Creamy tomato sauce made with coconut milk, vodka, and tons of flavor. This Less Dairy Vodka Sauce is perfect for anyone wanting to cut down a bit on dairy without sacrificing great taste!
After posting my Skillet Tuscan Chicken recipe, I received a lot of feedback from people who were happy to have a creamy sauce recipe that used less dairy than traditional versions.
I didn’t realize how many people were in the same boat as me: people who want less dairy, but don’t necessarily want to eliminate it altogether.
And that brings us to today’s recipe: Less Dairy Vodka Sauce. A creamy sauce that uses coconut milk instead of heavy cream, and tastes divine.
Creamy, Less Dairy Vodka Sauce
Saute chopped shallots and garlic in butter.
I prefer using butter for this step as it adds a great taste to the sauce. If you want to use even less dairy, you may substitute the butter with olive oil or consider using ghee.
Stir in the following ingredients:
- Kosher salt
- Red pepper flakes
- Dried Basil
- Canned crushed tomatoes
- Tomato paste
Let sauce simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, over low heat.
Add coconut milk, parmesan cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, dried basil, kosher salt, and sugar.
Does this sauce taste like coconut milk?
No! Not at all. The coconut milk taste is not noticeable. It simply makes the sauce creamy. The spices give the sauce its taste.
Do you have to use parmesan cheese?
In short, no. But, I like to use the parmesan cheese as it gives the sauce a great flavor. Also, my goal was to make the sauce with less dairy, not dairy free.
If you want to make it dairy free, you may consider using vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast. I have not tried either of these options for this recipe, so – if you do – let me know how it turns out!
There are some great looking vegan parmesan cheese recipes out there such as this one by Minimalist Baker.
Why stir in the spices, sugar and salt at the end?
First, the spices have a stronger taste when not simmered for as long.
Second, you can taste and adjust the additives to meet your own preferences. Happy without the sugar and salt? Great, let it be! Want more, go for it!
I love to serve this sauce with chicken over penne noodles. But, you can serve it however you like!
In our house we have enjoyed having it over homemade linguine, spaghetti, and penne. And we have also enjoyed it with both shrimp in addition to the chicken.
This Less Dairy Vodka Sauce is a creamy, flavorful sauce that cuts back on dairy while not sacrificing a bit of taste!
Less Dairy Vodka Sauce
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 ounces shallots chopped finely (about 2 medium sized shallots)
- 6 cloves fresh minced garlic
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 3 teaspoons dried basil divided
- 1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
- 2/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar optional
- In a medium sized pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallots and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another 30-60 seconds.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, vodka, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon dried basil. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. NOTE: As the tomato sauce tends to splatter, you can use a frying screen over the pot, or use a lid tilted up so that the steam can escape.
- Stir in coconut milk, Parmesan cheese, remaining 2 teaspoons of dried basil, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir until cheese is melted and smooth.
- Taste, add additional kosher salt and sugar as desired.
- Serve over pasta.
Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.
If you enjoyed this Less Dairy Vodka Sauce, you might also enjoy these other SugarSpicesLife recipes:
Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
Harissa Chicken with Couscous and Mint Sauce
Skillet Tuscan Chicken
Sausage Tortellini Soup