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Orecchiette with Creamy Carrot Miso Sauce

 A simple delicious vegan recipe for Orecchiette with Creamy Carrot Miso Sauce, topped with a bright and flavorful Carrot Top Gremolata (optional) and Toasted Bread Crumbs.

We’ve been loving this vegan Orecchiette Pasta lately and I think you might too. It features fresh, happy carrots, not just the roots, but the tops too!  The Orecchiette pasta is the perfect little scoop for the creamy carrot sauce. Pillowy cups of goodness.

The carrot sauce is so simple to make and basically simmers while the orecchiette pasta cooks, very quick and efficient – and then it is blended into the creamiest silkiest sauce that glows with nutrients.

The vibrant green carrot tops are turned into a tasty, herby Gremolata Sauce. Double the flavor and double the nutrients!

Why this Orecchiette works?

It hits all the marks for me:

  • satisfyingly creamy -yet surprisingly vegan!
  • so much depth and umami (from the miso)
  • gratifying texture and crunch (from the toasted bread crumbs)
  • bright and tangy flavors from Carrot-Top Gremolata
  • full of nutrients!

Altogether it is an orchestra of flavors- and basically- it just makes me happy!

Try it and see if it makes you happy too. Just curious.

It starts with fresh sweet carrot and their tops. If you can’t find carrot tops, feel free to sub flat-leaf parsley.

Slice the carrots thinly for the fastest cooking, and rough-chop the garlic and shallots.

Saute the shallots and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until golden and fragrant.

Add the carrots, water, and cashews, and let simmer covered until the carrots are tender- about 15 minutes. At the same time cook the Orecchiette pasta.

When the carrots are tender, stir in the miso. I like to use white miso here to help keep the sauce bright and orange.

Then you will blend it into a silky smooth sauce.

To make the Carrot top Gremolata, pick a 1/2 cup of tender carrot tops.  Alternatively you can use flat-leaf parsley.

Place in a food processor with parsley, lemon zest and a garlic clove. Pulse repeatedly.

Add olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and salt.

Set aside.

Toast up some bread crumbs.

Here I’ve toasted panko with a little olive oil, salt, and granulated garlic. You could make your own bread crumbs with leftover crusty bread- sourdough if you are on that train. 🙂

The bread crumbs add the PERFECT TEXTURE to the creamy pasta. TRUST ME!

Drain the orecchiette pasta and pour the creamy carrot sauce over top.

It will almost feel like creamy mac and cheese but wayyyyyyy better.

Divide among bowls and sprinkle with bread crumbs.

The pasta is good without the Gremolata, but the gremolata really elevates it.

I hope you have beautiful weekend friends.  You’ll find the freshest carrots (and their vibrant green tops) at the farmers market this weekend so get outside, get some fresh air and go get some carrots.

Orecchiette with Creamy Carrot Miso Sauce (Vegan)

Orecchiette with Creamy Carrot Miso Sauce (Vegan)

Yield: 3-4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

A simple delicious vegan recipe for Orecchiette with Creamy Carrot Miso Sauce, topped with a bright and tasty Carrot Top Gremolata (optional) and Toasted Bread Crumbs. Flavorful and healthy!

Instructions

Ingredients

  • 8–10 ounces orecchiette pasta, cooked in salted water, according to package directions.

Carrot Miso Sauce:

  • 2 shallots, rough chopped (or 1/2 an onion)
  • 4–6 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 heaping cups carrots, thinly sliced (3 medium carrots)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews (or sub raw hemp seeds)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons White Miso Paste

Carrot Top Gremolata (optional, but tasty)  

  • 1/2 cup carrot tops (small tender leaves) packed or sub 1/2 cup more Italian Parsley
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley
  • 1 fat garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest ( zest from one med lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup– 1/2 cup olive oil (make sure it is not bitter-taste it!)
  • 1–2 teaspoons lemon juice.

Toasted Bread Crumbs

  • 1/2 –1 cup panko
  • olive oil to coat
  • salt and garlic powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. COOK PASTA: Set 6-8 cups salted water to boil for pasta, and cook according to directions.
  2. COOK the SAUCE: Heat oil in a medium pot, over medium heat. Saute shallot and garlic until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add carrots, cashews, water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to low and simmer gently until carrots are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of miso ( it doesn’t need to dissolve fully) and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. While the carrots simmer make the optional Carrot Top Gremolata and Toasted Panko or Bread Crumbs (see notes!) 
  4. BLEND THE CARROT MISO SAUCE: Once the carrots are tender and slightly cooled, place all in a high-speed blender, covering tightly with a kitchen towel, blend on the lowest setting, gradually increasing speed, until fully blended, creamy and silky smooth about 1- 1 1/2 minutes. Take your time here and get it SMOOTH!!!
  5. Drain the pasta and pour the sauce over the pasta, gently warming if needed. Taste and adjust salt. (If you didn’t salt your pasta water, chances are you’ll need salt.)
  6. Divide among bowls, and sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs and spoon the flavorful Carrot Top Gremolata over top.

Notes

Feel free to toss in 1 cup of other veggies into the cooking pasta at the end to steam. For example, sometimes I’ll add a cup of peas to quickly blanch in with the pasta at the last minute.

You can make the sauce ahead, refrigerate and warm up before serving.

Carrot TOP Gremolata: 

  1. Place carrot leaves, parsley, lemon zest and garlic in a food processer and pulse repeatedly until finely chopped. Add the salt and oil, pulsing a few more times until incorporated (but not too smooth). Add more oil if you prefer a looser version.

Toasted Bread Crumbs or Panko. 

  1. Place a 1/2 -1 cup of bread crumbs or panko in a large skillet over medium heat, and drizzle with just enough olive oil to lightly coat. Add a good pinch of salt and granulated garlic if you like. Stir until golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

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I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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