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This Creamy Sweet Corn Pasta is the ultimate summer pasta! Hot al dente pasta tossed with a homemade cream sauce made with sweet summer corn, mild green chilies and a secret ingredient that makes the sauce rich and velvety without heavy cream or cream cheese. Perfect for weeknights and hosting guests!
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There’s nothing we love more than easy dinners that are bold in flavor, yet made with simple ingredients and this sweet corn pasta sauce is exactly that! It’s made with just 8 pantry staples, plus your favorite pasta. It’s also a great way to use up fresh or frozen corn and is the best way to celebrate the end of summer.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Pasta: Both long spaghetti and short-cut pastas will work well in this summery pasta dish so feel free to use your favorite! If you are gluten-free, opt for your favorite gluten-free pasta.
- Oil: Sautéing your aromatics in a neutral cooking oil helps enhance the flavors and aromas in the dish and creates a greater depth of flavor. However, if you are oil-free, you can easily replace the oil with a splash of vegetable broth or water to help prevent sticking.
- Aromatics: A simple combination of onion, garlic, and salt and pepper create a flavorful foundation in the creamy corn sauce.
- Cashews: Instead of cream, the luscious sauce in this corn pasta is made rich and creamy with raw cashews. We haven’t tested a nut-free version of this pasta dish, but based on our experience recipe testing, raw sunflower seeds would likely be the best substitute. Sunflower seeds are a bit more nutty tasting compared to the mild, buttery flavor of cashews, but they are both commonly used in dairy-free cream sauces.
- Broth: We use our Homemade Vegetable Broth, but any homemade or store-bought broth of choice will work. If you are sensitive to sodium, opt for a low sodium broth and add additional salt to taste, if needed.
- Corn: For ease, we opted for frozen corn kernels, but if you happen to have ears of corn on hand, freshly cut corn kernels would work great as well. You can also use leftover Grilled Corn in the Husk if you have it!
- Green chilies: These mildly spiced chilies add the perfect kick of heat to the creamy sauce without overpowering the flavor.
- Dairy-free parmesan cheese: Any dairy-free parmesan cheese of choice. We highly recommend trying our 4-Ingredient Vegan Parmesan Cheese recipe if you haven’t already. Otherwise, a store-bought version from brands such as Follow Your Heart, Violife, or Go Veggie are popular choices. Or, as a last resort, nutritional yeast is a good substitute that will add a similar cheesy flavor.
How to Make Creamy Corn Pasta
- Cook the pasta. In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to package instructions, or until al dente. Before draining, reserve a 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside.
- Sauté the corn and aromatics. As the pasta cooks, heat a separate large skillet over medium heat. Once warm, add the 2 tablespoons of oil and heat through. Add in the corn kernels and allow the corn to cook, for 3-5 minutes. Add in the diced onion and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until slightly softened and fragrant. Then, add in the thinly sliced garlic and canned green chilis and cook for another 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and black pepper as needed. Once finished, remove one cup of the mixture and set it aside.
- Make the creamy sauce. Into a high-speed blender, add the cashews, 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, vegetable broth, lemon juice, and the corn and chili mixture from the skillet (keep aside the reserved cup for tossing with the pasta later!). Blend until smooth and creamy, seasoning with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Combine the pasta and creamy sauce. Transfer the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet and pour the cream sauce over top. Add the reserved cup of corn and chili mixture and dairy-free parmesan. Mix everything together until the pasta is well coated and combined.
- Serve. Serve the creamy corn pasta while hot with fresh basil, additional dairy-free parmesan and a few cracks of fresh black pepper. Enjoy!
This sweet and savory creamy pasta dish is the perfect main course for busy weeknights when you need something quick and hearty. It’s also easy to double or triple, making it great for serving guests! We love serving it on its own topped with a generous sprinkle of additional dairy-free parmesan, freshly sliced basil, and red pepper flakes for a kick of heat, if desired.
If you’re looking for a few simple side dishes and summer desserts to round out the meal, here are a few of our personal favorites:
This pasta is best enjoyed fresh while the sauce is extra rich and creamy, but leftover pasta will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Over time the pasta will absorb the cream sauce and become significantly thickened.
When reheating in the microwave or in a skillet on the stovetop, add a splash of unsweetened non-dairy milk or vegetable broth to help thin the buttery sauce out again and taste as fresh as possible.