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Creamy Chipotle Sweet Potato Pasta

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This Creamy Chipotle Sweet Potato Pasta is indulgent but made with healthy ingredients like sweet potatoes and sunflower seeds. This 10-ingredient vegan pantry pasta will become your new favorite dinner recipe!
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Total 1 hour 5 minutes
5 from 42 votes

Since so many of you have been loving my 10-Ingredient Creamy Pantry Pasta, I figured I needed to make another creamy 10-ingredient pasta recipe! Enter this Creamy Chipotle Sweet Potato Pasta!

It’s made with 10 main ingredients and it’s also creamy, but it’s pretty different than the first recipe. It’s smoky and spicy and gets its creaminess from roasted sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, and plant-based milk.

(PS: if you’re looking for yet another 10-ingredient pasta recipe, you can’t go wrong with this Red Lentil Bolognese!)

Why you’re going to like this recipe 

10 main ingredients. Okay, not counting, oil, salt and pepper. But yeah, just 10 main ingredients, woohoo! And the 10 main ingredients include the optional vegan sausage, so if you’re omitting that ingredient, you’re looking at 9 ingredients :)

Pantry staples. And all those ingredients are pantry ingredients (i.e., you might already have all the required ingredients in your pantry).

Budget-friendly. In addition to being a pantry meal, it’s budget-friendly (unless you splurge on that Beyond Meat sausage like I did lol…so worth it IMO).

Comfort food heaven. It’s creamy, spicy, smoky, and cheesy, and incredibly indulgent, especially if you add the vegan sausage. It tastes like a grown-up, more elevated, and spicy version of cheeseburger pasta.

Easy to customize. Feel free to make this your own meal. Toss in frozen peas at the end, blanch some broccoli at the end of cooking your pasta, serve with crispy baked tofu instead of vegan sausage, etc.

Substitutions for this recipe

In the event you don’t have all the exact ingredients on hand, here are some substitutions to try.

No sweet potatoes? Sweet potatoes are the primary ingredient in this recipe, and I imagine they are fairly easy to find in most grocery stores….but if you don’t have them, your best bet would be butternut squash, or canned pumpkin puree. However, both of those options don’t have the sweetness that sweet potatoes bring, and therefore you’ll need to add a spoon of agave nectar or maple syrup to help balance out the smoky, spicy flavors.

Gluten-free? Use gluten-free pasta :) The sauce itself is gluten-free.

Plant milk. Canned lite coconut milk is the most pantry-friendly recipe, but I’ve been using oat milk or cashew milk in this recipe since I have a lot on hand. Any creamy plant-based milk such as oat, coconut, cashew, or soy will work – just make sure it’s unsweetened.

No lime juice? You can use lemon juice instead, or if you don’t have that, use white wine vinegar but half the amount.

Creamy Chipotle Sweet Potato Pasta

No chipotle peppers in adobo sauce? This is the source of the smoky, tomatoey-tang in this sauce, along with the spiciness. I use 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but if you prefer a milder heat, just use one pepper.

I absolutely LOVE the way the bold smokiness and spiciness of the chipotle peppers pairs with the sweet potatoes in this recipe. It’s a flavor match made in heaven. However, if you can’t find chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, here are some substitute options.

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, though I recommend starting slowly, especially if you are sensitive to spicy food.

  • 1 or 2 rehydrated dried chipotles (soak the dried pepper in hot water) + 1 to 2 tablespoons tomato sauce.

  • A few splashes of Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce (add more to taste)

  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper + 1 teaspoon smoked paprika + 2 tablespoons tomato sauce

With any of these substitutions, if you want a little more heat, add a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper; if you want a little more smokiness, add (a) a few pinches of smoked paprika or (b) a few dashes of liquid smoke.

Tips for making this recipe

To make this a quick, weeknight-friendly dinner, bake/roast your sweet potatoes ahead of time. Baked/roasted sweet potatoes will stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.

Don’t skip the sauté step! I know some of you might be tempted to skip the step of browning the onions and garlic, but please don’t. Starting the sauce off with nearly caramelized onions and garlic is help what builds deep savory flavors into this pasta sauce.

This sauce is the creamiest when made with cashews (unsurprisingly), but sunflower seeds work almost just as well that it’s worth using them :) They’re incredibly cheap and they’re a great option for keeping this recipe nut-free.

I recommend soaking your sunflower seeds in boiling water for 30 minutes (you can do this while you prep the other ingredients and cook the onions/garlic, or when you bake the sweet potatoes). This is enough time if you have a powerful blender or a heavy duty food processor, but if you don’t have either of those, you’ll want to soak them for at least 3-4 hours.

Reserve some pasta water. Before you drain your pasta, reserve some of the cooking water in a separate bowl, or drain your pasta into a colander set over a bowl to catch the pasta water. Depending on what plant-based milk and what seed/nut you use and your desired pasta sauce consistency, you may not need to add any pasta water, but it’s always good to reserve some in case.

I served this with Beyond Meat vegan sausage, which I crumbled up and cooked in a pan for a few minutes to brown. As I mentioned earlier, it makes this taste like a elevated cheeseburger pasta. I think the combination is FANTASTIC, and my non-vegan boyfriend agreed 100% and asked for seconds and then thirds. Also, we love spicy food, so we opted for the Hot Italian flavor.

Of course, if you don’t have any vegan sausage, feel free to add your favorite vegan protein. Spiced tempeh or crispy baked tofu would be good options! Or for something green, add some broccoli to the pasta cooking water in the last few minutes to get in some greens :)

If you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag me on Instagram with your recreations and please comment with your feedback below!

Creamy Chipotle Sweet Potato Pasta

Big Vegan Flavor

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Creamy Chipotle Sweet Potato Pasta

5 from 42 votes
This Creamy Chipotle Sweet Potato Pasta is indulgent but made with healthy ingredients like sweet potatoes and sunflower seeds. This 10-ingredient vegan pantry pasta will become your new favorite dinner recipe!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Southwestern
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 6


  • 1 pound (454g) sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 (70g) cup sunflower seeds*, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (use just 1 pepper for a milder heat; see the “Substitutions” section above for substitute options)
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt + more to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup (240mL) creamy plant-based milk, or canned “lite” coconut milk**
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup (120-180 mL) water
  • 12 -14 ounces (340-400g) pasta of choice
  • 3-4 vegan sausage links, such as Beyond Meat sausage***


  • Bake your sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Lightly slash or prick the sweet potatoes several times with a sharp knife to allow for even ventilation. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet (line with parchment paper for easy cleanup). Bake for 45-60 minutes (depending on size), or until the potatoes are fork-tender and don’t give any resistance.
    1. NOTE: you can also roast/bake the sweet potatoes up to a few days in advance.
  • Meanwhile, soak the sunflower seeds in boiling water for 30 minutes (or longer). After soaking, drain.
  • Shortly before the sweet potatoes are done baking, start cooking your pasta and start cooking the onions/garlic.
  • For the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add your pasta of choice and cook according to the package instructions until just al dente (don’t overcook)! Before draining, be sure to reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water and set aside. Or, drain the pasta in a colander set over a bowl to catch the pasta water.
  • For the onions and garlic, heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Once hot, add onions and season with a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally and cook until a light brown fond starts to form on the surface of the pan, about 5 minutes. Add a few spoons of water to deglaze, and stir. Continue cooking the onions, adding more water every few minutes and stirring frequently to prevent burning, until onions are softened and golden brown, 9-10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and stir frequently for 1-2 minutes, until lightly golden. Turn off the heat and transfer the onions/garlic to a stand blender (or food processor). Wipe out the frying pan.
  • Make the chipotle sweet potato sauce. Peel and discard the baked sweet potato skins (use oven mitts or wait until they’re slightly cooled). Add the potato flesh to the blender with the onion-garlic mixture. Add the soaked and drained sunflower seeds, chipotle peppers, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper to taste, nutritional yeast, lime juice, plant-based milk, and 1/2 cup (120 mL) of the water. Blend on high speed until smooth, creamy, and thick, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the remaining 1/4 cup water (60 mL) if needed to thin out (you can also thin out the pasta sauce with the pasta cooking water). Taste for seasonings.
  • Mix the pasta and sauce. Pour the sauce into the wiped-out frying pan. Heat up for 30-60 seconds, then add the hot cooked pasta into the sauce. Toss to combine with tons or a wooden spoon, and add a ladle or two of pasta water as needed to achieve your desired pasta sauce consistency. It should be thick and creamy yet thin enough to coat the pasta.
  • Serve the pasta with your favorite protein. For Beyond Meat sausage, heat up a frying pan (the same one used for the onions/garlic) over medium-high heat with a tiny drop of oil. Add the sausage links directly to the pan, and then use a wooden spoon to crumble them, similar to traditional sausage. Cook for a few minutes until well browned.


* You can substitute cashews for an even creamier sauce!
** I like oat milk, cashew milk, or carton coconut milk.
*** Feel free to omit or substitute with your favorite protein source.

Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 325mg | Potassium: 574mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 10985IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg

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4.96 from 42 votes (22 ratings without comment)

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48 comments on Creamy Chipotle Sweet Potato Pasta

  1. Hope Forester

    3 stars
    I love every recipe I’ve tried from you, with the exception of this one.
    The sweetness from the sweet potatoes was overwhelming and the only other flavor that was pronounced was the chipotle. If I were to make it again, I’d add more salt and lime to balance the sweetness or use something like a butternut squash instead of the sweet potato. I would also probably use the cashews instead of sunflower seeds to make a creamier and more balanced sauce, as there was a very subtle flavor of sunflower seed in the depth of the sauce that I didn’t much care for.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Hope, we are sorry this recipe didn’t live up to your expectations. We appreciate your feedback nonetheless.

  2. Michele Stone

    5 stars
    Another winning recipe! This is so flavourful with a nice hint of heat. The sausage added a nice texture and makes this a very satisfying meal. Even my non-vegan partner said it’s one of the best pastas he’s ever had. We will definitely be keeping this one on rotation!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Michele, Thank you so much for such a fantastic review! Appreciate you taking the time!

    2. Shu

      Amazing recipe once again by Nisha! So flavorful with just the perfect heat and sweetness. I made over lentil pasta.

      1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

        Hi Shu, we’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  3. Stacey Tripeny

    5 stars
    This dish was amazing with or without the sausage! I didn’t have enough sunflower seeds so I used some pipiptas and I suppose it worked out ok.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Stacey! We’re delighted you enjoyed the pasta.

  4. Theress

    5 stars
    I have made this recipe a few times now. It’s really delicious! The First time I made it with sweet potatoes and the second time I had butternut squash that needed to get eaten up, so used it instead. The family preferred the less sweet version with BN squash so that’s our go to now. Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes Nisha! I always know that when I choose a new recipe from your website it will be delicious. No doubts. You’re extremely talented! :-)

  5. Taylor

    5 stars
    Super comfort food :) The chipotle pepper in adobo sauce was so good! Thick, creamy, rich, delicious pasta. I used the cashews instead of the sunflower seeds and the white wine vinegar because I didn’t have any limes and didn’t realize I had used all my lemons, so I definitely appreciated the notes on possible substitutions for ingredients.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Taylor :) Glad you were able to improvise and it turned out well!

  6. Anna

    Dear all,
    do you have recommendations about how to substitute the Chipotle Peppers? I live in Germany and can’t find them here – yesterday I tried substituting with Hot Sauce containing Chipotles and while it was creamy and good there certainly was that ka-woom missing. I’d love to try it again with more spicyness and will leave a rating then of course!
    Thank you :-)

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Anna, If you scroll above in the post, you’ll see the substitution recommendations. I’ll post the substitutes here for your convenience:

      1/2 to 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, though I recommend starting slowly, especially if you are sensitive to spicy food.

      1 or 2 rehydrated dried chipotles (soak the dried pepper in hot water) + 1 to 2 tablespoons tomato sauce.

      A few splashes of Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce (add more to taste)

      1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper + 1 teaspoon smoked paprika + 2 tablespoons tomato sauce.

      Hope that helped!

  7. Sue

    5 stars
    Very nice pasta sauce. It is comforting, almost like a spicy mac and cheese. I made a batch and froze it in one-cup Souper Cubes. Tonight I thawed one cube, boiled some pasta noodles, made a salad, and had a simple dinner for two that was way more delicious than most things I might whip up this fast! I used your cilantro jalapeno yogurt sauce (from your Balanced Diet PDF) mixed with a bit of avocado smashed into it for the salad dressing, and it worked well with this. The limeyness of the cilantro sauce was a nice contrast to the creaminess of the pasta sauce. I also freeze the cilantro jalapeno sauce in 1/2 cup Souper Cubes so I can have it on hand all the time. I love this way of eating!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sue, thank you so much for sharing your experience and for the support! That dinner sounds to die for! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review.

  8. Samara

    5 stars
    Hello! I made this for dinner last night and it was amazing! Thanks for the recipe will definitely be making this one again :D

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Samara. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  9. Gayathri

    5 stars
    Yet another delicious recipe! Tastes amazing with minimalist baker’s vegan spicy chorizo

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sounds wonderful, Gayathri! Thanks for sharing :)

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