This Vegan Penne alla Vodka is super creamy and packed with protein from the smoky tempeh “pancetta.”
Matt works in the wines and spirits industry so every once in a while he comes home carrying boxes of free wine and liquor. Mostly, it’s leftover and pre-opened bottles from tasting events or sugary crap that we leave out by the dumpster. Oddly enough, it doesn’t go to waste because somebody in our apartment complex comes by and takes it… yeah.
Once in a blue moon, he brings home something goooood. Like a bottle of Grey Goose or Patron. And despite his career choice, we’re still not big drinkers around here. So a lot of it sits on our “liquor shelf” aka “$20 bookcase from Target” for way too long until we decide that the dumpster bandit deserves something a little fancier.
So since we’re vodka hoarders, we decided to throw it into our favorite marinara sauce with cashew cream and tempeh to make a vegan version of Penne alla Vodka. Also, we didn’t add just any plain ol’ tempeh. We mixed the tempeh with liquid smoke (and some other stuff)!
Liquid smoke is like magic in a bottle. If you haven’t tried it yet, buy a small bottle – it’s worth it – it’s so versatile and it lasts foreverrrrr. The tempeh “pancetta” substitutes the pancetta bacon that’s usually found in a more traditional Vodka Sauce.
So what’s the deal with this Vegan Penne alla Vodka?
- INGREDIENTS: All the good stuff: Cashew Cream // Tempeh “Pancetta” // Marinara Sauce // Vodka (use a vodka that you would drink). Also, penne pasta!
- TIMING: 30 Minutes. Simple to make! The longest part is cooking down the vodka. You need to cook the vodka until it’s no longer fragrant. Otherwise, your sauce will taste like straight vodka which wouldn’t be too yummy (although you might be too drunk to notice at that point anyway… hmmm…).
- EXTRAS: Peas, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms – do it up! Also, don’t forget to top it with red pepper flakes and vegan parmesan.
Vegan. Vodka. Sauce. Do it!
This Vegan Penne alla Vodka is made with cashew cream and homemade tempeh "pancetta" for protein.
- 1/2 cup soaked cashews
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3/4 cup filtered water
- 4 oz. tempeh (usually half a block)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3-4 cups your favorite marinara sauce
- 1 cup vodka (use a brand you would drink)
- 1 lb penne pasta
Start by boiling generously salted water for the pasta. Follow instructions on pasta box for timing and set aside once cooked.
Meanwhile, add all cashew cream ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender and blend for 2 minutes or until creamy. Set aside. Use the quick-soak method for cashews if you need it!
Add all tempeh "pancetta" ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Dice tempeh into pieces about 1cm in size. Add tempeh to marinade and mix. Over medium-high heat, cook tempeh in a small skillet until browned throughout (about 5 minutes)
In a large pan, add 3-4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce and heat over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup vodka, stir frequently to reduce the sauce by 1/4 cup or until the vodka smell dissipates (about 20 minutes).
Once vodka sauce is ready, add your cashew cream mixture and stir to combine. Then add the cooked tempeh "pancetta" and stir to combine. Serve over penne.
Top with red pepper flakes and vegan parmesan.
Nutrition facts are approximate*