Who serves up romance for dinner better than the Italians? No one—that’s what makes it the perfect date night theme.
Pasta sauce from the can is fine if you’re in a pinch, but if you’re looking for something easy yet impressive this is the recipe for you!
Because of my dietary restrictions, I am pretty much restricted to marinara sauce when eating out and the traditional version of this recipe calls for heavy cream, but there are great dairy-free, vegan substitutes nowadays!
*Coconut cream is a fantastic alternative for heavy cream because it substitutes 1:1 for dairy cream. Coconut cream can be bought at most stores, but a can of full fat coconut milk can also work. Just allow the coconut milk can to settle and the cream will rise to the top. Tofu is also a great substitute, acting as a thickener for the sauce. Simply blend the tofu until smooth and substitute 1:1 for dairy cream.
Vodka sauce has offers more depth of flavor than traditional tomato sauce, but slightly less punch than arrabbiata (red chili pepper sauce). The vodka adds a little bite to the creamy tomato sauce, which is followed by slight heat from the red pepper flakes. Even if you don’t speak Italian you’ll be saying, “delizioso” tonight!
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GLUTEN-FREE CREAMY-TOMATO VODKA SAUCE (VEGAN OPTIONAL)
- 1 28oz can whole plum tomatoes
- 1 tbsp vegan butter substitute
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4-1/3 tsp red pepper flakes, depending on your spice preference
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 2/3 cup heavy cream substitute*
- 1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese, plus some for topping (Use vegan cheese for vegan version)
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
*Dairy-free heavy cream substitute - In small bowl, whisk 2/3 cup plain soy milk with 2/3 cup canola oil until well blended.
- Prep heavy cream substitute.
- In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter substitute then add shallots and cook until slightly softened, roughly 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring for about 30 seconds before removing from heat and adding vodka, tomatoes, and salt to taste.
- Return skillet to stove and simmer, stirring constantly, 7-8 minutes until alcohol cooks off.
- Stir in heavy cream substitute, cooking 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Add in pecorino and basil. Stir until well combined.
- Toss pasta in sauce to coat and top with additional grated cheese.