Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta

Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta

Vegan and gluten-free Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta. An incredibly creamy, rich and yet light with no oil or butter. Just whole food ingredients. So much flavor from Italian dried herbs and chili powder and tomato sauce.

If there was ever a throw-together meal that turned out amazing, this is it!! I'm sharing another sauce and pasta dish today. Sauces are one of my favorite things to create, as if it wasn't obvious by now. My collection is huge. Wellll, this is sooooo good, creamy, amazing, filling, "restaurant-worthy", as my hubby said. You all wanted this recipe sooo bad when I shared this quick phone snap of my dinner 2 nights ago. Regardless of the fact that I'm a blogger, I do not like to measure ingredients. In fact, I'm a throw-together kind of cook, and even baker. A lot of my dinners I just throw together on instinct and taste as I go. I've always done the same when I create cakes, cookies, etc. I have literally had to make myself start writing things down as I'm creating, in case it turns out, I can easily remake it and post it here. I do that now for my baked goods, except for cookies. If I'm craving cookies, I hardly ever measure, unless I'm following a specific recipe of mine, I will just throw everything into a bowl. I'm always pressed for time, so measuring takes longer. However, it is very important to get the right amounts for a recipe to be posted, so the results turn out right for you guys. In that case, I'm very precise in what I post here.

This recipe today, Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta, is infused with a good dose of chili powder (hence the name). I mean, look at all those yummy specks of chili powder in the sauce.

I wasn't even thinking of creating for the blog, I was just in a hurry to make dinner. As you know, I share my dinners and lunches often with you all on Facebook and IG. Well, I quickly rushed to remake this one and actually write down measurements so I could share the recipe, since the response was so big. So, I hope you are all happy and scarf it down in mere seconds the way my family did. It is THAT GOOD.

I love proving you don't need animal products to make a delicious dish. Vegan substitutes are soooo easy. Instead of dairy cow milk, I love to use cashew milk, coconut milk and even almond milk. My favorite is cashew milk though, homemade, because it is the creamiest.

My hubby was so in love with it and said it 100% reminded him of a crawfish fettucini dish that used to be served in a seafood restaurant that he managed many years ago. Obviously, minus the crawfish, just the sauce flavor. I have never had that dish, but all I can tell you is that it is full of flavor, full of creaminess and so darn fast and easy to's a dream recipe really to whip up.

It is both dairy-free and oil-free and made with healthy whole food plant-based ingredients. I used homemade cashew milk, my favorite milk in cooking. I love the richness and creaminess it provides. It also has a very subtle sweetness to it, which just makes everything taste better. One of my other favorite flavor bomb pasta sauce recipes on the blog is my Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Fresh Basil. Try it if you haven't yet, it is amazing.

NOTE: A couple of readers have stated that their sauce has turned out watery. Please read the recipe carefully. Make sure to measure accurately, which is why I give weight in grams. I make this weekly and it always, always turns out creamy. I have noted very clearly that I used my homemade cashew milk for the recipe. As you can see in the video as I'm cooking each step, exactly how it turns out. If you do NOT use the homemade cashew milk,  yours will NOT turn out as creamy. Store-bought cashew milk is loaded with fillers, not actual cashews like homemade, therefore it will NOT THICKEN the same as mine. If you absolutely cannot do the homemade cashew milk, then use full-fat coconut milk.

Yields About 8 cups

Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta (Vegan)

You only need 8 ingredients (plus s&p) to make this amazing creamy and full-flavored dish. It is so fast to come together and so delicious and filling. This will become a weekly staple.

15 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

Recipe Image
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4.8 based on 14 review(s)


  • 2 cups dry elbow pasta (I used GF brown rice pasta. You can use spiral or other short pasta, but wouldn't recommend long noodles)
  • 1 cup (240g) low-sodium veggie broth or water, more as needed (I used broth for more flavor)
  • 1 loosely filled cup (130g) finely chopped onion
  • 2 small zucchini (365g), sliced into half moons 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup (240g) homemade cashew milk (SEE NOTE below. DO NOT sub with store-bought cashew, it will NOT thicken like my version)
  • 3/4 cup (180g) tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian spice blend (I use the McCormick blend, you want one with no salt or red pepper added)
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon chili powder (SEE NOTE, not habanero, just a standard American chili powder. McCormick or Fiesta brand is good)
  • 4 large handfuls fresh spinach (100g)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt (notice in directions you are adding salt at different times)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • NOTE: I highly recommend making this with my homemade cashew milk. I make my own cashew milk by adding 1 cup raw cashews to 3 cups filtered water and blend in a Vitamix until completely smooth. That's it, no need to drain. Store extra in fridge and I use it for baking and for oatmeal. Cashew milk is absolutely going to give the BEST creamy results, so I wouldn't recommend subbing UNLESS allergic to nuts. Otherwise use canned FULL-FAT coconut milk (well shaken) or if you want to use soy then mix it first with 2 Tbsp brown rice flour (see directions), the results will be less creamy/rich, but will work.
  • NOTE 2: Regarding the chili powder, 1/2 tablespoon will give it a very mild level of heat and chili flavor, whereas 1 tablespoon will give it a noticeable level of heat, which both my hubby and I thought was perfect. But it may be too much for sensitive people and for kids. My daughter thought it was a tad too spicy, so if you are unsure, start with 1/2 tablespoon.


  1. Make sure your veggies are chopped/prepared at the beginning, as the sauce comes together pretty quickly.
  2. Begin by bringing a large pot of water to boil for your pasta. Adding a lid will make it boil faster. Make sure to salt your water well so the pasta is well seasoned.
  3. Add the onion and broth to a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, cook 5 mins and then add the zucchini and just 1/4 teaspoon of salt at this time. Stir well and add cover. Turn the heat down to medium-low. It's important to cover the zucchini so it cooks through well. Let it all cook about 8 minutes until the zucchini is nice and tender (no longer crunchy), but not mushy. Check it a couple of times to stir it and make sure there is enough broth, if necessary to keep the zucchini cooking, add a little bit more. You basically want most of the liquid gone though before the next step.
  4. Once the zucchini is tender, temporarily remove the pan from the heat and add the 1 cup cashew milk (or coconut milk), tomato sauce, Italian spices, chili powder (start out with 1/2 T), remaining 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and liquid smoke (if using). Stir well and add the spinach. Return back to the heat over medium heat. The spinach will look like a ton but will decrease significantly. Stand over the stove stirring the spinach around until it wilts down and is cooked and the sauce thickens just a bit. You don't want to overcook the sauce, you want it fairly creamy/saucy but it should be creamy thick, not watery.
  5. Taste the sauce and add more salt or chili powder if desired for more spicy. I used the full 1 tablespoon chili powder and loved the perfect kick of heat and chili flavor. Remove from heat.
  6. The pasta should be done. Drain and scoop in desired amount of pasta into the sauce, leaving plenty of sauce to enjoy. Devour! How much you end up with will depend on how much pasta you add, but this makes a good amount of sauce.


Nutrition: Serves 4 (About 2 cups each): Calories: 253.9 Fat: 4.9 g Carbohydrates: 43.8 g Sugar: 6.4 g Sodium: 673 mg Fiber: 6.9 g Protein: 9 g

If you make this recipe, please do not repost it in full on your site, please link to me instead giving proper credit. I work very hard to create my recipes and share them for free, so please be respectful and link properly. If you are inspired by this recipe, again, please give proper credit and do not simply post it on your site.


  1. I also frequently "throw together" meals from ingredients I have on hand - especially towards the end of the week when it's nearing time to resupply. Those casual "recipes" usually turn out to be really good! This pasta looks absolutely scrumptious - so creamy!
      Thank you Annie! I know, right? If it weren't for this blog, I would never measure! I have always just cooked on instinct and taste as I go!
  2. Looks so good!! Reminds me a bit of chili mac which I totally love! Droolworthy is right!
      Thank you so much Jenn! Yes, a little bit, but definitely different flavor profile with the Italian spices and tomato sauce and veggies. It's definitely become a new house favorite here, haha!
  3. This sounds delish. Is the children powder you use in the recipe cayenne pepper? Just wondering because I also buy a spice called chili pepper that I use in my vegan chili con carne that is different than cayenne pepper.
      Hi Vanessa! It's just chili powder, that is what they say on the bottle, not chili pepper. It is definitely not cayenne pepper, but rather a blend of spices including dried chile peppers, parika, garlic, onion, etc. and sometimes they include a bit of cayenne pepper in them but it itself, is not strictly cayenne. It would be too spicy then. It is more of a warming spice, not straight up hot, if that makes sense. I buy the Fiesta brand mostly because they come in large bottles and I go through so much of it.
      • Thank's Brandi...I have chili powder in the house all the time but not the Fiesta brand. I am not sure if I have ever seen that brand here in Canada, but I always get a good organic one that I love to use at one of my favorite markets here. I look forward to trying it and some of your other recipes.
  4. Measuring...hahahahaha! What is measuring? ;) I never measure! Only when I bake and if I really need to know for a certain thing before I write the recipe up, but otherwise even for recipes I publish, I eyeball it. You learn as you cook for so long! But really, no one has time for cups and teaspoons :P I like to just "go with the gut" and it always works out ;)
      Lol! I know, I don't like to measure at all, but for the sake of this blog, I want people to have 100% success with my recipes and therefore I'm very particular in being precise in that case. It truly makes a difference in what I hear from readers too. Especially since a lot of people are new to cooking, it helps out. Whenever I do try other peoples recipes, I always want precise measurements to truly give an honest opinion of the recipe and I hate it when they have mediocre measurements and directions!
      • I will always follow a new recipe as written... just so I know how it should taste, but the next time I may get creative and take liberties as to my own tastes and ingredients on hand. If a recipe is really good I try to be consistent, and keep it for my dinner parties.
          Totally agree! It's necessary for being a blogger so that my readers get accurate results and many people aren't comfortable guessing, but after you have made a recipe many times, you can taste as you go :)
    • I could not agree more. I think excessive measuring takes away from the fun and may turn off some people to learning how to cook.
        That's why I keep my recipes so simple and few ingredients, minimal measuring! But measuring is necessary for me to do for my recipes so people have the right result come out :)
  5. Whoopsy.. didn't mean children phone makes it's own words up. Anyhow the sauce sounds amazing and I will give it a try in the next few week's.
      Lol, no worries, I knew what you meant!!
  6. I rarely make pasta, and then never a creamy one, but I'm going to try this over the weekend because it looks SO fabulous and indulgent! I'm never sure what a real serving size of pasta is these days (since what doctors recommend and my eyes beg for are two different things) but we'll see ;) I'm also a slap-dash kind of person in the kitchen, which is why I often leave readers to their own devices when it comes to how much cinnamon or salt to add to recipes, for example, but writing everything down is a good habit to form since I hate it when things turn out differently each time when I actually need it to be consistent :p Yum!
      Yes, I think it's crucial for accuracy when running a blog. Way too often I read comments on sites or hear from readers about how many recipes they've tried from other sites that failed, due to lack of clarity. I work so hard to be exactly precise on results. While I've been cooking a long time, a lot of people haven't and I don't want to be lazy and not give exact details. It's one thing that is so important to me. Salt and cinnamon, yes, those are easy to adjust, although especially for baking, precise has to be there or things can really get screwed up!
  7. having been a vegan for the last 20 odd years and being older but healthy I always look for new things. I do look for very quick meals such as for quick lunches etc. I am not your glutenfree person so I substitute, but I make my cashew milk like you, but I do something else: I make my own veggie broth by having a pot of water on my counter and when I peel and cut my veggies, the things such as peels or perhaps some leftover fresh cuts of veggies, rooty veggies etc. (you get the drift) go into the pot boild up and when done poured over a pot with a colander and voila new broth for the next meal. Thank you for this last beautiful recipe
      Great idea on the veggie broth Kerstin, thank you so much for sharing! So glad you love this recipe!
  8. I am so excited to try this recipe! I'm wondering if you think almond milk would work? If not, I'll make my own cashew milk but for convenience sake just thought I'd ask. Thank you!
      Hi Danielle, yes, homemade cashew milk really is so much better than almond milk, so I would make that! Almond milk doesn't have near the creaminess or thickening ability and wouldn't be as yummy :) Let me know what you think!
  9. This sounds so good! I love when a thrown together meal turns out fantastically!
      Thank you Becky!
  10. I love it when I look at one of your recipes and discover I already have everything I need to make it. This is definitely on the menu this week!
      Wonderful Crystal, I can't wait to hear what you think!
  11. I keep a pad and pen on my kitchen counter for this very purpose. The trouble comes when I have random scrawls of "180g cauliflower" written down and I just can't remember what it was for! When you talk about tomato sauce is that just plain pureed tomatoes? I'm in the UK and I'm not sure you can buy anything labelled tomato sauce here.
      Haha, oh I've been there before too, I forget sometimes where a note was or what specifically it was for! Yes, just pureed tomatoes!
  12. Oh Brandi I could eat the whole bowl my word! Love spinach, zucchinis and of course I'm a cashew kid so this is right up my alley. I know exactly your feeling when you just thrown out something together and it turns out so good that you have to share it! Yes, a lot of my recipes I posted this way, I put something together and then bing delicious new recipe, haha! Your pictures look so colorful and inviting makes me so hungry, now I'm craving a big plate, yum!
      Thank you so much Florian!
  13. Do you soak the cashews or can you just use raw, unsalted ones?
      Just use raw, unsalted ones, no soaking needed if you have a vitamix or high powered blender!
  14. It is so incredibly creamy! I bet the homemade cashew milk makes a huge difference, much creamier than the carton stuff. And I love the veggies thrown in so a big bowl of pasta counts as a whole meal :) I find my creativity sometimes flows better if I'm not measuring and writing stuff down, but then often I kick myself later. Making other people's recipes sometimes I'm even worse..."yeah that's about 1/4 cup" (dumping it in totally eyeballed lol). Luckily I find most recipes are pretty forgiving as long as it's not some sort of GF bread or fancy pastry. I love the excitement when a throw together recipes come out just amazing though like this!
      Thank you Natalie! Totally is so much more fun without measuring too! Haha.
  15. Dearest Darling Adorable Wonderfully Talented and GORGEOUS Brandi . . . I can't WAIT to try this recipe! I'm more "mobile" now, with my knees (you may recall I've got knee "issues", but doing MUCH better for now, so at least I can start COOKING more!!).....and I'm gonna try THIS recipe right off the bat....maybe tomorrow! (I'll DEFINITELY let ya know!) Besides that, Brandi, I just watched a short video on my (free, but limited) subscription on-line to Cook's Illustrated. If you know about them, they have TONS of helpful information about ALL sorts of cooking/baking issues, gadgets, etc. This particular video is regarding the SCIENCE of making, specifically, gluten-free PIZZA DOUGH which has the "chew" and "flavor" and "RISE" of regular wheat pizza crust (all important to a REEEALLY delicious pizza crust and MUCH more difficult to achieve with gluten-free!).....anyway, although, personally, I don't have to be gluten-free, I thought of YOU and your adorable READERS (and I don't recall whether or not you already have a gluten-free pizza crust recipe) and so I copied the LINK to this video for you to watch if you're interested. (See below.) The video is VERY informative, and only about 4 mins. long....pretty TECHNICAL, I had to listen about 5 times to get it all under my belt, but I think the techniques/ingredients shown in the video can help ALL SORTS of baking, whether gluten-free or not........ I don't know whether the link will actually work from your blog, you (and your other readers) MAY have to "cut & paste" it into your browser in order to watch it.....But I hope you will, and will let me know what you think! Anyway, I hope this helps in some way(s)....maybe at least gives you maybe a few helpful hints and some understanding of the SCIENCE involved (I thought that was fascinating, and DID NOT KNOW most of the techniques/ingredients/science shown in the video regarding, specifically, pizza dough, gluten-free or not!!!) .....and OH BOY, OH BOY, OH BOY Brandi....I can hardly WAIT to try your latest LUSCIOUS looking recipe.....maybe I'll go get the stuff and try it for supper TODAY!!!! (I WILL LET YOU KNOW.....and you KNOW it will ALWAYS be an OVERLY "loquacious" comment....hahahaha!!!! Lots of love and thanks, so much, as ALWAYS, for WONDERFUL YOU and your WONDERFUL recipes!!!!!! From your WAAAAY overly excitable reader .................Daryl PS: The rating I'm giving this recipe is, as usual, "in advance" 'cause (as USUAL) I am CERTAIN this recipe is gonna be a 5-star one, JUST LIKE ALL THE REST!!!!! (But I'll DEFINITELY let you know and will be 100% honest, as I ALWAYS am, about EVERYTHING!!!)
  16. I could totally see why your hubby said this was restaurant worthy! Wow!! Look at how creamy this dish is!! I'd probably just eat it straight out of the pan...forget a bowl :) Watching this all come together was amazing! I can't get over how nicely the sauce thickened up and without the use of nutritional yeast. I also love that you threw in both zucchini and spinach. I'm the same way when it comes to cooking - I do it on a whim and don't measure anything...but half the time I forget what I added in and struggle with recreating it for the blog! Ha!! I'm adding this recipe to our list for when we get back from our trip! xo
      Thank you so much my friend! I totally WAS eating it straight out of the pan, hahaha! It seriously is one of the yummiest and easiest dishes! Super fast too. Have fun on your trip girl!!
  17. Oh my goodness. You sure know how to create drool-worthy food, girl!
      So sweet of you Aimee, thank you so much!
  18. This is a keeper. I'll be making it again and again. Delicious.
      Yay!! So happy to hear Annie, thank you for the feedback and star rating!
  19. I just recently started eating vegan/vegetarian/plant based eating. I thought that this new way of eating would be hard and my options would be limited. Thank goodness I found the vegan eight. I've been on this new journey for three weeks now and I've lost a total of 12 pounds. Today I made the creamy chili spinach zucchini pasta and it was so good.
      Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback Roz! So awesome to hear of your success and that you loved this recipe too. Best wishes on your new journey!
  20. I just finished making this and I'm so giddy about it. I had to "taste test" this so many times because it was THAT good and having to "taste test" was my excuse, but I'm so full without even dishing it up because I ate so much straight out of the pan! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I love the flavor and slight crunch of the zucchini. Will definitely keep this recipe on top to make again and again! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us!!
      Haha, so awesome to hear that Samantha!! That is how it was for me too, kept eating it straight out of the pan! So happy to hear you loved it so much!
  21. Obviously I made this as soon as the post came out. I used power greens in place of spinach, soy milk and served it over brown basmati rice. I did use the full 1TB of chili powder and it has a very nice, slow heat which hubby loved. Great flavors for such low number of ingredients and so fast to make. I would definitely recommend doubling this recipe if you want any left overs. We love this and I can see using it with other veggies.
      So happy you all loved it so much! Loved your pic on facebook, thank you for the feedback!
  22. I love creamy pasta dishes and am a massive chili fan so this sounds perfect! I would love it with some freshly baked bread to mop up the leftover sauce!
      Thank you Mel, yes would be delicious with bread! I was thinking the same thing when I fixed it, but had no bread, lol!
  23. I love the random throw togethers that turn out incredible! My favorite meals and some of my most popular recipes. I'm totally like you in the just throw things together. But I too had to start writing notes because I'll make something and my hubby will be all drooling then ask for it again and I'll kind of be deer in headlights trying to think of how I made it. LOL! This looks delicious!!!
      Thank you so much Sophia! Yes, happened too many times so I try to write notes down most times but for this I was in such a hurry and never knew it would turn out so amazing! So glad it did!
  24. Yummy! I made this for dinner tonight. I didn't have zucchini, but I had about 2 cups of cooked kidney beans that needed using up, so I threw those in instead. I chopped up the spinach because of the kiddos. Nice easy and quick dinner!
      Wonderful to hear Honey! So glad it was a hit! Definitely try it with zucchini too because it goes really well with the sauce!
  25. OMG , Brandi! I cannot stop staring at how creamy that chili sauce looks! I want to take a bath in it ;) Love the video you made for it too! I've really been wanting to get started on videos as well but am so put off by the extra work. Looks awesome! Sharing this recipe ;)
      You are so sweet Vanessa, thank you so much for your kind words! Yes, it is definitely more work, but now that my daughter is in school, I have more free time to myself to get things I enjoy done, which I love!
  26. Yummy! Kids have it 2 thumbs up...better that chef boyardee any day!!! Thank you for sharing
  27. I'm the same way with measuring and writing down! There have been many times where I've created something amazing and then had no idea how I did it haha! This looks so comforting and so delicious! Love throw together meals!
  28. Yum! This is what I wanted last night but we were out of pasta :( Shopping to buy more today!
  29. FINALLY....MADE IT YESTERDAY (my very FIRST of your recipes!).....WE UTTERLY AND ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!....HAVING IT AGAIN TODAY!!!.....DEFINITELY 5 STARS!!! THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH BRANDI!!! Wanted to take a photo of it---used whole wheat farfalle ("bowtie") pasta--didn't have time....too busy EATING IT!!! PS: See there? I CAN write short(er) comments!!! (Personally, I think SHORT is BORING, though SHORT(ER) is passable!!..haha!) Love, your usually loquacious, but ALWAYS adoring & appreciative reader......DGL
      Oh wow Daryl!! That makes me so happy to hear you loved it so much! Sorry, I haven't responded to your other comment yet, trying to play catchup today but just saw this one come through! Thanks so much for the feedback, thrilled it was a hit with everybody!
  30. What a great way to get more spinach in your meals. This looks wonderful and creamy and just right.
  31. Brandi, This is definitely another winner from you! My husband tasted it and promptly requested that this recipe go into the rotation. It's a great dish for those times in Summer when something substantial is wanted, but without a lot of cooking. I had hoped that there might be leftovers for lunch, but we couldn't keep from devouring the whole thing in one sitting. Regarding careful measurements, I almost never did this before finding your blog. Now I am grateful to have this level of detail so that I can be assured of turning out the same masterpiece repeatedly. Sometimes it just pays to heed the directions.
      Hi Molly! Yay, so glad to hear it was such a hit with both you and your husband!! Yes, doubling is probably a really good idea! I had made this on a whim and wanted to post it quickly so it's definitely just enough for a one dinner meal. Yes, to the measuring. That is why I try to be so precise for all of you, it ensures the recipe is a success....I'm very detailed for this reason.
  32. Wow! Just made the Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta for dinner and it was a BIG hit. I topped off the meal with a warm Chicolate Pumpkin Cake Brownie. Thanks Brandi for making being a vegan relatively easy. I so do appreciate all that you do!
      Hi Diana! Oh, I'm so happy to hear that you loved this AND the chocolate pumpkin cake brownie!! So wonderful!! Thank you so much for the feedback!
  33. Yummy! This looks like the perfect comfort food, Brandi! :-)
  34. Made this last night and this is now my new favorite pasta dish. It was so amazing and creamy. I got a little over zealous with the pasta so it wasn't as soupy because of that but it was still so perfect. Loved the flavor and the texture it was simple perfection. I am kicking myself for not doubling the recipe. Hahaha Thanks for sharing the recipe. You are brilliant. Oh and P.S. are the hamburger buns coming soon? Hahaha still waiting. Not to push you can take all the time you need but I am just anxious for those :P
      Yay Christina!! So funny because this is now MY favorite pasta dish too, even more than the alfredo, haha! Simply because I just love food with a bit of kick and chili powder is probably my favorite spice, hence the inspiration for this dish. I'm so glad you loved it so much, thank you for the awesome words and feedback!! OMG, I totally forgot about those buns, oh my goodness I am so sorry. I have become so totally busy and sidetracked with the constant writing and wrapping up the cake deal, that I simply forgot. I will get to working on that so it can be posted in July!!!
      • I can totally understand that life gets busy no worries. I was kind of wondering if maybe you forgot about it cause you teased the recipe on Instagram but then you weren't posting. It's understandable no apologies necessary. But I will look forward to it for July 😃
  35. I have a bunch of zucchini just waiting to be used for this recipe haha ughhh I can have pasta everyday! Thank you for a great recipe , Claudia
      You are so welcome Claudia, I hope you love it!
  36. I just made this tonight and it was awesome! I shredded the zucchini because I don't like the consistency of the mushy middle of the zucchini. I used thawed,drained, frozen spinach and soy milk. I also added organic, frozen peas at the very end. It was soooo good. Next time my husband told me to just make the sauce and serve it in a bowl with a big chunk of bread for dipping. less pot to clean :) This sauce will be added to the weekly meal plan for sure. Thanks so much.
      So, so awesome to hear that Dayna! I really appreciate you leaving feedback, that means so much to me!
        And yes to just dipping the sauce into bread...yup, that sounds like my husband, he LOVES this sauce! Ha!
  37. Ohhhh, I agree with your hubby, definitely restaurant worthy dinner!!! Looks delicious and I love chilli, so this sounds like my kinda thing! Thanks for sharing :) x
      Thank you so much Anna!
  38. We used an entire pound of pasta, doubled the sauce and veggies using a full can of tomato sauce and added a can of diced tomato. Used 1 Tsp of chili powder and zucchini and yellow squash. Sauteed in EVOO (didn't use any broth) and added a veggie broth cube to the sauce. Didn't add the spinach as we don't like that we reheating leftovers. YUMMY!!!
      So glad you loved it Angie, thank you so much for the feedback!
  39. Just discovered your blog---wow! I so enjoyed this. Easy to make and so very flavorful. I refuse to feel guilty about eating pasta. This recipe has good nutrition and is soul-satisfying. Husband approved as well. Love your writing style and the photographs as well. Have stopped going to Italian restaurants since the only vegan option is a watered down tomato sauce---but who needs them when people like you enable people like me to make such glorious meals at home?
      Aww so sweet Ellen! Thank you so much for the kind words, so glad you are enjoying my blog and that you loved this recipe so much! Thank you for the feedback!
  40. So bomb made it twice all ready!!
      Yay, so happy to hear that Britt, thank you so much for leaving feedback!!
  41. Made this for dinner! It is delicious! So creamy and just the right amount of kick to it.
      So happy to hear that Debbie, thank you so much!
  42. Please keep making more videos! I love sharing them on FB so that we can have more vegan recipes circulating there :)
      Aww thank you so much Jennifer for sharing, that really means so much and helps me out a ton! I will definitely keep making the videos, I'm so glad you are enjoying them!
  43. My daughter has been begging me to make this ever since you posted it, Brandi, and last night I finally had the ingredients and time to do so. What a huge hit! I had gluten-free macaroni on hand, and used a bit more than half a tablespoon of chili powder, per your suggestion. So creamy and decadent- tasting! I thought it was funny when you wrote that your daughter thought 1TBS had a bit too much heat, whereas you and your husband felt it was perfect. I actually had to add a bit more tomato sauce and cashew milk to mine, but my daughter and husband said it could have used a bit more chili powder! It just goes to show you everyone's tastes vary, but we all thought the dish was absolutely delicious! :)
      So so happy to hear that Colleen! Haha, so funny! That's probably why yours needed more chili powder if you added more liquid! I'm so glad everybody loved it, thank you so much Colleen :)
  44. I have been making vegan recipes from Pinterest etc, that are oil free sugar free, some good ,some not so good ! But can I tell you being from Louisiana we are used to really good food, so when I took my first bite, I was like OMG!!! Finally a comfort vegan dish that is soo delish!i have made it twice this week and my husband is hooked!Thanks so much for your creation! I will even be making this for non vegan eaters!!
      Awww thank you so much Carolyn! So glad it was my recipe that finally satisfied y'alls tastebuds! That is so aweome to hear! So happy you loved this, thank you for the feedback!
  45. This was amazing! I actually had the no cheez sauce that needed to be used so I used it instead of cashew milk and oh man was it awesome. Thanks for this great recipe.
      Oh wow, that's a great idea!! So happy you loved this Trina, thank you so much for the feedback!!
  46. Thank you for all of your careful work and willingness to publish it! I finally started cooking and this recipe astounded me (coming from me!). I've made it several times in the last weeks and love the leftovers the next day, even cold.
      I'm so very happy to hear that Barbara! Thank you for the feedback!
  47. Hi. I love the look of this recipe and so looking forward to making it! Just one question. the tomato sauce pasata or similar to what you call tomato ketchup? I'm in Australia so some terms are different. Thanks,!
      Hi Kay, so sorry I just saw your comment! Tomato sauce is basically just pureed tomatoes, not actually ketchup. I hope that helps!
  48. New to your blog. I am a lapsed vegan, looking for great recipes to come back to eating well. Your blog looks wonderful and I am excited to make this for dinner tonight! Thanks!
      Wonderful Darby, so glad you found me!
  49. Just finished eating this! I loved it, thank you. I used 14 ounces of pasta and there was enough sauce to cover it all well. I followed the recipe as written. All the yums! Going to make porridge with the remaining cashew milk and use it in coffee. So good! Thank you.
      Wonderful Lisa, I am so happy you loved it so much, thank you for the feedback!
  50. This is so good! I have made it twice within the last week. My husband and I are just starting the Vegan journey, so I was glad to find a winner. Just a note, the second time I made it, I didn't have tomato sauce so I subbed with salsa. I was a bit worried how it would turn out, but I liked it every bit as much.
      I'm so happy to hear this was such a hit Katie, thank you so much for the feedback!
  51. Great flavor! Loved it. I'm excited to have leftovers for the rest of the weekend.
      So glad to hear that Lindsey!!
  52. I just finished a BIG bowl of Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta. This has me wanting seconds after my first bowl was filled to the brim. My carnivorous husband even dug in. I changed a few ingredients slightly because of availability: -coconut cream from the can instead of cashew milk -chili powder/paprika/cayenne pepper because I ran out of chili powder -last but not least I used Gnocchi for my pasta which was an amazing choice, I recommend it. Thank you for sharing your creativity. I will be back to try more of your vegan recipes as I am transitioning to a plant based diet.
      So wonderful to hear you loved it so much Amber! Coconut cream is very similar to cashew cream, so yes it would basically yield the same results! Gnocchi sounds interesting, I'll have to try that sometimes in place of pasta!
  53. I finally made this recipe and it was terrific. The pasta stayed soft in the leftovers due to all the sauce and we had it two nights running. Thanks for a great recipe.
      So glad to hear you loved it Laura, thank you for the feedback!
  54. I'm wondering what I did wrong. Came out very watery and soupy. I used store bought cashew milk. Is that the problem? And the flavors were all just kind of blah. Maybe fresh herbs rather than a jar of dry "Italian seasoning" would have been better? I also realized after the fact that this dish was oil-free and I usually wind up not liking dishes with no fat or oil. I think it adds flavor. Maybe if I was consistently not using oil this wouldn't feel so plain. I think if I ever make it again I will use flavored pasta sauce instead of canned tomato sauce, and I will add some Gardein crumbles or Tofurky sausage. And I will make my own cashew cream. I really wanted to like this! I loved the zucchini and spinach. But I feel like I could have poured some store bought pasta sauce over the macaroni and added sauteed zucchini and spinach on top and wound up with more flavor :-(
      Hi Alexandra, sorry to hear yours didn't work out, but yes, definitely watery and soupy is wrong. You can see how thick and creamy it is in the photos and the video. I make this weekly and it is VERY creamy and thick and full of flavor and as you can see by all the reviews above, it has been a huge success with my readers. I do not like bland food either, trust me, this is not meant to taste bland. This is one reason why I stressed homemade cashew milk so much above because it is infinitely creamier and richer and provides more flavor than storebought, as I noted in NOTES above. I'm not surprised yours was bland if it was watery and soupy, it sounds like for one, it didn't cook long enough to cook down, therefore thickening up and enriching the flavor and secondly, the wrong milk. This being oil-free I assure has nothing to do with lack of flavor, because it is NOT fat-free. Oil does not add flavor, it just adds body, which is precisely why I used homemade cashew milk which tastes better than oil and gives flavor because the cashew milk has plenty of fat. I have several readers including a few family members who made this and they are not vegan or oil-free and absolutely loved it. Did you add the chili powder, broth, salt, pepper, onion, etc.? Did you add all the spinach and the right measurements of the veggies? I hope this helps to figure out what went wrong on your end!Trying to help troubleshoot. Definitely make the homemade cashew milk that I stressed, storebought is so many other ingredients that have minimal flavor, whereas my homemade version is just cashews, much richer.
  55. This dish is so yummy. It is now on regular rotation.
      Yay! So happy to hear that Lindsey, thank you so much for the feedback!
  56. I fear I'm beginning to run out of adjectives to describe how much I love your recipes. But I'll try and write something coherent! This is simply one of my favorites of yours. It's creamy and spicy and rich and warm and comforting. I've tried it on gluten-free pasta, forbidden rice and mung bean pasta. All wonderful. I have a terribly cheap blender but even still, my first ever try at making homemade cashew milk was a success. I think the key is patience; I blended for several minutes as I chopped my veggies. Several scrapings with a spatula, stored the leftovers in the fridge for my tea and coffee. I write about my blender because I don't want folks who don't have a vitamix to be turned off and not make this recipe. Just use what blender you have, you'll be so pleased with the results, and store-bought cashew milk does not remotely compare to homemade! No fillers, no funky aftertaste! I also used Penzeys (I adore Penzeys; they have a few store fronts but I order mostly online, they should pay me to be their spokesperson as I buy all my curries and other spices solely from them haha, and I'm always recommending them!) "hot" chili blend. This girl likes spice and I find a heaping tablespoon of the hot chili powder to be just perfect in this recipe. Well, anyway, I've gone on enough. Thank you again for such a fabulous "accidental" recipe, it's gone on the regular rotation as something that is easy and wonderfully delicious. No stress comfort food for sure.
      Oh, Caroline, you are just the sweetest!! I'm so happy you loved this so much! Haha, Penzeys is great, aren't they? I have so many of their spices as well, all are so delicious. Oh, the hot chili powder sounds amazing, I will have to get some of that!
  57. Oh. My. So happy when a vegan recipe turns out. So far they have not all been winners. I had broccoli but not zucchini. Delicious. Wow. Thank you.
      Yay! I'm so thrilled to hear that Becky! Thank you so much for the feedback! Broccoli sounds amazing, so going to try that next time :)
  58. HEY! I LOVE YOUR BLOG! And I cannot wait to try this recipe! I was wondering what site you used to make your blog?? I've tried a couple different websites, but none that I can find have the recipe format as you have the printable version here, let me know!
      Thank you so much Gracia! I have a wordpress site but use a recipe plugin called mealplanner.
  59. Making this right now!!!
  60. Brandi, I just made your Creamy Spicy Zucchini & Spinach Pasta dish for dinner tonight. I'm soooooo looking forward to serving this tonight. The sauce is DELICIOSO!! You amaze me with your ability to create delicious meals with only 8 ingredients. I am creating a binder for use here at home of my 30 favorite dishes to rotate in/out weekly or even monthly. One can become incredibly overwhelmed with all the vegan recipes out there, so this makes it easier for me and makes me feel no-so-overwhelmed if I keep the "family favorites" all in one place versus surfing the web for it. I can see there will be plenty of Vegan 8 recipes in that binder. Please keep of the great work. You ARE appreciated!!! Kathy Williams, AZ
      Aww, thank you so much Kathy for this wonderful feedback! So very happy to hear you loved it so much! Thank you!
  61. Thank you for the recipe Brandi! Would it at all be possible to leave out the tomato sauce? My wife as terrible reflux and the acid from tomatoes really doesn't work for her. Thanks.
      Hi Tiffany! Hmmm, that's a tough one. The tomato sauce gives a ton of flavor and it will be much more bland without it. It needs something acidic to punch up the flavor of the herbs and milk. You could try adding some cooked and pureed red bell peppers, some lemon juice or maybe some mashed sweet potatoes. It's definitely going to change the Italian flavor some, but you could try that and just adjust the spices/salt if needed. Maybe a little bit of balsamic vinegar too would be good.
  62. What does it mean - Serves About 2 cups? Does anyone eat pasta from cups? Also, 2 cups of pasta + bunch of zucchini, stock and milk = 2 cups of the final meal?
      Hi Tomas. Sorry for any confusion! I have edited it. The whole dish yields about 8 cups and when I serve it, I put about 2 cups in the bowl for serving. That's what that means. This doesn't mean literally eating from cups, but it is to give an idea of how much I noted as a serving. Yes, it includes the whole dish, not just pasta. Hope that makes more sense!
      • It does make more sense now, thank you! :) So 8 cups = about 4 servings.
  63. This recipe looks great and I can't wait to try it. I have a question about your cashew milk, though. Have you ever made a thinner cashew milk say 4c/1c instead of 3c/1c? Do you think it would hold up in this recipe well? (I'm trying to cut calories and this seems like an easy way).
      Hi Erin! You can try it, but just keep in mind it's not going to be as rich/creamy! It will still be better than other milks though.
      • Thanks so much!
      Oh, and I forgot to mention that if you make the larger amount of milk (4 cups water) I wouldn't add all of that or it will make the sauce too runny and bland. Maybe a cup less and add more if needed.
  64. This looked so enticing & delicious--I had to make it for myself! Unfortunately, my sauce did not thicken up like yours :( The flavors were amazing, but it was really soupy. Any ideas about why this might have happened? The only thing I can think of is that my ninja didn't blend up the cashew milk very well--I was left with a lot of cashew meal at the end of the process. Let me know your thoughts!
      Hi Andrea! Yes, unfortunately that is exactly the reason. The ninja unfortunately isn't as powerful as a Vitamix or Blendtec and will leave too many cashews unblended, therefore most of what you added to the dish was more water than actual cashews. It makes SUCH a difference in how it thickens up. I make this weekly and it's always super creamy like in the photos and video. What I would try next time is to soak your cashews for 8-12 hours minimum so they get super soft. Drain them and then proceed. Blend your milk for several minutes as needed until it gets super smooth. That should work a lot better!
  65. I don't understand step #4 at all. If using coconut milk, what do you do? Remove the zucchini from the heat and treat the coconut milk the same as the cashew milk? Or leave the zucchini in the pan and add the coconut milk to it, along with all the other ingredient?? I think you need to edit that step!! I want to make this right now (bought all the ingredients); hoping someone can answer me quickly! Eek!
      Yes, it's the same thing, you are adding the milk (either one) at that step. You are not removing the zucchini from the actual pan, it just means to remove the pan from the heat WHILE you add the coconut milk and other ingredients. This is so it doesn't overheat/cook while you are adding the other ingredients. Sorry for any confusion. Please make sure that you are using the full-fat coconut milk and as noted in the recipe, it does not thicken as well as the homemade cashew milk, so you may need to cook it a bit longer to have it thicken up like the sauce seen in the photos.
      • Thank you for the fast reply! What service ! And I WAS going to ask again about light coconut milk, you mind reader. I get a little worried about the full fat stuff -- so many calories! -- but I'm guessing a little goes a long way, and the rest of the dish is so healthy. Going for it! Will report back!
  66. Hi and thanks for the recipe! I am a winger of sorts when cooking but when trying something for the first time, I like to follow as close as possible, the actual written recipe. This was not the case here as I had to sub for spinach. I used frozen and added it after the onion and zucchini had cooked for about 3 minutes. Unlike another poster I did not thaw or drain it. I also added a block of silken tofu to the cashews in the blender to up the protein (invisibly). We love it! I can see a few minor adjustments for our personal taste but the sauce, just yummy. Thanks again for sharing it and keeping up to date on your blog! Now I'll have to see what other gems are hidden here. :)
      Thank you Nadine! SO glad you loved it! The frozen spinach will have extra water and likely diluted the flavor a bit, so you can always defrost it next time and papertowel/ring out the excess water.
  67. Kim
    Thank you for this delicious recipe! I used Ripple pea milk, it was what I had on hand and it seemed to work. A definite keeper, I only wish I had doubled the recipe!
      So happy to hear you loved it Kim, thank you!
  68. Brandi, I just made this, then devoured a full bowl... comfort food for me. THANKYOU!!!
      Yay Carol! SO happy to hear that!
  69. Do you think making the sauce ahead of time is a good idea?
      And sorry, looks like I missed this must have made it really soon after you left the comment, haha! Glad it all worked out! I think the sauce is best made fresh since you are cooking it down with all the other veggies :)
  70. I loved this dish! The only thing I will do different is chop the spinach a little and leave out the chili powder because my daughter can't take the heat. I'll just add it to mine on my plate and hope it'll taste the same. Thanks for sharing!
      So glad you loved it Tina, thank you so much for the wonderful review!
  71. Wow! What a delicious meal. Comfort food with a little kick. This will definitely be in the rotation at our home.
  72. I have been eating plant based for nearly 13 years. Now my 11 year old granddaughter has decided to have a say at meals prepared at my daughter’s house. I sent her a link to your web site and she already has a list of meals she wants to try. Thank you so much for the effort you put into cooking and enlightening others so they to can enjoy a plant based lifestyle.
      So very sweet of you to leave this comment Linda! I really love hearing that about your granddaughter, that is just wonderful! Thank you for your kind words :)
  73. Tried the recipe today and my husband commented that it was the best pasta he had till date. So thank you for such great ideas and this website has become my new go-to for oil-free vegan recipes. Love it.
  74. Forgive me for coming to leave another review, I realize I already gave my feedback before but for some reason I didn’t leave a star rating and I just have to give this recipe the five stars that it deserves. I can’t get over how incredible this recipe is. I made it recently with elbow pasta and I was reminded how much I love this recipe!!! Best pasta dish ever!! I could eat this everyday and not get sick of it. In the past I have tried the sauce with rice and also I have tried it served over mashed potatoes and it is incredible served those was too. The sauce is simply perfect and versatile. (I hope the star rating works, I am on my phone and I have had issues before on my phone)
      Oh, I LOVE the reviews, so thank you SO much Christina for sharing! Yes, it worked! Thank you a million for leaving the review, so happy it works on so many things!
  75. I made this tonight and it was wonderful! I did the homemade cashew milk like you suggested and it was super easy to make anyway. I'll definitely be trying this recipe again.
      Awesome Krist! So glad to hear that!
  76. DELICIOUS as the 2 other recipe that I tried so far on your blog. I put 1/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke and it was PERFECT. I also made the zuchinni cook longer in the broth so my daughter wouldn't noticed them and it worked out. Easy, simple and as tasty as in a restaurant.
      Yay! So glad you loved this Catherine, it is definitely one of my faves! Thank you for the lovely review!
  77. I made this for dinner tonight and it was so salty my husband and I couldn't eat it. I put it in a container to try to doctor up for my lunches while it lasts so it isn't wasted. I was very disappointed after so many positive comments from people who made it as-is. I have learned to spice sparingly. I can always add more later. I took a photo but am not sure how to post it. We absolutely loved your Rice Bean Avocado Bowl. Thanks for all your ideas.
      Hi Shannon, so sorry to hear that yours was salty, but that sounds really odd to me. I've made this many times and it's never too salty and no other readers have ever had a problem with that, so I'm curious if you used LOW-sodium veggie broth or accidentally added too much salt? It definitely should be nowhere near too salty to eat, that definitely isn't right. I use the same taste for salt in all of my recipes, so if you loved the Rice Bean Avocado Bowl, which is no less salty than this (taste flavor wise), then I definitely think something wrong happened here with the broth or salt. Especially seeing that so many have loved this, as you mentioned. If it was too salty to even be eaten, many more would have commented that. I'm just sorry to hear this because you've rated it rather low and it's not a salty dish, bummer! Thanks for trying it.
  78. Hi Brandi, We love this recipe! We subbed a large farmer's market eggplant, peeled and cubed, for the zucchini. Super tasty! Thanks for your delicious, fun, simple, health-filled recipes! Mary
  79. Hi Brandi, We rate this 5 star! I think I missed rating it when i first posted my comment. We love this recipe! We subbed a large farmer's market eggplant, peeled and cubed, for the zucchini. Super tasty! Thanks for your delicious, fun, simple, health-filled recipes! Mary
      That's so wonderful to hear Mary, thank you so much for the lovely review!
  80. I made this last night and it's a keeper! So delicious! Thank you! I don't know if you know this, but the video isn't working and when you print the recipe it cuts off a little of the left side. Maybe, it's just my computer. I wasn't sure. Just thought you'd want to know. :)
    • Oops! I forgot to rate it! 5 stars!!!!!
      Hi Tina! Oh, so happy to hear how much you loved it! Thank you so much for letting me know about the video and I just double checked to print it and it printed out normal for me! Maybe double check yours isn't set on landscape for print. :)
  81. Made this for dinner last night and it was SOOO good and flavorful. Definitely a keeper :-)
      Yay! Thrilled to hear that!
  82. WOW. This is delicious!! I followed it EXACTLY and I'm so excited to eat this at work tomorrow. I just discovered your website, and I'm so excited to try your recipes now
      Wonderful! So very happy to hear that Gabrielle! Thank you so much for making it and coming back to leave this amazing feedback!
      Oh, and thank you for fowolling the recipe exactly, Haha! I tell people all the time that it really makes a difference, especially with my recipes being so few ingredients, each one is key to the end result!
  83. Made this last night and the whole family absolutely loved! Thanks for an easy and delicious recipe!
      So happy to hear that Jamie, thank you!!
  84. I'm blown away by how delicious this came out! To be honest I was skeptical at first. I usually stay clear of recipes without oil to saute but the positive reviews convinced me to give it a try and I'm glad I did. Only change I'll make is to use less broth. Most of the liquid wasn't gone before the next step because the zucchini rendered liquid which resulted in extra liquid so, I drained it rather than cook it past it's time and run the risk of mushy zucchini. Other than that I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfect. I'm confident in trying more recipes from thevegan8.
      Wonderful Mina! I’m so happy to hear how much you enjoyed this! Thank you for the lovely review!
  85. I made this tonight and it is so good!!! I am sensitive to chili spice and used the half amount of chili powder, otherwise followed the recipe and it was great. The zucchini was perfectly cooked, tender but not mushy. And just enough heat for me. The cashew milk was super easy to make in the Vitamix and worth it. It really is very creamy.
      So glad to hear you loved it Maggie! Thank you so much for making it and leaving the awesome review!
  86. I made this with chickpea elbow pasta for a little extra protein, came out great! I played it safe on the chili powder but I’ll do the full tablespoon next time. I was thinking to myself adding some minced garlic might work nicely too.
  87. I made this last night, and it was sooo very good! I added minced garlic, mushrooms and some shredded carrot and made a little extra sauce. Served over whole grain rotini pasta. This will definitely go into the regular rotation!
      So happy to hear that Miriam, thank you so much for making it!
  88. So delish! My non vegan hubby loved it. So did I. I used the whole 8 oz can of tomato sauce because what would I do with 1/4 cup leftover?. Also added kidney beans for extra protein and because my mom used to make a similar dish with kidney beans we called hodge podge. I was so impressed how easy the cashew cream was. I just have a regular old fashion blender and it was totally smooth. I will be using it in other recipes. Thank you!
      I'm so glad to hear you both loved it Margie!! Thank you so much for the review!

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