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Close up side view of a bowl of caramelized onion pasta served topped with fresh parsley leaves.

Vegan Caramelized Onion Pasta

  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This Caramelized Onion Pasta is a great pantry-friendly meal that also happens to be perfect for an easy weeknight dinner. Dairy-free, creamy and delicious.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • Water, for deglazing the pan
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/4 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes, jarred packed in oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic glaze
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup store bought or homemade vegan cream
  • 2 cups dry Orecchiette pasta or 4 servings of favorite pasta (plus 1 cup reserved pasta water)
  • 1/4 cup freshly minced parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Fill one large pot with water for the pasta and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add the oil to warm through. Once warm, add the onions along with a pinch of salt. Sauté the onions, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until you start noticing some brown streaks on the surface of the pan. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water and stir into the onions to deglaze the pan. Continue cooking the onions, adding a splash of water as needed to prevent the onions from sticking or burning until they become a deep golden brown color (this will take about 15 minutes).
  2. Add in the garlic, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and sauté with the onions until the garlic is cooked through and the onions are jammy, about 3-4 minutes. Continue deglazing the pan as needed.
  3. While the onions are cooking, begin boiling the water for the pasta. Salt the water generously and once boiling add in the pasta and cook according to package. Make sure to reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
  4. To the onions add the sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic glaze, soy sauce, cream and 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Stir well to combine then fold in the pasta and parsley. If needed add more pasta water until the pasta is at the level of creaminess you like.
  5. Serve the pasta as is or pair with your favorite protein like roasted chickpeas or tofu.


Deglaze the pan frequently. You will notice brown bits staining and sticking to the bottom of your pan. These are the natural sugars in your onions. When you see them accumulate and dry over the bottom of the pan or the onions start to stick more, just make sure to add a splash of water and stir to scrape it up. This will also help cook the onions faster.

Generously salt the pasta water. Salting your pasta water will help your pasta absorb some of the salt (not all) from the water giving it more flavor. If you are afraid of adding too much salt, this guide can help you gain more confidence.

Reserve extra pasta water. Even though I don’t use all of it, I do recommend reserving some extra pasta water so you can adjust the creaminess of the sauce to your liking as everyone’s preference is a little different.

Use store bought or make your own vegan cream. To make your own, you can take 1/2 cup raw cashews or sunflower seeds and soak in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a high speed blender cup with 1/4 cup of water and blend on high until smooth. Make sure to measure out 1/2 cup before adding to the pasta and save any extra for a future dish. For other options including a nut-free option, reference this great article on cream replacements.

Keywords: caramelized onion pasta, vegan caramelized onion pasta