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Vegetable Pasta

Vegetable Pasta is an amazing combination of your favorite veggies tossed with pasta and slathered in the ultimate creamy sauce that is secretly healthy -- no heavy cream, milk, flour, or speciality ingredients needed to get this level of creaminess!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword vegetable pasta
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 397kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $9.24


  • 4 cups penne pasta uncooked
  • 3 cups broccoli, finely chopped
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (or thinly sliced green onions)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 can (14.25 oz.) creamed corn
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3/4 cup grated carrots Note 1
  • 1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese Note 2
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil Note 3
  • Optional: red pepper flakes (for heat), fresh lemon juice/zest if desired


  • PREP: Chop fresh broccoli into small florets. If using frozen, let them stand out for a few minutes and then give a quick coarse chop. Measure and set aside.
  • PASTA AND BROCCOLI: Set a large colander in the sink with a glass mug or liquid measuring cup in the center of the colander. (This is so you don't forget to reserve some pasta water before draining the pasta!) Bring a large pot (5.5-quart or bigger) of water to boil. Once boiling, generously salt the water (I add 1 tablespoon fine sea salt.) Return to a boil and then add in the penne. Cook according to package directions, subtracting one minute. Two minutes before draining, add in the chopped broccoli. Right before draining, remove 1 cup of pasta water and then drain. Do not rinse.
  • SAUCE: Meanwhile, thinly slice the shallots or green onions. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to a large pot or sauté pan (big enough to hold all the pasta and vegetables) over medium heat. Once melted, add shallots and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes. Add in garlic and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid from the pasta (just dip a measuring cup into the pot if the pasta is still boiling). Stir. Finally, add in the full can of creamed corn and mix. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Use a spatula to scrape every bit of the mixture from the pot to a blender. Blend mixture until very smooth (~1-2 minutes on high). See Note 4.
  • SAUCE CONT.: While the mixture is blending, return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter and melt. Once melted, add in 1 cup frozen corn, grated carrots, and red pepper strips and cook, for 3-4 minutes or until crisp tender. Scrape every bit of the blended corn mixture into pan and mix. Reduce heat to medium and simmer to combine flavors until pasta is done cooking.
  • TOSS: Add drained pasta and broccoli and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and toss vigorously to coat. Toss and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add a little more of the pasta cooking water if the mixture seems too thick. While tossing, gradually add in the Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue to toss until cheese is melted and sauce is thick and coats the pasta nicely. Taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste (I typically add 1/2 up to 1 teaspoon pepper and another pinch of salt). Mix in the basil and serve.
  • SERVE: Serve plates of pasta, garnishing with additional basil and Parmesan if desired and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes if using. Enjoy immediately!



Note 1: Carrots: Grate large carrots on the large holes of a cheese grater. Measure and add.
Note 2: Parmesan cheese: Grate a block of Parmesan on the small holes of a grater. Alternatively, use finely grated Parmesan cheese. Parmesan from the can will be too salty and won't melt into the sauce nicely.
Note 3: Basil: The basil adds so much to this recipe! I wouldn't recommend leaving it out, but if you aren't a fan, try flat-leaf Italian parsley instead.
Note 4: Blending: When blending, make sure to secure the lid on tightly and select the “soup” or “hot” cycle. Increase speed slowly and watch it carefully to avoid sauce exploding out or over. Remove the lid carefully as it will likely release a burst of steam. If your blender doesn’t have a hot/soup setting, you can compensate by replacing the blender lid with a folded towel and holding it in place with your hands. This will help reduce steam pressure. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.9g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 11.4g | Cholesterol: 25.2mg | Sodium: 153mg | Fiber: 5.1g | Sugar: 7.3g