Brown rice penne with creamy hemp seed-avocado sauce

Brown rice penne with creamy hemp seed-avocado sauce

This post was created in partnership with Califia Farms.


The kitchen renovation is in full swing. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting but I’ll tell you one thing: I wasn’t expecting for this process to be as taxing as it has been, especially considering we wound up hiring a contractor to man the project because gutting our space down to the studs (!) far exceeds our abilities (though the lady who came to remove + repurpose our old kitchen almost had me convinced we could harness the instructional powers of YouTube to do the damn thing ourselves). So although we’re not the ones doing any of the work (yet), we’re the ones who get text messages about concrete walls that won’t allow for proper mounting (so that’s why the previous owners glued the hanging cabinets to the wall) and a heads up that, “a 20 pound powder keg just came out of the stud bay and exploded on the ground.” Thankfully that white powder turned out to be diatomaceous earth (and is more annoying than it is harmful) and was not worth even 1/10th of the amount of stress it caused. Which, admittedly, had nothing to do with the fact that our place was covered in a superfine (and possibly toxic) powder and everything to do with the fact that I was concerned about the health and well being of our contractor.

Who, by the way, probably thinks I’m an overbearing basket case (and for the record: I totally am) but I’d like to think I get a free pass considering most of our belongings are covered in plastic drop cloths and everything we think we can’t live without is crammed into our 192 square foot bedroom. Which is where we’ve been living and where I anticipate we’ll be living until the kitchen is finished. It’s equal parts maddening and hilarious because 192 square feet is a tiny amount of space for two people, but I’ve somehow managed to turn it into our bedroom and living room and kitchen thanks to 1) clever storage solutions from IKEA and The Container Store (ok, and a few Costco boxes that got shoved in the top of our closet) and 2) a portable cooktop and snack-size refrigerator (both of which have made eating at home a breeze).

The good news? We haven’t succumbed to throw-away dinnerware or microwave dinners just yet (though the latter would be difficult considering we don’t own a microwave). But the bad news is I’ve been covering the cutting board with sheets of parchment paper so I have a feeling we’re not far off from disposable cutlery and things of the like. The other bad news? We’ve gotten into a few heated exchanges about my inability to clean up my messes, which means I should probably get it together because being a slob isn’t cool. Especially not when you’re confined to < 200 square feet with another human being who’s so tidy his half of the closet looks like an untouched and perfectly-folded corner of Neiman Marcus.

Anyway, let’s talk about this pasta for a minute because it’s been on heavy rotation since we started the renovation. Not only is it perfect served hot or cold, but making it is virtually painless (well, until I get to the part where I have to wash the dishes in the bathtub). However, it’s worth pointing out that I’m insanely particular about pasta noodles and their accompanying sauces. Semolina pasta (and other wheat varieties) is reserved for recipes that are meant to be smothered in hella olive oil/sea salt flakes/fresh cracked pepper and/or various tomato sauces (marinara, vodka, etc.). And brown rice pasta is reserved for experimental/non-traditional sauces like cashew fauxfredo (I’m not sure why I haven’t shared the recipe with you yet) and the sauce you see here. Just a little food for thought in the event you’re thinking about using one of the gluten-containing pastas.. or giving me serious side eye for using brown rice penne. ;)

From two cabinets to one drawerBedroom/kitchen/living room/OMGUntitledKitchen cart deluxeUnder-the-bed storage (LIFE SAVER)Shroomin'Brown rice penneCookin'Deconstructed hemp seed-avocado sauceCreamy hemp seed-avocado sauceCookin'+ + +Brown rice penne with creamy hemp seed-avocado sauceBrown rice penne with creamy hemp seed-avocado sauceBrown rice penne with creamy hemp seed-avocado sauceBrown rice penne with creamy hemp seed-avocado sauce

Notes: If you don’t have hemp seeds, you can replace them with 1/2 cup raw cashews, but you’ll have to soak them overnight for maximum softness (especially if you’re not using a high-powered blender). The sauce was based off of my recipe for spaghetti with avocado sauce, so if you’d prefer a sauce that’s heavy on the avocado and doesn’t rely on seeds, give it a go. I rarely ever measure when I make this sauce so if you want to estimate and just throw everything into a blender, have at it. You really can’t go wrong (though be careful with the garlic because it’s easy to go overboard).

This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, maker of my favorite non-GMO + carrageenan-free almondmilk (amongst other delicious beverages). All opinions are my own, and I think Califia rules.


2 cups fresh spinach leaves (or any leafy green)
1/2 cup (65g) hemp seeds
1 ripe avocado
, peeled and pitted
1/2 small yellow onion
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup (104g) Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
2 tablespoons (32g) fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon (11g) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (8g) nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt

You’ll also need
8 ounces brown rice pasta, cooked
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
Grape tomatoes, halved
Sautéed mushrooms
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Pinch of sea salt flakes
Cracked pepper

Add all the ingredients for the sauce to the base of a high powered blender (such as a Vitamix) and blend until smooth and creamy; about 1 minute. Transfer sauce to an air tight container and refrigerate until ready to use; will keep for up to five days. When you’re ready to serve, divide pasta between bowls and top with sauce (I like to go heavy on the sauce, but you could maaaybe get six servings out of this). Top with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, hemp seeds, and season with salt and pepper. Sauce can also be warmed, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

What happens when you shoot a blog post in your bedroom.


  • Reply Ellie | Hungry by Nature 10 March 2016 at 9:15 AM

    Ashlae, you continue to amaze me! I cannot imagine sleeping/lounging/living in a mere 192 square feet with my husband, much less cooking. This pasta looks delish and I cannot wait to try out that sauce. YUM.

  • Reply dixya | food, pleasure, and health 10 March 2016 at 9:30 AM

    from what i guys are doing such a good job…of course i wouldnt know the hassle that you are going through..its so neatly organized!!!! can i eat that sauce by the spoonful? it looks so luscious, creamy and everything i want.

  • Reply Katrina 10 March 2016 at 9:43 AM

    Hellooooo creamy dreamy sauce!! This looks wonderfully satisfying girl. Exactly what I’d need in the midst of a kitchen reno!!

  • Reply Libby 10 March 2016 at 10:05 AM

    Everything is so lovely here! The place looks absolutely dreamy and that pasta looks like exactly what I’m craving for dinner. :)

  • Reply Sara @ Cake Over Steak 10 March 2016 at 11:18 AM

    Wow, I’m really impressed. Your kitchen station is so cute and really satisfies the type A side of my brain. I’m envious of all of your Weck jars. Need to try this pasta ASAP!

  • Reply Laura 10 March 2016 at 11:24 AM

    I think I may have developed an allergy to avocados while we were in Hawaii.. but obviously I still really want this. Also I congratulate you on having the common sense to hire a pro to handle the most important room in your home. Been there, wish I had done that ;) xoxo

  • Reply hannah 10 March 2016 at 11:36 AM

    Damn! You’re a champ for enduring this in <200 sf. and providing home-cooked, healthful meals. What would we do without a Vitamix?? And no hate on the brown rice pasta – sure, there's a time and place where only the real deal will do, but I'm continually impressed with the texture and flavor of the br varieties out there. It's by far the best substitute. xo

  • Reply Becca 10 March 2016 at 6:56 PM

    I made this for dinner tonight (while wondering how the heck you made it in your bedroom) and it was delicious! I’m so happy you’ve started sharing more savory recipes this year because baking is not my forte, even when there’s a recipe to follow. :)

  • Reply Rhi 11 March 2016 at 2:28 AM

    This sounds amazing! And as a health conscious foodie of Italian origin I’m amazed to hear someone shares my philosophy on home made semolina/wheat pasta vs brown/zucchini pasta!! Can’t wait to try this recipe :-)
    PS. Long time lover of your blog, keep it up!

  • Reply Tori 11 March 2016 at 2:50 AM

    You’re awesome for creating fresh and delicious meals that look like THIS in the midst of a renovation! Kudos girl and good luck getting it finished!

  • Reply Nik@abrowntable 11 March 2016 at 11:18 AM

    One, your kitchen is so organized. I’m going to come and stay with you,so you can have an organize your life boot camp for me. Two, I’ve been looking at You tube videos too, this stuff ain’t easy but you guys are great at remodeling. Three, this pasta looks amazing!!!!

  • Reply genevieve @ gratitude & greens 11 March 2016 at 6:47 PM

    Okay, somehow you make living in 192 square feet look super cute and easy even though your post would suggest otherwise. That creamy hemp seed + avo sauce sounds incredible and I wish I had this sauce for my pasta tonight!

  • Reply Rachel | La Pêche Fraîche 13 March 2016 at 11:19 PM

    Whaaat! Power to you for being so organized, even in such a small space. Reminds me of keeping all my cooking supplies shoved under my bed and my kitchenaid in my closet in my tiny dorm room while a freshman in college, except your situation is looking a lot better than mine ever did. Also, this pasta sauce is happening soon for me because it sounds amazing and I have a big bag of hemp seeds to dispose of!!

  • Reply Sunday Swoon (on a Monday) - Fork Knife Swoon 14 March 2016 at 12:11 PM

    […] this pasta with creamy avocado sauce… cooked in a […]

  • Reply gina 14 March 2016 at 12:21 PM

    Wowzer, you guys look incredibly organized. I hate to admit, but if I was in that situation, I’m sure I would succumb to delivery on repeat.

  • Reply Abby | Lace & Lilacs 16 March 2016 at 1:23 PM

    I adore everything about this post… the photos! your home! this recipe! <3

  • Reply Ashley 18 March 2016 at 7:21 AM

    I am in awe and cannot believe you managed to make this in your bedroom turned kitchen. I do not envy your renovation woes but I’m sure I’ll envy your new kitchen. I can’t wait to see the reveal!

  • Reply Spring Reading and Links - Honest Beans 20 March 2016 at 8:18 AM

    […] Yum. Never a bad time for some avocado pasta. […]

  • Reply Lauren 12 April 2016 at 8:51 AM

    Made this last night (not in my bedroom :P) and it was phenomenal! My husband and I are huge nutritional yeast lovers so we couldn’t get enough of that sauce. And I love that it makes enough to pretty much drown your pasta in. Thanks for an awesome recipe!

  • Reply Things I’m Loving: March + April 2016 | Cake Over Steak 29 April 2016 at 4:01 AM

    […] Latte from How Sweet Eats • Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies from Love and Lemons • Brown Rice Penne with Creamy Hemp Seed Avocado Sauce from Oh, Ladycakes • Hard Cider French Onion Soup from Appeasing a Food Geek • Jeff’s […]

  • Reply Lacey 11 May 2016 at 3:09 AM

    Made this last night for me and my boyfriend and it was delicious! He loved the sauce. I also love how quick and easy it was for a week night meal. One question — The raw onion and garlic always give me bad onion/garlic breath and I was wondering if you had any recommendations to reduce the
    Pungency? I love the flavor but don’t love the taste of onion that lingers until the next day :) Thanks!

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