How To Make Vegan Penne A La Vodka


Hi Sweet Friends!

Today I’m going to show you how to make vegan penne a la vodka (aka Dirty Penne): a rich, creamy gluten-free vegan pasta recipe with a splash of vodka! It’s super easy to make, and you can whip it up in a jiffy. I love keeping the ingredients on hand for when I don’t have a lot of time (or energy) to play in the kitchen. If you prefer to omit the vodka, that’s fine. The small amount of alcohol helps bring out the flavors. It also adds a bitter bite that goes well with the salty sweetness of the dish.

As always, I use recipes as guidelines – not hard-and-fast rules. So feel free to tinker, tweak and tickle ‘til your taste buds let out a genuine “Mmmm.” I hope you enjoy! And remember to serve the dish with a big ole salad. If you need some new inspiration, we have lots of delicious recipes (and dressings) in Crazy Sexy Kitchen.

Vegan Penne A La Vodka


  • Brown rice pasta (I like Tinkyada brand)
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I love Dave’s Gourmet & Crazy Sexy Kitchen’s Nana’s Marinara)
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup frozen organic peas
  • 2 heaping tablespoons capers
  • ¼ – ½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • ½-1 cup water (to blend cashews)
  • Drizzle of olive oil (optional)
  • Splash of vodka (2-4 cap fulls or an ⅛ of a cup)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Bring water to a boil and add a dash of salt to keep the pasta from sticking. Once the water is bubbling, add the pasta. Follow the directions on the package; it should take about 12 minutes or so.

To make the sauce, use your favorite jarred marinara as the base. Pour into a saucepan and add the garlic, peas, capers, plus a drizzle of olive oil and splash of vodka.

In a high-speed blender, blend the cashews and water until they are creamy. Add more or less water to suit your desires. Pour the cashew cream into the sauce and stir.

Cook on medium to low heat for about 15 minutes. Bathe the sauce all over the pasta and serve with a bright and tasty salad.

Now I’d love to hear from you, what’s your go-to meal choice when you don’t have much time in the kitchen?

I’m sure we’d all love to know. Our readers love the comments as much as the blog content. Bon appetit!

Peace & dirty pasta,

Kris Carr

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200 responses to How To Make Vegan Penne A La Vodka
  1. Yum, that sounds scrumptious!! We love Dave’s Gourmet sauces as well – especially the Spicy version – it’s great for creating easy peasy dinners in a pinch!! I can’t wait to try your recipe, it sounds delicious!! Thanks so much, you really are a treasured gem Kris!! ♡♡

  2. Sounds Yummy :) I’ll try when i will have the chance to have a blender ^^
    PS: It’s “bon appétit” without an “e” (I am French and lots of people do the mistake; i donno it’s on purpose or not haha)

  3. This looks delicious. I might want to leave out the capers, as they taste a little salty to me 😉 I am soooo gonna try this. P.S. I LOVE your cookbook. I made the Coconut and Red Lentil Soup last night and it was fabulous. In fact, EVERY recipe I’ve tried thus far has been a smash! Thanks!

  4. Yowsers. I didn’t know about the trick for making quick cashew cream sauce. I think you may have just left me dirty kiddy grateful for you and all your special magical fairy dust in the kitchen. Sigh. Hug.

  5. Well that’s nice, but I thought you were a raw vegan?

    • Nope, not 100%.

    • Her books include lots of recipes for cooked foods, although she does emphasize the importance of fresh vegetable juice and salads. Raw foods are an important part of an overall vegan diet.

  6. I can’t wait to try it this week!
    Thanks so much Kris

  7. I love you!

  8. I love it! You are so inspiring! The cooking videos are my favorites. Have a great day!

  9. Good morning, beautiful succulent goddesses!

    Kris, as always, this looks amazing. I will try it as soon as I’m done with your adventurous 21-day cleanse (I’m on day 4!).

    I just wanted to say thank you for inspiring me to make these changes. I had my first colonic on Saturday, I’m a juicing fiend (Immune Me is my favorite), and…*drum roll*…I am down 20.5 pounds as of this morning. I have roughly another 120 pounds to go, but it’s a HUGE exciting accomplishment. I didn’t lose all 20 on the cleanse, I lost about 10 before the cleanse just prepping for it throughout the month of January. Who knew raw food could be so darn delicious and easy?!?!

    But holy smokes! I have more energy than ever before, I’m exercising every day, and I move through my day with a new sense of clarity and gratitude.

    So thank you. YOU gave me the confidence to dive into this beautiful adventure, and to start showering my body with love, from the inside out.

    Big hugs,


  10. Can’t wait to try it for diner (yes, the dirty version)!! Thank you Kris! And thank you for leaving the part where you struggle to open the jar! That made me laugh!

  11. Funny and delicious! I will try this but first have to eat the huge amounts of CS Kitchen bean chili that I made yesterday!

  12. Thanks Kris. This looks very good and super easy to make. I like that you gave options. BTW, your kitchen is lovely. Now to find the pasta you referred to.

  13. I can’t wait to try it! I have been nervous about getting your book thinking most of it will be to complicated or have things I have never heard of in it. But this one I can definitely make. Thank you for sharing.

  14. I turn to pasta, too, when I’m low on time and energy. Usually brown rice pasta, jarred Trader Joe’s sauce – I like the roasted garlic marinara, all the veggies I can find, and sometimes a chopped up sun-dried tomato basil tofurkey sausage. Quick, easy, relatively healthy, and my husband and kids love it. Win/win/win!

  15. I’m so into to your recipes Kris Carr! I just made Quinoa With a Kick last night! I’ve been spreadin’ the crazy sexy revolution love with all my friends! I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m more of a ‘mandatory dirty’ kinda girl…but hey let your followers choose right?

  16. I can’t wait to try this! Thanks, Kris!

    There are always a few nights during the week when time is scarce and we’re so tired we just want to eat, and not bother with cooking and prep. On those nights, we reach for our quesadilla maker — oddly, one of the most used appliances in our kitchen! We keep a can of good-quality refried beans on hand, as well as Food for Life brand rice tortillas (the best!). We top it with whatever veggies we have, maybe a little salsa, and perhaps some Daiya pepperjack shreds. When it’s hot and crispy, I garnish with fresh avocado, sprouts, and maybe a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and squeeze of lime. Talk about quick + delicious comfort food!

  17. Kris, I used your ingredients, except for the pasta (substituted raw spriralized zucchini) and vodka, and made this a raw dish. Delish!!!!! Thanks. I always forget about capers.

  18. I can’t wait to get the cookbook – this looks delicious! I’ve got a few jars left of heirloom tomato sauce I canned from my garden last year that is calling out for a little cashew cream and vodka. For quick weeknight meals, I love hearty dinner salads like this one with greens and homemade vegan feta.


  19. I can’t wait to make this!! Thanks Kris!

  20. Hi Kris,

    This is what I am making for dinner. Thank You for thinking of us gluten free people.

    Diana in Maine

    p.s. I think you should have a contest where the winner gets a chance to come hang out with you for a weekend and learn all your health secrets.

  21. Hey Kris, I wanted to tell you that there is a trick to open a jar easily. You flip it upside down and tap the bottom of the jar with your hand a couple of times. flip it back and voila, you can open it with ease.

    • Andrea, you rock. Will try it next time. :)

      • The reason the jars are difficult to open is that they are vaccuum sealed. Stick a (dull) knife or a bottle opener/can punch under the lid to pry it away enough to let some air in…you will hear a little suck of air and your jay will open effortlessly!

  22. Would love to try this recipe and I will look for that Dave’s Marinara as most jarred sauces I have found are loaded with sugar! My go to for the super bowl last night (amidst a sea of JUNK food) was hummus, black beans, quinoa and some spicy salsa mixed up in a bowl like some heavenly dip …and some gluten free tortilla cihps to dip. I felt victorious!

    Well,…brag time. its One week anniversary on CSD today!!! WOO HOO!!! If you told me 8 days ago I could go without meat, dairy, sugar, caffeine and gluten i would have said you were cray, cray! I was always high energy but it is now through the roof. My skin is GLOWING and totally clear ( I always struggle with skin issues). I want to tell the world about Kris Carr!!!

    Will you be selling your cookbook at Ignite? If not i will buy it online.

    Hug a Roos,

    • YES!!!!!! Best news ever. :) Come see me at Ignite. Promise? And yes, my books will be sold there.

      • More than a promise…i have my lanyard already and will BE there. You have inspiried me (and yes ignited me!) sooooo much. i have dabbled in 100 other diets and have always looked for the right path. I read your whole book cover to cover while my boss was in London last week (shhhhh!!!) and I never thought I had the guts to give up dairy and meat completely!!!! See you there :-)

  23. Hi Kris,

    Funny because I too made Penne tonight … I used a mixed Multigrain pasta with Quinoa Penne (that takes approx. 6mins to cook) & while that was happening I lightly sautéed onion, ginger, chilli, a handful of cherry tomatoes & Portobello mushrooms in a pan in olive oil with a little Himalayan salt & black cracked pepper to taste …. whilst steaming green beans, snow peas, carrot, broccoli & cauliflower and once the pasta was cooked I tossed it all in the pan & mixed everything together … it was nutritious, filling & delicious :)

    Loved the vid … I can’t wait to update to a fab blender so I can whip things up as easy as your demonstration. Thx for sharing xx

  24. sounds positively yummy!! great video. I really relate to not being able to open jars.

    Enjoy your cookbook and the great recipes (and now have a major crush on Chad after seeing that pic of him on the farm — too cute!!).

    Also major kudos on your HayHouse show — you really have such a great radio voice — so pleasant to listen to. And of course the content of every show is both interesting and helpful. Thanks, Kris for alll that you are sharing with us — very important stuff!!

    • Thank you so much MJ! Especially about the radio show. I’m still finding my groove but having lots of fun trying. I appreciate your feedback and love. :)

  25. I think a bunch of us will be opening up the vodka tonight! Yeah! This sounds great, and easy peasy which is always a gift! I might serve mine with the Ceasar salad from CSK. Thank you!

  26. Kris…I have always been a big fan of Tinkyada brown rice pasta….until…I tried Jovial. I am now a super fan of Jovial pasta! Give it a try!

  27. Love the recipe Kris, can’t wait to make it! Just a tip to try out next time you can’t open a jar: smack the bottom of the jar with your palm a few times, and until you hear a sucking sound of the vacuum releasing.

  28. Hello sexy friends :) any thoughts or knowledge as to how long the cashew sauce stays fresh for? I’d like to make my first a batch but don’t want to make too much in case it goes “sour” fast. Thanks! :)

  29. Your soooo funny and awesome! keep em coming!

  30. OMG!! Looks so awesome cant wait to try it, and I know I will be able to get it past my four boys without them knowing it is so much healthier for them than the “original “recipie my Gram used to make. Thanks Kris God Bless Denise

  31. Hi Kris – I love watching you in the kitchen cooking your recipes that are gluten free and healthy! In the last year, you inspired me to eat a plant-based diet and lean into raw. In the last five months, I’ve done two raw food cleanses – a two week and a three-week cleanse. This has helped me learn how my body feels with plants and raw food. Now I am proud to say that I have a plant-based diet all due to following you! I have never felt as good as I’ve felt in my life. My body and I thank you.

    I never felt as clear headed and happy as I did on the raw food cleanse. Does this remove some kind of block that fuels these feelings and clarity? Would love to hear your take on this.

  32. Kris Karr:

    You rock. Thank you for making cancer and cooking seem so much easier.

    I have been inspired and fed (soul) by Crazy Sexy Cancer Kitchen.



  33. My favorite thing to whip up is drain and rinse a can of black beans, and toss them with some chopped up bell peppers, onion, cilantro and lime juice. I keep it in a bowl in the fridge for a couple days and throw it on top of a bed of greens or some quinoa, then top with some salsa and avocado. If I want a little crunch I’ll throw in some gluten-free tortilla chips, So filling and delish!!!

    I also just made a leftover veggie soup recently, combining a couple of different recipes I read online, and it was amazing! I just threw a bunch of chopped veggies in a pot with broth and my fav seasonings, added a little coconut milk (if you want an asian inspired taste), simmered, and then pureed in the blender and enjoyed! A great way to use up veggies in the fridge that might otherwise be forgotten about!

  34. Wow! I am impressed, surprised and happy to see how easy and good this looks! I have to confess that I have stopped reading ‘Crazy, Sexy, Diet’ because I know I will have to give up my beloved pasta. But, this looks great! I will keep on reading!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  35. why use raw cashews while you heat the sauce?

  36. Looks yummy and easy! Thanks!

  37. Kris, the pasta looks so good! I can’t wait to try it. I have this really cheap tool that breaks the seal on jars. It is a miracle worker and I highly, highly recommend it. I don’t sell them or anything just thought you might love it too :)

  38. Kris-I’ve been following you for about a year now & love how you’re making things as fun & easy as possible for us newbies…this video is a perfect example! Love the step-by-step with the cashews–that’s easy to you but for those of us surrounded by meat/fast food each day & trying to break that awful cycle the cashew thing would’ve overwhelmed me! And i love, love, love that you had to get help with the jar!! I was laughing so hard! Just what I needed today!
    Love, Karmen in Houston

  39. This looks delicious and easy! I love your recipes, I bought your book awhile back. So amazing! Thank you for sharing all these wonderful recipes with everyone!


  40. Sounds very good, like the pureed nuts for the something extra. I will add other vegies on hand as well. Will make this week.

  41. Kris,

    I felt like crying for happiness when I watch this, having read all your books and following this journey of yours. I feel like you’re my daughter or sister or soul something, not to sound too weird. I’m just comforted to know that you’re out there!

    Thank you for being YOU!!!

    Sending you love and happiness.

    Lorig : )

  42. Thank you Kris! Love this recipe!

  43. Wow! Sounds so yummy. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks so much for sharing another great recipe!

  44. OM to the G! So delicious and so simple and affordable! Even my picky ate 8 year old devoured it and he supposedly hates peas! Thank Kris Carr, you rockin Crazy Sexy Kitchen goddess.

  45. This looks excellent! Can’t wait to try the cashew cream out. Our favorite go to is a black bean chili. Lots of tomatoes, corn and peppers! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes and information. Crazy Sexy Kitchen has motivated my husband and I to move closer and closer to a vegan diet and we feel great!


  47. Kris, you inspire me everyday with your healthy life style, positive energy, and beauty. Can’t wait to try this delicious dirty dish! As we say in German, guten Appetit!

  48. Love your quick and easy! Can’t wait to try it. My quick and easy is a tofu dish using a pre made marinade sauce made by Whole Foods (I don’t work or endorse them) called, Thai Ginger Marinade. I cube the tofu (I use the Bridge brand) and marinade it for 5 minutes (longer is better but this is suppose to be quick!) in the sauce. I then dump the whole thing into a pan and cook for about 5 minutes. I sometimes add some broccoli into the pan if I’m too lazy to steam on the side. I have it served with brown rice.

  49. Kris, this recipe looks wonderful and I can’t wait to try it. The thing I like even more is that it is quick and it has capers !!! I LOVE capers !!! I am off tomorrow to buy the pasta !! Thanks for sharing, please keep sharing new recipes.

  50. I made this tonight! I am on a VERY tight budget so if I didn’t totally need it, it got left out (vodka, capers). I also cannot afford an $8 jar of pasta sauce, although I am SURE Dave’s sauce is awesome. I went with Whole Foods Roasted Red Pepper sauce ($1.79), the Tinkyada penne pasta was on sale today, woot! ($3.19), and WF frozen peas ($1.29). I def recommend the Tinkyada Penne. It has a great texture that goes well with the sauce. I already had raw, unsalted cashew’s and it was my first time making the creamy goodness in my blender.

    Oh goodness….I think the cashew and roasted red bell pepper totally complimented each other. And 3 cloves of garlic…yum. It was great! And this was a very fast and easy meal to make. I did try to hit up a neighbor for some vodka, but they didn’t have any. I tried! :) I look forward to making it one day with the vodka to see how it changes up the flavor. Along with a BIG bowl of salad on the side, this meal was a big hit for me and I have leftover for several days (and I didn’t even cook the whole bag of pasta cuz I can always make more if I need to).

    Thanks for the recipe!

  51. Nice! :)

    Question: Since I`m a cooking newbie- of any kind.. I need to be absolutely certain to follow recipes to a t; do we need to soak the cashews as is suggested in other cashews recipes?

    I think anything else I say would sound verbatim, so just a HUGE THANK YOU for being you.

    ((((((many bear hugs to you and your loved ones in unicornlandia))))))

  52. Great demo, Kris! Excited to give it a try! Feels like such a silly question but any tips on how to reheat the pasta without using a microwave?

    • sherri-

      I am microwave-less, and I just put the serving in a pot on the stove over medium heat for probably about 7 minutes (it really depends on how much I’m reheating and how warm I want it). If the pasta isn’t mixed with sauce, I will add a bit of water or olive oil so it doesn’t burn.

      Hope that helps!

  53. I watched this last night and today discovered Dave’s Gourmet was on sale at the Columbus Circle Whole Foods here in NYC 😀

    Also, thank you for showing the struggle with the jar, it happens all the time, but is so counter-intuitive to “magical TV cooking.” I just loved it.

  54. Love this recipe can’t wait to try it. I am a pasta lover and especially that new brown rice pasta that i just newly discovered. (Tinkyada brand…) Love it!!

  55. I made this last night and it was AWESOME! However, my blender died while making my cashew cream! So… the sauce was… textured and AWESOME! Guess its time for a VitaMix!
    Thank you, Kris! You are truly inspiring!

  56. Hi Kris
    New to your site, loving it!
    Can the cashews be sub’d with almonds or brazil nuts? The vodka for brandy?

  57. you just get better AND better with each video .. a shining star! thank you for all that you do to inspire .. to teach .. to share love .. you are a blessing!

  58. I can’t wait to tryt he Vegan Penne

    I love to make this when I am in a hurry and need something to comfort and nourish me. It only takes 5 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook. It only requires one pot to clean up too, yeah!

    Cauliflower Millet Mash with Arugula

    4 servings

    2 Tb olive oil
    1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
    1 large shallot, peeled and diced
    1 tsp Italian seasonings
    1 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
    1 cup millet
    3 cups vegetable stock or water
    Sea salt and pepper to taste
    3 oz baby arugula torn into pieces
    1 tsp rice wine vinegar

    • Heat 2 Tb olive oil in pot, add shallot, sauté until soft.
    • Once the shallots are softened, add the millet stir to coat with the oil.
    • Add cauliflower, herbs and stock. Bring to a boil.
    • Reduce flame, cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes until the grain is cooked.
    • Add 1 Tb of extra virgin olive oil. Mash with a potato masher until smooth.
    • Season with sea salt & pepper.
    • Add the arugula, stir to allow the arugula to wilt.
    Serve topped with a sprinkle of rice wine vinegar

  59. LOVE a go-to meal! This looks delicious!

    My go to meal is sauted kale & spinch in coconut butter, season with sea salt and garlic pepper. Add a big chopped portobelo mushroom and halfed cherry toms. Soften off in pan then pour over 2 whisked eggs and allow to gentle cook. Its my FAV easy meal. Nutricious & delicious!

    Thanks Kris for another fab recipe! Jx

  60. Dave’s Gormet Sauce…………..hmmmm will have to find it……….sounds good!

  61. Looks wonderful! Any suggestions as to what I can use in place of cashews? I have a little guy who has an allergy to cashews. Thanks!! :)

  62. You crack me up !!!!! I can’t wait to make this…it looks sooo yummy !!!

  63. This looks wonderful but I’m allergic to cashews!…and most nuts for that matter. Are almonds or peanuts a good alternative?

  64. forgot to ask you….can I use organic cashew butter instead…and if so how much?

  65. This is ideal cold winter night food! Making this tonight :)
    Love your videos Kris xx

  66. Hi Kris – This looks great! Can’t wait to try the ‘dirty penne’!
    Question…are those glass jars above your rooster on the shelf, just Mason jars?
    I am going crazy looking for glass jars that seal well, with no plastic parts, to store
    dry goods and pantry staples in.


    • I use wide mouth mason jars to store beans, grains and transport green smoothies to work every morning. The wide mouth makes it easy to clean. The lids can be replaced if they need to after time and no plastic to worry about.

  67. Top it off with some nutritional yeast (“cheese”) and wham bam thank you ma’am!

  68. I made this tonight, it was amazing!! My hubby, and three teenagers loved it! Thank you Kris :))

  69. Kris!
    Love this! Also, wanted to say CONGRATS on the BIG ANNIVERSERY coming up!!!! When you made your first documentary, you changed my life forever! I love you for all you do and all that you are! I was fortunate to meet you once at WFAS, and I hope our paths cross again! Sending you lots of love and positive energy!!!!
    A big smooch to you and Brian!
    mj, your granola
    peace & veggies :)

  70. Thanks Kris! I started following you about two months ago after a small health issue. I am now determined to take my wellness into my own hands. This was a great Vegan meal that was easy to make with stuff I already had in the kitchen. It was not intimidating to newbies like me! Thanks!!!

  71. A ran into a Unicorn the other day and he told me to make dirty pasta. “but unicorn” I said “my boys will not eat dirty pasta, their is no meat or cheese in it”.
    The Unicorn smiled and replied, “if you make it they will eat it and they will like it”
    “But my magical unicorn my boys do not eat veggies”.
    “If you make it they will eat it and they will like it” the unicorn repeated as he disappeared into a cloud of fairy dust.
    I made it.
    They ate it.
    And they Really Really liked it!!!!
    Damn, those smart unicorns.

  72. looks simple but delicious and healthy! just what I like!! Unfortunately I live in an African country called Malawi where we do not have credit I cant purchase the book or the ebook. But I have been absorbing whatever I can from your emails and web page.
    Thanks :)

  73. I tried this last night, needed a quick dinner before a meeting, and we loved it. I like that it comes together quickly and uses ingredients that are normally in my pantry. While the pasta cooked, I pulled together the sauce. The simple add in’s really make the sauce seem more special. It was added to my recipe software as a “do again”.

  74. Love the look of this recipe and I will definately be trying it out soon. What was the green veg on the side?
    Thanks Jane

  75. I am not a vegan…not even a real vegetarian but I really do feel much better when my diet leans heavy on the plant based side of things. I juice every day and really limit the “other stuff”. So, I’m moving in the right direction!

    I tell you this because it can be a bit intimidating to prepare yummy stuff when you’re not used to cooking this way. I tried this recipe last nigh and it is SO SO SO good. As suggested I served with a (just picked from my garden) salad. Even my boyfriend that will normally scoff at uber-healthy meals absolutely loved it. In fact, he took the left overs for lunch!

    I picked up the new cook book and look forward to trying all of the recipes. Thank you for helping us newbies find our way!

  76. Yum, That really looks good. I’m going to try it! Thanks! Love your cookbook.

  77. Looks sooo good – I can’t wait to try this!

  78. Looks delicious! Will give it a try this weekend. Picked up a bottle of Rain organic Vodka just for this. Thanks!!
    By the way, I absolutely love every recipe I have tried in Crazy Sexy Kitchen—-amazing!! Keep up the great work!! :)

  79. That sounds delish!!! I can’t wait to try it. I always made Penne alla Vodka in my pre-vegan life. This sounds so much better and easier.
    I will add this to my easy recipe list. If I’m pressed for time I usually throw together a simple stir fry of whatever is in the fridge.
    Thanks, you are inspirational and I love Crazy, Sexy Kitchen.

  80. Hi! Just stumbled across your site from a friend, and I must say YOU ARE SO ENJOYABLE to watch!! Your comedy and mannerisms remind me of Jenna Marbles from You made this dish look so simple and absolutely delicious. Threw in some quick tips and I truly learned alot. I just started my own website on Gluten Free cooking and I will be a new follower to you. Thank you for being such a delight to watch. So graceful in the kitchen!!
    All the best,

  81. I just created this one day when I was super hungry. It serves well for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.
    1 cup of water in a small pot (I use a little stainless steel skillet), bring to a boil.
    1 Tablespoon of Brown Rice Miso (more if you like) Stir until blended.
    Add enough cooked quinoa to make it thick like a cereal consistancy. Also good with any other grain you like.
    Top with walnut halves or pieces, and chunks of avocado.
    Caution: It can be addictive!

  82. I’m making this tonight. Can anyone see a problem with using soaked raw cashews? My body usually digests nuts easier if they’ve been soaked. But I wondered it soaking them will somehow alter the creaminess factor after blending?

    • as far as I can tell soaking made no difference. It was super yummy. I also added french basil and oregano to sauce. Thanks Kris!

  83. Hi Kris: love this recipe, I am going to make it tonight. We are renovating our kitchen and cooking/juicing/blending in our dining room. I’ll cook up the sauce in a deep-sided electric frying pan as the pasta cooks on our little single burner :)

    My favorite go-to recipe is something I call Endurance Curry, I came up with this a few years ago after a long marathon training run out in the snow and cold. This curry is fast and delicious, and all my running buddies and yoga students love it

    Thanks for the continued inspiration. Namaste

  84. Just made this recipe this evening for my family of 5, with a side of arugula salad. Everybody had seconds and all 3 of my boys asked if they could have the leftovers in their lunch at school tomorrow! I would say it was a tasty hit. Thanks for sharing :)

  85. I live in a world of eye-talians, and penne a la vodka is a big deal! I am totally going to try this – and maybe even sneak it to some friends! thanks!

  86. I just made this and it was amazing! I added a little cayenne pepper for some kick and some frozen spinach for a little extra nutrition. Yummy, filling meal! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  87. Help! my kids are both allergic to cashews (all tree nuts and peanuts, actually). There are so many recipes that I want to try that call for cashew cream. Is there anything I can use to substitute?

    Thanks :)

    • Ok, so after days of research, I found one solution to this – Would love anyone’s feedback on it or other ideas. The solution was to substitute cashews in a recipe for cashew cream with 2/3 young Thai coconut meat and 1/3 hemp seeds. Has anyone done this?

  88. Wow, that looked really simple and delicious. I have to try your recipe. I have a jar opening tip for you. Hitting the bottom of the jar with the palm of your hand always does it for me.

  89. Awesome – this looks amazing – will try it this week! Love the idea of the cashew cream sauce! Will be making that on a regular basis! oh, and mine will be dirty! What I make in a crunch? I make a big batch of brown rice ahead of time, divide it up in half cup and 1 cup storage containers and freeze – then i use one with a veggie stir fry, or put it in soup, or just on its own…

  90. Sounds really good! I´ll try it this week….When do you think I can buy your cookbook in german language? It would be easier :-)

  91. Hi Kris, Thanks for the video! Lot’s of times people who cook regularly (or people who have written cookbooks) call their recipes “easy” and then when I go to try them I find that they have tons of ingredients, or many steps, or require multiple pots and pans that I don’t have (or, if I’m being honest, don’t want to have to wash!), but THIS truly looks easy (and delicious)! I am definitely going to try this recipe :)

  92. Thanks Kris! <3

  93. Just made this – it was so phenomenal, I have no words. Thanks for the inspiration day after day!

  94. Wow, looks fantastic! Can’t wait to try this recipe out. We love cashew nut sauce! My husband and I are living in Thailand and we just recently got settled into a place with a kind of kitchen 😉
    I will be trying this recipe out!

  95. WOW! This was so delicious and quick to make. Thank you!

  96. First, watching you both trying to open the jar was great, made me laugh out loud! When that happens to me there’s usually some cursing involved…LOL..can’t wait to try the recipe, looks delicious & easy! Pasta is a go-to meal for my family too when I don’t have a lot of time. I’ll usually either have it with a red sauce or I’ll saute mushrooms and onions with it.

  97. Looks great! Will try vodka in my sauce next time!

  98. Loving the Chat and Chews! Thanks for the tip on the non-mushy rice pasta. Tricky stuff if you cook for 1 second too long! I’ll try the brand you recommended.

  99. Try hitting the bottom of the jar with the heal of your hand to release the vacuume in the jar. It should open more easily then.

  100. Hi Kris!
    Yesterday I made the penne a la vodka….and they were soooo delicious! :-)
    Funnily enough we, my boyfriend and I, had the same issues as you with the lid of the tomato sauce..! 😉
    By the way instead of the capers we put some organic green peas into the sauce….YUM!
    Thanks very much for this recipe!
    Lovely greetings from Germany,

  101. I just finished making the sauce and it is exactly what I have been missing, I love it!
    I know I will be making this frequently. Thank you

  102. You make me laugh out loud funny girl! I shall try this weekend and make nummie noises too!

  103. I finally made it and it’s delicious.

  104. Hi Kris,
    Love your stuff — first heard about you in the beautiful film you made a number of years ago. Quick question: I had the impression that you found that a diet of almost 100% raw foods was the “way to go” for rebuilding and sustaining good health. And today I see a recipe for penne vodka (yum sounds delish). Have I misread your position of cooking? Help, I am confused. (By the way, I love to cook and would be delighted if getting healthy involved warm soups, pasta, tex-mex and tons of baked Italian specialties!). Could you please clarify? Thanks so much for all you do — I recovered from cancer 40 years ago, and count each day as a blessing. All best always, Elizabeth Hurwitz

  105. Ok, I’m not even kidding, I had to give the leftovers away to my ex because I was literally inhaling it for dinner. Maybe next time I will use a fork. Haha My kids loved it too.. , !
    This was the best. Ms. Carr you are fabulous! X

  106. I went to the store yesterday and picked up some vodka sauce. However, I quickly put it back down after reading the nutrition table and ingredients! It’s been such a long time since i’ve had it I forgot how horrible it is for you. I randomly came across this recipe less than 24hrs later (a sign from God i’m sure:). Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try this.

  107. Holy smokes, this pasta was too good for words. I made a Greek salad to accompany it and dinner was out of this world!

    A favorite go-to dish for me is a Socca omelette stuffed full with mushrooms, onion, frozen shredded potatoes, kalamata olives and hot sauce over the top. Yum!

  108. This recipe might have changed my life!! YUM

  109. AHMAZING!!!! I have wanted to make this for a while and finally executed last night. I switched it up a little bit…added tofu, which I cooked along with the onions and garlic in olive oil before adding the sauce, and used spinach in lieu of peas. It was PHENOMENAL. My totally carnivorous inlaws were absolutely raving about it along with my husband. Its unreal how CREAMY it seems — the cashew cream is insane. Every single recipe I have made from your cookbook, and now this one, has been wonderful. I’ve been veg for over 15 years but I finally feel like I have hit my stride in the cooking realm…feeling pretty gourmet over here. THANK YOU!!!

  110. Kris!!! This recipe was amazing, I just finished making it for my dinner tonight and I already can’t wait until dinner tomorrow night (helllooooo leftovers). I took a bunch of nice photos of the dish and posted them on my blog if you want to see what it turned out like. You’re the best! xoxo

    Here’s the recipe to the blog post featuring this recipe:

  111. It looks delicious, I am going to try it. Thank you for sharing. I bought your book, the one you wrote with Chad and am awaiting the deliciousness!

  112. This recipe sounds absolutely delicious, can’t wait to try it! When I’m short on time I love to make veggie fajitas from Claire’s Corner Copia cookbook. Claire’s has been making amazing vegetarian and vegan meals at its downtown New Haven restaurant for years. I made the fajitas last week and the recipe can be found on my blog. They’re easy and high on flavor! Love your book and your blog. Keep up the great work!!

  113. Really good pasta dish. I will make that again! I almost licked the sauce off the plate it was so good.
    I wish I had a better blender because there were a couple of pieces of cashes left in the sauce. Although, I didn’t mind it.

  114. Looks delish! What are the crunchy greens on the side? Those look really delicious!

  115. This looks delicious, and is on my “to make” list! ( Just recently bought CSDiet and CSKitchen!! YAY ). Also, just wondering what to substitute the cashew cream with for someone with nut allergies?


  116. I love this recipe, it is now a staple in our household!

    Thank you Kris for sharing and I cannot wait from Crazy sexy kitchen to arrive in Europe…

  117. Flo said on May 14, 2013

    Love this! Can’t wait to try it.

  118. Risa said on May 20, 2013

    I love the recipe above, but my daughter is allergic to nuts and seeds, what would you replace the cashews with????

    a hug fan

  119. Jon said on May 25, 2013

    I think I can’t wait to try it.
    Thanks, Kris!

  120. This looks wonderful — I could almost taste it!! One little hint on opening the jar – turn it upside down and smack the bottom of it hard with your hand flat a couple times — it does something to the air in the jar and makes it much easier to open. If I don’t do that, I have to chase down my husband!! Thanks Kris!

  121. Love these little videos! You’re such a character.
    Yes please to more gluten free, soy free vegan stuff regular people will like too.

    Toot! Toot!

  122. I make this all the time. Absolutely delicious! Thanks Kris.

  123. Kris, we love this recipe! I make this in my house now once a week. It’s so easy. I try to choose a nice organic sauce and it all comes together so easily. The capers totally make it. My meat eating husband (who doesn’t like most of my vegan/gluten free recipes), happily scarfs down a few bowls of this and comments about how creamy it is! :) Score! Thanks!!

  124. Made this for dinner tonight–so easy and so good!! Thank you so much for the recipe. Gotta go look for your Alfredo recipe now!,

  125. Kris, OMG! Just found your website – it is fabulous! I will be making ‘Dirty Penne’ for my girlfriends this weekend. Should be perfect – we are all on a gluten free health kick and trying so many new things. Looking forward to getting a peek at your book next.

  126. wow.. just read the substitute tip above. Cocunut meat? Didn’t know that even existed. Was wondering what you could use to substitute nuts with as they give the vital texture contrast….

  127. Thanks Kris. Just got the ugly cancer diagnosis yesterday, and in this wind tunnel I haven’t felt like eating anything but watermelon. Stopped in here after watching C,S,C for the third time and found this recipe. Dinner tonight and I’m actually hungry! Thanks again for you.

  128. I can’t wait to try. Thank you for sharing!!! I appreciate a new vegan recipe to try.

  129. This has been one of my go-to recipes since I first saw the video. it’s ridiculously easy to make and my boyfriend and I both adore it. The cashew cream makes it exceptional.

    Another go-to meal is black beans and rice (they don’t require too much attention while they’re cooking), topped with sweet potato and very lightly cooked kale (dump the bowling sweet potato water over the kale in a strainer). Add some guacamole, salsa, and nutritional yeast and it’s a fantastic meal. Super satisfying.

  130. Kris, Love love this recipe! I want to make a version for a friend but this time without any alcohol at their request – is there a substitute for the vodka? Thanks!!

  131. Holy Toledo, this stuff is DANGEROUS. Maybe I’ve just been starved for pasta (I have been doing Dr. Junger’s Clean Gut program for the past three weeks), but I made this for dinner tonight and I kept going back for more. Who am I kidding? I practically dived headfirst into the pot and devoured it all! I used whole-wheat penne instead of the brown rice variety so that I could “reintroduce” gluten into my diet and test its effects on my digestion. The effects of this pasta on my tastebuds, however, are clear: WIN. Keep the delicious recipes coming, mama…but maybe slap a warning label on there next time 😉

    (Oh! And my favorite go-to dinner when I don’t really feel like cooking–or thinking–is red lentil dal. Simmer a cup of red lentils in three cups of water; meanwhile, sizzle up some onions, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and any other spices that strike your fancy in a pan with a bit of coconut oil. When the lentils are soft, add the onion-spice mixture and whisk it all together–done!)

  132. LISA said on July 8, 2013

    This recipe is awesome and easy! You always put a smile on my face Kris

  133. I do a quick pasta when I don’t much time, too. I use a brown rice pasta and when two minutes of cook time are left I throw in kale and or broccoli to the pot of boiling pasta water for a quick blanch. Drain it altogether, put it back in the pot and add coconut oil, salt, nutritional yeast, capers, olives. So quick, easy, and tasty!

  134. LOVE this recipe! Quick, easy and FUN! I’ll definitely be adding this to my lineup for clients this fall. Thank you!!

  135. Hi Kris,

    i loved watching your video on a la vodka recipe, but i have a question what if I’m allergic to cashews what can i use instead of that to get the great taste of the sauce?

    Rosemary K

  136. I add a splash of left over red wine to my red sauces and it adds a yummy full bodied flavor 😉

  137. Just made this tonight after finding the video on youtube. It was delish! And I was even able to find Dave’s Gourmet sauce in my local grocery store. Yum! I’ve only been vegan for 8 months so I love discovering quick, tasty, HEALTHY recipes. Thanks!

  138. kindly tell me how to print this…looks the way I am also vegan and feel cooked and raw food are both healthy..thank you for sharing

  139. Quick question for Kris (and I feel guilty asking a mere question when what’s really in order is a HUGE thank you and testimonial from one of these Tadasana yogis right across the river whose life has been completely changed for the better thanks to your spirit!): I am dying to make this recipe but have a son who is allergic to cashews. Would you happen to know of a substitute? Thank you a BAZILLION for your generosity and tireless efforts!!

  140. Looks great . Can’t wait to make it. An easy way to open your jars Kris is to pop the lid with a can opener .and it twist straight of. Looked so hard in your video . Love it thank you

  141. Thank you.


  142. Your recipe hit the spot on this cold, snowy afternoon. It was so yummy that I couldn’t tell it was GF and vegan. Thank you!

    Pasta has always been my go to meal until I gave up gluten. This was my first attempt at GF pasta….success!

  143. Hi Kris!
    I’m a fellow cancer survivor as well. I just made this pasta tonight and I am floored at how delicious it was! This was my first vegan dish I’ve cooked so I was pretty terrified. Thank you for making it so easy and simple.
    You rock! Keep on inspiring!

  144. Can this dish be made without the vodka? My husband is allergic to alcohol. He’s so allergic, he can’t even drink kombucha!

  145. Your penne a la vodka recipe looks so delicious! I love cashews, but can’t eat them, so I’ll try almonds instead and see how it is.

  146. Love it! So delicious – thank you.

  147. Kris Carr,
    Have you ever considered creating food trucks? I know it would be a great way of getting healthy food in hard to reach environments.

  148. OMG! How is it that I am just trying this now? There was an Irish Pub (of all things) on 2nd Avenue in New York near the U.N. that served a mean Penne a la Vodka. Since dumping dairy & gluten in 2011 with the help of CSD, I have missed this dish. Cashew cream! Of course! Thanks, KC!

  149. Omg thank you for letting me know that I am not the only one who struggles to get the lid off of Dave’s Gourmet tomato sauces. It’s a testament to their deliciousness that I even put myself through that.

  150. Liz said on July 17, 2014

    Hello Kris,

    I happen to come accross your site today, and I am so excited to get started. I am going to head to the grocery store after work and pick up the items to make your “Dirty Penne Pasta”. My question to you is, does your crazy, sexy, diet book have cooking recipes and smoothie recipies, or do I need to purchase three separate books?

    Thank you,

    Liz :)

  151. I really love your crazy sexy recipes! thanks for sharing them on Facebook!
    here is one of my favorite recipe which is an « entrée », i.e., before the main course.
    Grate 2 carrots, add , peel and cut a pineapple into little pieces, cut one or two apples into little pieces, toss them to the carrots,add a spoon of pine kernel,, and splash some vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar , olive oil, grey salt and pepper.
    It’s fresh and delicious, really!

  152. This is going to become my go-to meal. It was delicious! My best vegan meal so far. Although I have to say we just loved the Hearts of Palm crab cakes in your book!! YUM, Thanks, Kris!

  153. Kris, one word girlfriend…YUMMO!

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, brilliant!

    Christine ツ

  154. Kris, I could eat this every night. I don’t but I could. It seem especially soothing when my “monthly visitor” is here… This meal and my comfiest yoga pants 😉 Thank you, sweet lady!

  155. If I have an allergy to cashews, what other nut can I use to create the creamy sauce?

  156. Just made this again for dinner, it’s a favorite in our household :) thanks Kris!

  157. This was delicious! I’ve made it over and over again. It’s a big hit with hubby too… which is why I’ve made it over and over again :)

    Now, if only I could figure out how to make a vegan carbonara, harmony and joy would rule my house… you know, instead of chaos and tofu-whiners 😉
    Thanks bunches!

  158. Kris –

    You mention that this particular pasta is easy to digest. Why would that be?

    I’m always looking for foods that are easier to digest.

    Thank you.

    Elise Caron

  159. This is awesome! Even my meat loving boyfriend loves it!

  160. where’s the protein in this. just from the cashews ???