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April 16, 2013

Penne Primavera with Avocado Cashew Cream

Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson

  • Celebrate the season with this quick and creamy pasta. Lori Maffei

Serves 4

12 to 16 ounces (340g to 450g) penne pasta
1 1/2 cups (approx 250g) small broccoli florets
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini (courgette) or yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup (115g) raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup (225ml) hot vegetable broth or water (more if needed)
1-2 ripe Haas avocados, halved and pitted
2 scallions (spring onions), chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
Plain unsweetened almond milk (if needed)
1 cup (225g) grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/3 cup (small bunch) chopped fresh basil leaves or parsley
Whole fresh basil leaves (for garnish)

Cook the penne in a large pot of salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until it is tender, about 10 minutes.

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 them to the pot.

While the pasta is cooking, combine the drained cashews, garlic, and broth in a high-speed blender or food processor. Process until smooth and well blended. 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. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.

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.


  • For a thinner sauce, add some almond milk; for a thicker sauce, add additional avocado.
  • While this recipe calls for penne pasta, any bite-sized pasta will work well.
  • Use gluten-free pasta to make this gluten-free.
  • This dish is best if eaten immediately after preparation, since the sauce may begin to turn brown if made in advance.

Recipe from Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.


All figures are per serving (assumes 4 servings).

Calories: 478
Fat: 22 g
Carbs: 106 g
Fiber: 51 g
Protein: 87 g
Sodium: 603 mg