get your pasta fix – creamy pasta with broccoli

It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter in Chicago; and according to Mr. Groundhog – we’ll have to put up with 6 more weeks of it. Blah.

It’s amazing how our moods, energy, and habits are all affected when the sun forgets to make an appearance and below freezing temperatures keep us tucked away inside. If your like me (a self-declared homebody-introvert), maybe you’ve been feeling a lack of motivation or desire to venture out into the frozen tundra. Because I haven’t been getting to the grocery store as much, I’ve been forced into my pantry to create meals with what’s inside. I’ve been craving warm, hearty, and filling meals – but don’t really want to deal with the tummy aches and grog that comes along with refined grains and dairy.

Lucky for me, I had all of the ingredients on hand to create this creamy, rich pasta dish to satisfy my comfort food cravings. This recipe has been a staple in my kitchen the past few weeks. It’s quick and easy to make and oh-so comforting and delicious. I shared it with my ‘Kickstart Detox’ class a few weeks ago and someone proclaimed it ‘the best pasta they ever had.’

Not too shabby.

The creamy sauce comes from blending cashews with caramelized onion, garlic, and nutritional yeast for a little bit of that ‘umami cheesiness’. Add a few handfuls of broccoli florets to the cooking water a minute or two before the pasta is cooking and drain it all together to save a pot.

I’ve liked using the brown rice pasta shells (Tinkayada brand) but use whatever you like or have hanging out in your pantry.

Hopefully this clean-eating comfort food will ease your wintertime blues as it has mine.

And spring will be here soon enough. Right??

Creamy Pasta with Broccoli


1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup cashews, soaked in water for about 30 minutes
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt

8-10 ounces brown rice or quinoa pasta (or whatever you prefer)
4 cups broccoli florets


Bring pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat skillet over medium heat. Add coconut oil, and sauté onion over low heat until soft, caramelized, and fragrant; about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and stir for another minute or two. Turn off heat.

When water begins to boil, cook pasta according to instructions. Add broccoli florets to pot 1 minute before pasta is done.

While pasta cooks, add sautéed onion and garlic, drained cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, paprika, red pepper flakes, water, and sea salt to blender. Blend until smooth.

When pasta and broccoli are done cooking, drain and rinse with cool water. Return to pot and turn heat to low. Pour creamy cashew sauce over pasta and stir until thick and coated. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper.


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