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+ servings
Bowlful of pasta with rose sauce and vegan meatballs.

Rich Creamy Rosé Pasta Sauce with veggies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Tracy Halasz


  • high speed blender


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (if oil free, use a splash of broth)
  • 1 leek or ½ cooking onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup mushrooms, rough chop
  • 1 cup cauliflower, small florets
  • 1 cup broccoli, small pieces
  • 8-10 brussel sprouts, quartered*
  • 1 small zucchini, chunks
  • 8-12 Gardein Meatless Meatballs (optional)
  • 1-3 teaspoons dry basil, oregano, thyme combo
  • 4 cups marinara sauce (or any red sauce)
  • 1-2 handfuls spinach, rough chop
  • ½ - 1 cup cashew cream recipe (link below)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 servings pasta
  • small bunch parsley/basil, chopped


Preparing the Vegetables

  • Wash and prepare the vegetables of your choice. Use any leftover veggies for this recipe - add them with the spinach since they won't have to cook for as long as the raw vegetables.
    NOTE: Use more or less vegetables as per your personal preference. This recipe is totally customizable, choose any vegetables your family enjoys.

Leeks or Diced Onions

  • Trim end, slice through center and rinse dirt from leeks (they often hold a lot of dirt in their layers), thinly cross slice the white and light green parts of the leek and set aside.
  • Save the dark green section (which is tougher) for a stew or bake where you are cooking it for longer.
  • OR use ½ a white/yellow onion, diced.

Cauliflower and Broccoli

  • Trim the large stalks to add as small dice (or save them for soup, stir fry or ricing) separate or cut into bite-size florets.

Other Vegetable Options

  • Pro Tip: This is a great recipe to use vegetable scraps because you cut them up and saute them. So use up your cauliflower and broccoli stems, mushroom stems, etc. Keep the bits and bobs and ends of veggies from preparing meals and salads all week and then make this yummy veggie forward rosé sauce on Sunday.
  • Cut the vegetables into a variety of shapes and sizes to keep the texture of the dish interesting.
  • Mushrooms - use a variety of mushrooms (rough chop or cut button mushrooms in half)
    Brussel sprouts - either cut into quarters or shred 
    Zucchini - cut into thick slices and then into quarters (chunks) or dice
    Spinach - stack, roll, and slice into ribbons or rough chop


  • Put salted water on to boil for the pasta. I used spaghetti (Kamut) but this recipe works well with any pasta and is especially good with penne or rotini. Cook as per package directions.
  • * Reserve a cup of water when draining.

How to Make Creamy Tomato Sauce

  • In a large stirfry pan, heat oil (use a splash of broth if oil free), leeks or diced onions, garlic, and mushrooms.
  • Saute for a few minutes until soft and translucent over medium heat.
  • Add all the 'hard' veggies - cauliflower, broccoli, brussels - stir and saute for 5-7 minutes. Deglaze with a splash of broth or wine as you go.
  • Add zucchini and meatballs (if using) saute for another 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Add dry spices - oregano, basil, thyme, any Italian spices plus salt and pepper, red pepper flakes to taste.
  • Add 4 cups of red sauce - your favourite jarred marinara sauce (2 jars or 1 jar plus 2 cups crushed tomatoes) or try this delicious Rich Red Marinara Sauce recipe. Bring to bubbling over medium-high heat.
  • Stir in spinach (plus leftover cooked veggies if using).
  • Reduce heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes or until meatballs are done*.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add in some or all of the reserve pasta water to desired consistency.
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Vegan Meatballs

  • * If you are going to add the Gardein meatless meatballs, add them when you add the zucchini and then simmer sauce until meatballs are done (see package directions).

Cashew Cream Sauce (5 minutes)

  • Just before serving, swirl a dollop (¼ - ⅓ cup) of cashew cream into the sauce and simmer until warmed through.

To Serve

  • Divide the pasta onto 4 plates or bowls, smother in creamy tomato rosé sauce, an extra swirl of cashew cream, a couple meatless meatballs (if using), a sprinkle of hot pepper flakes, and chopped fresh parsley/basil.
  • Serve with crusty bun or wedge of warm bread to scoop up the last of the creamy sauce and any tasty bits!


VEGETABLES - cook the hardest vegetables first, then add the tender vegetables and leftover vegetables (already cooked). This recipe is great for using up left0ver vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli. Use any combination of vegetables your family likes.
CASHEW CREAM - if you do not have a high-power blender like a Vitamix, you will need extra time to soak your cashews for the creamiest best result. An hour or more in boiling water is sufficient - but you can soak them in cold water overnight as well.
PASTA - use any pasta you have on hand. Penne and rigatoni are a a good choice as the twists and turns hold lots of sauce and veggies.
MEATBALLS - the meatballs are optional but a delicious addition. Our favourite brand is Gardein. Just tuck them into the sauce as it's simmering.
STORAGE - This pasta sauce stores well in the fridge for 2 or 3 days. If possible store the pasta and sauce separately for best results.