This Gluten-Free Vegan Baked Penne Pasta with Spicy Rose' Sauce is a healthy and easy recipe to make with clean, real food ingredients. It's ready to enjoy in under 30 minutes and is dairy-free, is made without processed vegan cheese, and Medical Medium® compliant!
This Gluten-Free Vegan Baked Penne with Spicy Rose' Sauce is a nice vegan and gluten-free pasta dish with a creamy plant-based sauce which is perfect if you like a little spice!
Here's Why This Recipe Works
My top 3 favorite reasons:
- Quick + Easy Meal Ready In Under 30 Minutes
- Serve It Baked or Unbaked
- Made with Clean, Real Food Ingredients
Quick + Easy Meal Ready in Under 30 Minutes
You'll love how easy it is to make this dish for a busy weeknight dinner.
While the pasta is boiling, you have about 10-12 minutes to prep the veggies and make the sauce.
By the time the pasta is ready, all you have left to do is mix everything together then transfer it to your baking dish!
Serve It Baked or Unbaked
While this recipe is called "baked penne", it's also really, really good unbaked which is even better if you're short on time or don't want to heat up the oven.
Simply mix everything together, sprinkle with vegan parmesan or gluten-free bread crumbs and it's ready to serve!
Made With Clean, Real Food Ingredients
My family loves pasta, and luckily it's a pretty versatile meal that can be changed up very easily just by using different sauces and toppings.
This creamy plant-based sauce is made with lots of fresh veggies and minimally processed ingredients.
Most creamy pasta sauces are not vegan or dairy-free.
Here are some typical ingredients for a traditional creamy rose' sauce:
S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) Creamy Rose' Sauce Typical Ingredients: Olive Oil, Onion, Garlic, Chicken Broth, Spaghetti Sauce, Spinach, Cream Cheese, Parmesan Cheese
As with most "creamy" pasta sauces, they contain non-vegan ingredients like parmesan cheese, cream cheese, chicken broth.
My healthier pasta dish version is plant-based, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, contains no processed vegan cheese, and is Medical Medium® compliant.
How To Make This Recipe: Step-by-Step Instructions
Here is how to make this recipe and I'll show you with step-by-step instructions below.
Before beginning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and set aside a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Step 1: Prepare the Pasta
Firstly, prepare the pasta according to your package directions.
Work on the rest of the recipe while the pasta is boiling.
Step 2: Prep the Veggies
Secondly, while the pasta is boiling you can begin to prep the veggies needed to make the sauce and add them to the pasta.
Dice the tomatoes, onions, red bell peppers, and jalapenos.
Next, chop the baby spinach into thin strips.
Step 3: Prepare the Sauce
Thirdly, add all ingredients for the sauce to a Vitamix and blend until it's creamy and smooth.
Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
Step 3: Add All Ingredients Together
Thirdly, once the pasta has finished boiling, strain it and add it to a large mixing bowl.
Add the chopped spinach and diced red bell pepper add-ins to the mixing bowl.
Next, add the sauce and gently stir everything together until it's well blended and all ingredients are evenly distributed.
Step 4: Assembly
Fourthly, transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 10 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are golden.
Step 5: How To Store
Lastly, store any leftovers in an air-tight BPA-free container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Karielyn's Expert Tips + Ingredient Substitutions
Here are some of my expert tips to make this recipe perfectly:
Pasta. I used organic gluten-free brown rice "penne" pasta in this recipe, but you could use your favorite variety or whatever you have on hand.
Cashews. Due to the cashews in the sauce, you will get the best results using a high-speed blender like a Vitamix. However, you can still make the sauce with a regular blender or food processor although the sauce might be a little "grainy". See the FAQ section below for instructions.
Almond Milk. Using homemade almond milk is my milk of choice, but feel free to substitute it with your favorite non-dairy milk. However, make sure it is "unsweetened" and not flavored (for example, vanilla) since this is a savory dish.
Vegetable Broth. You can use a "salted" or "unsalted" veggie broth. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the added salt in the sauce if you use "salted" veggie broth. Make sure the brand you use doesn't contain citric acid.
Tomatoes. I usually use (2) Roma tomatoes but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Just make sure you have (2) cups of diced tomatoes to use for the sauce.
Onion. I like to use red onions, but you can use whatever variety you like, with the exception of a "sweet" onion since this is a savory dish.
Jalapenos. In this recipe, I added (2) jalapenos which make the sauce very, very hot. If you don't like your foods overly hot or will be serving this dish to children, you may want to reduce or omit the jalapenos.
Lemon Juice. Freshly squeezed lemon juice will give you the best flavor and most nutrients since it hasn't been pasteurized, but you can substitute it with store-bought organic lemon juice.
Himalayan Pink Salt. This is my salt of preference, however, you can always substitute it with sea salt.
Bread Crumbs. You can use these organic, gluten-free "bread" crumbs that are made with 100% chickpeas that would work well in this recipe.
Frequently Ask Questions About Baked Penne Pasta with Spicy Rose' Sauce
Do I Have To "Bake" The Pasta or Can I Serve It "UnBaked"?
The great thing about this recipe is you can serve it either way!
If you're in a hurry and don't want to heat up your oven, you can serve the dish right after tossing everything together.
Do I Have To Add Bread Crumbs?
No, you don't have to add bread crumbs!
The purpose of "baking" the pasta is to brown the bread crumbs, so if you aren't adding the bread crumbs there's no reason to "bake" the pasta and you can skip that step.
Can I Make The Sauce Without A Vitamix?
Using a high-speed blender like a Vitamix will give you the most creamy and smooth texture.
However, you can also use a regular blender or even a strong food processor if you take an extra step and a little extra time to prepare the cashews.
- Soak the cashews in a bowl of filtered/purified water for at least (1) hour
- Strain and rinse the cashews
- Add them to your blender or food processor
Soaking the cashews will make them soft and easier to blend.
Where Is The Nutritional Yeast That Was In the Original Recipe?
I updated the recipe (December 2019) and omitted the nutritional yeast to make the recipe 100% Medical Medium® compliant.
If you didn't need the recipe to be Medical Medium® compliant, you can add (4) tablespoons of MSG-free nutritional yeast to the sauce ingredients which will give it a more "cheesier" flavor.
Want More Healthy Plant-Based Dinner Recipes?
Check out these:
- Vegan Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Spicy Turmeric Twice Baked Potatoes
- Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce
- or my CLEAN EATING Cookbook with 75+ plant-based vegan + gluten-free recipes made with clean, real food ingredients just like this one that you will love!
Did You Make This Recipe?
I'd love to hear about it! Please give it a rating and leave a comment below...it would make my day! : )
Gluten-Free Vegan Baked Penne Pasta with Spicy Rose’ Sauce
- 9 x 13 Baking Dish
For the pasta:
- 1 pound organic gluten-free penne pasta
For the sauce:
- 1 2/3 cups organic raw cashews
- 1 cup homemade almond milk
- 2/3 cups organic vegetable broth
- 1 cup organic tomato (diced)
- 1/2 cup organic onion (diced)
- 4 cloves organic garlic
- 2 organic jalapenos
- 1 tablespoon organic lemon juice (freshly juiced)
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 teaspoon organic smoked paprika
For the add-ins:
- 2 cups organic baby spinach (chopped in thin strips)
- 1 organic red bell pepper (diced)
For the topping:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Set aside a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Prepare the pasta:
- Prepare pasta according to package directions, then set aside.
- Work on the rest of the recipe while the pasta is boiling.
Prep the veggies:
- Dice the red peppers, onions, tomatoes, cut the jalapenos into 1/4 pieces and chop the spinach into thin strips. Set aside.
Prepare the sauce:
- Add all ingredients for the sauce to a Vitamix and blend until it's creamy and smooth.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
- Once the pasta is finished boiling, drain it and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the sauce along with the chopped spinach and red bell pepper add-ins and gently toss until everything is well combined.
- Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle gluten-free bread crumbs over the top.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 10 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned.
Hi, I'm Karielyn! I'm the published cookbook author of CLEAN DESSERTS and content creator of The Healthy Family and Home™ website since 2012. I specialize in creating easy, healthy plant-based and Medical Medium® compliant recipes that are gluten-free + vegan and made with clean, real food ingredients that you can feel good about eating.
Thank-you for another awesome recipe. I made it tonight and it's wonderful! My processor is feeble to say the least, so my sauce was a little textured 🙂 But it tasted incredible.
Hi there Julie! I'm so excited to hear you enjoyed it! And I bet the textured sauce was really good, even if it wasn't intentional lol!
Thanks for trying out the recipe and for taking the time to let me know you liked it, I really appreciate it 😉
my sister is pre diabetic and also had some digestive issues. This recipe in some of the others are really great and with a few changes to them they can't work really well for her. For example replacing the pasta with a better low carb choice. I love you the sauces that you are creating!
Hi there BarbC! If you like the sauce, another low-carb option you could try would be either zucchini pasta/noodles (made from zucchini) or even spaghetti squash, both would be much lower in carbs than traditional pasta.
Another option, which really isn't pasta, but you could make cauliflower rice (which would be low-carb). You would just take raw cauliflower, put it in a food processor and process until it becomes a rice texture. Same with making "mashed" cauliflower, which would be a mashed potato alternative, but made in a blender.
I can't eat pasta either, so when I make meals like this they are for my family and I either make the zucchini pasta or spaghetti squash for myself.
Thanks so much and I hope one of the alternatives will work 🙂
Karielyn- my daughter is allergic to yeast... do you have any ideas for what i can substitute for the nutritional yeast in this recipe? ( it looks delicious)
Hi there Heidi! I added the nutritional yeast to give it a little "cheesy" flavor but you could leave it out - it's not a critical ingredient to the recipe.
I hope that helps and that your family is able to enjoy it 🙂
Simply called "food" says
Very nice recipe of vegan creamy sauce. Do you think I can make it in a regular blender instead of a vitamix?
Hi there! The only thing I would worry about is the cashews. If your blender can turn the cashews into a creamy liquid, you should be fine.
If not, you may try mixing it in a food processor. Just keep an eye on the "liquid level" because mine has overflowed in the past and made a big mess when I had too much liquid in it.
I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it out...thanks for stopping by 🙂
Abby @ The Frosted Vegan says
NEED that carby goodness!!
Hi Abby! I know! But I sure wish I could eat as many carbs as my boys do without having to think twice lol!
Suresh Urs says
Wow! Nice fantastic recipe and wonderful post. Thanks.
Hi there...thanks so much 😉
Jerry | Simply Good Eating says
This pasta dish looks fantastic with that creamy sauce on top and so nice and colorful 🙂 I usually like some meat in my pasta but I think I could do just fine without it for this dish. Thanks for sharing Karielyn!
Hi Jerry! Thank you so much for your kind comments...I really appreciate it!
I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it out 🙂