This Vegan Spinach Artichoke Pasta is super creamy and flavorful! It’s kid approved and ready in just 30 minutes! Perfect for an easy weeknight meal!
Super creamy, yet light and fresh, this easy recipe is like your favorite party dip in pasta dinner form!
It’s made from mostly pantry staples with just a few fresh ingredients and comes together quickly. Easily made gluten free with your favorite gluten free pasta.
Give this Vegan Spinach Artichoke Pasta a try for dinner tonight!
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Noodles ~ We prefer a medium size noodle for this recipe, like penne, farfalle, rigatoni, or medium shells, but pretty much any shape will work.
Gluten free noodles work great. I used Barilla Gluten Free Penne when I took these photos.
Spinach ~ I prefer fresh baby spinach. It has a mild flavor and isn’t slimy.
If you are in a pinch, frozen spinach can be used. Be sure to thaw it and squeeze as much water out of it as you can before adding to the dish.
Artichokes ~ I used canned for convenience. Canned artichokes tend to be packed in water. You can buy them whole, halved, or quartered. They’re going to get chopped anyway, so I suggest buying whatever version is cheaper.
You can use jarred marinated artichokes if you prefer, but know that those will contain oil.
Cashews ~ Use raw unsalted cashews for the creamiest texture. If you have a high speed blender, like a Vitamix or Blendec, you don’t need to soak them. If your blender isn’t quite as powerful, you’ll want to soak the cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours (or even overnight!) to ensure they blend up smooth and creamy.
If you have a cashew allergy, try using vegan cream cheese instead (note: Tofutti is nut-free, many others contain coconut and/or cashews) or canned white beans, drained and rinsed. If using white beans, the sauce won’t be quite as creamy. You can add additional milk, if needed.
Nutritional yeast ~ Nooch, as it is often referred to, is a deactivated yeast that provides a savory, somewhat “cheesy” flavor. It is a complete protein and, if fortified, contains a good amount of B vitamins. [source]
Coconut Aminos ~ Similar to soy sauce in flavor, but less salty. It lends an “umami” flavor. You won’t be able to taste the “soy sauce” flavor in the final dish, but the depth of flavor will be there.
Tamari or soy sauce can be substituted. Start with just 1 tablespoon if using either of these as they are stronger in flavor. Add more, if needed.
Flour ~ A couple tablespoons of flour are used to make a roux, which is going to help thicken the sauce. A gluten free flour blend works just as well. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour.
Milk ~ Choose an unsweetened plain variety of dairy-free milk. I like oat milk for this recipe. It’s creamy and little bit nutty which pairs well with the flavors of the sauce. Almond or soy milk would also work.
How to make the recipe
The sauce is going to come together quickly, so start your pasta first. Cook it according to package directions until al dente. Be sure to save 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the noodles.
While the pasta is cooking, blend the sauce ingredients in the blender until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Sauté the onion in oil (or broth or water) until soft and translucent (1). Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute.
Add the flour (2) and stir until the flour is completely incorporated. Pour about ¼ cup of the sauce into the onion mixture and stir well with a whisk (a flat whisk works great for this!) to ensure there are no clumps of flour (3). Pour in the remaining sauce (4) and stir well to incorporate.
Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened up.
Once the sauce is thickened, take off the heat and add the chopped artichokes (5) and stir well to incorporate (6). Add the fresh spinach (7) and stir well until it starts to wilt and breakdown a bit (8).
Add the cooked pasta (9) and stir to combine (10). If the sauce is too thick, add the reserved pasta water about ¼ cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Leftovers will keep in an air-tight container for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. You may need to add an extra splash of milk or broth to loosen it up a bit when reheating.
The sauce also freezes beautifully! In a freezer safe container or plastic bag, it should keep well for up to 6 months. I do not recommend freezing the pasta and sauce together as the noodles will get mushy upon thawing and reheating.
Pro tips for success
~ Salt the pasta water well for extra flavor.
~ Cook the noodles until they are al dente. They will continue to cook a bit as they soak up the sauce.
~ Save 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the noodles. You can use this to thin out the sauce if necessary and will make it extra creamy.
~ Use raw unsalted cashews for the best flavor and texture.
~ If you don’t have a high-speed blender, soak the cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours to ensure they blend up super creamy.
~ Be sure to whisk the flour until smooth with about ¼ cup of the sauce before adding the remaining sauce. If you add too much liquid before getting all the lumps out, you won’t be able to fix it later.
~ Chop the spinach into small pieces if you have picky kids (or spouses) that don’t like long pieces of leafy greens in their food.
~ Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like a little kick of heat.
~ Sprinkle the finished dish with extra nutritional yeast, vegan parmesan, or seasoned breadcrumbs for even more flavor and texture.
~ For a nut-free option, substitute Tofutti vegan cream cheese for the cashews. You could also try white beans instead of the cashews, but know the sauce won’t be quite as creamy.
~ For an oil-free option, sauté in vegetable broth or water and be sure to use canned artichokes in water, not jarred marinated artichokes.
~ This creamy sauce would also make a great dip for pita crackers!
Personally, I think fresh is best, but you can use frozen spinach if that’s what you have. Thaw the frozen spinach completely and squeeze out as much water as possible before adding it to the pasta.
A medium sized pasta is best. I like tubes, like penne or rigatoni, or shells because they catch all the creamy sauce in the openings. Farfalle works great, too.
If you prefer longer noodles, like spaghetti or fettucine, those will also work.
Yes! The sauce can be made in advance and will keep well in an air-tight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. When you’re ready to eat, cook the noodles and pour the sauce over the hot noodles. Mix well to combine and heat through.
Note the sauce will thicken as it sits. Add a few splashes of pasta cooking water, milk or broth, to thin as needed.
Most likely you didn’t blend the sauce long enough or your blender isn’t powerful enough to fully break down the cashews. Next time, be sure to soak the cashews for several hours or even overnight, then drain and rinse them before adding them to the blender.
Add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin it out. If you forgot to save the pasta cooking water or if you are making the sauce without the pasta, use extra milk or vegetable broth.
More creamy vegan pasta recipes
- Creamy Vegan Mushroom Pasta
- Easy Hummus Pasta
- Creamy Lemon Ziti
- Creamy Sweet Corn Pasta
- Butternut Squash Vegan Mac and Cheese
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Spinach Artichoke Pasta
- 12 ounces medium shaped pasta like penne, rigatoni, farfalle, or shells
For the Sauce
For the Spinach Artichoke Mixture
- 1 cup raw cashews *see note!
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos or tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups non-dairy milk oat milk, soy milk, or almond milk are all good choices
- ¾ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil use ¼ broth or water for an oil-free version
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons flour use a gluten free flour blend, if desired
- 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts
- 1 bag (5 oz) fresh baby spinach
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped (for garnish)
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. *Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining the noodles!
- Place all sauce ingredients (cashews, nutritional yeast, coconut aminos, lemon juice, milk, salt and pepper) in a high speed blender. Blend on hight until smooth and creamy.
- Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onions and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute.
- Add the flour to the onion mixture and stir well until no white bits of flour remain.
- Pour about ¼ cup (it doesn't have to be exact, but a few splashes is enough) into the onion mixture and whisk until smooth and creamy. There will still be chunks of onion, but there should be no lumps of flour. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan and ensure all the flour is incorporated before pouring the rest of the sauce in. Do not skip this step! If you don't whisk out all the lumps now, you won't be able to later.
- Pour in the remaining sauce and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until the sauce is thickened. This should only take a few minutes.
- Add the chopped artichokes, spinach and cooked noodles and mix well to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water, ¼ cup at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
- Serve hot garnished with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.