Creamy Sundried Tomato, Artichoke and Baby Spinach Penne

Creamy Sundried Tomato, Artichoke & Spinach Penne | The Gluten Free Vegan


Back in the meat-eating days of old I made a chicken, sundried tomato and artichoke pasta sauce loaded with full-fat cream. The parts I loved about the dish were the sundried tomatoes and artichokes and it’s about time to recreate a fully-creamy pasta dish that’s vegan too.

Even though my original creation never used baby spinach, I am on a green-in-everything kick lately.

Also, in all honesty you can use whatever pasta you prefer. I used penne because I like when the tubes fill up with the creamy sauce.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Creamy Sundried Tomato, Artichoke and Baby Spinach Penne
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 lb. gluten-free brown rice penne
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon reserved oil from artichoke hearts or sundried tomatoes
  • 1 recipe Savory Cashew Cream*
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1½ cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1-2 cups water (as needed)
  1. Heat reserved oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes until the onion begins to soften.
  3. Add artichokes and sundried tomatoes. Saute for 5 minutes more.
  4. Add the cashew cream, dried parsley and lemon juice.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Let the mixture bubble over medium-low heat until the sauce starts to thicken and reduce.
  7. Meanwhile, bring a large pot full of water to boil to cook the penne.**
  8. Add water to thin the sauce as needed. (I ended up using about 1½ cups of water altogether.)
  9. Once the sauce has reduced and thickened to a nice creamy consistency - about 10-15 minutes - remove from heat and add the fresh spinach leaves. Stir to just wilt.
  10. Toss the cooked pasta with the cream sauce and serve hot.


* Recipe for Savory Cashew Cream

** Follow these handy instructions for cooking gluten-free pasta to make sure your penne is perfectly cooked.

This is a really satisfying dish and I personally think it turned out even tastier than the original version with chicken.

Actually just looking at these pictures make me hungry for more.

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56 Responses to “Creamy Sundried Tomato, Artichoke and Baby Spinach Penne”

  1. January 3, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    Mmm…that looks tasty!!!

    • Megan
      January 3, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      It was so good. So good that I didn’t even get a chance at seconds because I’m a slow eater compared to everyone else. Not even a tiny bit left. I guess I’ll have to make it again soon.

    • sarah
      September 24, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

      This looks amazing! I would probably add some tofu sausage and a side of mixed veggies to complete the meal!

  2. Deb
    January 3, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Looks amazing! Can’t wait to try a bunch of your recipes for me and my family! Thanks!

  3. Megan
    January 3, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    Thanks Deb! I hope you give this recipe a try soon. Actually the more I look at this recipe the more I feel like going and making it again right this second … at 10 pm! It ended up being such a good recipe to satisfy any creamy pasta craving. You’ll have to tell me how it turns out for you.

  4. January 5, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Do you have a favourite brand of rice pasta to recommend? I bought some but it’s limp and tasteless. Or maybe that’s just what comes around with rice pasta? Is corn pasta better?

    • Megan
      January 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      I buy Rizopia brand rice pasta. It’s brown rice pasta and it has a great flavor and texture. I have also tried Tinkyada and have had good results. I buy the Rizopia simply because it’s a bit more affordable. Is it just the taste you weren’t keen on, or was it the texture too? It took me a while to perfect the way I cook the pasta in order to make sure it’s not soggy or gross. I linked to the ‘handy instructions’ in this recipe in case you missed that and wanted to check out my ‘Coles Notes’ on cooking GF pasta. :)

      I have tried corn pasta once and it wasn’t my favorite. Nothing really wrong with it … just wasn’t my cup of tea. I have heard there’s quinoa pasta out there but haven’t tried that yet. Have you? Curious to hear what it’s like.


  5. Sara
    January 28, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    This is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!! My hubby and I made it together last night and I’m eating leftovers now. I even dreamed about eating more last night. Sooo excited to have a creamy pasta.

    • Megan
      January 28, 2012 at 11:16 am #

      Hahaha awesome to hear Sara! This is one of my absolute favorites lately too. As far as creamy pastas go, I’d wager a guess it’s much healthier than one with real cream in it too. Cheers! ~Megan

  6. Grae
    April 30, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    Thank You, thank you, thank you for having this blog! My family consists of one mostly vegetarian husband who still eats meat occasionally, 1 vegetarian teenager (both of whom eat raw dairy cheese, drink raw goats milk, and eat the occasional egg or fish) and 1 vegan, being me- and all of us gluten free. I am so excited to try out some of the recipes you have posted, they look fabulous, and this one I think will please all 3 of the various eating styles in our house. One thing we all miss is creamy pasta, so I think this will be a definite hit!
    Thank you so much!

    • Megan
      April 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      You are welcome! I’m so glad you found my site too. We know all about what it’s like to have different dietary needs in one household too. I’m sure you’ll find all kinds of recipes to make work with your lifestyles. This recipe is my absolute favorite right now. I could eat it once a week, easily. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


  7. Vanessa
    May 3, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    I made this today. It was AMAZING.

    I’ve recently become gluten-free although I’ve been vegan for the past couple of years. I plan to make several more of your recipes (I made the mini meat-loafs yesterday but I used a muffin tin and they were equally yummy).

    • Megan
      May 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

      Yay! I am thrilled you liked this recipe. Actually I made this for us this week too. Mmmm. It doesn’t feel like you’re missing out on gluten when you can eat tasty stuff like this, right? Thanks for stopping by and sharing how it turned out with me. (Also, glad you liked the mini meat loaves too.)

  8. Grae
    May 6, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    So, I am finishing my bowl of this incredible dish, and thinking to myself “Megan should have a show on Food Network!”. You know, get these great healthy recipes out to the masses and all. This coming from a total foodie- I would so watch.

    Megan, this recipe is awesome. Picky semi-vegetarian husband is loving it. Vegetarian teenager wouldn’t stop sneaking in the kitchen to eat the sauce by the spoonful, and as for me- I couldn’t be happier!! Big hit around here. I think the simple fact that we can eat vegetarian/vegan and gluten free and have some really amazing food that doesn’t taste like we are giving something up is the best part.

    Between your recipes and the stuff I have been making myself as well, I think my dear husband might just give up meat altogether! Yay!

    Oh, and the pizza buns- yeah…the 2 guys had those finished within 2 days and are already asking for more.

    Thanks once again for sharing your talent and time with all the rest of us!

    • Megan
      May 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      You are too sweet Grae! You know, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought of long-range plans involving me being famous on TV. Hehehe. So, yeah, if you know of anyone over at Food Network who can get me an ‘in’, just let me know. ;-)

      In all seriousness though, I love when I hear that a recipe can make people truly happy and satisfy a very diverse family. Also, making food tasty enough that someone doesn’t even ‘miss the meat’ makes me giddy!

      Thanks for brightening my day – again!

  9. Grae
    May 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    So, of course I had to go looking on Food Network’s site- just for fun, and while I don’t know anyone over there, I did come across this little “blurb”-

    “Calling All Cooks

    If you’re a home cook with a fabulous recipe and a great story to go along with it, let us know. Have you won a local contest with your recipe? Does everyone at work rave about your recipe? Has your recipe been published locally? Send us your story, a description of the recipe and a picture of you to for a chance to be featured in an upcoming Food Network show.”

    I mean really, what could it hurt to just send in one (or 4) of your recipes! :)

  10. Tonya W
    August 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Very good! My daughter has realized her love of sundried tomatoes through this dish. I enjoyed the rice pasta and cashew cream sauce! I’m new to this and it was fun for me to experiment. I’m rekindling my relationship with my kitchen through vegan gluten free cooking. Thank you!!

    • Megan
      August 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

      I love sundried tomatoes! I’m happy to hear your daughter has realized how great they are too! :)
      Gluten free & vegan cooking forces us to be creative, doesn’t it? I love it. Enjoy the journey!

  11. Cindy
    August 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    This was absolutely yummy-licious. It’s challenging finding gluten free AND vegan recipes – and I’m finding such delicious stuff on this site. Thank you!

    • Megan
      August 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      You’re welcome Cindy, I’m always glad when people enjoy my recipes.

  12. Annie James
    September 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    This stuff is wicked good.

    • Megan
      September 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

      Truth. :)

  13. Dana
    October 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Hi Megan ~ I’m new to your blog and honesty, I can’t even remember how I was led to you (most likey through another healthy food blogger I follow). I’m SO glad I did find you. Actually I am making this dish tonight (Creamy Sun-dried Tomato, Artichoke and Baby Spinach). I just KNOW its going to be a favorite!!! But just real quick question (and I know I’m taking a huge chance that you’ll even get this pretty quickly so that I can go forward with my dish), but if not, I’ll just wing it. My question is regarding the vegetable boullion cube for the “Savory Cashew Cream”. The veggie boullion cube that I have (Organic Gourmet, low sodium) instructs to only use a half of cube (a half a cube is a serving). Since your recipe calls for one full cube, should I just ignore the directions on the box? Or no? I just want to make sure I don’t ruin my dish …since this is my first time making it, I’m sort of clueless. :o I thank you in advance. Dana

    • October 15, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

      Hey Dana, Hope I replied soon enough before you make the recipe. If half of a cube is a serving, use that. You can always add the other half if you don’t think there’s enough flavor there. It’s the main source of saltiness in the entire recipe (aside from any in the marinated artichokes and sundried tomatoes), if that helps you figure it out too. :) Hope you enjoy it!

      • Dana
        October 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

        Oh, that’s perfect. And how funny, I just left you a message via your “contact” page. I was disparate (lol). But yes, what you suggest sounds right and, exactly, then I can taste it. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And it was actually perfect timing. My cashews just finished soaking. :) Again, many thanks and have a wooonderful evening. Dana

        • October 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

          Hehehe I just replied to your email. ;-)

  14. Dana
    October 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    For anyone who hasn’t yet made this dish and is wondering about the final outcome, this dish turned out absolutely deeelicious! Wow! Who knew you could make such a concoction of creaminess delight withOUT the fat laden “real” cream. Well, I certainly had no idea. Awesome, just awesome! I pretty much made it exactly as written with the exception of increasing the amount of onion and garlic (sautéing the onion a bit longer and adding the garlic about a minute before adding the artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes). Faanntaaastic!

    I also found that sprinkling a little fresh lemon juice onto the finished dish, once it’s in the individual bowls, enhances the dish even more. It truly adds an additional yumminess! OMG. This will for sure be a dish we continue to make over and over again! Many thanks Megan, for sharing such a winner! :)

    • October 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Thanks so much for the review Dana! Love the lemon juice idea too. :)

  15. Dee
    January 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    I am new to gluten free/vegan cooking and was skeptical about the sauce but it was great! Surprisingly creamy. Garlic allergies in the house so had to do without but it still had good flavor. I added nutritional yeast to the cashew sauce and used fresh parsley instead, also garnished with a lemon slice and more parsley. Yum!!

    • January 12, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

      Great to hear Dee. I like the idea of adding nutritional yeast – I’ll have to try it next time!

  16. Veronica
    February 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    This was incredible! so quick and easy to make and I could not believe it was all vegan and healthy!

  17. February 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    We love sundried tomato and artichoke, this looks just super delicious!!!! Can’t wait to try it for lunch, thanks for sharing!!!

  18. February 17, 2013 at 5:42 am #

    I love these

  19. MINTY
    March 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm #


  20. Aerran
    April 1, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    This dish was absolutely wonderful and so easy to make! I have a friend that recently switched to vegan and I was trying to find recipes that would satisfy a vegan/gluten free meal and I stumbled across your site. Looking through all the different recipes made me anxious to start cooking right when I got home from work. This dish went over very well with all 4 at the dinner table of which 2 of them very much love meat to be in each meal. The big consensus of the group was to add portobella mushrooms as another veggie.
    It was a quick thing to whip up and I also made your recipe for the red velvet (sans the red food coloring) cup cakes with vegan cream cheese frosting in the time I let the cashews soak. Thank you so much for all of these recipes and I plan on trying out many more!

    • April 1, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

      Love the idea of adding portobello mushrooms Aerran!

  21. Liz
    April 10, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    This was so delicious!!! It is hands down now one of my favourite recipes. It’s also soooo easy to make! Even my husband who is not a vegetarian and has an aversion to most dishes that are labelled “vegetariain” gobbled this down and had no complaints. Thanks for the recipe…keep them coming!

    • April 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      Awesome to hear Liz! Definitely one of our fav’s too.

  22. Sarah
    April 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Seriously, guys, this is so good. I’m not some life-long vegan who has become accustomed to the way fake dairy tastes. I am a cheesy creamy dairy LOVER, and ever since I started my dairy/gluten/egg/soy/corn/peanut/sugar free diet, I have been craving some major creamy goodness.

    This recipe answered my prayers.

    I’m not vegan, so if any of you are the same as me and can’t eat soy (which is in bouillon usually), here is what I did: instead of bouillon, I replaced the 1 1/2 cup of fresh water with broth (I used chicken but I dont think it matters if its veggie or not), and added a little nutritional yeast to add some savory yumminess! It worked out perfectly. I’m enjoying it even as I type this!

    Thanks so much, Megan, for satisfying my dairy craving!

    • April 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

      Love this comment Sarah! It’s always fun (and a success!) when non-vegans rave over vegan recipes. Glad you enjoyed it so much.

  23. Jodi
    May 7, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    This dish is amazing! I had to go dairy & egg free a couple years ago and was just recently told I needed to go gluten-free as well. I feel like I’ve been hungry for days as I try to figure out what I can actually eat. After making this tonight, I finally feel full because I ate so much! Thank you, thank you for this recipe…can’t wait to make this for friends & family and to try more of your recipes!

    • May 7, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Jodi. I remember when we went gluten-free and vegan … yes quite the adjustment for sure. I’m thrilled you were able to satisfy your hunger and appetite with this recipe and hope you find many more here! Cheers!

  24. elizabeth
    July 24, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    hi ye

    just wondering how many this recipe will serve. could you tell me?

    • July 24, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      This should feed 4 people quite well – with room for second helpings for any big eaters.

  25. Kelly
    November 15, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    Made this for the family huge hit!

  26. Edyta
    December 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    Amazing! Tried this out last week for a pair of vegan/gluten-free friends and it was amazing! Used Quinoa penne pasta and honestly- one of the best meals we ever made. Thank you for the great recipe!!!

  27. Rebecca
    January 18, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    So delicious! I put the sauce on zucchini noodles, one of the best recipes I’ve found in awhile.

  28. Tanya A
    January 25, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    Again, a huge success! This satisfies my husband’s love of Alfredo sauce while satisfying my love of plant-based eating. I did put bacon bits on his. Oh, and I did use raw sunflower seeds because I seemed to have run out of cashews and it worked just fine.

  29. Dana
    February 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    Looks so good! Any suggestion for a nut free substitute for the cashew cream??

    • February 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

      Though I haven’t tried it myself yet I have heard that raw unsalted sunflower seeds could work to make a lovely vegan non-dairy cream similar to cashew cream. I’ve got to get in the kitchen and try it out myself to be sure, but worth mentioning for you to give a try in the meantime! If you substitute raw unsalted sunflower seeds for the cashews, I’d love to hear how it turned out!

  30. Caroline
    June 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    This is one of my favorite go to vegan recipes. My boyfriend (who is not a vegan) says it is one of his favorite meals and is constantly asking me to make it for him! Thank you so much for this

  31. Tina
    August 2, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    This was amazing. Used fettuccini, as the grocery store didn’t have penne. I wouldn’t change a thing. The kids devoured it. Thanks for another delicious dish!


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