Creamy Spinach Avocado Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Parmesan


I bet you’ve never had avocado in your pasta before! You might be skeptical, but trust me this one is a winner! Pasta and spinach get cooked together and tossed in a creamy, tangy, avocado sauce spiked with umami-rich miso paste. Top it off with a pumpkin seed “parmesan” and lots of black pepper for a comforting yet light pasta dinner.

Ingredient Highlight

Nutritional yeast! AKA “nooch” is a deactivated form form of bakers and brewer’s yeast (meaning don’t use it to make bread) and is used to add cheesy flavor to vegan recipes. It’s known for its high amounts of protein and is often enriched vitamin B12, two important nutrients for those who don’t eat animal products.

You can usually find it in the baking or spices section of the grocery store.

Servings 4 People
Prep Time 10 minutes


  • 12-16 oz penne or other pasta shape
  • 4 cups raw spinach or 2 cups frozen
  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley optional
  • 2 med-large ripe avocados, pitted, scooped out about 1 ½ cups when cubed
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp mellow white miso paste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Pumpkin seed “parmesan”:*

  • ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Or just use the real stuff! You sub ½ cup parm for the nutritional yeast for a pumpkin seed parmesan mix.
  • Note: the sauce is very thick from the avocado and can make it hard to blend. I find it easiest to start at a low speed, then increase slowly to high and go back and forth doing this. You can always add more water if needed.


  • Bring a large pot filled with about 4 quarts water and plenty of salt (about 2 tbsp) to boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Add the spinach once the pasta is done and stir it in to wilt down. Drain and set aside (or transfer back to the pot if your sauce is ready!).
  • While the pasta cooks, in a high-speed blender, add your pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, and salt and blend on high into a fine parmesan-like texture with some chunks. Transfer to a bowl.
  • No need to clean the blender. Add parsley (if using), avocado, water, olive oil, lemon, miso, garlic, and salt. Blend until smooth. If it is not blending, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it blends easily. The amount of water you’ll need depends on the size of your avocado since they vary so much. The texture should be thick and it will be a bit gloppy from the avocado. Taste and add more lemon or salt, if needed. You should have about 2 cups of sauce.
  • Add pasta back to the pot, pour the avocado sauce over top, and stir to coat. Serve topped with pumpkin seed parm and lots of black pepper. Only sauce what you’ll eat – leftovers should be stored separately.

Items you can prep ahead (optional)

  • Make pumpkin seed parmesan
  • Make avocado sauce


  • To make gluten-free, sub with gluten-free pasta (Jovial Foods in my fav).
  • Use ream parm in place of pumpkin seed “parm”. See note under recipe.
  • To up the protein, add ½ cup hemp seeds to the avocado sauce – you’ll likely need to increase the water to ¾ cup. 
  • Try topping with a fried egg for protein.
  • If you don’t have miso paste, add 1-2 tbsp soy sauce instead. 


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer:
    • Leftover pasta/spinach: up to 5 days in the fridge
    • Leftover sauce: up to 5 days in the fridge

Leftovers + Repurposing:

  • Store leftover pasta and sauce separately. When it’s time to eat, just heat up the pasta and toss in the sauce. If the sauce is super cold, microwave the pasta again for 10-20 seconds after saucing. 
  • Top with lots of pumpkin seed parm + black pepper. A Drizzle of good olive oil is a nice touch!
  • Try topping with a fried egg.

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