This vegan spinach artichoke pasta is the perfect weeknight dinner. Made with silken tofu, tender artichoke and an alarming amount of spinach, it’s packed with nutrients but still has everything you want from a comforting, cheesy pasta dish. Not to mention those insanely delicious fried shallots… be warned, they’re hard to stop eating. Plantbased, nut free and easy to make, everything comes together in less than 30 minutes!
The Ingredients Needed to Make This Spinach Artichoke Pasta Recipe
Silken Tofu: Many other vegan creamy pasta recipes will use cashews or coconut cream as a base, but to keep things a little lighter I like to use tofu. It’s the perfect thickener for the sauce and also adds a little protein to the dish.
Shallots: An important part of this recipe because you’ll need them for both the sauce and the fried shallot topping. I prefer shallots over onions for their sweetness and size.
Miso, soy sauce and nutritional yeast: I like to call this the holy trinity of vegan cooking. All of these ingredients contribute an element of umami to the cream sauce. The miso and soy sauce are salty while the nutritional yeast gives us that distinct cheesy flavor.
Spinach: Like I said, you will need A LOT of spinach for this recipe. It’s part of what makes it so good for you! I’m always amazed at how much it shrinks down once it hits the warm sauce. I like to use baby spinach as it’s a little milder.
Artichoke hearts: If you don’t know, I LOVE artichoke hearts. I could seriously eat a whole can as a snack. For this vegan spinach artichoke pasta recipe, I used a two whole cans of quartered water packed artichoke hearts. I don’t recommend using the oil marinated ones, because while they are delicious, it might be a little much.
Short cut pasta: I used penne, but any short cut pasta such as cavatapi, rotini, orecchiette or macaroni will work. I wouldn’t use a long pasta shape like spaghetti because it won’t adhere to the sauce.
Lemon: I’m writing specifically about the addition of lemon juice at the end because it’s so important! The second time I made this I forgot the lemon juice and couldn’t figure out what was missing. It turns out that last hit of acid at the end can make a huge difference for flavor.
How to Make Vegan Spinach Artichoke Pasta
- Start by sautéing the shallots and garlic in oil. This is really the only source of fat for the entire dish, so you’ll need a good amount to make the sauce rich and flavorful. After the shallots are softened, add all the sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. That’s it!
- I like to fry the shallots in the same skillet that I sautéed the shallots in. While the sauce is still in the blender, add an inch or two of oil to the skillet and heat over a medium flame. Wait a few minutes for the oil to heat up. You’ll know it’s ready when the shallots sizzle when they touch the oil. You can test this by throwing one slice in at a time until you hear that sound. The key to evenly fried shallots is not moving them around. Just let them sizzle undisturbed for about 10 minutes to turn golden brown before transferring them to a paper towel where they’ll crisp up as they cool. Let the oil cool before discarding it and wiping out the skillet.
- While the shallots fry, cook the pasta al dente in heavily salted water. SAVE YOUR PASTA WATER. I’ve thrown out precious pasta water so many times… That starchy, salty water is going to give the sauce a really nice flavor and creamy texture.
- Now, add the pasta, sauce, spinach and artichokes back to the skillet over medium low heat. Let the spinach wilt for a few minutes and add in your pasta water to thin the sauce. You don’t want to cook it too long or the pasta will get mushy. About 5-10 minutes will do the trick. And that’s it! Top with crispy shallots, a squeeze of lemon juice and serve fresh. Enjoy!
Substitutions and Tips For Success
- For an extra creamy sauce, make sure you blend it thoroughly. This may go without saying, but it usually takes longer than I expect. You’ll probably need to scrape down the sides as you go and blend for a total 2 minutes.
- To add some more protein to this vegan spinach artichoke pasta, you can add a can of chickpeas or white beans at the end. This would also be great with some grilled chicken if you’re not vegan.
- When frying the shallots, try the move them around as little as possible. Keep the heat on medium and try to avoid letting the oil spatter, this probably means it’s too hot and could start smoking. Keep a close eye on them, they’ll brown quickly!
- This pasta also tastes great the next day. Just store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and they’ll keep for 4-5 days. Reheat in a covered pot over low heat until warmed through.