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Vegan Cacio e Pepe Pasta

Author - Alyssa Rimmer

How to make Vegan Cacio e Pepe. A healthy version of the classic Italian, this creamy vegan pasta is full of flavor, super peppery and seriously delicious!

Vegan Cacio e Pepe Recipe

A few months ago I went out to LA for a conference and met up with a friend for dinner at Plant Food and Wine in Venice. It's a vegan restaurant and as soon as we sat down, my friend that we had to order the kelp noodle Cacio e Pepe.

Oh em gee. My love affair with pasta reached a whole new level after tasting that dish. No joke it's one of the best pastas I've ever tried.

And as soon as I tasted it, I knew I wanted to recreate it for you. So that's what we're doing! I'm giving you my own version of a vegan Cacio e Pepe with gluten-free pasta, a peppery vegan cream sauce and sprinkled with a touch of fresh basil.

Why do Soak Raw Cashews

Why do You Soak Raw Cashews?

First things first, let's talk cashews! You've seen me use cashews many times before in my “creamy” recipes (like my White Quinoa Chili and my vegan lemon creamy sauce) and it's because, when blended, raw cashews have the most luxurious, smooth, creamy texture.

They lend themselves very nicely to making vegan cream-based recipes.

However, the trick with raw cashews is that you need to soak them. Because we're going to blend them, soaking the cashews ahead of time softens the flesh of the nut and makes it easier to blend. I recommend soaking cashews overnight, but if you're short on time, simply pop them in some hot water for two hours and you should be fine (especially if you have a high powered blender!).

One thing to keep in mind is that raw cashews can be a little pricey. I buy mine from Thrive Market because they're organic, raw and way cheaper than anything else I've seen in stores! They're typically at least 35% off which is an incredible deal. In fact, I recommend checking out all their nuts and seeds because they're always cheaper than what you see in stores.

p.s. want to try Thrive Market for yourself? Get 25% off your first order + free shipping by shopping through this link!

How to Make Vegan Pasta

How to make Vegan Cream Sauce

Once you've got your cashews nice and soft, it's time to make your sauce. Like most vegan creamy sauce recipes, we're using our handy dandy blender!

You'll add your cashews into the blender, along with the rest of our ingredients:

  • nutritional yeast: for a cheesy flavor
  • lemon juice: for some acidity and brightness
  • peppercorns: because…cacio e pepe!
  • miso paste: adds a nice umami flavor and some salt
  • sea salt: for even more flavor

And then we just blend it all up with some water and call it a day. Honestly, couldn't be easier to make!

Healthy Cacio e Pepe Pasta Recipe

What is Cacio e Pepe?

Cacio e pepe is a classic Italian pasta dish that comes from Rome. Its literal translation is “cheese and pepper” which is exactly what it's made with.

It's one of the easiest pasta recipes to make because it's so simple. Traditionally, you would only use 3 ingredients: pecorino romano cheese (which is usually a sharp sheep cheese), pepper and pasta. That's one of the things I adore most about Italian food; it's simple, yet delicious!

Creamy Vegan Pasta Recipe

The Ultimate Vegan Cacio e Pepe Pasta

For our vegan cacio e pepe, we're swapping the cheese for our vegan cheese sauce. While it's not exactly like the original, it's still got that satisfying creaminess, that spiciness from the pepper and a simple ingredient list.

But what's also great about this recipe is that the sauce is actually super versatile. It's obviously SO good on pasta, but it could also be used as a base for white pizza, in lasagna, in a baked “mac and cheese” style dish, or it could even be thinned out and used as a salad dressing.

Either way, I think you're going to adore this dish! It's so comforting but also feels really light, which is great for this time of year!

 

Healthy Cacio e Pepe Pasta

More Healthy Vegan Pasta Recipes to try:

VIDEO: Watch How to Make Vegan Cacio e Pepe

Creamy Pepper Pasta Recipe
4.7 from 13 votes
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Vegan Cacio e Pepe

This vegan cacio e pepe pasta is a healthy version of the Italian classic. Made with a base do cashews, this creamy vegan pasta sauce is loaded with flavor, super peppery and delicious!
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cacio e pepe, vegan italian, vegan pasta
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Soaking time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 412 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb gluten-free spaghetti (I like Banza)
  • 1 cup raw cashews , soaked at least 2 hours
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon miso paste (or sea salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • Garnish with fresh basil , cracked pepper & grated macadamia nuts

Instructions

  1. Add the cashews into a bowl and cover with hot water. Allow cashews to soak for at least 2 hours.
  2. When ready to make the sauce, place a pot of water to boil on the stove. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, drain and rinse the cashews. Add them into a blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  4. When pasta is done cooking, reserve some of the water, and then draining it. Add the pasta back into the pot along with the sauce and 1 - 2 tablespoons of pasta water. Toss to combine.
  5. Serve immediately and garnish with desired toppings.

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Matthew Kenney's restaurant Plant Food & Wine

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Cacio e Pepe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 412 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 257mg11%
Potassium 771mg22%
Carbohydrates 57g19%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin A 15IU0%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 80mg8%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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6 comments
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  1. Thanks for this recipe! Just a note for anyone using ground pepper: I used ground pepper in this recipe instead of whole peppercorns. I looked up the conversion and it told me to use 6 1/2 tsp of ground pepper. I thought that was way too much so I started with 3 tsp and planned to add more to taste. I tasted after using the 3 tsp and it was so spicy I couldn’t even eat it. Just a heads up. Planning on trying this recipe again soon using whole peppercorns like the recipe suggests.

  2. I have just come across your page today, think there is plenty for me to discover here 🙂 one question, do you use white or dark miso paste? I only have the dark one (I live in Switzerland so not available everywhere) and so am curious if you have both miso pastes and if you use them differently. Thanks!

  3. Hey! I definitely want to make this 😊 But I’m wondering… with the soaked cashews, do you add them and the water they soaked in to the blender? Or you pick them out of the water? Thank you so much!!

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