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
orecchiette (or your favorite pasta)
coconut oil (unrefined)
large shallots, finely chopped (about 3/4 to 1 cup in total)
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Aleppo pepper (or substitute cayenne or red chile flakes, to taste)
coarsely chopped greens, such as kale, Swiss chard, or mature spinach, stems and tough ribs removed (see author note for substituting baby greens)
to 2 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 3 ears of corn)
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente according to package directions.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Divide among plates, and sprinkle nutritional yeast over the top. Serve warm.