Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe - The Vegan Rhino

Cacio e Pepe - The Vegan Rhino 

Cacio e Pepe (cheese and pepper) is an Italian dish consisting of 4 ingredients that make it thick and creamy. The key is to perfectly cook the pasta and retain that liquid once done for the sauce. The starch from the pasta water is critical to making this pan sauce so make sure not to skimp on this step. If you do, you most likely will not get the proper consistency once it’s finished.

Cacio e Pepe - The Vegan Rhino

Yield 3


1 lb. box tonnarelli or bucatini pasta

5 Tbsp. vegan butter, cubed

1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 cup vegan parmesan cheese

1 cup reserved pasta water



  1. In a large pot, bring 3.5 quarts water to a boil and season well with salt (should be salty to taste). Cook the pasta until al dente, roughly 10 minutes. Reserve pasta water before draining.
  2. In a skillet on medium heat, melt the butter and add the pepper, stirring around until toasted, about 45 seconds. Add reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cheese until melted and pour in the drained pasta, tossing to coat.
  3. Serve immedietly.


Chef’s tip: If the sauce seems dry, add more of the reserved pasta water to thin it out.

Simple Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Simple Macaroni and Cheese Casserole - The Vegan Rhino

Simple Macaroni and Cheese Casserole  - The Vegan Rhino

With tons of pantry items and a couple staple vegetables, you can make a delicious vegan macaroni and cheese dish! This Mac dish is made with a plant-based na-cho average cheese sauce that is paired with frozen broccoli. If you have some extra ingredients laying around, like parsley, panic bread crumbs or vegan cheeses, you can add them to the top and bake it until golden brown and bubbling. This recipe is a simple way to be creative with your vegetables and any other produce you may have laying around.

Simple Macaroni and Cheese Casserole  - The Vegan Rhino

Yield 4


12 oz. Bionature 100% gluten free elbows

2 cups broccoli florets, frozen or fresh

1/2 na-cho average cheese sauce recipe

Breadcrumb topping (optional):

1/8 cup panko bread crumbs

1/8 cup vegan cheddar cheese

1/8 cup vegan parmesan cheese

Freshly chopped parsley, to garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot filled 3/4 of the way with well-salted water, boil your pasta according to the boxed instructions. In the last minute of cooking your pasta, add frozen broccoli. Drain and add it back to the pot.
  3. Stir in the cheese sauce and pour mixture into a small lightly greased casserole dish. Top with breadcrumb mixture (optional)
  4. Bake for 10-18 minutes or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbling.
  5. Serve immedietly.


Chef’s tip: If you are in a pinch on ingredients, forget the toppings and just eat the macaroni and cheese once you add the cheese sauce to the pasta and broccoli.

Other recipes

Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo

Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo Sauce

As you all know, alfredo sauce is rich and creamy, but normally made with tons of milk, cream, and cheese. My veganized version is a lot healthier and made from cauliflower! That’s right, Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce for all those pasta cravings. Cauliflower is a great way to re create a thick restaurant-quality sauce. It comes together super quickly and can even be used for your next pizza night! This recipe is great to make ahead and use during the week for fast dinner ideas! Feel free to wilt some spinach in your pasta before adding the sauce, it’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.

Alfredo Sauce

Yield 3 cups


1 Tbsp. vegan butter

1 head cauliflower

1/2 white onion, chopped 

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 cup vegetable stock

1/4 cup oat milk

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

2 tsp. lemon juice

3/4 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 tsp. white pepper

Fresh parsley, to garnish


  1. In a medium pot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Add the cauliflower, minced garlic, onion, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until fork tender. 
  2. In a blender, add the vegetables, broth, and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and well combined.
  3. Serve hot with choice of pasta.


Chef’s tip: Sauté onion and garlic until slightly browned. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup white wine, cooking for an additional minute.

Orecchiette Pasta Aglio e Olio

Orecchiette Pasta Aglio e Olio

Orecchiette Pasta Aglio e Olio

One thing I learned during my first few cooking classes growing up was this amazing dish, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. This traditional pasta recipe comes all the way from Naples and is made by lightly sautéing sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese. In my plant-based version, you will still get the authentic flavors that this amazing dish brings to the table. I highly suggest giving this recipe a try for this weekends Sunday dinner.

Orecchiette Pasta Aglio e Olio

Yields 8 ounces

Serves 2 people


8 ounces orecchiette pasta, cooked

1/3 cup avocado oil

4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup vegan Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper


  1. In a large pot with salted water, cook the orecchiette pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and reserve 3/4 cup of pasta water.
  2. Next, in a frying pan on medium heat, add your oil. One hot, add the sliced garlic and sauté until slightly browned (be sure not to burn the garlic).
  3. Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes and toss in the pasta, coating it completely. While stirring, slowly add the pasta water until you have achieved your desired consistency.
  4. Add the Parmesan, parsley and lemon juice.
  5. Serve immediately.


Chef’s tip: Be sure not to brown the garlic slices too much.

Dairy-Free Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Dairy-Free Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Dairy-Free Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Comfort food, to me, feeds the body, mind, and well- belly of course. The light and smooth ricotta cheese with fresh herbs makes for a remarkable flavor combination with my pasta sauce (or gravy) as some may refer to it as. Paired with a tomato sauce, homegrown basil, and baked to perfection, what can be better than that? This recipe is great for an easy weekday dinner or even a quick meal prep for the busy work or school week.

Dairy-Free Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Yields 3-4 servings


1/2 box Barilla Jumbo Pasta Shells, cooked

2 cups pasta sauce


1 (8 oz.) extra Firm tofu, pressed

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice 

1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt 

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

1-2 tsp. garlic, minced

3 cups sautéed spinach, chopped and patted dry

3/4 cup Vitacost unsalted cashews, soaked overnight

3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

2 Tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped


  1. In a food processor, combine all ricotta ingredients until smooth; pulse roughly 1-2 minutes.
  2. Scoop mixture into a container and place into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Cook the pasta according to the box instructions and allow to cool.
  5. Fill the shells carefully with the ricotta mixture you prepared earlier. Repeat until all shells are filled. Place into a baking dish with pasta sauce on the bottom.
  6. Pour remaining sauce around the shells and cover with a lid.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes covered to allow the pasta to soak up some of the sauce.
  8. Serve with salad or side of choice.

Chef’s tip: Add red pepper flakes to the mixture, it gives a great spicy flavor.

Walnut-Pesto Pasta

Walnut-Pesto Pasta
Walnut-Pesto Pasta

This aromatic and simple walnut-pesto goes great on any pasta you choose! Whether its bow ties or penne, it’s simply delicious. When you make your own, with fresh basil and mint, there is something about the flavor and and feeling of doing it on your own, that doesn’t compare to any store bought version. To make this, just clean the leafs, add some oil, walnuts (a few other ingredients), and you are on your way to a delicious and versatile sauce that you can use for pasta’s, salad’s, sandwiches, are more!

Walnut-Pesto Pasta

Yields 3-4 servings


2 cups fresh basil

1/4 cup fresh mint

1/2 avocado

1/4 cup walnuts

2-3 Tbsp. avocado oil

1/4 cup nutritional yeast 

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Pink Fine Salt

1 clove garlic, minced

1 box pasta of choice

salt, for boiling


  1. In your food processor, combine all ingredients until well mixed.
  2. Cook pasta according to box directions. When finished cooking, drain and stir in pesto sauce.
  3. Serve with vegan parmesan cheese and parsley.

Chef’s tip: Feel free to go with pine nuts for a more classic spin.

Pumpkin Gnocchi 

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Pumpkin Gnocchi Making your own pasta can be tough which is why I have created this 3 ingredient gnocchi. To make this, you will just have to roast a pumpkin pie pumpkin and mash up the pulp into a smooth purée. The secret to this recipe is using fresh ingredients to elevate the ingredients into something mouth watering. Give this a try the next time you have some friends over for dinner or at your next family dinner. 

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Yields 4 servings


1 cup homemade pumpkin purée

1 small sweet potato

2-1/2 cup King Arthur organic flour

1 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 2 Tbsp. filtered water, combined

1 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt

Sage Butter:

1/4 cup Earths Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

1 garlic clove, minced  

7-8 fresh sage leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. On a small looking sheet, lightly oil it and place the sweet potato that has been cut in half onto it. Roast for about 20 minutes or until it is tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  3. On your counter, pour flour and crest a crater-like shape. Then add the egg replacer, pumpkin purée and roasted/peeled sweet potato and salt, slowly mixing the flour in until dough forms. Roll into a half sphere shape. 
  4. Slice dough into 8 segments. Roll out each segment into 12″ long pieces (like a ruler), cutting every 3/4-1in. to create smaller square shapes.
  5. Using the back of a fork, press the dough into the back of the fork while you press down (in a rolling motion). This will get the small line indents onto the gnocchi.
  6. In a pot of hot water, place your pumpkin gnocchi in and bring to slight boil. Stirring slightly, wait until it rises to the top. This will signify it is done and to be removed. Place the gnocchi in to a colander to drain.
  7. In a pan, place on medium heat and add your butter and brown for 3-5 minutes. Then add sage leaves and cook for 30 seconds. Next, add the pumpkin gnocchi (be careful not burn the butter). 
  8. Sprinkle with vegan Parmesan and parsley or choice of topping.

Chef’s tip: Feel free to make this with squash or a sweet potato for a different gnocchi.