I love making this easy meal at least once a week! I make a big batch so my partner and I can have at least 2-3 meals each out of it.

Primarily, I like it because of 3 main reasons:

  • It's Vegan - I'm not a strict vegan since I sometimes eat eggs, but I avoid meat and dairy.
  • Easy & Quick - Great for nights where I'm not in the mood to do too much cooking because it's just a matter of prepping the broccoli, boiling the pasta, throwing stuff in a blender and then mixing it all up.
  • Filling & Nutritious - The cashews are a great source of protein and healthy fats while the broccoli and pumpkin provide vitamins and fiber.

Here's what ya need:

  • 2-3 large heads of broccoli, cut into medium florets
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 boxes of fusilli or small shell pasta
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • Hot water, as needed
  • 1 can (about 15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1.5 cups nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons grain mustard, divided
  • Vegan butter or olive oil, for pasta
  • A few splashes of unsweetened soy milk (I think almond milk would work fine too!)

You'll need some equipment:

  • Baking Sheets: for roasting the broccoli, sometimes I find I need two of them - you don't wanna overcrowd the broccoli!
  • Parchment Paper: so the broccoli doesn't stick to the pans and is easier to clean up.
  • Big Pot: 2 boxes usually is the max my largest pot can handle.
  • Colander: To drain the pasta.
  • Blender: For blending the cashews, pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, and seasonings into a sauce!
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: I usually loosely measure this stuff but they can come in handy if you're not sure!
  • Mixing Spoon: To stir and combine the pasta with the sauce and roasted broccoli. I like a good ol wooden spoon.
  • Knife: 4 choppin' broccoli.
  • Cutting Board: For safely + cleanly choppin' broccoli.
  • Oven Mitts: Don't burn yourself getting the broccoli outta the oven!

Time to make this stuff!

  1. Preheat the oven to 420°F (215°C): Line the baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Prepare the Broccoli: Cut up and place the broccoli florets on the baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and cracked black pepper. Toss 'em around to coat evenly. (Sometimes I throw all the broccoli in a bowl and really drench them with the olive oil but if that's too much oil for your tastes, drizzling them with a little over the pan is fine too! I'm just an olive oil freak.)

  3. Roast the Broccoli: Bake in the oven for about 20ish minutes, or until the florets are crispy and starting to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.

  4. Cook the Pasta: While the broccoli is roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.

  5. Make the Pumpkin Cheese Sauce: In a blender, combine the raw cashews with just enough hot water to cover them. Add the pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, a pinch of salt, black pepper, and one tablespoon of grain mustard. Blend until smooth. (If it seems to thick, add a little more hot water. If it's too thin, add more cashews + nutritional yeast!)

  6. Combine: Add a little vegan butter or olive oil to the drained pasta along with a few splashes of soy milk and the prepared pumpkin cheese sauce. Stir until the pasta is evenly coated.

  7. Finally: Add in the remaining tablespoon of grain mustard and the roasted broccoli until everything is well combined.

  8. Serve: Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve warm!
Serving Suggestions

Enjoy this meal as is or with a side salad for a complete meal.

I love Tajin seasoning sprinkled on at the end, it give it a nice bright flavor.

I also tried using lemon-infused olive oil on the broccoli before and it was amazing!

Store the leftovers in an airtight container and enjoy within 2-3 days.

I haven't tried it, but I'm sure this could be made gluten-free with your favorite gluten-free pasta!

Another thing I haven't tried, but I think if you were allergic to cashews, you could try a nut-free vegan cheese. This recipe from Nora Cooks looks good!

I also have to give credit to Minimalist Baker as this sauce is inspired from how many times I've made her 5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso! Also, I bet that would taste super good on pasta too. Hmm...