Vegan Corn Pesto Pasta with Zucchini

  • Author: Shannon
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x



  • 3 1/4 cups of corn kernels (cut from approximately 4 ears of corn)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp coarse grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1-2 tsp
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan Parmesan style cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts), toasted, plus 1-2 tbsp more for topping
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup basil, torn or chiffonaded, plus more for garnish
  • 1216 oz vegan Farfalle pasta (gluten-free if desired)
  • 12 medium-sized zucchini (depending on your zucchini loving level), thinly sliced lengthwise using a non-serrated Y peeler for long, thin strips*


  • Add 1-2 tsp of olive oil to a cast-iron skillet. Add the garlic and sautee for 2 minutes. Then add the smoked paprika and cook for another minute before adding the corn and salt. Sauté the corn over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until corn is tender.
  • Transfer 1 cup of the corn kernels into a bowl. Add the rest of the skillet cooked corn kernels into a food processor with an S blade. Add the vegan Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and crushed red pepper. Then puree the mixture, streaming in the olive oil while the processor is running, until smooth. Taste the pesto and adjust the seasonings as desired (add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste). Set the pesto aside. 
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions; typically, fill a large pot with water (salted if desired) and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, stir occasionally and cook until al dente. 
  • Drain the pasta with a collander, reserving a 1/4 cup of the pasta water.**
  • Return the pasta back to the pot (off of the heat source). Add the pesto, reserved corn kernels and basil and gently toss to evenly coat. Add the zucchini strips and gently toss again (or reserve the strips for plating).
  • Season the pasta with salt, pepper, more splashes of lemon juice and crushed red pepper as desired. Garnish with fresh basil and pine nuts. Serve and enjoy!


  • *If the zucchini ribbons appear weepy after you peel them into strips, lay them flat on a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle a bit of salt over the top of the strips. Set aside.
  • **If desired, you can use the the reserved pasta water to thin the pesto (sauce) to your preferred consistency. 
  • I selected Fafalle (bowtie) pasta for this recipe, but you can swap this with your favorite vegan pasta variety. 
  • Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.