Pasta with Cheezy Lentil Sauce (plant-based, gluten-free)

5 from 3 votes
Everyone here loves pasta. But as delicious as it is, I can get bored making the same tomato sauce, beans, and greens variety all the time.
So I keep coming up with variations that are interesting and totally yummy, like this cashew-creamy, hearty-lentilly pasta dish of comfort for any family dinner.
For today's inspiration, here are Thich Nhat Hanh's words on how to handle strong emotions:
‘I am more, I am much more than my emotion. I am form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness. I am much more than one emotion. An emotion is something that comes, stays for some while, and will have to go away. I don’t have to die just because of one emotion. I know I can handle an emotion with the practice of mindful deep breathing. I have survived emotions before.
If you are having strong emotions today, I hope this brings you some comfort and I'm sending you a big hug.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vegan
Keyword comfort food, gluten-free, plant-based


  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes or room temperature overnight for extra creaminess
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown or red lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 28-oz can crushed tomatoes, blended for extra smoothness
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 lb green beans, 1 bunch broccolini, 1 red pepper, or any other veggies you can boil with your pasta
  • 1 lb of your favorite gluten-free pasta
  • Nutritional yeast as a garnish


  • Prepare your ingredients. Soak the cashews for at least 2 hours in water at room temperature (or in hot water for 10 minutes), then drain the water. This will make the cashews soft and easy to blend.
  • Cook the lentils according to package directions (I would usually use a 3:1 ratio: boil 1 1/2 cups of water for 1/2 cup dry lentils). Wash and trim your green beans, broccolini, peppers, or other veggies.
  • Blend the cashews and vegetable broth together in a blender until it’s very smooth with no chunks.
  • Make the sauce. In a large pan over medium high heat, cook the garlic, salt, oregano and basil together in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to brown. Next, add the lentils and mix well. Use a fork to mash up some of the lentils.
  • Add in the blended tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add in the cashew mixture and keep cooking for 3-5 minutes more until it’s as thick as you like. Taste and adjust for salt/sugar/pepper.
  • While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add in your pasta and veggies. Set a timer according to package directions for how long the pasta will need to boil.
  • Drain the pasta and veggies, then pour the sauce over it and give it a good through mixing. Grab yourself a bowl of comforting, nourishing deliciousness!
Did you make this? Please let me know by tagging @maitricooks on Instagram and leave a rating in the comments below. Happy cooking, and lots of love! 
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