Whole Wheat Pasta with Greens, Caramelized Onions, and Creamy Walnut Sauce

There’s a new category of food in our house these days that I like to call “decadent vegan.”  Regular vegan food, as everyone knows, is steamed quinoa with shredded carrots and a squeeze of lemon, but decadent vegan food is different.  It’s this creamy, hearty pasta, and my first experiment with deep-frying and that addictive roasted squash salad that we’re still making every chance we get.  In truth, a lot of recipes on this site fall into the decadent vegan category, but for some reason I hadn’t thought of them that way before.  This year, I’m making a conscious effort to cook more vegan meals.  Decadent, delicious vegan meals.

What are your favorite recipes or ideas that fall into the decadent vegan category?  Please share!

Pasta with Greens, Caramelized Onions, and Creamy Walnut SauceIf you keep a jar of caramelized onions in the fridge, as I’ve been doing lately, this recipe can be prepared in the time your pasta takes to cook.  And if you don’t keep a jar of caramelized onions in the fridge, I encourage you to start.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Greens, Caramelized Onions, and Creamy Walnut Sauce: Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Salt it well, then add 3/4 lb. whole wheat spaghetti.  While the pasta is cooking, make the walnut sauce in your food processor by grinding 1 1/2 c. walnuts, a large clove of garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt until smooth or slightly grainy, whichever you prefer.  Add 5 Tbsp. roasted walnut oil and mix again.  Scoop 1/4 c. hot water from the pasta pot and blend into the sauce to thin.

Just before the pasta is done, add a bunch of thinly-sliced washed greens to the pot (I used the tops from a bunch of beets) for the last 30 seconds of cooking time.  Reserve a mug of the cooking water and then drain the pasta and greens together.  Immediately transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and toss with a big scoop of caramelized onions (if they’re straight from the fridge, like mine, tossing them with the hot pasta right away will warm them up) and the walnut sauce.  Add some of the reserved cooking water if needed to moisten the pasta.  Season well with black pepper and taste for salt before serving.

Related Recipes:

Caramelized OnionsHow to Caramelize Onions



Caramelized Onion HummusCaramelized Onion Hummus



Curried Oatmeal with Greens and Caramelized OnionsSavory Oatmeal with Curry, Greens, and Caramelized Onions


30 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Pasta with Greens, Caramelized Onions, and Creamy Walnut Sauce

    1. emmycooks Post author

      I’m loving it too! Because then it’s so easy to add them to everything, and caramelizing 8 onions don’t take THAT much longer than doing 2. I also freeze them in 1-cup portions if I don’t think I’ll be using them up quickly.

  1. Karen

    Caramelized onions are the best. I’ve been using them in Butternut Squash, Black Bean & Chipotle Tamales lately. Thanks for the Creamy Walnut Sauce–that would make a delicious sauce for them.

  2. Eileen

    This sounds great! Another excellent reason to go get a food processor. One of these days… :) In the meantime, I think a cutting board variation is totally doable.

  3. Hannah

    Decadent vegan! I love it. I think of all my avocado-based salad dressings as decadent, and I guess they are vegan … also, cakey breads made with coconut oil instead of butter. Yum. I’m going to have to give this one a try very soon though – break us out of our caramelized-onion-and-ricotta rut! Walnuts here I come.

  4. Little Sis

    Decadent vegan is divine. I think the zucchini manicotti I made with cashew/sunflower cheese is our most decadent, and surprisingly fabulous vegan meal. This looks great – I had a Deborah Madison soup with a walnut cream a few months ago (forgot to post it…) and was thinking walnut cream should become a part of my kitchen vocab. Thanks for reminding me!

  5. sweetveg

    Yum! I love nut sauces. One of my favorite decadent vegan dishes is roasted seitan with cipollini onions and garlic in a balsamic marinade. It gets saucy and then you pour it over creamed root vegetables. It makes me sing.

  6. peasepudding

    That whole wheat pasta looks amazing, a bit like soba. Ive not used it before but going to try some now. Decadent is good and that walnut sauce certainly sounds great.

  7. Kim Reppart

    I’d love to make this but the hubby’s gone paleo, and I’m trolling your blog for adaptable recipes. How can I ditch the wheat pasta but keep the dish?

    1. emmycooks Post author

      Ok, I am not well versed in the paleo diet but I think this would make a great side dish without the pasta–just toss a ton of steamed kale with the walnut sauce and caramelized onions? Boy, if only I had a recipe index, it might be easier to find what you’re looking for around here! It’s on my to-do list. :)

  8. baconbiscuit212

    That looks amazing!

    Okay, I will ‘fess up: my lunch-time indulgence is the vegan, raw-food lasagne from the fancy juice bar down the street. Paper thin slices of zucchini instead of noodles. Layered with spicy raw tomato sauce, basil pesto, and cashew cream taking the place of béchamel.


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