This creamy one-pot red pesto pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and zesty lemon makes a perfect spring or summer weeknight dinner that’s dairy free and vegan. The savory and slightly sweet flavor of the red pesto is balanced by the smoothness of the oat milk and creaminess of the dairy free cream cheese, creating a delightful combination of fresh and tangy flavors.
With only one pot to clean, this recipe is a fuss-free dinner or lunch option that’s quick to prepare!
Why You’ll Love This Red Pesto Pasta
Easy peasy, pasta dinners are my go to on the weeknights. But an easy dinner doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor! Just like my coconut milk pasta sauce and my Mediterranean roasted eggplant, this red pesto pasta brings so many flavors to the table! Here are a few reasons we love this vegan sun-dried tomato pasta and you will too:
- Incredibly Creamy & Flavorful: The addition of oat milk and cream cheese creates a velvety texture that’s indulgent and satisfying. The red pesto sauce is savory and tangy with a hint of sweetness, thanks to the sun-dried tomatoes.
- Vegan-Friendly: This recipe is entirely plant-based- it uses dairy free oat milk and vegan cream cheese in the sauce.
- Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner: With only one pot to clean and minimal prep time, this recipe is a fantastic option for a hassle-free dinner on busy weeknights.
- Customizable: This dish can be customized with different types of pasta, or you can add in some extra veggies, like sautéed spinach or roasted red peppers, to amp up the nutritional value and flavor.
- Perfect for Spring or Summer: The tangy and slightly sweet flavor of the red pesto pairs beautifully with the fresh and vibrant flavors of the basil and pine nuts, making this dish perfect for spring or summer.
This one pot creamy red pesto pasta with sun-dried tomatoes uses simple, fresh ingredients that come together to create a savory and flavorful sauce. You can use store-bought red pesto or make it yourself using the recipe provided on our website. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Dry Short Pasta
- White Wine, vegan
- Oat Milk, or other milk of choice
- Vegetable Broth
- Red Pesto (Pesto Rosso), store-bought or homemade
- Cream Cheese, dairy free like Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese
- Salt & Pepper
- Fresh Basil
- Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Toasted Pine Nuts
Note: Quantities for each ingredient can be found in the recipe instructions below.
- Short Pasta: you can use any short pasta of choice in this sun-dried tomato pesto pasta from rigatoni to fusilli. I used Cascatelli in this recipe, although it did break apart a bit so I recommend a more tubular pasta like penne, ziti, or rigatoni for the best results.
- Red Pesto: you can use store-bought pesto or make your own using our recipe.
- Oat Milk: you can substitute oat milk with any plant-based milk such as almond milk or soy milk. Oat milk can also be swapped with a 1:1 ratio with dairy based milk.
- Vegetable Broth: you can substitute vegetable broth for water with added salt for a lighter option.
- Shallot: you can use a small red onion instead of a shallot.
- Cherry Tomatoes: you can use regular tomatoes or more sun-dried tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes.
- Vegan Cream Cheese: dairy free cream cheese can be swapped with a 1:1 ratio for dairy-based cheese. You could even use vegan parmesan cheese in its place, but the sauce won’t be quite as creamy.
- A large dutch oven, stock pot, or large cast iron pan
- A wooden spoon, for stirring
- Lid or foil, to cover the pot
STEP 1: Heat the olive oil in a large pot, cast iron pan or Dutch oven over medium heat.
STEP 2: Add the shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Then, add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute or until slightly golden, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
STEP 3: Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until they begin to soften.
STEP 4: Deglaze the bottom of the pot by pouring in the white wine, then cook for 1 minute.
To make the pasta sauce:
STEP 5: Add the dry pasta, 1 ½ cups of oat milk, 2 cups of vegetable broth, and ½ cup of the red pesto. Stir to combine. The liquid should just barely cover the pasta.
STEP 6: Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, cook for 10-15 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
📌 TIP: If the pasta starts to stick or the sauce looks too thick, add a splash of vegetable broth or oat milk to loosen it up.
STEP 7: Uncover and add the remaining 1 cup of oat milk, the remaining red pesto, and the cream cheese. Mix to combine. If you want more of a tomato flavor, mix in 1 tbsp of tomato paste.
📌 TIP: If the sauce looks too liquidy, simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes or until thickened.
STEP 8: Taste the sauce and add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
STEP 9: Serve warm, garnished with fresh chopped basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts.
This vegan red pesto pasta is versatile and can be served as a light summer lunch topped with fresh herbs and sun-dried tomatoes.
Alternatively, it can also make for a hearty dinner topped with crispy pan-charred chickpeas for added protein and crunch. Serve with a side of this lemony spinach arugula salad for a balanced meal.
To make the crispy charred chickpeas:
- Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the drained, rinsed, and patted dry chickpeas to the skillet, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
- Drizzle with olive oil and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
- Serve immediately as a topping for the creamy red pesto pasta, or as a delicious snack.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To reheat, simply add a splash of oat milk or water to loosen up the sauce and heat in a pan or microwave until heated through.
Follow these simple tips for the best results!
- Be sure to use short pasta: longer pasta will break easily and won’t hold the sauce as well.
- If you’re short on time: you can use store-bought red pesto instead of making your own.
- If you want to make this recipe gluten-free: use gluten-free pasta.
- For a spicier kick: add some red pepper flakes to the sauce while cooking.
- To make the chickpeas extra crispy: pat them dry with a paper towel after rinsing.
Yes! You can make this recipe with two pots if you prefer. Boil and prepare your pasta according to the package instructions. While the pasta cooks in a large pot of salted water, you can make the sauce in a separate pot.
Follow the instructions in the recipe card below, but don’t add dry pasta to the sauce and reduce the liquid by 1/2 (so 1 cup veggie broth and 1 1/4 cup oat milk). Simmer everything uncovered (instead of covered) for 15-20 minutes, or until reduced. Then, add the cooked pasta to the sauce and top with extra basil.
Red pesto, or pesto rosso, is a Southern Italian sauce made with either sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper or fresh tomatoes mixed with nuts, basil, and olive oil. You can learn more about how to make homemade pesto rosso here!
More Pasta Recipes & Delicious Sauces:
- Vegan Classic Basil Pesto
- One Pot Creamy Vegan Pasta Bake
- Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce
- Creamy Garlic Lemon Tahini Pasta
- One Pot Creamy Zucchini Pasta
Did you make this creamy red pesto pasta recipe?
I’d love to know! Leave a star rating and comment below!
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 5 cups short pasta of choice like rigatoni, penne, or ziti
- 2 ½ cups oat milk (divided) or milk of choice
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 ¼ cup pesto rosso (sundried tomato pesto), homemade or store bought
- ¼ cup cream cheese, dairy free (I used Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese)
- 1-2 tsp granulated sugar, to taste
- Juice & zest of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup diced or whole sun-dried tomatoes
- Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
- To cook the pasta, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add cherry tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, then pour in white wine to deglaze the pot and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the dry pasta, 1 ½ cups of oat milk, 2 cups of vegetable broth, and ½ cup of pesto rosso. Stir to combine and ensure pasta is covered in liquid. Cover and bring to a simmer, then cook for 10-15 minutes until pasta is almost al dente.
- After 10-15 minutes, uncover and add the remaining 1 cup of oat milk, the remaining pesto rosso, and cream cheese. Mix and cook uncovered for 5-7 minutes to help reduce the sauce. Cook a few minutes longer if the sauce is too liquidy (the sauce will thicken as it cools).
- Add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm and garnish with basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts.
*Serve with crispy charred chickpeas (recipe in notes below) and this lemon spinach arugula salad for a complete meal!*
Salt & Seasoning
- Adjust the salt levels to taste. The salt and seasonings may need to be adjusted based on the type of vegetable broth you use.
- Based on the type of pasta you use, you may need to add more or less dairy-free milk. After 10 minutes of boiling, check the liquid levels. Add the remaining dairy-free milk. If it looks like your pasta needs more liquid, add up to 1 cup extra depending on how much liquid your pasta absorbs while cooking.
- Please note: Not all wines are vegan. You can use Barnivore.com to check and see if your wine is vegan-friendly.
- 1 15-oz can of cooked chickpeas- drained, rinsed & patted dry
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat a skillet with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the drained, rinsed, and patted dry chickpeas to the skillet, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
- Serve immediately as a topping for the creamy red pesto pasta.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 393Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 258mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 4gSugar: 12gProtein: 16g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
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