It’s hard not to love pasta. It’s one of those incredibly versatile foods that you can eat in so many different ways. From different pasta shapes to different proteins, and fresh veggies, there are hundreds of possible combinations you can use to make your own unique pasta dish.
However, I’d argue that pasta sauce is the most important part of any dish. This is where all of the flavors come from and is what defines the overall flavor of the dish.
Today, I’ll be showing you some of the best vegan pasta sauce brands on the market! Whether you’re looking for a classic tomato sauce, pesto, or even a vegan alfredo sauce, I guarantee you’ll find the perfect vegan pasta sauce below!
Common Non-Vegan Ingredients In Pasta Sauce
Many people tend to think of pasta sauce as inherently vegan. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, even the simplest, most traditional pasta sauce recipes call for non-vegan ingredients, such as dairy or even meat.
Here’s a quick visual outlining the most common non-vegan ingredients you’ll want to watch out for the next time you’re shopping:
|Non-Vegan Ingredients In Pasta Sauce||Explanation|
|Cheese||Cheese is one of the most common ingredients you’ll find in pasta sauces. It’s one of the main ingredients in alfredo sauce and is also used in some tomato sauces as well. When used in tomato sauces, it’s often hard to tell, as the tomato sauce still looks like it’s made from pure tomatoes. Cheese is a direct dairy by-product, which makes it a product of animal cruelty.|
|Milk or Cream||Milk or cream is also commonly found in alfredo sauce and is used in some pesto sauces as well. Milk and cream derived from cows is non-vegan due to the incredible amount of cruelty and exploitation in the commercial milk industry.|
|Meat||Many pre-made pasta sauces contain chunks of meat, such as sausage, salami, beef, or bacon. For obvious reasons, vegans should avoid these.|
|Sugar||Although it may come as a surprise, many of the best-selling brands of pasta sauce contain sugar. Sugar is often used in homemade tomato sauces as well, and is a common ingredient in spaghetti. Although many tend to think of sugar as a natural, plant-based sweetener, this isn’t the whole story. Unlike raw cane sugar (which is 100% vegan), white sugar goes through a refining process that involves filtration through animal bone char.|
These ingredients are usually easy to spot if you’re shopping at a grocery store. A quick look at the ingredients list will usually reveal any animal-derived additives that you’ll want to avoid.
However, if you’re eating out, it can often be hard to tell what ingredients are used in pasta sauce. Many restaurants like to keep their pasta sauce ingredients a secret, and won’t list everything on the menu.
If you plan on ordering a pasta dish at a restaurant, just make sure that you double-check with your server to make sure that the sauce doesn’t contain any dairy, meat, or added sugar.
Can Vegans Eat Tomato Sauce?
Tomato sauce is, by far, the most common type of pasta sauce. Classic Italian-style tomato sauce is made with two simple ingredients: tomatoes and fresh basil. Seasonings like salt and pepper are often added for extra flavor. Garlic and onions are also common in tomato sauce.
For the most part, tomato sauce is vegan-friendly. However, some tomato sauces may contain cheese, meat, or refined sugar.
Is Alfredo Sauce Vegan?
Alfredo sauce is another common pasta sauce that’s made with a base of milk, cream, and cheese.
Traditional alfredo sauce is NOT vegan-friendly, as it’s made almost entirely of dairy-derived ingredients.
That being said, there are a number of vegan-friendly alfredo sauces that are made using nutritional yeast and plant-based milk instead of real cheese and dairy. These vegan alfredo sauces may taste a little bit different than you’d expect but are still packed full of flavor.
It’s also pretty easy to make your own vegan alfredo sauce at home:
Is Pesto Sauce Vegan?
Pesto sauce is an authentic Italian sauce that’s made with fresh basil, garlic, cheese (usually parmesan), and olive oil.
Since most pesto sauce contains cheese, it’s generally considered a non-vegan pasta sauce.
However, I’ve listed several delicious vegan pesto sauces below, for those who still want the fresh basil flavor without the dairy!
The Best Vegan Pasta Sauce Brands To Try (2023)
Alright, now that you know a little bit more about the various types of pasta sauce and what additives to look out for, it’s time to go one step further. In this section, I’m going to show you some of the best vegan pasta sauce brands that I keep stocked in my kitchen.
We cook pasta at least once or twice a week in my home, so I always try to stock a variety of different vegan pasta sauces, so I never get bored of the menu!
1) Keto Tomato Basil Pasta and Spaghetti Sauce by Yo Mama’s Foods (link)
- Type of Sauce: Vegan Tomato Basil Sauce
Yo Mama’s Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce is one of my favorite vegan tomato sauces! It’s made using a simple, authentic recipe that you’d find in a small-town Italian restaurant. Although it’s marketed toward keto dieters (who can’t eat sugar), it’s also suitable for vegans as well.
As far as ingredients go, this sauce is as simple as it gets. The base is made from fresh tomatoes, which are boiled down until they become a sauce.
Then, onions, garlic, white wine, basil, olive oil, oregano, salt, and black pepper are added to give it a flavorful punch that goes great with any vegan pasta!
I really like how natural this sauce is. There aren’t any artificial preservatives, chemical salts, or fake flavors. Everything is made with garden-fresh ingredients before being vacuum-sealed into a classic glass jar. It doesn’t get any more “homemade” than this.
- Made with simple, wholesome ingredients.
- 100% all-natural
- Very flavorful
- It’s an expensive, small-batch pasta sauce brand
2) Mantova Vegan Basil Pesto (link)
- Type of Sauce: Vegan pesto sauce
As I mentioned above, basil pesto sauce usually isn’t vegan, since most sauce recipes call for added cheese. However, Mantova’s Vegan Basil Pesto is an exception to that rule. Instead of parmesan cheese, Mantova uses tofu as the main source of protein.
This also gives the vegan pesto sauce that thick, chunky texture that you’d expect from a traditional non-vegan pesto sauce.
Oddly enough, this vegan pesto sauce isn’t made with any nutritional yeast. Because of this, Mantova Vegan Basil Pesto Sauce doesn’t have a very cheesy flavor. Instead, basil and olive oil are the dominant flavors.
It’s also a product of Italy, where pesto sauce originated. This is another great reason to support the brand!
The only thing I don’t like about this sauce is that it contains lactic acid and ascorbic acid, which are used to regulate the pH of the sauce, serving as mild preservatives. Other than these ingredients, though, everything else is healthy and plant-based.
- Vegan-friendly pesto sauce made with tofu
- Product of Italy
- Authentic, chunky texture
- Made with extra virgin olive oil
- Contains soy (tofu), which not everybody appreciates
3) Carbone Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce (link)
- Type of Sauce: Vegan Tomato Pasta Sauce
If you like tomato-based pasta sauce but you’re looking for a more savory kick, then you’ll love Carbone’s Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce! This wholesome, plant-based sauce is similar to Yo Mama’s sauce and is made with all-natural ingredients.
It’s 100% sugar-free, preservative-free, and made in a Kosher-approved facility. This means that you’re getting the best possible quality.
In addition to fresh tomatoes, Carbone’s Roasted Garlic Pasta sauce is made with sea salt, basil, onions, roasted garlic, olive oil, and oregano.
The roasted garlic gives the sauce a unique flavor profile that pairs well with any pasta dish. The added oregano also gives the sauce a wonderful aroma that you can smell cooking through the entire house.
- Made with real ingredients
- No artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or flavors
- The strong flavor from roasted garlic and oregano
- Made in a Kosher facility
- It’s on the more expensive side
4) Primal Kitchen, Dairy-Free Vegan Alfredo Sauce (link)
- Type of Sauce: Vegan Alfredo Sauce
Primal Kitchen is one of my favorite vegan sauce brands and I regularly use their vegan salad dressings. However, they also have a particularly delicious vegan alfredo sauce as well!
If you’re looking for the perfect dairy-free alfredo sauce, then you love Primal Kitchen’s Vegan Alfredo Sauce.
While traditional alfredo sauce is made with milk, cream, butter, and cheese, this non-dairy alfredo sauce is made with a pumpkin seed butter, avocado oil, tapioca starch, sea salt, roasted garlic, black pepper, onion powder, lemon juice, citric acid, and nutritional yeast.
Nutritional yeast is just deactivated yeast and is used as a dairy substitute in vegan cheese brands.
Since there isn’t any dairy used in this vegan alfredo sauce, it’s actually a fairly low-fat option as well. Each serving only contains 5 grams of fat.
- Tastes very similar to real alfredo sauce
- Thick, creamy consistency
- 100% dairy-free and vegan
- Made with mostly-natural ingredients
- Contains citric acid, a naturally-derived preservative
5) Whole Foods Market Plant-Based Tomato Pesto (link)
- Type of Sauce: Vegan Tomato Pesto Sauce
If you like the bright, fruity flavors of an authentic tomato sauce and the herbal notes of fresh basil pesto, then you’ll really enjoy Whole Foods Market’s Plant-Based Tomato Pesto Sauce.
It’s 100% vegan, dairy-free, and made from mostly-natural ingredients.
The base is made from tomato puree and a “soy preparation” made from water, soybeans, and salt. Then, extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, basil, red peppers, cashews, carrots, and garlic are added for flavor.
Naturally-derived lactic acid is added as a light preservative to increase the shelf life. Corn starch and potato flakes are used to thicken the sauce, giving it a more pesto-like consistency.
Although this product isn’t quite as wholesome and all-natural as Yo Mama’s or Carbone’s vegan pasta sauce, it’s also half the price. So, if you’re looking for a more affordable vegan pasta sauce, then you can’t go wrong with this one.
Plus, it’s also easy to find at any Whole Foods Market. If you’re not lucky enough to live near a Whole Foods Market, you can order it online and get free next-day or two-day delivery with Amazon Prime, which is now partnered with Whole Foods!
- Affordable vegan pasta sauce
- Bright tomato flavor combined with an herbal basil flavor
- Thick, chunky texture
- 100% dairy-free
- No added sugar
- Contains lactic acid as a preservative
How To Tell If Your Pasta Is Vegan-Friendly
Pasta is one of those tricky foods that can just as easily be vegan as it can be non-vegan. It ultimately comes down to the ingredients used in the dish. Aside from the sauce, other common non-vegan additives to look out for include:
- Butter (often used to cook the noodles)
- Parmesan cheese (as a topping)
- Meat toppings
If you’re ever unsure, don’t be afraid to ask. Most restaurant staff are trained to understand basic dietary restrictions and should be well-versed in which meals are suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets.
Conclusion – What’s The Best Vegan Pasta Sauce?
I really enjoy all of these sauces. However, if I had to pick a favorite, then I’d say that Carbone Roasted Garlic Sauce is the best vegan pasta sauce brand that I’ve had. I love the simple, all-natural ingredients and the rich, savory flavor of the roasted garlic.
It’s a little more expensive than some of the cheaper alternatives, but the flavor is out of this world!
If you want to make your own homemade vegan spaghetti, you’ll also need a good vegan meat alternative. Keep on reading to see my list of the best vegan “meat” crumble!