This Creamy Harissa pasta is a super quick, one-skillet meal. Harissa paste, nondairy cream, and just a few herbs combine to make a flavorful vegan dinner in just 1 Pan. Soyfree. Options for nutfree glutenfree.
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Harissa is a hot chili paste from Northwest African region and has an incredible flavor! It’s packed with garlic, herbs, roasted red pepper and spices that give it a deep, unique flavor. You can use it in many ways , add to soups/stews, serve is as condiment, cook veggies or vegan meats with it and more. For this pasta I pair it with Italian herbs and a cream to make a delicious pasta sauce!
It pairs beautifully with cashew cream or tofu cream and spices. Mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper pepper give this harissa pasta lots of satisfying textures. And everything cooks in just 1 pan. It’s quick and easy clean up. It’s a plant-forward, weeknight meal that you’ll turn to again and again.
There’s protein in the wheat pasta as well as the blended cream. If you do want additional protein, though, you can top it with some toasted pine nuts or crispy tofu or add some chickpeas to the pasta while cooking.
Why You’ll Love Harissa Pasta
- flavorful, creamy sauce
- one-skillet meal
- Smells heavenly and looks gorgeous
- soy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free options
- 30-minute meal
More Vegan Pasta Recipes
- One Pan Veggie Pasta
- French Onion Skillet Lasagna
- Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
- Baked Rigatoni
- Lemon Asparagus Pasta – 30 mins
Creamy Vegan Harissa Pasta
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup (80 g) chopped onion
- 4 ounces (113.4 g) thinly sliced mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons harissa paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 red bell pepper sliced
- 2.5 cups water or stock
- 6 ounces (170.1 g) spaghetti or other pasta of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon or more salt
To add later:
- 1/2 cup (118.29 ml) cashew cream or tofu cream (1/3 cup of cashews blended with 1/2 cup of water OR 1/2 cup silken tofu blended with 2 tbsp water)
- 3 tablespoons vegan parmesan
- chopped parsley, vegan parmesan
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the garlic, onion, and a good pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is translucent.
- Then mix in the mushrooms and harissa paste and cook until the mushrooms are just about cooked. You can reserve some of the mushrooms for garnish at this point or continue with the next step.
- Mix in all of the herbs and nutritional yeast. Then add in the bell pepper, water or stock and salt.
- Let the liquid get boiling hot, then add the spaghetti and press it into the liquid. Cover with the lid and continue to cook for about 11 to 16 minutes, depending on your stove and the skillet and the spaghetti. Check after 10 minutes and stir really well so that noodles don't stick to each other. If you need more water, you can add some hot water at this point.
- When the spaghetti is cooked to preference, add in the nondairy cream along with the vegan parmesan. Once the sauce is boiling, switch off the heat.
- Taste carefully and adjust salt and flavor, then serve it in bowls topped with some more vegan parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. If you have reserved some of the mushrooms, add those now, as well.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- oil – To saute. You can water fry, if you don’t want to use oil. Harissa paste does contain oil, however, so this recipe would be very hard to make oil-free.
- garlic and onion – These bring that good, umami flavor to the sauce.
- mushrooms – Mushrooms add a little bit of meaty texture that makes this harissa pasta recipe super satisfying.
- oregano and parsley – Extra herbs for extra flavor!
- nutritional yeast – Gives the harissa sauce a mildly cheesy flavor.
- bell peppers – enhanced the harissa flavor. Add other veggies for flavor, and crunch!
- water or stock – This adds moisture to your sauce and is used to cook the pasta all in the same pot.
- cashew or tofu cream – Choose your favorite! To make the cashew cream, blend cashews and water. For the tofu cream, blend tofu with a little water. Either way, you’re adding protein and creaminess to the harissa pasta sauce.
- vegan parmesan – Boosts that cheesy flavor even more and is a great contrast to the heat of the harissa paste. You’ll add it to the sauce and use more for topping.
- parsley – This brightens up the flavor and is the perfect finishing herb for this creamy, spicy pasta dish.
- Leave all of the mushrooms in the pasta or reserve about a quarter to a third of them for garnish, if you want this to be more mushroom-forward.
- Use store-bought vegan parmesan or my homemade vegan parmesan recipe for the cheese in this dish.
- Make sure that you press the pasta really well into the liquid when you add it to the pan and stir it after about 10 minutes of cooking, so the spaghetti doesn’t clump up. You can add another splash of hot water, if you need to, to prevent sticking.
How to Make Harissa Pasta
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the garlic, onion, and a good pinch of salt.
Cook until the onion is translucent, then mix in the mushrooms and harissa paste and cook until the mushrooms are just about cooked. You can reserve some of the mushrooms for garnish at this point or continue with the next step.
Mix in all of the herbs and nutritional yeast. Then add in the bell pepper, water or stock and salt.
Let the liquid get hot, then add the spaghetti and press it into the liquid. Cover with the lid and continue to cook for about 11 to 16 minutes, depending on your stove and the skillet and the spaghetti.
Check on the pasta after 10 minutes, and stir really well so that noodles don’t stick to each other. If you need more water, you can add some hot water at this point.
When the spaghetti is cooked to preference, add in the nondairy cream along with the vegan parmesan. Bring it to a boil, then switch off the heat.
Taste carefully and adjust salt and flavor, then serve it in bowls topped with some more vegan parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. If you have reserved some of the mushrooms, add those now, as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Harissa is a spicy, Northwest African chili paste. It has a spicy, smoky, garlicky flavor.
You can make this gluten-free by using gluten-free spaghetti.
Yes! Use the cashew cream option instead of the tofu cream to make this soy-free. Also make sure that your vegan parmesan is soy-free.
It can! Use the tofu cream for a nut-free version. Also make sure that your vegan parmesan is nut-free.
I made this for dinner and it was delicious! I happened to have all the ingredients on hand and made it exactly as written (I opted for the cashew cream version). Easy, straightforward recipe with wonderful flavors. I will definitely be making this again!
Vegan Richa Support
Absolutely delicious and I love the easy clean up! I cooked my pasta for 12 minutes but opened the lid twice to stir. By the end it was greatly reduced so keep a close eye on it for sticking/burning! Would definitely make again.
Vegan Richa Support
This was amazing! Creamy and spicy with a ton of flavor. I’m definitely adding this one into the rotation. I added chickpeas as suggested for more protein and they were perfect.
Kari E Gray
INSANELY delicious!! It needed a little more cooking time (because I used too much broth,) but the result was AMAZING. So rich and satisfying. Definitely going to share this one with friends and family.
I made this for lunch and it was delicious!!! It was easy too.
Vegan Richa Support
Thank you, Richa, for this recipe! For me, it was just a bit too spicy. I had Harissa in my spice drawer but had never used it before. I think if I could tone it down a bit I would love it so much more. Do you think that tomato paste would be a good sub for that? Maybe 1 Tbl Harissa to 2 Tbl tomato paste? If not, any other ideas?
Oh no. Yes use less of the harissa and add some tomato paste. The sauce has plenty flavor even without the tomato.
What is a less spicy version of Harissa paste? We don’t do heat well.
You can use mild harissa, or just roasted red pepper relish
Do I have to use nutritional yeast?
I’m excited to try this, but I have harissa powder, not paste. Can you recommend how I would substitute it?
Vegan Richa Support
Mix together 2 tsp harissa powder, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon water