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 roasted broccoli, get on that ASAP! Anyway, this vegan broccoli pasta is so good, I can’t decide my favorite to eat this winter vegetable!
Vegan Broccoli Pasta
If you haven’t thought about combining broccoli with pasta, then I encourage you to do so. Chinese cuisine features broccoli quite a bit – even in the noodle dishes, so clearly it’s a tasty combination.
This pasta recipe isn’t Chinese-inspired, but it is pulling a few delicious ingredients common in the cuisine – broccoli and cashews!
A lot of other recipes featuring broccoli seem to be filled with cream. I assume those were all attempts to hide the flavor of broccoli, which I have no intention of doing.
Anyway, this vegan broccoli pasta obviously doesn’t have a traditional cream sauce. Instead it has a vegan cashew sauce that’s a bit outside of my ordinary but oh so delicious!
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!
It’s a great spring time dinner recipe!
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 of (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 kicky pasta!
Want some other good pasta recipes? This lemon tuna pasta is easy, inexpensive and delicious! Simpler versions (great as a side dish too) are pasta and peas and this one pot pasta with green beans is a mandatory one in our house. On the lighter side, this fresh cherry tomato pasta with ricotta is divine!
And this cabbage pasta is a family favorite that’s pretty easy to throw together for a weeknight dinner!
If it’s broccoli season in your house, you’ll also want to try this broccoli potato soup (also vegan), this prosciutto-wrapped broccoli appetizer, this roasted grape and broccoli salad, and our healthy sesame chicken with broccoli.
CREAMY VEGAN PASTA
- 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.