I’ve always loved pink sauce – in case you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically marinara sauce with a bunch of cream added, making it creamy and pink and delicious (and fattening and sort of awful for lactose intolerant people, unfortunately). It’s frequently made with a splash of vodka and called vodka sauce, but I didn’t do that this time. You totally could, though.
Naturally, my version doesn’t use real cream – but you’d never know it! I served this to a dozen (decidedly non-vegan) people last week without mentioning that it was vegan and everyone raved about it (and nobody even thought to ask whether or not it had cream in it). It’s so simple and rich with far less fat and calories than the standard recipe – I would recommend it even to people who eat dairy just as a healthy alternative.
Did I mention it was easy? You just combine a can of crushed tomatoes with a couple of spices, simmer them for about 20 minutes, and then add about 6-8 ounces of silken tofu. Blend it together using an immersion blender (or by transferring it to a blender or food processor – just be careful because hot stuff tends to expand in the blender so don’t fill it more than halfway). It’s possible you could whisk it really thoroughly but I suspect it might not combine as nicely that way, and chunks of tofu would definitely give away the secret!
You may think it would taste tofu-ey, but it seriously doesn’t. Do start with a little bit less tofu and add more to taste, if you add way too much it will get a hint of tofu flavor – but even then you can mask it by adding some more spices if you have to.
The best part of this, for me at least, is that I ate a big plate of delicious creamy pasta and then spent the next few hours not feeling sick or sleepy – so much better than the effects of real cream!
Creamy Marinara Pink Sauce
- ½ an onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- pinch red pepper flakes optional, add if you like a little bit of spice
- 6-8 oz about 1/2 - 3/4 of a 12 oz block silken tofu. If you can't find silken get the softest one you can.
- 1 lb brown rice pasta - I used small shells but you can use fusilli, penne, or whatever you like.
- Boil water for pasta in a large pot. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add onions and heat until softened. Add garlic and heat for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add crushed tomatoes, spices, and salt and heat for about 20 minutes or so. (It's easiest to time it with the water - if you start the sauce right around the same time that you start the water boiling, you can let it simmer until the water starts boiling and then add the tofu right after you put the noodles in the water.)
- Add tofu to the sauce and blend with an immersion blender (or by carefully transferring to a food processor or blender) until very smooth. Taste and add more salt or spices to taste. Once your noodles are finished cooking, drain them and mix sauce and pasta together. Serve immediately.
18 thoughts on “Creamy Marinara Pink Sauce”
Really good, quick and easy! My hubby and 2 year old loved it!
Glad you enjoyed it!
I am so excited to try this recipe tonight for dinner. I have been gluten free for 3 years and now I am dairy free so cooking has gotten even harder for me. So nice to find a site with beautiful pictures and easy to follow steps.
I just made this for dinner – I’m a not a vegan (I just eat vegan at home) and I was blown away by how much this is like the real thing. I actually prefer this, because I don’t have that awful heavy stomach feeling that you normally get. Thank you!
As a brand new vegan who has been living off of raw vegetables and plain pasta for the past week, I am ecstatic to have found this website. The vegan substitutes you post for my most loved non-vegan food wouldn’t have been as appealing if it wasnt for the step by step pictures and commentary. Instead missing non-vegan food, I am excited about all the new ingredients I can use to enjoy my old favorites (hopefully) just as much. Thank you for taking the time to post these, it means a lot!
So glad I can help, and I hope you continue to learn and love healthy eating!
Thank you for a great and healthy alternative!
Lovely – I don’t like that just-ate-too-much-rich pasta feeling and this looks like it will be the perfect substitute. Now I just have to figure out a way to get my hubbie to actually put the tofu in the cart and not *conveniently* forget it when he goes grocery shopping! 😉
That is such an amazing idea! I need to find some silken tofu and try this!
mmmm white beans go so well in Italian food anyways, sounds great..
Hey Jessica! I found this recipe (and your site) from findingvegan and I’m so glad I did. I absolutely LOVE vodka cream sauce and I’ve been putting off trying to figure out a way to vegan/healthify it because I didn’t think it was possible to make it taste as good, but I love your idea! The fact that your non-vegan friends loved it as well is awesome. I’m going to try a (vodka containing) version soon. Thanks!
The food looks delicious and the pictures are absolutely stunning!
Oh my gosh, I want to try this! I’m not vegan or vegetarian or anything (though I’ve always wanted to try). But this recipe looks brilliant. Especially since my specialty is pastas. I should serve it to the boyfriend one night and keep my mouth shut and see if he says anything. He’d probably love it. And then I would laugh. ..On the inside.
Love your photography, by the way! : )
I’m making this over the weekend with some gnocchi and morning star farms italian sausages!!! I can’t wait! I bought some jarred pesto… what was I thinking?.. so that will have to be next weeks menu! Thanks for this recipe, looks delic!
beautiful! Such a classic combo
Mmm I have something similar to this in my fridge but instead of using tofu, I used soaked sunflower seeds blended with a little bit of water.
Another delicious looking recipe! I’ve made something similar by pureeing the sauce with some cooked white beans instead of tofu.
That’s a great idea – especially for people avoiding soy!