s important to soak the cashews for at least 30 minutes (if you have a high-powered blender), but 1 hour is best. If you skimp on the soaking time, the cashews won’t blend up well and your vegan marinara sauce won’t turn out right. If you have a standard blender, we’d recommend 1 hour.
  • Liberally salt the water — For the best tasting vegan spaghetti, you must add a healthy pinch of salt to the boiling water. If you don’t, the pasta will be flavorless!
  • Cook the sauce low and slow — Both when you sauté the shallot and garlic and when you let the sauce simmer on the stove, you want the heat to be fairly low. Remember: you want to cook the veggies without burning them. If they burn, the marinara will be slightly bitter.

Also try: Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with veggie crumbles!

This vegan spaghetti recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

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Creamy Vegan Pasta Marinara | A Couple Cooks

Vegan Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (18 votes, average: 4.61 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 68 1x


This easy vegan spaghetti has a superb vegan marinara sauce of garlic, shallots, capers, and a bit of cashew cream. Pasta at its finest!


  • 1 recipe Cashew Cream
  • 2 large shallots
  • 5 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 28-ounce can tomato puree
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup cashew cream (from above)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 pound bucatini pasta
  • Basil leaves, for garnish


  1. Make the cashew cream (allow for a soak time of at least 30 minutes, or make it in advance).
  2. Thinly slice the shallots. Mince the garlic.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and oregano and gently sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the tomato puree, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a bubble, then reduce the heat and maintain a low simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cashew cream and capers, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Boil the pasta in plenty of salted water according to the package instructions. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, slowly transfer the hot pasta to the tomato sauce, tossing to coat. Serve hot, garnished with torn or sliced basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil (required: this is an important component for achieving the creamy, rich flavor), and an additional pinch salt (if necessary).


As a fun optional topping, sprinkle with Vegan Parmesan Cheese!

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Vegan spaghetti, Easy vegan pasta, Vegan marinara sauce, Vegetarian pasta recipe, Vegan pasta recipe

Looking for easy vegan pasta recipes?

There are so many ways to make an easy vegan pasta. It takes about 40 minutes to make, but A few of our favorites are:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    September 11, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Yum! This looks so delicious and definitely comforting! Some nights you just cannot beat pasta… and sometimes the most spontaneous recipes turn out to be the best!

    Sochal – The Healthy Social Network

  • Reply
    Kelsey @ Appeasing a Food Geek
    September 13, 2017 at 6:29 am

    This pasta is literally making me drool. I can never get enough of this type of comforting food. Also, loving the photo editing metaphor! xoxo

  • Reply
    Sabrina B
    September 18, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    some of the best things I’ve ever made have come from impromptu planning, but also some of the worst! So, am happy you did the testing already, thank you! The photos look wonderful too, so thank you for the editing!

  • Reply
    September 21, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    I love the beautiful words and message behind this already incredible-sounding and -looking dish. It’s something to live by (both the words, and this perfect pasta!)

  • Reply
    Emily S
    October 4, 2017 at 11:45 am

    I made the pasta sauce and served it with baked spaghetti squash and vegan lentil mushroom meatballs. It was delicious! I was surprised how creamy and how much flavor the sauce had. I will definitely make this again.

    • Reply
      October 5, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      This sounds like a fantastic idea! We’ll need to try this :) So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Eva K.
    February 13, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    It’s now one of my favorite recipes! Quick, simple, and absolutely delicious.
    The only thing that I would change is to undercook pasta and then add it to the sauce with a 1/2 cup of pasta water. This way it turns out perfectly al-dente and with a very rich taste.

    • Reply
      March 14, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      Ahhh yes, cooking until just before it’s done is the perfect trick — this sounds amazing! Thanks for the idea.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I’m wondering what I can use in place of cashew cream since I don’t have a high powered blender and need to buy it. Will coconut cream work?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      November 19, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      Hi! You can just omit the cashew cream if you like. It just adds a bit of body and creaminess.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    How can this be vegan? There are eggs in every kind of bucatini pasta I’ve ever seen. If you know of one that does not have eggs, please let us know. If not, please stop labeling recipes as vegan when they are clearly not.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      November 2, 2020 at 1:52 pm

      Hi! Most store bought dried pasta is vegan. I think we used Barilla for this recipe.

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