Looking for a tomato-free pasta sauce recipe? We have plenty of them – 21 recipes to be exact. In addition, we have collected professional tips for making delicious tomato-free noodles.
We promise you’ll be fine, marinara. You are there when we need you most: for pizza, for casseroles and, of course, at the top of towering mountains of pasta.
However, sometimes we feel the need to be a little more daring, to take risks and try all the flavors the world has to offer. We’ve come to the point where we need to take a break and explore sauces that go beyond tomato bases.
So don’t be sad, marinara. It’s not goodbye, just for now.
1. Spaghetti carbonara “Despair”
Real carbonara does not require cream.
Just mix a few eggs, a couple of garlic cloves and a generous handful of Parmesan into a silky noodle-like sauce. Carbonara lovers who want a little spiciness can try cacio e pepe.
2. Fettuccine Alfredo
Ah, good old Alfredo – what would fettuccine be without him?
The velvety sauce is nice enough on its own with long, flat noodles, or you can top it off with mushrooms, chicken, or any other creamy topping your heart desires.
3. Creamy pasta with chicken sausage and broccoli
This light, creamy Parmesan sauce is slightly lighter than Alfredo sauce and pairs especially well with chicken sausages. But you can use spicy or spicy sausage, whichever you prefer. Add some garlic for more spice.
If you plan on leaving leftovers, you can make extra sauce and save a little to mix it up the next day, as the pasta will soak up most of it overnight.
four. Classic macaroni and cheese
We probably don’t need to remind you that macaroni and cheese in pasta without tomatoes par excellence.
But in case you forgot, well, it’s time to re-introduce the stickiest, cheesiest, stickiest recipe of all. (And don’t miss these eight hacks to level up boxed mac and cheese.)
5. Creamy spaghetti with chicken and mushrooms
Did you miss the traditional mushroom cream sauce? It can be quickly made from scratch and clings to every strand of spaghetti like a satin robe.
6. Bucatini with creamy bacon sauce
Cream also pairs perfectly with bacon, and this simple sauce is a pleasure to pair with any noodles in your pantry. Hello, new favorite weekday dinner.
7. Pumpkin dumplings with sage sauce and crème fraîche
Hazelnut and sage make a pretty magical duo.
Toasted nuts give this dish an earthy richness, while herbs add flavor to this dish, creating a sophisticated combination of flavors and textures—before you get to the tangy, silky crème fraîche and naturally sweet pumpkin paste.
8. Spinach Fusilli Pesto
You can make it from just about any leafy green pesto. And you can catalog it as a whole genre of tomato-free sauces.
Spinach pesto stands out as arguably the most versatile of all, yet with a mild flavor that won’t overwhelm you with an overabundance of greens like some others do.
If you’re missing pesto, we have a few ideas:
9. Spaghetti with baked vegetables, pine nuts and olives
A super thick sautéed vegetable sauce is enlivened with salted olives and parmesan. This is perfect for using zucchini and other summer squash.
We also added bell peppers and onions, but you can use whatever vegetables you like to stir-fry (and any in season).
10. Pumpkin poblano pasta with shrimps and baby bok choy
This recipe is perfect for fall, but unlike your latte, it’s full of real pumpkin flavor, creamy and delicately sweet as can be. The poblano peppers and goat cheese add more layers, making it not monotonous, and the warm spices also come through.
11. Creamy beetroot linguine with walnuts and feta
This shockingly pink sauce is made from mashed roasted beets with garlic, red wine vinegar and sour cream to keep it from being too sweet, and hidden white beans for extra body and nutrition.
Toasted walnuts, feta and dill leaves top it off, but try it with blue cheese if you have it.
12. Pappardelle pumpkin with nuts
This classic Italian pasta recipe is best paired with tender, fresh pasta that complements the tender butternut squash cubes and creamy sauce. Crushed amaretti biscuits might seem like a casual side dish, but they’re actually traditional (and delicious).
13. Basic Garlic Spaghetti
Consisting entirely of ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, aglio e olio – pasta with garlic and olive oil – is a dish you’ll come back to time and time again when you need a quick dinner.
14. Angel Hair Pasta with Escarole and Red Orange Vinaigrette
Chef Stephanie Izard of Chicago’s Girl & the Goat decorates this simple plate of pasta with a vibrant red orange sauce, rich fish sauce and malt vinegar.
Juicy citrus wedges, crunchy pistachios and hearty greens round out a dish that’s just as good cold as fresh from the pot.
15. Fried scallops with lemon and vodka
Bright lemon juice always juices up regular pasta, and this light, tangy emulsion proves that you don’t have to use tomatoes in a vodka sauce. Fresh tarragon adds an aniseed note, and any sautéed fish or even chicken will do just as well as scallops.
16. Pasta with shrimp and lemon parsley
This equally citrusy twist features shrimp and no vodka, but deglazes the pan with white wine.
He also adds some garlic and red pepper flakes for a spicy kick, as well as a healthy dose of fresh parsley to boost all the flavors at the end.
17. Linguini with clams and chorizo
Clams come pre-loaded with sauce. Just give them a quick steam and let them release their salty juices – that’s liquid gold in a pot.
Our recipe also has a dash of chorizo added to spice it up, resulting in an easy surf and turf meal that practically self-assembles.
eighteen. Pork shoulder ragout stewed in milk with fresh fettuccine
The meat stew has two purposes when you use it on top of pasta: you get chunks of tender protein, as well as a very savory sauce that ties the whole dish together.
Using milk as a stewing liquid may sound strange, but it’s delicious.
19. Orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe
We admit that this may be an exaggeration of the definition of sauce (if that word makes you imagine something dripping from a spoon).
However, the combination of sweet Italian sausage, pleasantly bitter broccoli rabe, fragrant garlic and spicy red pepper flakes is cooked in just enough olive oil to form a slippery shell that turns into a sauce with the addition of water for boiling pasta and shredded cheese.
Don’t miss the nutty toasted breadcrumbs on top!
20. Salad with tuna noodles
No fresh seafood? Canned tuna is a surprisingly delicious addition to a bowl of noodles, especially dressed with a simple Japanese dressing of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, mirin, and sesame oil. (If you like them, try sardines in pasta too.)
Feel free to use this with any noodles you want and load it up with fresh green onions to really spice it up.
21. Life-Changing Peanut Butter Noodles
These Vegan Peanut Butter Noodles from Choose Chia make the dream of a 30-minute dinner a reality. A creamy nut-flavored sauce is mixed with several ingredients and then poured over instant rice noodles.