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Vegan/GF Yeast-Free Vodka Penne (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Yeast-Free, High Protein)

Here's a vodka penne recipe that took me back to when I made it with conventional ingredients. But now, I don't even miss the dairy or gluten, because this vodka penne tastes the same! Legit! This recipe is fairly simple and delicious, without all the dairy, gluten, and additives. Enjoy this pasta for the perfect comfort food dinner that you don't have to feel guilty about. Serve with cherry tomatoes, crispy kale, green beans, really whatever veggie you'd like, but if you use a high-protein gluten-free pasta, like chickpea penne or red lentil rotini, your protein and carb needs will be covered (you don't need to make a separate protein for this dinner)! Serve it up!

Second dinner recipe on The Dimpled Date (woot woot!). And it's DELICIOUS! If you've tried other vegan/gluten-free vodka rigatoni recipes but haven't liked the way they taste, you've gotta try this one. It tastes like authentic vodka rigatoni, but has zero yeast in it!

This pasta is 100% vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and yeast-free. I highly recommend making it with a high-protein pasta like chickpea pasta, red lentil pasta, four bean pasta, or something along those lines, so you can meet your protein (and carb) needs for dinner and don't have to cook up an extra protein on the side.

Fall recipe experiments are happening in The Dimpled Date kitchen rn... stay tuned for the updates!! Have a fall-time/Halloween recipe you want to see on The Dimpled Date? Like this post, and drop your suggestion in the comments!

Crispy baked kale chips, sautéed green beans, halved cherry tomatoes, a spinach salad, or sautéed watermelon radishes would all go great with this pasta, but you can serve it with whatever veggie you want.


You may use whatever kind of gluten-free and/or grain-free pasta you want for this recipe. I highly recommend a high-protein gluten-free pasta like chickpea pasta, red lentil pasta, four bean pasta, or another similar legume-based pasta. But brown rice or corn pasta works just as well. For this recipe, short pasta shapes like rotini, penne, rigatoni, ziti, fusilli, or farfalle are preferable, but you can really use any pasta shape, so long as it's gluten-free.

For the sauce, you can use olive oil (pref. extra virgin olive oil), avocado oil, OR your neutral healthy oil of choice. The shallot can be replaced with an extra clove of minced garlic OR an equivalent amount of diced white or yellow onion, or can be omitted. The garlic cloves are difficult to substitute. You can use fresh or jarred minced garlic. Or instead, you could try using a whole minced shallot in this sauce total OR you could try using the white part of a scallion AKA green onion, minced from two scallions. I don't recommend omitting the garlic. The crushed tomatoes can be replaced with tomato sauce (either store-bought or homemade) OR if you don't have anything else, you can try using canned diced tomatoes. If you prefer a chunky texture to your vodka sauce, leave the diced tomatoes as is, but if you want it smooth like with the crushed tomatoes/tomato sauce, cool down the sauce a little, then add it to a high speed blender and blend it until smooth, then return to the heat and heat it through until warm enough to add on top of the pasta.

You can really use any kind of vodka for the sauce, but I recommend cheap vodka, so you don't waste your good vodka on this sauce. Most vodkas are gluten-free and all pure vodka is vegan. You don't have to worry about serving this vodka pasta and getting buzzed because the alcohol burns off in the cooking process (but leaves behind the flavor). The full-fat coconut milk is preferable for this recipe (and you need to stir it), but if you want you can use stirred low-fat coconut milk instead OR use your unsweetened plant milk of choice, homemade or store-bought (pref. thick/extra-creamy). Use nut-free/coconut-free plant milk as needed. You may use vegan parmesan cheese (shredded or grated) OR vegan mozzarella cheese (shredded or grated) for this vodka sauce OR you can use your vegan white cheese of choice (shredded or grated). If you want, you can replace the vegan cheese with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast plus more to taste per single batch of this recipe.

The sea salt can be replaced with table salt. Or, if you must, the salt can be reduced to 1/4 tsp per single batch or can be omitted (although the sauce will be less flavorful without it). The cracked black pepper can be replaced with cracked green pepper OR white pepper. You may use whatever fresh or dried herbs you'd like in this sauce. I like to use fresh basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, chives, and parsley fresh from my herb garden as a DIY fresh Italian seasoning blend. If using fresh herbs, make sure you thinly slice the larger herbs like basil before adding to the sauce. To give this sauce a kick, you can try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper OR red pepper flakes. If looking for a smoky flavor to the sauce, try adding 1/4 tsp smoked paprika plus more to taste. Experiment with different spices and flavors and have fun!

Keep in the Loop!

Be sure to check back in at The Dimpled Date soon for more delicious & nutritious recipes!

In the meantime,



Vegan/Gluten-Free Yeast-Free Vodka Penne (Vegan, GF, Yeast-Free, High-Protein)

Prep Time: 5 minutes (to prep ingredients)

Cook Time: 30 minutes (incl. boiling pasta)

Total Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4 (depending on serving size)


-one 8 oz box gluten-free rigatoni pasta OR gluten-free penne pasta OR gluten-free pasta of choice (use high-protein legume-based pasta to meet your protein needs // I typically use chickpea or red lentil penne or rotini)

-1 Tbsp olive oil OR avocado oil

-1/2 a shallot, minced

-2 garlic cloves minced

-one 28 oz can crushed tomatoes OR 28 oz your favorite homemade or store-bought vegan tomato sauce (make sure it's unsweetened)

-1/4 cup cheap gluten-free vodka (you can use quality vodka, but I prefer not to waste mine on sauce)*

-3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk, stirred**

-3/4 cup to 1 cup vegan parmesan (shredded or grated) OR vegan mozzarella (shredded) OR your vegan white cheese of choice (to your liking)***

-1/2 tsp sea salt

-few good cracks black pepper

-handful fresh herbs from your herb garden or the store, sliced thinly as needed (such as basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, chives, parsley, etc.) OR 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning


1. Make sure the vegan parmesan is grated (if using grated vegan parm), the homemade vegan tomato sauce is made (if using homemade red sauce), the herbs are thinly sliced (if using fresh herbs), and the shallot and garlic and both minced.

2. Boil the gluten-free pasta according to package directions. Typically, it takes anywhere from 7 to 11 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.

3. For the sauce: heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the minced shallot and sauté 5 minutes, until it just begins to brown. Add the minced garlic and sauté another minute until golden.

4. Add the crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce and heat through over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

5. Add the vodka and cook through over medium heat, stirring frequently until the alcohol is burned off, 5 to 7 minutes.

6. Turn the heat to low, and add the stirred full-fat coconut milk, stirring until incorporated and a pink sauce forms.

7. Add the vegan cheese, sea salt, black pepper, and herbs and stir well until the cheese is melted.

8. Turn off the heat and add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss. (Alternately, you can pour the sauce over the pasta, toss, and add to a serving dish).

9. Serve with crispy kale chips, sautéed green beans, halved cherry tomatoes, a spinach or arugula salad, sautéed watermelon radishes, or with whatever vegetable you want. Can be served as a main (if you used a high protein pasta) or as a side dish with a vegan protein on the side. Enjoy!

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.


*Don't worry, you won't get buzzed off of the vodka because it burns off during cooking! (and leaves its flavor behind)

**See "Substitutions" section of this post, above, for different plant milks you can use for the sauce and other substitutions

***See "Substitutions" section of this post, above, for a version of this sauce made w/ nutritional yeast and other substitutions and flavor add-in recommendations

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