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Cheesy Vegan Pasta with Tempeh and marjoram
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5 from 7 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


  • Blender


  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, unpeeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk
  • tablespoon olive or avocado oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 sprigs marjoram, leaves only (can also use thyme or oregano)
  • cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon 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


  • 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 tablespoon 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!


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).