3 Ingredient Creamy Tomato Shells Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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3 Ingredient Creamy Tomato Shells

34 reviews / 4.7 average
This recipe is sponsored by Delallo

You know the times when you need a recipe that is quick, easy, and healthy – and you don’t have time to meal plan or research cause guess what? you’re sitting in the parking lot of the grocery store. no list. no time.

You know what you need, right?

You need a back pocket recipe.


Three Ingredient Creamy Tomato Shells in a bowl.

Something that no matter what happens in that fateful moment in the grocery store parking lot – whether you have the energy to research meals and make a list real quick or you just end up doing a speedy, chaotic run-through so that your people don’t have to have cereal for dinner again – you are 100% covered.

Three things for making this a basic staple in my life lately:

  • Pasta
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Cashews**

**I know. I’m going rogue on you for this one – normally I would be all about the cheese and cream and all that, but guys, we’re talking about YOU HAVE NOTHING IN YOUR FRIDGE. You’ve just returned from a two-week trip to Europe that was totally amazing, and you ate so much cheese and bread that now what you need is a quick, 3-ingredient, back pocket meal that gives you a comforting little hug for being home without loading you with food guilt.

This Creamy Tomato Pasta is so basic WHICH IS THE WHOLE AMAZING POINT.

You cook the pasta, you add the sauce, and you whiz up the cashews until they are like a luscious nutty butter which you then use to make the pasta creamy.

Voila. Level One Basics.

DeLallo Pasta Sauce.

Obviously if you choose pasta and sauce that is a little *too* basic, things could get boring which is why I highly recommend stocking up your pantry with these two high-quality, high-taste, but still basic and accessible things:

  1. DeLallo whole wheat pastas of all shapes and sizes (shells in particular are pretty awesome right now);
  2. DeLallo pomodoro fresco tomato sauces with flavor profiles that get you excited – roasted garlic, tomato basil, arrabbiata, three cheese, that type of thing.

And then, obviously, on to those buttery cashews.

Cashews in a bowl.

The beauty of such a blank canvas of deliciousness is that it can just become what you want it to be.

Exhibit A: I made a batch of this for a friend who just had a baby and I stuck a few dozen meatballs in there, and topped it off with cheese. Family style creamy tomato pasta bake – easy. done.

Exhibit B: I made this right before our trip as my very last I-have-no-ingredients meal. It’s just too simple.

Exhibit C: I made a mini-batch as my very first welcome-home-to-an-empty-fridge meal, and then thew in some spinach and spicy sausage with the leftovers after visiting the grocery store and re-stocking the home food reserves.

Creamy Tomato Pasta, thank you for being in my back pocket, and thank you for being you.

Three Ingredient Creamy Tomato Shells in a bowl with a fork.
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Creamy Tomato Shells in bowl with greens.

3 Ingredient Creamy Tomato Shells


Three Ingredient Creamy Tomato Shells – this trick will make your pasta sauces creamy, velvety, and nutritious with no butter or cream!




  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with sauce over low heat to warm.
  2. In a blender, blend the cashews with the water, garlic, and salt. Blend until very smooth. Reserve half of your “cashew cream” in the fridge for another recipe, and add the other half to the pasta pot. Stir until creamy and wonderful.
  3. Top pasta with salt, pepper, and herbs, and serve with meat, vegetables, or whatever other combinations suit your fansay.
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: tomato vegan pasta, tomato shells, creamy pasta

This post was sponsored by DeLallo and their on-point pastas and sauces!

To see a list of my favorite DeLallo products from pasta to sauce to pizza and beyond – check out my favorites list on their website!

One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our collection of easy pasta recipes. Check it out!

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    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I have made many of your recipes and loved them. May I make a suggestion? Could you divide your comments into two tabs? One for comments and one called “ I made this”? That way I could just read people’s take on recipe, changes and suggestions. Thanks

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    lindsay, you’ve done it again! i’m currently dramatically sitting here thinking about the millions of cookies i need to bake (yes, millions) & the mountain of gifts that needs to be wrap (it’s huge) & also trying to make sure we stay fed these next two weeks. i LOVE the simplicity of this recipe, & i LOOOOOOVE the idea of fancying up jarred sauce with cashew cream. i will be trying soon! hope you guys are doing well post-vacation!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Based on the pics, it looks like I can’t make this due to um, lack of skill and lack of ingredients. But actually, this is doable! Very eager to try these Delallo products, I’m not sure my local store carries them, may have to make a request!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Okay, wait, you are putting cashews in PASTA?! I am officially you’re new biggest fan!! Two of my favorite things coming together! This sounds absolutely incredible, I am definitely trying this this week!!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I mean, pasta is pasta is pasta, right? But you always make it look SO GOOD! Add another item to the list of Food Gifts for New Moms. Yum! 🙂

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh I loooove cashews… I can’t wait to try this! I think you should work on a cashew cream alfredo sauce (if you haven’t already)! 🙂 Hope you and the babe are feeling wonderful!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Looks yummy.
    Cashew buying tip: Look for “halves and pieces”. These are the sort of broken up half nuts that don’t make it if you want to put out a fancy nut tray, but if you’re throwing them into a food processor then who cares.
    They are quite a bit less expensive than whole cashew nuts.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      AND much less expensive than buying cashew butter, which uses the same inexpensive broken nuts!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    What is it about pasta shells that just make every recipe taste better?! This looks SO good– a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is genius! This time of year comfort food and fast do not often go together. So I am loving something that embodies both efficient get food on the table and in my belly NOW with a warm healthy and comforting meal!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      How long will this last in the fridge? Also-How long will the leftover cashew sauce last in the fridge?
      Thanks for sharing this!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m new to this whole “cashews as a creamy sauce” thing. Are those raw, roasted unsalted, or roasted salted cashews?

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi! Did you soak the cashews before blending them in the food processor? When I’ve blended cashews into a cream for other recipes it usually calls for soaking the cashews for a few hours first? This recipe looks delish! Just wanted to ask about the soak before I give it a try. 🙂

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Know you used raw cashews but were they salted or unsalted?

        Looks easy and delicious! Can’t wait to try!