Gluten-Free Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce (Vegan Optional)


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!

Make sure to share your photos by using the hashtag: #studioisteats



  • 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.


  1. Prep heavy cream substitute.
  2. In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter substitute then add shallots and cook until slightly softened, roughly 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring for about 30 seconds before removing from heat and adding vodka, tomatoes, and salt to taste.
  4. Return skillet to stove and simmer, stirring constantly, 7-8 minutes until alcohol cooks off.
  5. Stir in heavy cream substitute, cooking 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  6. Add in pecorino and basil. Stir until well combined.
  7. Toss pasta in sauce to coat and top with additional grated cheese.