Looking for a pasta sauce recipe without tomatoes? We have a lot – 21 recipes, to be exact. Plus, we’ve rounded up pro tips for making your own delicious, tomato-free bowl o’ noodles.
We promise there’s nothing wrong with you, marinara. You’re there for us when we need you most: on pizzas, in casseroles and, of course, atop towering mountains of pasta.
Sometimes, however, we feel the need to be a little more daring, venture out there and sample all the flavors the world has to offer. We’ve reached the point where it seems necessary to pause and explore sauces that go beyond tomato basics.
So don’t be sad, marinara. It’s not goodbye, just such a long time for now.
1. Spaghetti carbonara of despair
real deal carbonara does not need cream.
Simply mix a few eggs, a few cloves of garlic and a generous handful of Parmesan cheese into a silky noodle sauce. Carbonara folks who want a little extra heat might want to try cacio e pepe.
Oh good old Alfredo – what would fettuccine be without it?
The velvety sauce is quite enjoyable on its own on long flat noodles, or you can top it with mushrooms, chicken, or whatever creamy addition your heart desires.
This easy Parmesan Cream Sauce is a little lighter than Alfredo and goes particularly well with chicken sausages. But you can use spicy or mild sausage as you prefer. Also add a little garlic for a bit more spiciness.
If you plan on having leftovers, you may want to make some extra sauce and reserve some for tossing the next day, as the pasta will absorb a lot overnight.
We probably don’t need to remind you macaroni and cheese is the pasta dish without tomato par excellence.
But in case you forgot, well, it’s time to rediscover yourself with the gooiest, cheesiest, stickiest recipe of them all. (And don’t miss these eight hacks to make boxed mac and cheese better.)
Fancy a traditional cream of mushroom sauce? This one is quick to make from scratch and clings to every strand of spaghetti like a satin dress.
The cream also goes perfectly with bacon, and this simple sauce will gladly accompany any noodle in your pantry. Hello, new favorite weeknight dinner.
Hazelnuts and sage forms a rather magical duo.
Roasted nuts bring an earthy richness to this dish, while herbs add fragrant notes, creating a sophisticated marriage of flavors and textures – and that’s before you even get to the tangy and silky fresh cream sauce and with naturally sweet pumpkin pasta.
You can make this from virtually any leafy green Pesto. And, you can catalog it as an entire genre of sauces without tomatoes on its own.
The spinach pesto stands out as perhaps the most versatile of the bunch, though, with a mild taste that won’t overwhelm you with an overload of greens like some others do.
If you’re missing pesto inspo, we have some ideas for you:
We also added peppers and onions, but you can really use whatever veggies you love roasting the most (and those that are in season).
This recipe is great for fall, but unlike your latte, it’s full of real Pumpkin flavor as creamy and slightly sweet as it gets. Poblano pepper and goat cheese add more layers that keep it from being a single note, and warm spices sneak in as well.
This shocking pink sauce is made with mashed roasted beets with garlic, red wine vinegar and crème fraiche to keep it from being too sweet, plus hidden white beans for added body and goodness nutritional.
This classic Italian pasta preparation is best with delicate fresh pasta that complements the tender cubes of butternut squash and cream sauce. Crushed amaretti cookies may look like a random topping, but they’re actually traditional (and tasty).
Made entirely of ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, aglio e olio – pasta with garlic and olive oil – is the kind of dish you’ll come back to again and again whenever you need a quick dinner.
Chef Stephanie Izard from Chicago girl and the goat restaurant dresses this simple bowl of pasta with a sparkling blood orange vinaigrette, spiced up with fish sauce and malt vinegar.
Juicy citrus segments, crunchy pistachios and hearty greens round out the meal, which is as good cold as it is fresh from the pot.
Brilliant lemon always juices a basic pasta, and this light, zesty emulsion proves that vodka sauce doesn’t need to use tomatoes. The fresh tarragon adds an aniseed note, and any pan-fried fish or even chicken would be just as good as the scallops.
This equally lemony twist features the shrimp and dispenses with vodka, but deglazes the pan with white wine.
He also adds garlic and red pepper flakes for heat, plus a healthy dose of fresh parsley to kick up all the flavor at the end.
Our recipe also adds chorizo for a little spice, making for an easy land-and-sea meal that practically throws itself away.
A meat braise serves a two-in-one purpose when you use it to top pasta: you get fork chunks protein, as well as a deeply flavorful sauce that ties the whole dish together.
Using milk as a braising liquid may seem strange, but it’s totally delicious.
We’ll admit that can stretch the definition of a sauce (if the word makes you imagine something dripping from a spoon).
However, the combo of mild italian sausagepleasantly bitter broccoli, fragrant garlic and spicy red pepper flakes are cooked in just enough olive oil to form a smooth coating that turns into a sauce with the addition of pasta cooking water and grated cheese.
Don’t skip the toasted hazelnut breadcrumbs on top!
No fresh seafood? Canned tuna is a surprisingly delicious addition to a bowl of noodles, especially dressed in a simple Japanese-inspired sauce. vinaigrette of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, mirin and sesame oil. (If you like them, also try sardines in pasta.)
Feel free to use it with any noodles of your choice and top it with fresh green onions to bring it to life.
These vegan peanut butter noodles from Chose Chia make the dream of a 30-minute dinner a reality. A creamy sauce full of nutty flavor is mixed with just a handful of ingredients, then poured over quick-cooking rice noodles.