Creamy Vegan Pasta Primavera


This delicious vegan pasta primavera is just one sample recipe from Robin Robertson’s wonderful new book, Nut Butter Universe.

This vegan pasta primavera calls for penne, but you can substitute any bite-sized pasta – including a gluten-free variety! We really like Trader Joe’s or Sam Mills Gluten-Free Pasta for recipes like this one, and they do offer a penne. Whichever pasta you choose, enjoy it immediately. The sauce may begin to brown if made in advance.

I love how this fresh spring to summer recipe can also be adapted to other free-from needs. As a vegan pasta primavera, it’s naturally vegetarian, egg-free and dairy-free, but unlike many vegan dishes, it’s also soy-free and peanut-free. If desired, you can make this pasta tree nut-free by substituting sunflower seeds for the cashews and rice milk or another milk alternative for the almond milk. And don’t be afraid to swap out the vegetables for whatever pops up in your garden or at your local farmer’s market!

Creamy Vegan Pasta Primavera

Creamy Vegan Pasta Primavera
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is from Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press. Photo by Lori Maffei.
Serves: 4 servings
  • 12 to 16 ounces penne pasta (semolina or gluten-free)
  • 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 (can sub rice milk or other milk alternative), if needed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil leaves or parsley
  • Whole fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  1. Cook the penne in a large pot of salted boiling water until it is tender, about 10 minutes (time may vary with gluten-free pasta - see package for times). 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.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, combine the drained cashews, garlic, and broth in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth and well blended.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


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  2. This was delicious! I did make some tweaks to fit my schedule and items available (the sauce I just did a cup of almond milk, an avocado, lemon juice, scallions and garlic.) And I added more veggies to the dish. Oh and bacon so my guy would eat it. Very easy to make and great tips to cook while the pasta is boiling. Added to my recipes! :)

    I want to rate a 5 star but my phone won’t do it!

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