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Cheesy Vegan Pasta with Tempeh (gluten free)

This creamy, cheesy vegan pasta sauce made with sweet potato is restaurant-worthy and will satisfy all your cravings. Sautéed tempeh and mushrooms added for extra protein.

Cheesy Vegan Pasta by Vancouver with Love

Is there anything better than a comforting bowl of pasta? I think not. And this Cheesy Vegan Pasta with Tempeh might be my favourite recipe yet!

The vegan cheese sauce is made with none other than steamed sweet potato blended with creamy coconut milk and nutritional yeast for a deliciously savoury flavour. Sounds strange but it's delicious, I promise.

I then add sautéed tempeh and mushrooms to the mix for extra protein and flavour, mix the whole lot with freshly cooked pasta et voila! My favourite healthy pasta dish.

Cheesy Vegan Pasta by Vancouver with Love

Looking for more easy vegan dinner recipes? Why not try my Almond Butter Tofu Noodles, Vegan Spring Rolls, or my Store Cupboard Lentil Bolognese?

Why You'll Love this Recipe


Healthy comfort food.
It's the perfect recipe for chilly fall weather - like vegan mac and cheese but healthier.

Easy pasta sauce recipe. There's no fancy equipment needed here - just a blender and pan.

Vegan and gluten free. The cheese sauce is made with sweet potato and nutritional yeast, so no dairy!

High in protein. Tempeh and mushrooms added for an extra dose of plant protein.

Packed with veggies. Contains both sweet potato AND mushrooms.

Cheesy Vegan Pasta by Vancouver with Love

Recipe Substitutions


Sweet Potato -
You can use steamed (peeled) butternut squash instead here, but please note the flavour will change slightly, as butternut squash isn't as sweet. I would use roughly half a small butternut squash instead of the sweet potato.

Pasta - You don't have to use gluten free pasta if you don't want and aren't sensitive to gluten, regular will work fine in this recipe.

Coconut Milk - There is no substitution for the coconut milk. Almond, oat or soy milk won't give this dish the same creaminess as coconut. It's also important to use full fat coconut milk to make this sauce as thick as possible. My favourite brand is Wholefoods 365 Organic Coconut Milk.

No Alcohol - You can omit the white wine if preferred. It adds a really nice flavour to the sauce but isn't essential. You might just need to add a little water instead to thin the sauce out.

Liquid Smoke - If you don't have any liquid smoke, add a generous pinch of smoked paprika instead to get a similar smokiness.

Tempeh - You are welcome to use tofu instead if that's what you have, but be aware the taste won't be the same, as tempeh is naturally much more savoury than tofu (which is very bland without seasoning).

Bowl of Vegan Mac and Cheese sprinkled with herbs by Vancouver with Love

Cheesy Vegan Pasta FAQs


1) Can this sauce be frozen?

I haven't tried, but I don't see why it couldn't. If you do freeze it, make sure you don't freeze the pasta, tempeh and mushrooms with it - they should be cooked fresh and added to the sauce once it's defrosted.


2) Why do you use tempeh instead of tofu?

Personally I prefer the taste. Like tofu, tempeh is also made from soybeans but it has a more savoury flavour and works better in this recipe.


3) Won't sweet potato make this sauce too sweet?

No! I was sceptical too but it actually adds the perfect amount of sweetness to balance out the savoury. Try it and see!

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5 from 3 votes

Cheesy Vegan Pasta with Tempeh (gluten free)

This creamy, cheesy pasta sauce made with sweet potato will satisfy all your cravings. Tempeh and mushrooms added for extra protein and flavour.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: gluten-free, healthy, Italian, vegan, vegetarian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 2 people

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, unpeeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk
  • tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 sprigs marjoram, leaves only (can also use thyme or oregano)
  • cup white wine
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups uncooked gluten free pasta
  • 6 cremini or chestnut mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • ½ a 240g pack tempeh, chopped into ½-inch pieces

To Serve

  • Chili flakes
  • Extra marjoram leaves

Instructions

  • Prepare all ingredients as directed above.
  • Steam sweet potato for 10-15 minutes until tender, then drain and blend in a high speed blender with coconut milk until completely smooth. Set aside.
  • Add ½ tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and sauté garlic and marjoram for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Add sweet potato and coconut milk, white wine, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke and salt & pepper to taste. Simmer mixture for 15-20 minutes until fragrant and thick. (If sauce is ready before next steps are complete, turn down to low and keep stirring occasionally to avoid burning. If mixture becomes too thick add a little water.)
  • While sauce is cooking, bring a large pan of water to a boil and add pasta. Cook uncovered as per package instructions, then rinse and drain. Set aside.
  • Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in a small skillet and add mushrooms and tempeh. Sauté for 10 minutes - stirring frequently – until tempeh is golden. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Add mushrooms/tempeh to sweet potato sauce. Add pasta and gently stir to combine.
  • Serve in large bowls decorated with marjoram leaves, chili flakes and extra pepper. Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Leave a rating above and mention @vancouverwithlove or tag #vancouverwithlove on Instagram!

NOTES

Recipe Substitutions

Sweet Potato - You can use steamed (peeled) butternut squash instead here, but please note the flavour will change slightly, as butternut squash isn't as sweet. I would use roughly half a small butternut squash instead of the the sweet potato.
Pasta - You don't have to use gluten free pasta if you don't want to and aren't sensitive to gluten, regular will work fine in this recipe.
Coconut Milk - There is no substitution for the coconut milk. Regular almond, oat or soy milk won't give this dish the same creaminess as coconut. It's also important to use full fat coconut milk to make this sauce as creamy as possible.
No Alcohol - Your'e welcome to omit the white wine if preferred. It adds a really nice flavour to the sauce but isn't essential! You might just need to add a little water instead to thin the sauce out.
Liquid Smoke - If you don't have any liquid smoke, add a generous pinch of smoked paprika instead to get a similar smokiness.
Tempeh - You are welcome to use tofu instead if that's what you have, but please be aware the taste won't be the same as tempeh has a much more savoury taste than tofu (which is very bland without much seasoning).

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If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a comment or tip for others below. I'd love to know how you’ve made it your own!

Bowl of pasta with sweet potato cheese sauce - dairy free - by Vancouver with LoveThis Cheesy Vegan Pasta is the ultimate comfort food. With a cheese sauce made from sweet potato and coconut milk (really, it's delicious) and added sauteed tempeh and mushrooms for protein, it makes a great vegan dinner idea. Gluten free too. #vegan #pasta #sweetpotato #glutenfree #vegandinner #healthydinner

Comments 6

    1. Post
      Author
  1. 5 stars
    I loved the flavors of the sauce! It was so creamy and the liquid smoke gave it a deep savory taste. Thanks for the recipe

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks Lily! I loved that too – can’t underestimate the importance of a smoky flavour in cheese sauce. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    This turned out amazing! The pasta was creamy and delicious! I’m so happy to find a healthy pasta recipe that is comforting and delicious. I will definitely be making this again!

    1. Post
      Author

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