I absolutely love broccoli. LOVE. Growing up it was one of the vegetables I ate pretty happily. I actually really enjoy it steamed, but if you haven’t tried it roasted, get on that ASAP! My husband couldn’t hate broccoli anymore than he does. He might eat it before he’d eat olives (we’re avid about our olive disgust), but I’m not willing to bet money on it! Anyway, this broccoli pasta is so good, I’ll just be eating the whole batch myself!
How to Make Cashew Sauce
Though this sauce looks creamy, it’s actually made from cashews, so it’s plant-based. I love the nutty flavor of cashews, so making a sauce from these tasty nuts is a no brainer for me! The cashew sauce is actually quite easy to make – you just need to soak the cashews for at least two hours before you whip up this dish.
Sitting in water for those couple of hours, the nuts soften but don’t lose their flavor. Throw them into a blender with some garlic and seasonings and you’re good to go. It’s actually a really great base for a sauce recipe. You could add delicious flavors like curry powder, sun-dried tomatoes, or fresh herbs. It’s obviously great with pasta but delicious over grains, meats, and veggies!
One Pot Dinner
You know I’m a fan of one pot dinner recipes. The cashew sauce uses a bowl and a small blender, but otherwise the broccoli and pasta all cook in the same pot. There aren’t too many dishes involved with this one!
Vegan Broccoli Pasta Recipe Alternatives
Of course I love this recipe as is, but you could use other veggies or even add some ingredients to make it just right for you. I think peas in place or (or in addition to) the broccoli would be delicious and beautiful. The peas, if frozen, might lengthen the vegetable boiling time by up to a minute, but it isn’t major. You could also add leftover pieces of chicken or tofu for more protein. And if I’m being honest, I might throw some chili flakes on top because I have a weakness for kick pasta!
Vegan Broccoli Pasta
This vegan broccoli pasta recipe is full of so much flavor. From a nut-based cream sauce to the penne pasta (I love whole wheat in here), you'll love this whole dish (meat eater or not). This recipe takes a little prep time, but it's very easy!
- 1 cup raw cashew pieces
- 9 ½ cups water
- 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- ½ pound dry penne pasta any type - white, whole wheat, gluten-free
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with 1 ½ cups water. Cover and let sit for at least 2 hours.
- Bring 8 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat in a 5 or 6-quart Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes, until bright green. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli to a bowl.
- Allow the water to return to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions, 6 to 10 minutes.
- While the pasta cooks, add the soaked cashews with the liquid, garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper to a single serving blender or food processor. Puree until nearly smooth.
- Drain the pasta and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Place the pot back on the burner and turn to low heat. Pour in the cashew sauce and bring the heat to medium. Allow the sauce to begin to bubble slightly and add the broccoli. Stir well and cook about 1 more minute, until the sauces has thickened and coats all ingredients. Stir in some of the reserved pasta liquid as desired to thin the sauce as you wish and serve.