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Creamy Vegan Pasta Shells

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Treat yourself to a decadent dinner tonight with this easy, dairy-free Creamy Vegan Pasta Shells recipe! It’s flavorful, creamy as can be, and SO easy to make. Oh, and did I mention that this recipe only calls for four simple, delicious ingredients?

A bowl of creamy pasta shells are topped off with fresh cracked black pepper.

Have you ever had the box of Annie’s Organic white cheddar boxed shells? I wasn’t a huge fan of the blue boxed mac ‘n cheese so I would always buy the Annie’s white cheddar and this pasta shells recipes reminds me SO MUCH of it but completely dairy-free and that makes my gut happy!

Honestly, feel free to toss out that old box of Velveeta or all those boxed mac ‘n cheeses you have in the pantry because this dairy-free pasta isn’t just creamier than most other pasta dishes, but it’s tastier, too, in my opinion!

When most people hear the word “vegan,” the next word that comes to mind usually isn’t “creamy” or “decadent.” Well, my favorite cashew cream sauce is here to change all that.

When the creamy cashew sauce covers tender cooked pasta shells, true magic happens. This is one of my favorite dishes to make when I need a bowl of something warm, comforting, and gut-friendly!

More often than not, comfort food is heavy and dense, but with this dairy-free recipe, you won’t be weighed down and you’ll still get all the comfort of a cheesy pasta dish. It’s magic!

You can really top off this creamy pasta however you’d like, but I really love crushed red pepper flakes and just a few dashes of salt and cracked black pepper. Sometimes, when I’m feeling a little extra, I sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top for that extra cheesy flavor.

As simple as this creamy shells recipe is, it’s enhanced beautifully by the additions of whatever your favorite seasonings may be! Even a sprinkle of dried herbs like oregano or thyme would be tasty. It’s a wonderfully versatile dish.

Red pepper flakes and black pepper are sprinkled on top of creamy pasta shells.

Ingredients to make creamy vegan pasta shells

Here are the four (yes, four!) ingredients you’ll need to make this vegan pasta dinner!

  • Pasta – Medium pasta shells are my favorite to use here, as they really grip the sauce.
  • Vegan cashew cream sauce – Of all the ways to use this deliciously dairy-free sauce, this is probably my favorite.
  • Salt and pepper – My favorites to use are just a pinch of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper for the best flavor.
  • Red pepper flakes – Use more or less, depending on how spicy or not you want this dish to be.
  • Nutritional yeast – I love using nutritional yeast when I want that extra cheesy flavor but not the dairy involved with it. The cashew cream sauce recipe already has nutritional yeast in it (if you chose to add it), but just like regular cheese, more is okay!

Ingredient substitutions

To be honest, there aren’t very many ingredient substitutions for this recipe. The only substitution I would say is that if you aren’t using medium pasta shells, then elbows would be another good pasta shape to use.

If you use a larger pasta shape then you may need more sauce to cover the pasta, which isn’t a terrible thing because the cashew cream sauce recipes makes two cups!

A white bowl is filled with a serving of vegan creamy pasta shells.

What else can I add to my creamy vegan pasta shells?

Besides the herbs and seasonings of your choice, you can also dress this pasta up with plant-based proteins, dairy-free cheeses, and so much more! Feel free to get creative with this vegan dinner.

What if I don’t want to make this vegan?

That’s fine! It is definitely your choice.

However, I suggest if you don’t want to make this vegan, try another cheesy pasta recipe on this site.

Or, if you want to use the cashew cream sauce in this pasta shells recipe but want to add in a meat protein (chicken would be great), you can do that as well.

Red pepper flakes and cracked black pepper are sprinkled across a serving of creamy vegan pasta shells.

How long will creamy vegan pasta shells stay fresh?

In an airtight container in the fridge, any leftovers you have of this dish will stay fresh for about 3-4 days. While you can reheat this dish in the microwave, it’s much better when placed in a pot over medium heat on the stove top until warmed through.

A round white bowl is filled with seasoned pasta.

Keep things plant-based with more of my favorite vegan recipes!

Vegan Caesar Salad

Instant Pot Vegan Dal Makhani

Vegan Nourishing Pumpkin Wild Rice Soup

Street Corn Hummus

Creamy Vegan Pasta Shells

This ultra creamy pasta will have you making this multiple times a week!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • 2 ½ cups dried medium pasta shells
  • 1 cup vegan cashew cream sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, optional
  • Nutritional yeast, optional

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Once pasta is cooked to al dente, drain then return to pot.
  • Pour the cashew cream sauce on top and stir to combine and warm the sauce through. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  • If adding protein to the pasta dish, add it after the pasta has been drained and before you add the sauce in.
  • For that extra cheesy flavor, you could sprinkle in some nutritional yeast.

YOUR NOTES

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 464 kcal | Carbohydrates: 93 g | Protein: 16 g | Fat: 2 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g | Sodium: 8 mg | Potassium: 279 mg | Fiber: 4 g | Sugar: 3 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy pasta recipe, vegan pasta, vegan recipes
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