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Close-up shot of a wooden spoon lifting up creamy corn fusilli
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Melissa Clark's Creamy Corn Pasta {Vegan Version}

The original version of this recipe called for orecchiette or farfalle, but these have been replaced by fusilli-shaped bean pasta to increase nutrient density and eliminate gluten. You can use any other small form of bean pasta available on the market (rotini, penne, rigatoni, shells, etc.). Corn and basil from the farmer's market are great for this creamy dish, but frozen corn will do too. If you're worried about the amount of heat, consider starting with a little less chili than requested or simply omit this ingredient – especially if you're making this dish for kids. They'll love it a lot more without it, and you will whichever it's prepared. I guarantee it.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Servings: 4


  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ packages dry bean pasta (about 12 oz/340 g)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bunch of green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced ​​(keep the whites and greens separated) (about 8)
  • 3 large ears corn, peeled and kernels removed (3 cups of kernels)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted non-dairy butter
  • ½ cup grated vegan Parmesan, more to taste
  • cup chopped basil or mint, more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes or to taste
  • Fresh lemon juice, as needed


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water with the corn on the cob to a boil. Cook pasta for up to 1 minute before being al dente, according to package directions. Drain and reserve ½ cup of pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat; add the garlic, green onion whites, and a pinch of salt and cook until tender, 3 minutes. Add ¼ cup of water and all but ¼ cup of corn; simmer until corn is heated through and almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper, transfer to a blender and puree until smooth, adding a little more water if necessary to achieve a thick but pourable texture.
  • Heat the same pan over high heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Add ¼ cup of reserved corn kernels and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. (Kernels may burst; put a fine rack on top of the pan if you have one.) Add the corn mash and cook for 30 seconds to heat through and combine the flavors.
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Add the pasta and half of the cooking water reserved for the pasta, stirring to coat. Cook for 1 minute, then add a little more pasta cooking water if the mixture seems too thick. Stir in ¼ cup of the green onion greens, vegan Parmesan, herbs, red pepper flakes, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to taste. Transfer to hot pasta bowls and garnish with more green onions, herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and black pepper.


  • Cooking the pasta in corn broth intensifies the corn flavor. 
  • Make sure to reserve a quarter cup of corn kernels for sprinkling at the end.