Vegan Red Pepper Pasta with Charred Corn & Basil

5 from 7 votes

This vegan red pepper pasta is super flavourful, satisfying, and takes 30 minutes to make, and it utilizes one pan plus an upright blender. This vegan main is easy to make gluten-free, and perfect for summer with lots of charred corn and basil.

An overhead shot shows a creamy vegan red pepper pasta in a stainless steel pan. The short-shaped pasta is garnished with fresh basil leaves, strips of roasted red pepper, charred corn kernels, dried chili flakes, and freshly ground pepper.
An overhead shot shows a creamy red pepper pasta in a stainless steel pan. The short-shaped pasta is garnished with fresh basil leaves, strips of roasted red pepper, charred corn kernels, dried chili flakes, and freshly ground pepper.
A slight 3/4 angle image shows a bowl of creamy red pepper pasta that features charred corn and strips of roasted red pepper. The pasta is garnished with fresh basil, dried chillies, and ground black pepper. The bowl is seen on a worn wooden board with a vintage silver fork sticking out of the bowl.
An overhead shot of ingredients used in a vegan red pepper pasta dish that also features yellow zucchini, corn, and fresh basil. All ingredients are on a vintage, rustic wood board.
An overhead image shows slices of zucchini and red onion being sautéed with spices in a wide stainless steel pan.

Most of our summer meals revolve around the simple preparations of the abundant seasonal produce. Sometimes we grill a bunch of veg and have that with rice, chickpeas and a tasty sauce. We do a no-cook dip platter situation that we can graze on. Grilled pizza with tons of garden herbs every dang week. And pasta, always pasta with whatever veg I have lots of. This week it’s roasted red pepper pasta with charred corn and basil–with a secret (also super seasonal) ingredient to make the sauce extra creamy.

I love a typical vegan creamy sauce with cashews, sliced almonds etc as the base. But my partner finds the purely nut and seed-based sauces to be a little too rich at times. It’s not a 100% feel-good situation for him! Reducing the amount of nuts/seeds but keeping the creamy vibe going is key for us.

I’ve been getting some excellent yellow zucchini at the farmer’s market lately. The golden colour of them next to some red peppers that I got this week looked like a sunset. I knew that this would be the perfect solution to my sauce situation. I’ve done this before too! The chopped yellow zucchini gets a quick sauté with red onion, garlic and chili–just enough to soften the edges. Then we blend it with a relatively small amount of soaked cashews, the roasted peppers, and a bunch of major flavour enhancements.

Some Tips for this Vegan Red Pepper Pasta:

  • The yellow zucchini is nice here because it enhances the creaminess, but also the golden/orange-like hue of the sauce. You can also use green zucchini! If you’re concerned with how it will look, just give the green zucchini a quick peel before chopping. Otherwise, it’s a 1-to-1 substitution.
  • I roasted my peppers under the broiler until all sides were charred. Then placed them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. After letting them sit for 10 minutes, I peeled the charred outer skin off and trimmed them. You can use jarred peppers for maximum ease!
  • Raw macadamia nuts, pine nuts, sliced almonds, and sunflower seeds will all stand in nicely for the cashews.
  • Some vegan “parmesan” would be amazing on top of this. My recipe can be found here.

I hope that you give this a recipe a try and that you’re having a good summer! If you need some more pepper inspiration, check out my Vegan Stuffed Pepper Casserole and my Grilled Mini Peppers with Spiced Walnut & Lentil Crumble. For bumper zucchini crops, I recommend my Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffin Tops and my Zucchini Involtini with Almond “Ricotta”.

A 3/4 angle shot shows a creamy red pepper sauce in a blender pitcher. The sauce is pale orange.
An overhead image shows a hand stirring some charred corn with a wooden utensil in a cast iron skillet.
An overhead shot shows a creamy vegan red pepper pasta in a stainless steel pan. The short-shaped pasta is garnished with fresh basil leaves, strips of roasted red pepper, charred corn kernels, dried chili flakes, and freshly ground pepper.
An up close, overhead shot shows a creamy red pepper pasta in a stainless steel pan. The short-shaped pasta is garnished with fresh basil leaves, strips of roasted red pepper, charred corn kernels, dried chili flakes, and freshly ground pepper.

Vegan Red Pepper Pasta with Charred Corn & Basil

This vegan red pepper pasta is super flavourful, satisfying, and takes 30 minutes to make, and it utilizes one pan plus an upright blender. This vegan main is easy to make gluten-free, and perfect for summer with lots of charred corn and basil.
5 from 7 votes
An up close, overhead shot shows a creamy red pepper pasta in a stainless steel pan. The short-shaped pasta is garnished with fresh basil leaves, strips of roasted red pepper, charred corn kernels, dried chili flakes, and freshly ground pepper.
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Servings 3 -4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes, or more to taste
  • 1 medium yellow zucchini, chopped
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour and drained
  • 3 roasted red peppers, divided
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons light miso
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Tamari soy sauce OR coconut aminos
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ cup vegetable stock (or water)
  • ¾ lb (340 grams) short pasta (I used cassarecce)
  • 2 cobs corn
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Equipment

Notes

  • The yellow zucchini is nice here because it enhances the creaminess, but also the golden/orange-like hue of the sauce. You can also use green zucchini! If you’re concerned with how it will look, just give the green zucchini a quick peel before chopping. Otherwise, it’s a 1-to-1 substitution.
  • I roasted my peppers under the broiler until all sides were charred. Then placed them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. After letting them sit for 10 minutes, I peeled the charred outer skin off and trimmed them. You can also use jarred peppers!
  • Raw macadamia nuts, pine nuts, sliced almonds, and sunflower seeds will all stand in nicely for the cashews.
  • If you feel like dirtying another dish, charring the corn in a cast iron skillet adds just another level to this pasta! So good.

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the red onion, garlic, and chili flakes and cook, stirring often, until soft and slightly translucent on the edges, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Sauté and stir often until zucchini is soft on the edges–about another 4-5 minutes.
  • Transfer the sautéed zucchini mixture to an upright blender. To the blender add the cashews, 2 of the roasted red peppers, nutritional yeast, miso, lemon juice, Dijon, tamari, smoked paprika, and vegetable stock, plus a little bit of salt and pepper. Blend the mixture on high until smooth and creamy, about 1 full minute. Add more stock by the tablespoon if necessary to get a thick but pourable consistency. Set aside.
  • Give the large sauté pan a wipe and place it back over high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Cut the kernels off of the corn cobs and toss the kernels into the skillet. Sauté the corn until there’s a bit of char on the edges and the corn is soft, about 7-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain. Reserve about a cup of the pasta cooking water.
  • Slice the remaining roasted red pepper into strips. In the large skillet with the corn, also add the roasted red pepper strips, cooked pasta, red pepper sauce, and chopped basil. Set the heat to medium. Add splashes of pasta cooking water if needed to loosen up the sauce. Keep stirring until pasta is nice and hot. Serve immediately with extra basil, chili flakes, and finishing drizzles of olive oil.
A slight 3/4 angle image shows a bowl of creamy red pepper pasta that features charred corn and strips of roasted red pepper. The pasta is garnished with fresh basil, dried chillies, and ground black pepper. The bowl is seen on a worn wooden board with a vintage silver fork sticking out of the bowl.
27/07/2022
Posted in: creamy, gluten free option, main course, quick, refined sugar-free, roasted, salty, sauce, side dish, smoky, spicy, summer, sweet, vegan
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