Comforting noodles swimming in a creamy, savory and nutritious sauce studded with roasted tomatoes and topped with a crispy “buttery” breadcrumb topping. We’re blending ready-made Romesco or Marinara sauce with a creamy cashew base to bump up the nutrients and to get things extra lush, which also means this meal comes together in a snap!
You know those nights when you really want something delicious but you don’t feel like doing a lot of chopping and prep work to get a healthy and comforting meal on the table? Especially on nights when the fridge is getting a bit bare so there’s not a lot to work with, this crowd-pleaser is sure to do the trick. I used homemade Romesco in the pasta sauce pictured, but I often use a jar of my favorite Marinara sauce. If you don’t have any cherry tomatoes, the pasta is great with just the sauce. I really enjoy adding the Panko breadcrumb topping for the bits of crispness; they are such a nice contrast to the silky sauce and noodles. I think the topping might just be my favorite bit so the little effort in sticking the pasta into the oven under the broiler for a few minutes is definitely worth it in taking this simple dish up a notch!
I added nutritional yeast to the sauce as it imparts a cheese like flavor, but I get that it’s not for everyone so if you do leave it out, the sauce will still be amazing. It’s something like a rosé sauce with the mix of a tomato base plus the cream made from cashews. And speaking of cashews, did you know they are high in iron? The vitamin C rich tomatoes help your body absorb the iron, too, so this combo just gets better!
If you give this a try, let me know how you enjoy it. If you’re like us, you may find yourself making it regularly for an easy weeknight meal!
Creamy Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Crispy Topping
- 1 lb small pasta noodles
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups Romesco* or Marinara sauce (store bought or make your own, see link in notes)
- 1 ½ cups raw cashew pieces**
- 2 cups veggie broth
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional)
- 2 tbsp vegan butter or olive oil
- ¾ cup Panko bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the cherry tomatoes in the olive oil and roast for 10-15 minutes, or just until some of them start to release their juices, shaking the pan around occasionally. The goal is to have them keeping most of their juices and shape so you aren't left with just tomato skins. Remove from oven.
- Prepare the noodles according to package directions.
- Combine the Romesco or Marinara sauce with the cashews, veggie broth and nutritional yeast (if using) in the blender. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into a medium pot and whisk over medium heat until hot and slightly thickened.
- Melt the vegan butter and pour over the Panko bread crumbs in a small bowl, mixing well. If using olive oil, simply mix with the Panko bread crumbs.
- Drain the noodles and toss with the sauce in an oven safe dish or skillet. Gently fold in the roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle the prepared Panko over the top and place in the hot oven with broiler on high for 3-5 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned, keeping an eye on it so your breadcrumbs don't burn.