This vibrant pasta with creamy beet sauce is a show stopper. Roasted beets are combined with herbs and balsamic vinegar to create a mouthwatering sauce. This sauce is tossed with greens and topped with walnuts for an easy and nutritious weeknight meal.
This beet pasta sauce gets me way, way, way more excited than it should. But, seriously, try stopping yourself from jumping for joy when creating something so colorful without food dye. Nature is just so cool. I especially love serving this dish at special holidays. The bright pink color is perfect for Valentine's Day and you can fudge a little and call this "red" and green for the Christmas season.
This beet pasta sauce is vegan, gluten free, oil free and nightshade free, so just about anyone can eat it. This nightshade free pasta sauce is perfect for those that are sensitive to tomatoes and can't have a traditional pasta sauce. If you can't eat nuts, I have substitutes for you too. If you're avoiding grains, try some zucchini noodles in place of the pasta.
If you're not a beet lover, I urge you to give this a try. Roasting and then pureeing the beets with balsamic and garlic takes much of that "dirt" taste out of them, and leaves you with a bright, clean tasting sauce.
Ingredients in Pasta with Creamy Beet Sauce
- Beets - You can roast your own, or buy precooked beets for a speedy quick meal. The beets can be roasted up to 3 days ahead of time and used when ready to make the sauce.
- Spaghetti - This is a mere suggestion, so use any shaped pasta you desire. Use gluten free noodles as necessary.
- Almond milk - use any milk you have on hand here. Just make sure it is unsweetened.
- Arugula or Beet Greens - Arugula has a distinct bitter taste that pairs well with beets. If you buy beets with the greens still attached you can use them in place of the arugula.
- Walnuts - If you have a nut allergy or are sensitive to them, you can use sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead. This adds texture to the dish, but you can also leave them off altogether if desired.
How to Make Creamy Beet Sauce with Pasta
The bulk of the time spent on this recipe involves roasting the beets, and is largely hands off. To begin, preheat your oven to 425F (220C) and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the beets on the prepared pan and rub with oil. This will help the beets cook more quickly and evenly, but since we'll be taking the skin off won't add any extra fat. If you are avoiding oil, and don't want to use this method, wrap the beets in parchment paper or aluminum foil with a tablespoon of water. Roast the beets in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until fork tender. (If you are using precooked beets, you can skip this step.)
While the beets are roasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain, rinse and return to cooking pot.
When the beets are done roasting, set them aside until they are cool enough to peel with your hands. (Beets can stain your skin, so wear gloves if you don't want red hands for a day or two.) The skin should slip right off, but if you're having trouble getting them off, use a paring knife to trim off any stubborn spots.
Cut the beets into large chunks and add them to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add the thyme, basil, milk, vinegar and garlic to the beets. Process until smooth and creamy, adding more milk as necessary to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the sauce over the cooked noodles and cook over medium heat until warmed through, tossing to coat the noodles with the sauce. Add the arugula or beet greens, toss and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Top with toasted walnuts and enjoy!
- Grain free - Use zucchini noodles instead of pasta
- Nut free - Use pumpkin or sunflower seeds instead of walnuts. Use another plant based milk in place of the almond milk.
- Garlic - Use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder in place of the fresh garlic.
- Arugula or Beet Greens - Use any green such as mustard greens, spinach or swiss chard instead.
Can I Prep This Ahead of Time?
Yes! You can roast the beets up to three days ahead of time. Peel the beets and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The sauce can be made in less than 5 minutes, so when you're ready to eat, cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking puree the ingredients for the sauce and continue with the recipe as directed.
You can also make the entire dish ahead of time and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. When ready to eat, add a little water to a pan or microwave safe dish and cook until heated through, tossing occasionally.
How Do I Make Beets Taste Good?
If you avoid beets because they taste like dirt, give these tricks a try.
- Peel the beets before roasting. Much of the dirt taste you despise is contained in the skin. If you peel the beets prior to roasting them, a lot of that dirt flavor will be left behind.
- Add vinegar. Vinegar complements the flavor of beets and neutralizes some of the undesirable flavors.
- Add bitter greens such as arugula or mustard greens. The greens complement the flavor of the beets and makes them more palatable.
How do you like to eat beets? If you're a beet lover, you'll love these baked lentil falafel made with beets.
If you've made this recipe please leave a comment and let me know what you thought!
Pasta with Creamy Beet Sauce
- Food Processor
- 3 medium beets (or 2 cups precooked beets), greens reserved if applicable
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional (see note below for oil free)
- 1 pound gluten free spaghetti noodles
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk, or other non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 cups arugula or reserved beet greens
- ½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
- If you are using precooked beets, you can skip this step. Preheat oven to 425°F (220C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Place beets on prepared sheet pan and rub with olive oil. Roast for 35-40 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until fork tender. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- While the beets are roasting, cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot. Drain and rinse with cool water and return to cooking pot.
- When beets are cool enough to handle, rub the skins off and discard. Chop the beets into quarters. Add beets to the bowl of a food processor along with the thyme, basil, milk, balsamic vinegar and garlic. Pulse until smooth, adding more milk as necessary to make a pourable sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the sauce over the prepared noodles and cook over medium heat until warmed through, tossing to coat the noodles with the sauce. Add the arugula or beet greens, toss and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Top with toasted walnuts and enjoy!
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