This creamy corn pasta with basil and lemon comes together in just 20 minutes. The flavorful dairy-free corn sauce is made from blending up buttery corn with aromatics. Perfect for a last minute, yet impressive vegan meal worth sharing with company.
Thank you to Stahlbush Island Farms for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
A bit like an eggless carbonara, this creamy vegan pasta is made without any store-bought vegan cream, cashew-based cream, or a roux. So what makes this sauce so light and creamy while being completely dairy-free, you may ask? In short, by blending up the corn!
Think of the thickening power of cornstarch (or corn flour) – when combined with a liquid and heated, it thickens the liquid and creates a smooth sauce. Here, we sauté whole corn kernels and then blend them up – the natural starches and moisture in the corn are released, resulting in a smooth sauce which is buttery, light, and creamy.
Without a lick of cream, the flavor is amazing with sautéed onion, garlic, and white wine. Fresh basil and lemon round out the dish, whilst nutritional yeast (or vegan Parmesan) add some depth. Toss in some red pepper flakes if you like a bit of heat!
Why You’ll Love This Pasta Recipe
- Adaptable – Use frozen or canned corn in the winter, or make this a summer corn pasta recipe using fresh corn off the cob. Feel free to toss in extra veggies like fresh tomatoes and sautéed zucchini.
- Quick & Easy – Ready to serve in 20 minutes!
- Simple Ingredients – You may have all of the pantry staple ingredients already.
- Dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free, depending on the pasta noodles you use.
- Economical – This is a cashew-free creamy sauce so this recipe is economical (cashews tend to be a bit pricey) and nut-free.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Pasta – Use any size and shape of pasta noodle you like. Use gluten-free noodles to make this a gluten-free vegan pasta dinner.
- Olive oil – For sautéing the onions and garlic. May use vegan butter if desired.
- Onion & Garlic – Adds extra flavor to the sauce.
- White Wine – For deglazing the pan, richer flavor, and to thin the sauce a little. May use veggie broth instead.
- Vegan Butter – For enriching the sauce, and sautéing the corn. Vegan block-style butter works best as it has a lower water content than tub-style vegan butter (or margarine.)
- Nutritional Yeast – Creates a cheesy, umami flavor. Vegan Parmesan cheese also works well if you have some on hand.
- Lemon Juice – The acidity provides balance and brightens the flavors. I also like to add in the lemon zest.
- Fresh Basil – Pairs so well with corn!
- Red Pepper Flakes – These are optional as they provide some heat.
- Corn – I used Stahlbush Island Farms ‘ frozen Super Sweet Corn. Frozen straight from harvest, it’s as fresh tasting and sweet as the day it was picked, and I love that it’s available year round. If you only have fresh corn on the cob or canned corn, those both work very well in this recipe, too. This summery pasta dish uses 4 cups (700 g) of corn kernels in total, which is about 8 ears of corn. Half of the corn is blended up to create the sauce, and the remaining corn kernels are left whole and tossed in with the pasta.
Using fresh corn on the cob? Try boiling the corn in the water that you’ll be cooking the pasta in, which will infuse the noodles with extra corn flavor!
Making this during barbeque season? If you’d like to add a smoky flavor to the pasta (which is so good!), grill fresh corn on the cob to toss in with the creamy corn sauce and noodles. Check out this article on how to grill corn.
This sweet corn pasta is adaptable – add in more of your favorite summer veggies! Sautéed zucchini half moons, halved fresh cherry tomatoes, asparagus, and snap peas are all tasty and vibrant additions.
How to Make this Creamy Corn Pasta
Find the instructions with the ingredient measurements in the recipe card below.
Have all your ingredients measured and prepped – this vegan pasta recipe comes together quickly in just 20 minutes!
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. If you’re using corn on the cob, try cooking the corn first in the same pot of water so the noodles will end up with a nice corn flavor.
- While the pasta cooks, sauté the onions and garlic, add the wine, half of the corn, and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Purée the onion and corn mixture in a blender with nutritional yeast and lemon juice.
- Sauté the remaining corn in vegan butter; add the lemon zest.
- Combine the cooked pasta noodles with the creamy corn sauce, buttery corn kernels, and fresh basil. Serve immediately.
Creamy corn pasta is amazing all on its own, but grilled vegetables with avocado chimichurri sauce are beautiful and vibrant served as a side dish. For a luncheon, Asparagus and Pesto Cashew Cheese Tart would be lovely with the corn pasta. If you’re hosting a summer dinner party, these grillable vegan burgers are a crowd favorite to serve with pasta. Berry lemon thyme spritzers round off the summer themed meal nicely!
Make Ahead Option
While the corn sauce for the pasta takes only a few minutes to prepare, you can make it ahead of time if needed. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to reheat it (up to 5 days.) The sauce will thicken as it chills – thin it with hot veggie broth to get the consistency you desire.
Like all cooked pasta, the noodles will continue to soften and swell if made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. As such, if you need to make this entire pasta dish ahead of time, try slightly undercooking the pasta by a couple of minutes so the noodles aren’t so soft when you go to reheat them. Read below on seasoning during reheating.
Storage & Reheating Suggestions
Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can freeze it, but I find the noodles tend to get quite soggy once thawed. If you choose to freeze it, allow the pasta to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
To reheat pasta, add a bit of vegan butter or a splash of water to a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the leftover corn pasta and stir frequently (but gently) until heated through. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a pat of vegan butter, and some salt to help brighten the flavors. A splash of broth or water as it reheats will help bring the light cream sauce back. You can also reheat the pasta in the microwave for 30 second bursts, repeating until the portion is heated through.
Hungry for More Easy Vegan Pasta Recipes?
- Garlic Miso Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower
- One-Pot Spinach & Artichoke Pasta
- Garlic Crumb Pasta with Seared Mushrooms & Kale
- Cherry Tomato Pasta
- One-Skillet Greek Orzo & Chickpeas
If you make this Creamy Corn Pasta, please give it a rating in the recipe card and leave a comment below! Follow along on Instagram where you can tag me in your creations using my recipes! You can also follow me on Pinterest for vegan recipe inspiration and on Facebook. Thank you for reading!
Creamy Corn Pasta (Vegan)
- 12 oz dry pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼-½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ cup dry white wine (or vegetable broth)
- 4 cups corn kernels, divided (See Notes for options)
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (or vegan Parmesan, may use more to taste)
- 4 tbsp vegan butter
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil, julienned
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water before straining the cooked pasta.
- In a medium-sized saucepan or skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using), and sauté another minute. Pour in the white wine. When it comes to a simmer, add in 2 cups (350 g) of the corn kernels. Reduce the heat and simmer for a minute or two, until the corn is heated through. Remove from heat, and pour in the lemon juice and nutritional yeast. Add the corn mixture to a blender. Blend on high until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. This may take a few minutes.
- In the same skillet you used to cook the first half of the corn, heat the butter over medium. Once melted and hot, add the remaining 2 cups (350 g) of corn kernels. Sauté for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.
- Combine the creamed corn sauce with the drained, cooked pasta. Stir in the buttery corn kernels and basil. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water if the sauce needs to be thinned, or an extra squeeze of lemon juice to taste. (The sauce will thicken as it cools.) Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be considered an estimate rather than a guarantee. Crumbs & Caramel makes no guarantees as to the accuracy of this information.
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