This savoury beet pasta sauce is made with cooked beets, coconut milk, cashews and lemon zest. Naturally vegan, it can be served with regular or gluten free pasta for an easy weeknight meal.
Oh how I love beet pasta sauce.
I wasn't convinced at first. I thought beets would taste overpowering with pasta, but actually, with the right ingredients (coconut milk for creaminess and lemon zest for freshness) they make the most delicious savoury sauce.
And did I mention how EASY it is to make? You literally add all ingredients to a blender, blitz for 20 seconds, and there you have it: a mouthwatering, healthy pasta sauce.
This recipe makes a great weeknight meal (like my Chickpea Spinach Curry or Broccoli & Mushroom Pasta and is perfect when you want to quickly whip something up to impress a friend or loved one.
Why you'll love this recipe
It's just SO EASY. Throw all sauce ingredients into a blender and that's it!
It's oil-free. None needed! The coconut milk and cashews make a nice creamy sauce on their own (find all my oil-free recipes here).
It tastes incredible. There's something about the combination of beets, lemon zest, coconut milk and garlic that gives this sauce a serious flavour punch!
It's naturally gluten free. Use wheat free pasta to make the meal completely gluten free.
What is beet pasta sauce made of?
Beets - Beets (or beetroots!) have a sweet, earthy flavour that's perfect with pasta. I use pre-cooked beets and highly recommend it as they're milder and sweeter (if you have raw, see how to cook them below).
Cashews - Add a creamy texture and protein to the sauce.
Coconut milk - For extra creaminess. Don't skip if you can help it - it makes the sauce so indulgent.
Nutritional yeast - This makes the sauce taste more savoury, and a little 'cheesier'.
Garlic - Really helps add depth to the sauce. It can be omitted if you can't have garlic, but I do recommend leaving it in if possible.
Lemon zest & juice - Lemon zest is my secret ingredient! It works so well with the flavour of beet for some reason, and really elevates the dish. The juice add tanginess.
Cashews - Can be subbed for silken tofu or sunflower seeds. If using sunflower seeds and you don't have a high speed blender, they will need to be soaked for 4 hours+.
Coconut milk - You can sub other regular unsweetened dairy-free milk. I strongly recommend using coconut milk however for creaminess.
Nutritional yeast - This can be omitted if you aren't a fan, your beet sauce just won't have such a savoury taste.
How to make beet pasta sauce
1) Add beets, cashews, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon and sea salt to a high speed blender and blitz on high power until completely smooth.
2) Cook pasta as per package instructions. When cooked, rinse and drain in a sieve.
3) Return empty pan to stove and add beet sauce. Cook for 3 minutes, until sauce is bubbling very gently and smells fragrant but not burnt (I do this to cook the garlic a little so it's not completely raw, but this step is optional).
4) Add pasta to the pan and coat evenly in beet sauce. Heat through, then serve in bowls topped with arugula, vegan cheese and/or walnuts, if desired.
Store this sauce in a sealed container in the fridge (with or without the pasta) for up to 3 days.
Sauce can be frozen (without pasta) for up to one month.
How to cook raw beets
If you have raw beets instead of pre-cooked, you can prepare them like this:
1) Wash beets thoroughly and cut off roots and beet greens (you can cook greens separately if desired by sautéing - see FAQS below). Cut each beet into 1-inch pieces.
2) Bring some water to boil in a medium pot. Place a steamer basket or sieve into it and add beet pieces.
3) Cover pot and steam until beets are tender (about 15-20 mins).
4) Remove beets, allow to cool and peel off skin.
Stress less. Cook fast. Eat well.
No time to cook? In my 20 Minute Vegan Dinners ebook you'll find 10 satisfying meals that take just 20 minutes to make. Never be hungry again!
Some foods that go well with beetroot or beets are fennel, nuts, apples, citrus and mustard. I've used lemon zest in this recipe because it compliments the earthy flavour of the beets, and have suggested topping the sauce with walnuts because their creaminess adds to the overall flavour.
You can eat them! They're actually good for you as they're a dark leafy green and contain many vitamins and minerals. I recommend sautéing lightly in a little oil and salt to best enjoy them, but there are many ways you can enjoy beet greens.
More pasta recipes
Mac and Cheese with Collard Greens
Store Cupboard Lentil Bolognese
Cheesy Vegan Pasta with Tempeh
Beet Pasta Sauce
- 3 small cooked beets (about 5 oz or 150g) - if you have raw, see how to cook above
- ⅓ cup cashews* (30g)
- ½ cup coconut milk (120ml)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed (or 3 small ones)
- 1 lemon, zested then juiced
- 1½ teaspoon sea salt
- 7 oz fettuccini, spaghetti or your favourite pasta (about 200g)
- vegan cheese or walnuts
- Add beets, cashews, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice (if you have more, you can use the rest for another purpose) and sea salt to a high speed blender and blitz on high power for about 20 seconds, or until completely smooth. Set aside.
- Cook pasta as per package instructions. When cooked, rinse and drain in a sieve.
- Return empty pan to stove and add beet sauce (don't add pasta yet). Cook on medium-low temperature for 3 minutes, until sauce is bubbling very gently and smells fragrant but not burnt (I do this to cook the garlic a little so it's not completely raw, but this step is optional).
- Add pasta to the pan and coat evenly in sauce. Heat through, then serve in bowls topped with arugula, vegan cheese and/or walnuts, if desired.
Nutrition per serving
If you’ve tried this beet pasta recipe, please leave a comment or tip for others below. I'd love to know how you’ve made it your own!
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A tasty way to use beets. The sauce was easy to make and deliciously creamy.
So glad you liked it Debra! I agree, it's so creamy.
This beet pasta sauce was really lovely. I recently been on a beet rage and this hit the spot
Excellent! I hear you Nancy - sometimes beets are just what you need. 🙂
This pasta sauce turned out amazing! Love the color too.
So glad it worked so well for you Andrea! The colour is my favourite part too.
This beet pasta sauce is amazing. I'm allergic to tomatoes so really struggle to find pasta sauces as so many are made from them. This is the perfect alternative, thank you.
That's really great to hear - I know, we need more non-tomato pasta sauces in the world!
What a unique and interesting pasta sauce. I love beets so I think I am going to love this recipe. Making it this weekend. Thank you.
Let me know how it goes Oscar! Even I was surprised by how good it tasted and how beautifully it turned out. 🙂