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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegan Rasta Pasta

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Spicy vegan rasta pasta is made with colorful bell peppers and a creamy coconut sauce. This simple recipe is full of unique flavor that’s satisfying and irresistible. In just 20 minutes, you will have the perfect weeknight meal that the whole family will love! You can easily make this pasta gluten-free, too!

Vegan rasta pasta served in a blue bowl with a fork.

This jerk pasta recipe is a fusion between Italian cuisine and Jamaican cuisine, created by Jamaican Chef Lorraine Washington. It features the beautiful red, green, and yellow colors that represent the Rastafarian culture. The authentic rasta pasta recipe is made with chicken and bell peppers, mixed together in a creamy sauce with parmesan cheese. 

I wanted to make a vegan rasta pasta with coconut milk and no meat so that everyone could enjoy this flavorful pasta dish! This vegan version still has the delicious savory flavor thanks to the jerk spices. If you are looking for your new favorite creamy pasta dish, this is it!

You will love this simple rasta pasta recipe! The cooking process is a breeze with only a few steps needed to make the quick sauce. You will be in and out of the kitchen with a delicious pasta dish that is hearty and healthy. 

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Delicious jerk flavor
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Healthy and satisfying
  • Spicy cajun pasta with no meat
  • Can be made gluten-free
  • Easy weeknight dinner
  • Family friendly
  • A jamaican favorite
  • The best rasta pasta vegan recipe!

Latest Recipe Video!

🥘 Ingredients

Wholesome ingredients come together to make this recipe for Jamaican rasta pasta without heavy cream. You can easily find all of these ingredients at the grocery store. Check out the recipe card for exact measurements. 

Ingredients for vegan rasta pasta recipe on a white background.
  • Whole Wheat Pasta: Whole wheat pasta is a healthy and wholesome option for this Jamaican vegan rasta pasta. Gluten-free pasta can also be used in this recipe! The type of pasta is up to you – penne pasta and rotini work great.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil adds a healthy fat and draws out the flavors of the garlic and green onion. It is a healthier option versus vegetable oil or canola oil. A little oil is all you need for the rasta pasta sauce recipe. You could also use vegan butter or coconut oil.
  • Green Onion & Garlic: You will use thinly sliced green onion and minced garlic for this recipe. Both enhance the taste of this vegan jerk pasta and add a lovely aroma.
  • All-Purpose Flour: The flour helps thicken the sauce and make it extra creamy. If you are making this veggie rasta pasta gluten-free, you can use a different flour of your choice.
  • Jerk Seasoning: You can use a premade or homemade seasoning. To make homemade jerk seasoning combine your spices, heat, sugar, and herbs. You’ll use a blend of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, parsley, thyme, and brown sugar. For spicier Jamaican flavors, use scotch bonnet peppers. 
  • Coconut Cream: This delicious creamy pasta uses coconut cream to thicken and flavor the sauce. Canned coconut cream is the best choice, but you can also use full-fat canned coconut milk. If you do use full-fat coconut milk, you will need to decrease the amount of vegetable broth and potentially add cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
  • Vegetable Broth: Vegetable broth (or vegetable stock) is used to thin out the coconut cream slightly to help the sauce coat the veggies and pasta. If you don’t have vegetable broth, you can also use a cup of pasta water to get the right consistency for the sauce.
  • Bell Peppers: You will use a trio of bell peppers – red peppers, green peppers, and yellow peppers. This is a tribute to the rasta colors.
  • Vegan Parmesan Cheese: Vegan cheese adds more flavor to the rasta pasta noodles. You can easily find this in the vegan section of your local grocery store but if you have any troubles, you can also get the cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast.

🔪 Instructions

It is so easy to make this spicy rasta pasta dish with just a few easy steps. Here is how to make rasta pasta without meat:

Cook The Pasta: Cook pasta al dente, or as directed on the packaging. When cooked, drain and set aside.

Whole wheat pasta cooking in a pot on the stove.

Prepare The Sauce: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce by heating the olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the green onions and minced garlic cloves, sautéing for 2 minutes over a medium heat.

Green onions and garlic being sauteed in a pot on the stove.

Add The Flour: Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 1-2 minutes on medium low heat.

Flour added to onions and garlic in a pot on the stove.

Add The Seasoning & Broth: Next add the jerk seasoning, stir to combine. Pour in half of the vegetable broth, stirring to form a paste. Add in the remaining broth, stirring continuously until smooth for 3-4 minutes.

Jerk spices and vegetable broth added to pot on the stove.

Add Veggies & Cream: Stir through the sliced bell peppers and coconut cream.

Coconut cream and bell peppers cooking in a pot on the stove.

Thicken Sauce: Bring to a boil then reduce to a low heat and continue to cook until the sauce begins to thicken.

Vegetarian rasta pasta sauce cooking in a pot on the stove with veggies.

Add Pasta: Toss through the cooked pasta and grated vegan parmesan cheese.

Pasta and parmesan cheese added to Jamaican rasta pasta sauce in a pot on the stove.

Serve: Add additional seasoning to taste and serve this vegan rasta pasta immediately. Pair with a side salad, vegan garlic bread, or top with vegan chicken in a jerk marinade. Sprinkle extra vegan parmesan cheese if you’d like.

Jamaican rasta pasta cooking in a pot on the stove.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Adjust the jerk seasoning to taste. If you prefer a milder taste add 1 tbsp of seasoning, if you prefer a more intense flavor add 2 tbsp of seasoning. Try cajun rasta pasta if you already have cajun seasoning on hand.
  • You can prep ahead. Prepare the sliced bell peppers and green onions prior to starting to cook for an extra quick rasta pasta recipe.
  • Cook the pasta al dente. It will continue to cook once you add it to the sauce, so remove the pasta when there is just 1 minute left on the cook time so you can finish it in the sauce.
  • Boost the flavor. To add a little extra flavor add a squeeze of lime juice or some fresh herbs.
  • Use canned coconut cream. It’s best to use canned coconut cream if you can find it as it’s much thicker and will produce a nicer sauce for this vegetarian rasta pasta recipe. While coconut milk will work, you’ll need to adjust the other sauce ingredients in order to get the right thickness of the sauce.
  • Use fresh or frozen peppers. Fresh bell peppers are best in this recipe however frozen can also be used. If using frozen there’s no need to defrost them before adding to the sauce. 

📖 Variations

  • Rasta Pasta Without Jerk Seasoning: If you’re not a fan of spicy pasta, you can make this recipe without jerk seasoning. You can still use some of the classic Caribbean seasonings like garlic powder, ground thyme, cinnamon, and nutmeg, leaving out cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes! 
  • Creamy Rasta Pasta Recipe With Alfredo Sauce: Make an extra creamy pasta with alfredo sauce instead of the coconut cream sauce! You can try a healthier version like my homemade alfredo sauce without heavy cream or any store-bought brand of your choice.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Use brown rice pasta, or chickpea / lentil pasta, and gluten-free flour to make a healthy rasta pasta without gluten.
  • High Protein Vegan Rasta Pasta: Add more protein to your pasta with vegan chicken or tofu. To make a vegan jerk chicken, you can marinate soy curls in a Jamaican jerk seasoning and top the pasta. Lentil or chickpea pasta will also add extra protein!

❓Recipe FAQs

What is rasta pasta?

Rasta pasta is traditionally made with jerk spices, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. It is most common to pair with jerk style chicken or shrimp but it is easy to transform into vegan or vegetarian versions. Jerk rasta pasta is the perfect recipe when you are craving Italian but want to switch up the usual flavors. 

This recipe for rasta pasta makes a few adjustments like swapping the heavy cream for coconut cream and the parmesan for vegan parmesan cheese. It is still loaded with rasta veggies for a flavorful vegan recipe you will love!

Where did rasta pasta originate?

The Jamaican rasta pasta recipe originated in 1985 by Chef Lorraine Washington during her time at Paradise Yard Restaurant in Negril, Jamaica. It got its name after being served to a group of construction workers who claimed it should be named Rasta Pasta for its colors. This Jamaican-Italian fusion dish features red, yellow, and green bell peppers with Caribbean spices. It was first made using fettuccine, which the workers thought resembled Rastafarian dreadlocks, but has since been adapted to other pastas.

Is rasta pasta healthy?

It depends on how you make it! The traditional version made with heavy cream, white pasta and meat is not exactly healthy as it’s high in fat, calories and refined grains.

But this vegan rasta pasta recipe is very healthy meal option, as it’s made with fiber rich whole wheat pasta noodles and nutrient rich fresh veggies that add fiber, iron and potassium. Coconut cream replaces heavy cream in this recipe, reducing the overall fat and calories. This swap also helps cut down the cholesterol. 

Making this pasta at home ensures that you know exactly what is in it and you can use the healthiest selection of ingredients. There are no unnecessary filler ingredients or low quality oils that could leave you feeling bloated or uncomfortable.

One serving of vegan rasta pasta has about 380 calories, 9 grams of protein, and 7 grams of fiber. This meal will leave you feeling full and satisfied!

How do you store homemade rasta pasta?

To Store In The Fridge: Once cooled to room temperature, this pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. 

To Freeze: You can freeze this Jamaican pasta recipe and defrost when you are ready to eat. It will keep for 2-3 months in an airtight freezer safe container. For best results, thaw overnight and then bake in the oven at 350 degrees. You may also heat on the stove top in a large skillet. Rasta pasta with coconut cream stays nice and creamy, even after freezing!

vegan-rasta-pasta

🍲 More Tasty Pasta Recipes!

Love this plant based pasta recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page!

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📋 Recipe Card

🎥 Watch How to Make It

https://youtu.be/BwlsjI6FKsw
Vegan rasta pasta served in a blue bowl with a fork.
Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Vegan Rasta Pasta

Spicy vegan rasta pasta is made with colorful bell peppers and a creamy coconut sauce. This simple recipe is full of unique flavor that's satisfying and irresistible. In just 20 minutes, you will have the perfect weeknight meal that the whole family will love! You can easily make this pasta gluten-free, too!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time18 minutes
Total Time23 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Calories: 385kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cook pasta as directed on the packaging. When cooked drain and set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking prepare the sauce by heating the olive oil and sauté the green onions and minced garlic for 2 minutes in a large wide pot or pan.
  • Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 1-2 minutes.
  • Next add the jerk seasoning, stir to combine.
  • Pour in half of the vegetable broth, stirring to form a paste. Add in the remaining broth, stirring continuously until smooth for 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir through the sliced bell peppers and coconut cream. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and continue to cook until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Toss through the cooked pasta and grated vegan parmesan cheese.
  • Season to taste and serve immediately.
  • Pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

  • Adjust the jerk seasoning to taste; if you prefer a milder taste add 1 tbsp of seasoning, if you prefer a more intense flavour add 2 tbsp of seasoning.
  • Prepare the sliced bell peppers and green onions prior to starting to cook the dish.
  • To add a little extra flavor add a squeeze of lime juice.
  • It’s best to use canned coconut cream as it’s much thicker and will produce a nicer sauce. If you use canned full fat coconut milk, it will work but you will likely need some cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Nutritional information calculated using coconut cream.
  • Use whatever shaped pasta you like to make this tasty dish.
  • Fresh bell peppers are best in this recipe however frozen can also be used. If using frozen there’s no need to defrost them before adding to the sauce. 
  • To make this gluten free substitute the flour for gluten free flour.
  • The olive oil can be substituted with vegan butter if you prefer.

Nutrition

Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 279mg | Potassium: 338mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g

Posted In…

Plant Based Pasta Recipes ·

Indulge in this Italian favorite with our healthy, plant based pasta recipes!

Whether it’s a high-protein gluten free pasta salad, a veggie gnocchi, or a vegan pasta primavera, this versatile ingredient is a staple for easy, healthy, delicious meals.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even make your own pasta sauce from scratch with this low carb marinara sauce recipe!

18 responses to “Vegan Rasta Pasta”

  1. Enjoyed this for dinner tonight and it was a savory success! Quick, easy and delicious; definitely, a new favorite recipe, indeed!5 stars

  2. Great recipe. I love to find alternatives for family members who can’t have dairy. The coconut cream is particularly good with the Jerk seasoning.5 stars

  3. Yum, vegan rasta pasta sounds so delicious yet simple to make on a hectic weekday. I really enjoy the flavors of different seasonings, like this jerk spice.5 stars

  4. This is such a cozy and comforting recipe! Absolutely loved it. The coconut milk makes it so nice and creamy 🙂5 stars

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