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Vegan Red Pepper Pasta with Charred Corn & Basil

5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 3 -4


  • 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


  • 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.


Recipe 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.
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.