Creamy Corn Pasta With Coconutty Greens

June 24, 2020
7 Ratings
Photo by Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This simple, summer pasta delivers everything I want in a weeknight dinner: tons of seasonal vegetables, bright, vivid flavors, and lots of cozy vibes. My recipe takes inspiration from creamed corn—a summertime staple across the South and Midwest—with a few updates. Coconut milk, which stands in for heavy cream, lightly cloaks the freshly cut corn and leafy greens, letting their flavors shine through. Lime zest, curry powder, and chile flakes add oomph, and fresh thyme an extra layer of brightness. A big pot of al dente pasta is the perfect vehicle for the creamed vegetables—especially orecchiette which catches the corn and sauce in its little cups. Bonus: the dish is vegan and hearty enough to satisfy any meat eaters at your table.

A few notes and tips: Hearty greens like kale, collards, and Swiss chard all work well in the recipe (though cooking time will likely vary from bunch to bunch). If using baby greens, such as spinach or arugula, add them in Step 5 when tossing the pasta with the coconut-creamed corn; a quick wilt is all that’s needed. When sweet corn isn’t in season, frozen corn works nicely—just sauté for a bit longer in Step 3 until tender. For serving, I like topping with nutritional yeast for an extra umami boost; Parmesan or Pecorino (though not vegan) can be used if preferred. —EmilyC

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound orecchiette (or your favorite pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (unrefined)
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped (about 3/4 to 1 cup in total)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or substitute cayenne or red chile flakes, to taste)
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped greens, such as kale, Swiss chard, or mature spinach, stems and tough ribs removed (see author note for substituting baby greens)
  • 2 cups to 2 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 3 ears of corn)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • Finely grated zest + juice from 1 lime
  • Nutritional yeast, for serving (optional)
  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente according to package directions.
  2. In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, thyme, Aleppo, and a big pinch of salt. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, or until starting to soften.
  3. Add the greens to the skillet, tossing to coat in the oil. Saute for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until nearly tender. Add the corn, a big pinch or two of salt, and the curry powder (if using) and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and lime zest, and bring to a simmer. Maintain a gentle simmer for a few minutes, during which time the coconut milk should start to nicely thicken from the starches in the corn. (If the pasta isn’t ready, remove the skillet from the heat.)
  5. Drain the pasta, and toss it with the creamed corn and greens. Add lime juice, starting with 1 teaspoon and adding more to taste. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Divide among plates, and sprinkle nutritional yeast over the top. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • EmilyC
  • CC
  • Jessica Rodriguez
    Jessica Rodriguez
  • Cat

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

5 Reviews

CC December 30, 2021
This recipe is amazing! Will definitely make this again.
Jessica R. July 26, 2020
I made this last night and it was amazing. Super easy and wonderful flavors!
EmilyC July 27, 2020
So happy to hear this, Jessica! Thanks for your note!
Cat July 2, 2020
Step 2 says to add the garlic, but I don't see garlic on the ingredient list.
EmilyC July 2, 2020
Hi Cat, it should be 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced. Thanks for the catch; I’ll update the recipe!