This vegan pink pasta sauce is a light and creamy tomato sauce, perfect for pairing with your favorite pasta! It is made with coconut cream which makes it ultra creamy, but also dairy free. This easy dinner is made with common pantry ingredients and is ready in under 15 minutes!Jump to Recipe
Highlights of this recipe
This recipe is:
- Limited ingredients
- Ready in under 15 minutes
- Gluten free
This is such an easy pasta recipe. You just need a few simple ingredients.
- Marinara Sauce - You can use homemade tomato sauce or store bought. You can also substitute this for tomato sauce. Look for varieties with no added sugar.
- Coconut Cream - Coconut cream is the thick layer of cream that is found at the top of an unshaken can of coconut milk. Instead of heavy cream, this dairy free pasta sauce gets its creaminess from using coconut cream as a substitute. Many pasta sauce recipes suggest cooking store-bought marinara sauce down for a long time, or adding sugar. The coconut cream helps with the acidity of the marinara sauce and provides a slight sweetness to balance out the tomatoes. Use the unsweetened version of coconut cream.
- Garlic Salt - You know I love my garlic salt! I like using this in place of garlic powder and salt to simplify the ingredient list. It’s the secret ingredient in Easy 4 Ingredient Guacamole.
- Red pepper flakes - You can use more or less depending on your preference.
- Pasta of your choice - I used rigatoni here but you can try it with gluten-free penne pasta or your favorite pasta shape. Read more about the best clean and gluten-free pasta here.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
What is pink pasta sauce?
Pink pasta sauce is a pasta sauce also known as rose pasta, pink pasta, or even creamy tomato pasta. It is a blend of red sauce and cream sauce, creating a pink color of the sauce. It almost looks like Vodka Sauce, but is not the same.
What makes this pink pasta sauce dairy free?
Typically pink pasta sauce is made from tomato sauce or tomato paste combined with heavy whipping cream and milk, or Alfredo sauce. This pink pasta sauce recipe does not use heavy cream. It uses marinara sauce and coconut cream instead, making it dairy free. This pink pasta sauce is also made without cheese. This makes it a vegan pasta sauce!
First up, cook the pasta al dente. This is usually about 2 minutes less than package directions. Make sure to reserve ½ cup pasta water for later. That stuff is magical, and the glue that binds the pasta to the sauce.
Add marinara sauce to a large skillet set to medium-low heat.
Add garlic salt and red pepper flakes to the marinara sauce and stir to combine.
Let marinara sauce heat up, about 2-4 minutes.
Stir in coconut cream and mix to combine, allowing cream to melt into the sauce. The sauce should turn a light pink color.
Pour in the pasta water and stir to combine.
Let pink pasta sauce lightly simmer to thicken, about 3-5 minutes. To avoid curdling the sauce, make sure to simmer instead of boiling.
Pour in cooked pasta and stir to coat pasta with sauce.
Serve immediately, or keep as meal prep in an airtight container.
Top the pasta with herbs like fresh parsley or fresh basil. You can also add more red pepper flakes.
How to store
Store leftover pink sauce pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
How to reheat
You can reheat this pasta in the microwave or in a skillet over medium-low heat.
This vegan tomato cream sauce is delicious on its own served with pasta, but it is also a great base recipe for you to add in your favorites.
I always love adding simple veggies or greens to pastas! My favorites to include in this recipe are baby kale, spinach, or even arugula.
Other veggie additions that would be great to make this a more veggie forward pasta sauce:
- Bell Peppers
- English Peas
You can also add a protein to this pasta dish. These are some of my favorites.
- Try adding turkey meatballs
- Simple roasted salmon
- Grilled shrimp
- Baked chicken breasts
Side Dish Ideas
- I always love pairing pasta dishes with a light green salad. Try a Kale Fennel Dried Fig Salad or Grapefruit & Arugula Salad.
- Some of my favorite salad dressing recipes: Grapefruit Salad Dressing, Dill Mustard Salad Dressing, and Spicy Cashew Dressing (Oil Free!)
- Try a roasted veggie like Roasted Carrots.
Variations & substitutions
Here are some suggestions if you want to substitute an ingredient or change up this creamy pasta sauce.
- This sauce is made without cheese, but if you want to add a cheesy flavor while keeping it dairy free, you can opt for topping with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. You could also add vegan parmesan cheese.
- Spice it up - add more red pepper flakes to make a spicy pink sauce.
- If you don’t like coconut flavor, or can’t have coconut, swap out the coconut cream for the same amount of cashew butter.
- Keep it all gluten free by using gluten-free noodles.
- If you don’t have a jar of marinara sauce on hand, you can swap for tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes. You may need to add some extra seasonings since marinara sauce is more flavorful than plain tomato sauce.
- If you like a chunkier sauce, add some diced fresh tomatoes.
- Get in some more veggies by skipping the pasta and serving this sauce over a bowl of zoodles.
Frequently Asked Questions
No! Pink pasta sauce and vodka sauce both have that pink hue and have a flavor combination of heavy cream and tomato sauce. However, vodka sauce has the addition of vodka as an ingredient.
Tomatoes are acidic, meaning that it can easily cause milk to curdle when mixed. Milk is more prone to separating than fatty milks or heavy cream, so a dairy free milk is even more prone to curdling. To avoid this, make sure to only simmer the pasta sauce instead of boil.
This recipe makes a delicious pink pasta sauce using coconut cream instead of heavy cream. Other recipes may use almond milk or soy milk, but the coconut cream helps keep this sauce thick and creamy.
Dairy Free Pink Pasta Sauce
- 6 ounces rigatoni
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- ½ cup coconut cream creamy white part only, no liquid
- ½ cup pasta water
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Cook pasta according to instructions on the box, but drain from pasta about 2 minutes prior in order to have al dente pasta. Make sure to reserve ½ cup pasta water. Leave to the side.6 ounces rigatoni
- Add marinara sauce to a saucepan on medium-low heat.1 cup marinara sauce
- Add garlic salt and red pepper flakes to the marinara sauce and stir to combine.½ teaspoon garlic salt, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Let marinara sauce heat up, about 2-4 minutes.
- Add coconut cream and stir to combine, allowing cream to melt into the sauce. Sauce should turn a light pink color.½ cup coconut cream
- Pour in the pasta water and stir to combine.½ cup pasta water
- Let pink pasta sauce lightly simmer to thicken, about 3-5 minutes.
- Pour in cooked pasta and stir to coat pasta with sauce.
- Serve immediately, or keep as meal prep in an airtight container.
- Leftovers last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
Use any marinara or tomato sauce of choice. I prefer using a simple one with limited seasoning, that way I can control the flavor and seasoning myself.