Penne Primavera with Avocado Cashew Cream
Editor's Note: This Penne Primavera with Avocado Cashew Cream is a vegan pasta recipe that's bursting with the flavors of spring. Creamy avocado, sweet cashews, and fresh vegetables take this penne pasta recipe to the next level - it takes a bit of prep time but is well worth the work. The pasta sauce is so creamy, you'll never know it's vegan (and your kids won't be able to tell they're getting an extra serving of vegetables!) Pasta primavera makes for a fresh and filling meal - you can't miss with this flavorful dish.
I like to use penne pasta in this recipe, but any bite-sized pasta will work well. This dish is best if eaten immediately after prepared since the sauce may begin to turn brown if made in advance. Use gluten-free pasta to make this gluten-free.
Total Timea day or more
Recipe CourseMain Course
Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Halal, Kosher, Lactose-free, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Type of DishPasta
- 12 to 16 ounces penne pasta
- 1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
- 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 small zucchini or yellow squash, cut into ¼-inch dice
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cup hot vegetable broth or water, or more if needed
- 1 to 2 ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Ground black pepper
- Plain unsweetened almond milk, if needed
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves or parsley
- Whole fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Cook the penne in a large pot of salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until it is tender, about 10 minutes. About 5 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the broccoli and carrots. About 2 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the zucchini. Drain the cooked pasta and vegetables well and return to the pot.
While the pasta is cooking, combine the drained cashews, garlic, and broth in a high-speed blender or food processor. Process until smooth and well blended. Peel and pit the avocado and add it to the food processor along with the scallions, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Process until smooth and creamy. For a thinner sauce, add some almond milk, if needed. For a thicker sauce, add additional avocado. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
Add the sauce to the pot containing the drained cooked pasta and vegetables. Add the tomatoes and chopped basil and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately, garnished with the whole basil leaves.
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2013 Robin Robertson