Creamy Vegan Garlic & Herb Pasta

A few weeks ago, the DC area dietetic association I’m a member of had a fall networking potluck. Originally, I was thinking of bringing some sort of quinoa, bean, or kale salad. And then I realized: wait. I’m going to an event full of dietitians… there is likely going to be WAY too much along the lines of quinoa, beans, and kale. So instead, I decided to make a fun summery pasta creation.


A little while later, and this was born. It’s garlicky, creamy, and delicious, dotted with bursts of flavor from fresh basil, dill, and parsley. You’d never know it’s vegan, too.


This recipe could not be simpler to make. Any kind of pasta will work – any shape (bow tie would be fun here), and you could use quinoa or brown rice pasta instead of whole wheat if you need this recipe to be gluten free (or just want to mix things up). Go crazy! 


Do those of you that grew up in the 80’s and 90’s remember the buttery noodles that everyone’s parents used to serve with dinner? This dish kind of reminds me of those noodles, but way better. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Creamy Vegan Garlic & Herb Pasta

Prep Time 10 minutes Prep Time
Cook Time 20 minutes Cook Time
Total Time 30 mins Total Time


(Serves 6 to 8 as a main course)

  • 1 lb. pasta, any kind/shape
  • 2 C (about one 16 oz. package) frozen peas
  • 14 oz. can coconut milk, regular or low fat
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 C (packed) fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. 1) Cook pasta according to package directions.
    2) Cook frozen peas according to package directions.
    3) In a separate large pan, add olive oil and garlic and sauté over medium heat for a few minutes.
    4) Add in cooked peas and fresh herbs and stir a few more minutes.
    5) Add in cooked pasta and coconut milk. Let simmer until the coconut milk reduces into a thicker sauce.
    6) Once pasta has reached desired consistency, add salt & pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold.


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Enjoy and have a great weekend, my friends!


  1. 1

    I saw “vegan creamy” and I was instantly curious as to what you used for your base- I have to say, coconut milk was not what I was expecting in a savory dish! I’m intrigued. I can’t imagine the results would be the same with regular or lite coconut milk though? I’m surprised you listed both. I would think the fat content would make or break the dish since it’s standing in for the cheese and cream aspect of a regular creamy pasta dish. What do you think?

    Also, side note, I see that you said “add protein to make it a meal” but I’d like to point out that you added a fair amount of peas to this dish. As a legume, peas are high in protein. Additionally, if you use whole grain pasta, I would think protein levels in this dish would be more than sufficient to meet requirements (15% of total kcal per the Academy’s guidelines, and that is a high standard indeed compared to WHO recommendations). I only mention this because I get frustrated by Americans unecessary (and unhealthy) protein obsession. What are your thoughts on this?

    Have a nice weekend too, Anne. DC weather is supposed to be wonderful tomorrow and I, for one, and going on a bike ride.

    • 2

      I think either the regular or the lite coconut milk would be fine, but you’re right, the regular would definitely make it creamier. I figured I’d leave it up to the person making it since I knew people would ask if they could use lite instead! The little bit of oil in the recipe helps with mouthfeel though, too.

      And yes, you’re right – peas are a great source of protein! Especially if something like quinoa pasta was used then yes, it would certainly be sufficient in protein. I just figured I’d share some other options/ways to eat it if someone who always wants meat was still interested in trying the recipe. :) Totally agree that Americans have an unnecessary protein obsession, though.

      Hope you enjoyed that bike ride!

  2. 3

    Totally pinning this recipe! It sounds fantastic and I love that it’s vegan!

  3. 4

    yummm. i heart peas :)

  4. 5

    That looks really good! I love any type of pasta/vegetable dish, so I could totally see myself making this.

  5. 6

    This is so creative! Peas add the best pop of color, not to mention some fab nutrition! I bet the fresh herbs really take it over the top. Love that it’s vegan, too!

  6. 7

    this looks so good!!! I love peas with pasta!! I cant wait to try this one :) thanks!!

  7. 8

    Looks amazing! And LOL to dietitians and bringing kale, beans, and quinoa.

  8. 9

    Haha oh yes, my mom was one of those moms that served the noodles with butter. I honestly couldn’t stand them. This sounds much better. Thanks!

  9. 10
    Paula Argento says

    This looks fannetastic – can’t wait to try it!

  10. 11

    This looks really delicious and I like that its vegan because I sometimes have issues with dairy and avoid creamier pastas. I’ll have to give this one a try.

  11. 12

    My mum used to make us spaghetti al burro which is spaghetti with heaps of melted butter and Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper and that’s it, certainly no veggies :)

    This looks delicious!! Loved the use of coconut milk.

  12. 13

    Down in FL it still feels pretty summery so I think I will be making this for dinner tonight!

  13. 14
    Paula Argento says

    Hey Anne, can you please specify what coconut milk you used,
    or at least whether it was non-sweetened and/or light/non-fat? I think you probably used
    unsweetened, and you might want to let people know this. I tried a grocery brand that turned out to be “sweetened,” and I should have been on the look out for the ingredient list. Here’s my story.

    We had a grocery store brand “organic” labeled coconut milk on sale in the dairy section last week, so I thought, great, I’ll try the recipe. Consistency was great, but man, the sauce was way too sugary to eat. I checked the ingredients on this alleged “organic” coconut milk, and saw there
    was added “sugar cane extract.” I’m like ” what the h– is this?” – it was the last result I expected
    from an “organic” (impliedly healthy) grocery store product.

    So maybe you might let people know exactly what you coconut milk you use for this recipe. I” be happy to send you the name of this grocery store “organic” brand that also makes an inedible pizza they market next to Kashi in the frozen foods section so it confuses you. I don’t want to make adverse comments publicly about a brand on your web site, but I would think you and your community of dieticians might want to be aware of this brand privately.

    • 15

      Hi Paula,

      I don’t remember exactly which kind I used but it was definitely unsweetened. It was either the Thai Kitchen organic full fat coconut milk or the Whole Foods brand organic full fat coconut milk. I hope that helps – sorry to hear the recipe didn’t work out with the one you used!

      • 16
        Paula Argento says

        Thanks Anne, I’m sure the recipe’s delicious with unsweetened coconut milk!
        (Sriracha sauce worked wonders on correcting the sweetened version but I’m excited
        to make your authentic one!)

  14. 17

    Mmm I’m looking forward to making this tonight! I have been tasked with finding some healthy meal recipes for the new year for my mum and sister before going back to university and this is up first. Also, congrats on registering for a second marathon!!

  15. 18

    I made this tonight because I’m a vegan of 2 years and I was CRAVING a creamy pasta dish.
    This was SO DELICIOUS, and everything I hoped it would be to be honest. I substituted coconut cream for the coconut milk and I think it made it even thicker and more delicious. Would definitely recommend this recipe.


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