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Simple Smoky Cream Pasta

Plant-based meals can be easy and delicious comfort food. Make simple, smoky cream pasta with ingredients you probably have in your pantry. If you don't have these exact ingredients, see recipe notes for ideas.
Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people


Smoky cream sauce

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil optional: substitute water
  • 1 onion any variety; chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced; substitute 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 cup veggie broth substitute 1 cup water + 1 tsp. veggie bouillon
  • 14 ounce can of coconut milk substitute 1.5 cups any plant milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Liquid Bragg's aminos substitute any soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard substitute lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika substitute 1/8 tsp. Liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup arrow root flour substitute any fine-ground all-purpose flour for thickening purposes
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes optional


  • 16 ounces pasta of choice
  • 14 ounce canned beans substitute lentils
  • 5 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli chopped: fresh or frozen
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Tip: Add salt to cooking water once it boils to infuse pasta with flavor. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, saute chopped onion in olive oil (or just splash with water to avoid sticking) until translucent (5-7 minutes) on low to medium heat. If using fresh broccoli (or other fresh produce), add in the last minute or two and cook until soft and bright.
  • In a large measuring cup, whisk together minced garlic cloves, veggie broth, coconut milk, Liquid Bragg's, mustard, thyme, smoked paprika, arrow root and yeast flakes. Make sure flour is dissolved. Pour over the onion and stir as the sauce thickens.
  • Add beans, mushrooms and any alternative add-ins as the sauce thickens. Remove from heat promptly to avoid sticking. Add pasta and stir.
  • Garnish with vegan Parmesan topping (see recipe below), pine nuts, green onions, dried herbs like Italian seasoning, cracked pepper


Pasta preparation tip: Add ~1 Tbsp. salt to boiling water with pasta to add flavor. Don’t worry—the salt dissolves in the entire pot of water, and the pasta absorbs a very small amount. No chance of salt overload as you drain the majority of it off.
Veggie Broth vs. Bouillon: Store bought organic veggie broth can be very expensive. I use Organic Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base, which allows me to make as little (or as much) as I need without paying $1/cup (it's about $0.20 cents/cup). Running low on groceries?
Add-ins are optional! Search your fridge, freezer and pantry and use what you have.
Pantry items: dried (rehydrate) or canned mushrooms, artichoke hearts or hearts of palm, sun-dried tomatoes, green chilis or jalepenos.
Frozen veggies: peas, corn, spinach, edamame, butternut squash, green beans, carrots
Fresh produce: bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, squash, spinach, kale, asparagus, cherry tomatoes,
Tasty Topping Recipe: Vegan Parmesan