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Vegan Vodka Sauce in the Instant Pot with Cashews and Cauliflower

5 from 12 votes

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Saucy, creamy, flavorful, and a little tangy, with that lovely light orange color that all good vodka sauces have, this vegan vodka sauce is easy to make in the Instant Pot. It has all the right flavors without the dairy and gets its creamy texture from cashews and cauliflower.

black bowl with pasta covered in vegan vodka sauce with red checked napkin, fork, glass of red wine, and loaf of Italian bread in background
This vegan vodka sauce is perfect tossed in pasta! You won’t miss the dairy!

Oh my, how I’ve missed a good vodka sauce! There is something about that creamy, cheesy, delightfully orangy sauce covering a big bowl of pasta that I crave.

I got the idea for this vodka sauce after I made my Vegan Alfredo, and decided to cut down on all the extra steps by cooking it in the Instant Pot. After sauteing your onions and garlic, you literally just dump it, set it, and forget it! Then blend it all up for the tangy creamy tomato sauce you’ve been dreaming about!

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pasta with vodka sauce with pinterest text overlay

Ingredients needed to make Vegan Vodka Sauce

ingredients needed for vegan vodka sauce - ingredients individually listed in blog post above

An important note about the cashews and a warning

Use raw unsalted cashews in this recipe. If you must use salted roasted cashews (and please don’t), soak them for a couple of hours first and then triple rinse them to remove the salt or you will have an overly salty crunchy vodka sauce!

THE IMPORTANT WARNING about the cashews!

If you serve this vegan vodka sauce to others, you must MUST disclose that it contains cashews! Nuts are typically not found in such as this one. Nuts, including cashews, can be a health risk to those with allergies.

How to make vegan vodka sauce in the Instant Pot

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients

Cut the onions and garlic. They don’t have to be super small because we will be blending them after cooking. They should be uniform in size in order to cook evenly. Just cut the onions into smallish cubes and cut the garlic cloves in half.

chopped onions and garlic on wooden cutting board showing garlic chopped in half
This is showing an example of how the onion and garlic should be cut.

Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. I use a 10-ounce bag of already cut cauliflower. If you choose to use a larger-sized bag or cut your own, you will need about four cups of cut cauliflower.

Step 2: Saute the onions and garlic

Set the Instant Pot to “saute” and line the removable Instant Pot inner pot with olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and wait until you hear a sizzle. Once it starts to sizzle then set a timer or watch your clock for 3 minutes. Stir while sauteeing so that the bottom of the pan does not burn.

sautéing onions in instant pot

Once the three minutes are up then turn off the Instant Pot and add the other ingredients. You don’t want the onions and garlic to thoroughly cook but just to get started with the process. You might notice some of the edges beginning to brown.

Step 3: Add the other ingredients

Next, add in all of the other ingredients (except for the basil) including the cut cauliflower, cashews, fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato paste, nutritional yeast, water, vodka, vinegar, and seasonings.

Give a little stir before closing the lid and vent.

ingredients for vegan vodka sauce stirred in Instant Pot ready to cook
You can see how much liquid is in the pot. This is enough to bring the Instant Pot to pressure and to give your vodka sauce a nice texture.

Step 4: Pressure cook

Close the lid and the vent. Using the manual setting, set the pressure cooker for five minutes at high pressure. It will take about ten minutes to come to pressure.

After your Instant Pot has come to pressure and counted down the five minutes, carefully do a quick release. After the pin drops, open the lid and begin to ladle the cooked ingredients into a large blender.

Step 5: Blend

Ladle the cooked ingredients into a blender. Using a large capacity, high-speed blender is best – otherwise, you might need to work in batches. Careful because the cooked ingredients will be hot!

Get ready to blend blend blend!

You will know that your vegan vodka sauce has blended enough when the color turns a lovely pale orange and everything is smooth and creamy.

This is a thick yet “fluffy” sauce. It doesn’t really pour over things but is best spooned on top.

vegan vodka sauce in blender showing creamy texture when finished
Showing the texture of the finished sauce.

Serving suggestions

This vodka sauce is delicious on pasta! That’s what it is meant for! To capture all of that yummy flavorful vegan pasta sauce, I like to use a shaped open pasta like rigatoni, or corkscrew with its twisty surface.

It’s also super tasty pizza sauce! I used this vodka sauce with my homemade pizza crust and vegan pepperoni tofu crumbles and it was a big hit!

This creamy tangy vodka sauce is also perfect for pasta primavera, baked potatoes, or other vegetables. And make sure to slice up that beautiful fresh basil to use on top of your dishes!

FAQs: A few questions and answers about this recipe for vegan vodka Sauce

Can I make this vegan vodka sauce oil-free?

You can. Just saute the vegetables in a little veggie broth instead of the oil. Very carefully watch the pan so that it does not burn or it won’t properly come to pressure. Getting rid of the oil won’t change the flavor. The texture and “mouth feel” will be a little different. But if you are trying to eat oil-free then you won’t care!

Do I need to use vodka?

No, you don’t. I’ve tasted them side-by-side – one with and one without vodka. There is a taste difference – or maybe it’s more of a depth of flavor. If I hadn’t tasted them side-by-side though, I probably would not have known the difference. If you leave it out then replace the quarter cup with an equal amount of water.

Can I use other types of canned tomatoes instead of fire-roasted?

You can. I like the flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes. Other canned tomatoes will be fine though. It’s a personal preference.

Can I use fresh tomatoes?

You had better be pretty sure of the quality and flavor of your fresh tomatoes. I wouldn’t venture a guess on the amount you should use. Also, you might need to add a little more water so that the Instant Pot will come to pressure. If you do successfully make yours with fresh tomatoes, please let me know!

What is the texture like?

While it’s creamy, this vodka sauce is not heavy like dairy vodka sauces are. It’s almost light and fluffy. It’s delicious though and will work beautifully on your pasta or vegetable dishes.

How long can I store the vegan vodka sauce in the refrigerator?

If your cauliflower is quite fresh then you can store tightly covered in the fridge for about 5 days. If it separates then just give it a stir.

Can you really use vodka sauce as pizza sauce?

Yes, yes you can and I did! Pizza with vegan vodka sauce, pepperoni tofu crumbles, peppers, and onions

For some other delicious vegan sauces from Veggie Fun Kitchen, try my

The printable recipe card for Vegan Vodka Sauce

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black bowl with pasta covered in vegan vodka sauce with red checked napkin, fork, glass of red wine, and loaf of Italian bread in background

Vegan Vodka Sauce, Instant Pot with Cashews and Cauliflower

Saucy, creamy, flavorful, and a little tangy, with that lovely light orange color that all good vodka sauces have, this vegan vodka sauce is easy to make in the Instant Pot. It has all the right flavors without the dairy and gets its creamy texture from cashews and cauliflower.
5 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American, Italian fusion
Keyword: Vegan Instant Pot, Vegan Vodka Sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Coming to pressure: 10 minutes
Servings: 13
Calories: 105kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey


  • Instant Pot or other pressure cooker
  • high-speed blender


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 10 ounces cauliflower about 4 cups bite-sized pieces
  • 29 ounces fire roasted tomatoes two 14.5 ounce cans
  • ¾ cups raw cashews
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • fresh basil to garnish your dish


  • Rough-cut the onion and garlic cloves into med/small pieces
  • Pour the olive oil into the Instant Pot and set to the saute mode. Add the onions and garlic. When they begin to sizzle, stir for three minutes until they begin to soften.
  • Add the other ingredients except for the fresh basil to the onion/garlic mixture. Add the cauliflower, cashews, nutritional yeast, water, fire roasted tomatoes, vodka, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, salt, Italian seasonings, and red pepper flakes. give it a stir.
  • Using manual, set the Instant Pot to 5 minutes on high pressure. The Instant Pot will begin to come to pressure and will take up to 10 minutes.
  • After the Instant Pot has come to pressure and counted down the five minutes, carefully do a quick pressure release.
  • Carefully (it will be hot) ladle the hot cooked ingredients including all of the liquid into a blender. This will reach the maximum capacity of a large blender. If your blender is not large enough to handle all of the cooked ingredients, blend in batches.
  • Start the blender on low and work up to high speed. The mixture will be hot so work up slowly with the lid firmly in place to avoid sudden splatters. Blend for about three minutes on high until the vodka sauce is smooth and creamy.


  1. You MUST disclose to anyone eating this cashew-based vodka sauce that it contains vodka and cashews. 
  2. Sautéing, releasing pressure, and blending is included in prep time. This recipe serves 13 one-half cup servings.
  3. Adjust the nutritional information to your actual serving size accordingly. 
  4. This will keep in the refrigerator tightly covered for up to five days as long as the cauliflower you used was super fresh.
  5. You can make this recipe oil-free by sautéing the vegetables in veggie broth. Start with one-half cup. Watch it carefully and add more as necessary to prevent the pan from drying up and burning. 


Serving: 0.5cups | Calories: 105kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 315mg | Potassium: 195mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 324IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

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By on November 19th, 2021

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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6 thoughts on “Vegan Vodka Sauce in the Instant Pot with Cashews and Cauliflower”

  1. 5 stars
    This was so easy in the Instant Pot and blended so smoothly! Even my picky daughter loved it. Kept the cauliflower a secret and she ate it all up! Thank you for sharing!


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