This Vegan Rasta Pasta recipe is just the best! You may be asking, "what is rasta pasta?" It's a delicious pasta dish with a creamy jerk-spiced Caribbean-inspired sauce. I'm going to take you through how to make it! Rasta Pasta is easily made vegan as most of the ingredients are naturally vegan anyway. Some non-vegan versions may have chicken, but we've used a vegan chicken, which is optional but super fun to add!
I love these flavours so much - my Mum is from the Caribbean and both my home town (Bristol) and where I lived for years in London (Brixton) have big Jamaican populations and delicious food!
🍝What is Rasta Pasta?
Rasta Pasta was invented by a chef called Lorraine Washington. It's a jerk flavoured Caribbean creamy coconut sauce with pasta. The sauce is 'Rasta' because it has jerk seasoning and other typical Caribbean flavours such as coconut and thyme. The trio of bell peppers (red, yellow and green) are the colours of the Rastafarian flag. Even the type of pasta that was originally used (tagliatelle) looks a bit like dreadlocks! Any pasta is fine to use though - we used gemelli pasta which is beautiful and twisted.
A vegan version of rasta pasta is not much different but uses vegan chicken, nutritional yeast instead of cheese, and won't use any dairy cream.
Here are the main ingredients to make the vegan rasta pasta:
- Jerk seasoning - giving that delicious and spicy Carbibbean jerk flavour. You can use a dry seasoning (we love Steenbergs jerk spice) or a jar of liquid jerk seasoning. Use between one and two tablespoons, depending on how spicy you want it.
- Vegetable stock - gives extra flavour to the creamy sauce.
- Bell peppers - one red, one green and one yellow (to match the colours of the Rastafarian flag).
- Scallions/spring onions
- Turmeric - to give that hint of orange colour.
- Nutritional yeast - giving a cheezy flavour to the rasta pasta, like a true Italian-Caribbean fusion! You could sprinkle some on top of the dish once cooked as a sort of vegan parmesan cheese.
- Pasta - you can use any kind of pasta, but we love using gemelli pasta or tagliatelle as they look a bit like dreadlocks.
- Coconut milk - for a creamy jerk pasta sauce, and to balance the spicyness of the jerk seasoning.
- Salt and pepper
- Vegan chicken - this is optional (you could use beans instead, or leave out completely). A vegan rasta pasta recipe would generally be without chicken, but we wanted to create one that was similar, but vegan. You can make your own vegan chicken from seitan, or buy vegan chicken - we love What The Cluck and THIS Chicken Pieces.
👩🏾🍳How To Make Rasta Pasta
This is how you make Vegan Rasta Pasta! It's basically about making a jerk-flavoured creamy coconut sauce that's mixed through delicious al dente pasta!
- If using vegan chicken, fry that with a little oil until it's crispy on the outside. You could also make this in the air fryer.
- Prepare your vegetables by slicing up the peppers and scallions/spring onions, grating the ginger and crushing the garlic.
- Make the creamy jerk sauce by sauteeing the garlic, spring onions/scallions, ginger and bell peppers in half of the vegetable stock. In the meantime, cook the pasta (careful not to overcook it).
- Add the spices, salt and pepper and let the flavours infuse.
- Add the coconut milk, the rest of the stock and the nutitional yeast. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Then add the al dente pasta and vegan chicken, and stir through.
- Enjoy your vegan rasta pasta with fresh herbs and maybe a grating of vegan cheese!
These are the most commonly asked questions about our vegan rasta pasta.
It is a pasta dish flavoured with Caribbean ingredients, as well as having the colours of the Rastafarian flag reflected in the red, yellow and green bell peppers! Even the shape of the pasta such as tagliatelle, looks like dread locks - but any pasta shape is fine. Many recipes use penne, but we've used gemelli.
It will keep in the fridge for a few days. It's great to add to a tupperware and take out for lunch! It freezes well too.
Yes, we just added it as we wanted an alternative to the non-vegan options which had chicken in them. Either leave out or add some beans instead.
You could blend up some silken tofu and use that to make the sauce creamy instead. That would still be delicious!
Yes, just use gluten-free pasta. Also, make sure if you're using a vegan chicken that it's gluten-free.
This recipe was developed by Vanessa, one of the original co-founders of this site. Vanessa is now working on her plant based health coaching business, Energise and Thrive Plant Based. She helps people get high energy, great health, and balanced eating with delicious plant-based food.
She’s also brought out her FREE Guide - 5 Steps to Balanced Plant Based Eating which you’re welcome to download. Of course, all the recipes she has created for The Vegan Larder (like this one!) will remain here for you to access.
How To Make Vegan Rasta Pasta
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
- 1 packet vegan chicken (around 200g or 1½ cups, homemade or bought, leave out if desired)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 120 ml (½ cup) vegetable stock
- 3 bell peppers (ideally one red, green and yellow)
- 1 bunch scallions / spring onions (finely chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (grated)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme (use dried if you don't have fresh)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoon jerk spice (just use 1 tablespoon for a milder sauce)
- 400 ml (1⅔ cups) full fat coconut milk (full fat helps give a creamier sauce, equivalent on 1 tin/can)
- 30 g (½ cup) nutritional yeast
- 360 g dried pasta (enough for 4, around ½ cup or 90g per person)
To Serve (optional)
- Fresh parsley
- Sprinkling of nutritional yeast
- Vegan cheese (grated)
- Place a saucepan/frying pan on a medium heat with the olive oil. Once hot, fry the vegan chicken until a little brown and crispy (or use an air fryer). Set aside. Skip this step if not using vegan chicken.
- Cut up the peppers into slices, then cut each slice in half.
- In a large saucepan, sautee the peppers, scallions, garlic and ginger in half of the stock. Reserve the rest of the stock for later.
- Once the veggies are softened (after around 5 minutes), add the jerk spice, turmeric, thyme, salt and pepper. Let the flavours infuse for a few minutes while stirring.
- Add the tin/can of coconut milk, the rest of the stock and the nutritional yeast. Let it cook for another 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, cook your pasta. Follow the instructions on the packet until your pasta is as you like it (I like mine al dente - or with a bit of bite to it!).
- Once the pasta is done, drain and add to the rasta sauce, along with the vegan chicken. Mix in gently until all the pasta and chicken is coated.
- Serve your vegan rasta pasta with some chopped fresh parsley (or any fresh herbs), a squeeze of lime and maybe grate on your favourite vegan cheese.