Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta – Vegan with GF Option

Side view of a plate of gemelli pasta in a light cream sauce with asparagus and spring peas with glasses of wine in the background

Ready in less than 20 minutes, this simple creamy lemon pasta with asparagus and peas is a delicious and satisfying vegan meal. The fresh taste of spring green veggies is complimented by a bit of olive oil, lemon, lots of garlic, nutritional yeast (or vegan Parmesan) plus blended cashews for creaminess. Easy enough for a weeknight and fancy enough for company!

Flat lay of Creamy Lemon Pasta with Asparagus and Peas in a White Enamel Skillet

If you’re living in the Northern Hemisphere, you’re likely finding the onset of spring particularly welcoming this year given what we’re all going through with the pandemic. It’s hard not to feel a little a lot more cheerful with the birds singing, the leaves popping open on the trees, and the increase in daylight hours. I always look forward to springtime produce, too- tender asparagus and early sweet peas are my favorites!

This vegan pasta dish is a celebration of spring. As it turns out, it’s also a celebration of a solid recipe – my four year old declared recently that he wants to “eat dis every night… forevah.” Needless to say, this vegan pasta primavera is going to be a regular at our house from now on! I hope it will be at yours, too!

Flay lay of a plate of creamy vegan lemon pasta with asparagus and peas. A slice of lemon sits beside the plat and a glass of wine

This Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta is:

  • ready in under 20 minutes
  • a nutritious vegan dinner
  • comforting
  • delicious
  • kid friendly
  • a great option for serving vegans and non-vegans alike
  • makes great leftovers
  • gluten-free if using gluten-free pasta.
Flay lay of the ingredients in this recipe measured out but but before any trimming or chopping

Vegan Creamy Lemon Pasta with Asparagus Step by Step:

While you sauté the vegetables and prepare the sauce, cook the pasta. The entire meal can be done in under 20 minutes!

  1. Prep all your veggies. Things come together quickly, so have all your ingredients ready before you start cooking.
  2. If you don’t have a high speed blender, quick soak your cashews. Put them in a small post, cover them with water and bring to a boil for about 5-10 minutes. Drain completely.
  3. Get your water boiling and cook the noodles al dente according to package instructions.
  4. Saut­é the veggies in a large skillet – spring veggies only need a few minutes!
  5. While the veggies are cooking, blend up the cashew cream.
  6. Pour the cream sauce into the veggies. Simmer briefly to thicken the sauce.
  7. Toss in the drained noodles, and enjoy!
Flat lay of cooked gemelli pasta noodles in a stainless steel strainer
Prepare the Pasta
Flat lay of cooked asparagus in a white enamel skilllet
Sauté the Asparagus & Shallot
Flat lay of asparagus and peas in a white enamel skillet
Add in the Peas, Lemon, Nutritional Yeast
Flat lay of asparagus and peas in a lemon cream sauce
Stir in the Cashew Cream
Flat lay of creamy lemon pasta with asparagus and peas in a white enamel skillet
Toss in the Cooked Pasta, Enjoy!

How to Make Vegan Cream Sauce:

Contrary to (some) expectations, creamy sauces don’t need to be laden in dairy products. Plant-based, dairy-free sauces are just as delicious as those rich in cream and butter. I love that vegan cream sauces don’t leave you feeling heavy after eating like dairy sauces can.

While there are many ways to create a cream sauce without the use of dairy, my favorite is made with cashews.

Raw cashews are mild in flavor. When the cashews are blended with water until silky smooth, we get cashew cream. It may be more like milk at first but the cashew cream thickens quickly as it cooks.

Cashew cream replicates dairy cream much better than a lot of other options out there. With a high fat content, cashew cream creates that lush mouth feel we get from dairy based cream. It’s more neutral in flavor with a mild buttery undertone making it perfect as a base for a creamy sauce! Another great thing about cashew cream is that it boasts nutritional benefits as well. Raw cashews are an excellent source of iron, zinc, and calcium. These minerals that are more easily absorbed from cashews than some other foods.

Tips for Making this Vegan Creamy Lemon Pasta with Asparagus:

  • Trim the wider woody ends off of the asparagus. They are hard to chew.
  • Prep everything before you start cooking to prevent over cooked veggies and your noodles going cold.
  • Save some pasta water – you may want to thin out your cream sauce and the pasta water is perfect for this!
  • If your noodles are done first, drain them (saving some water as mentioned), then toss them in a couple of glugs of olive oil to help prevent them from sticky together.
  • Switch up the veggies if you can’t find the ones I’ve used here. Broccoli, zucchini, or spinach would all be yummy!
  • Want extra nutrition? Throw in a can of drained, rinsed navy beans.
  • Don’t have a high speed blender? Just make sure your cashews are soaked and then you can blend them in a food processor.
  • To reheat cashew cream based pasta, add a slash of hot water to help add some volume back to the sauce. The noodles will continue to absorb moisture as they sit so the sauce may “disappear”. Bring it back to its former glory with some hot water and stirring well.

More Easy Vegan Pasta Recipes:

If you make this Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta, please give it a rating in the recipe card and leave a comment below! Follow along on Instagram where you can tag me in your creations using my recipes. I love seeing what you’re cooking! You can also follow me on Pinterest for vegan recipe inspiration and on Facebook. Thank you for reading!

Side view of a plate of gemelli pasta in a light cream sauce with asparagus and spring peas with glasses of wine in the background

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta – Vegan with Gluten-Free Option

Ready in less than 20 minutes, this simple creamy lemon pasta with asparagus and peas is a delicious and satisfying vegan meal. The fresh taste of spring green veggies is complimented by a bit of olive oil, lemon, lots of garlic, nutritional yeast (or vegan Parmesan) plus blended cashews for creaminess. Easy enough for a weeknight and fancy enough for company!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin
Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Easy Vegan Pasta Recipe, Vegan Asparagus Recipe, vegan pasta primavera
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 355kcal
Author: Crumbs & Caramel

Ingredients

  • 12 oz short cut pasta, such as gemelli (use gluten-free if preferred)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb thin asparagus, woody ends trimmed off, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup snap peas or snow peas
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice from one lemon
  • zest from one lemon, microplaned, or finely minced
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or vegan Parmesan)
  • salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to taste

Instructions

  • Have all of your ingredients measured and ready to go before starting.
  • Prepare the pasta according to package directions, reserving one cup of cooking water.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once shimmering, add the shallot, and asparagus. Sauté for 2 -3 minutes, or until the asparagus starts to brighten in color. Add the snap peas, green peas and garlic, cooking for another 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, blend the cashews with the water until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Pour the cashew cream into the skillet with the vegetables, and stir until bubbling and it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt, lemon juice, lemon zest and nutritional yeast (or vegan Parmesan).
  • Remove from heat and toss with the cooked, drained noodles, stirring in reserved pasta water as necessary. Season with salt, pepper and red chili flakes if desired. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 396mg | Potassium: 449mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 934IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 4mg

Notes:

To Reheat: Add a splash of water to leftovers during reheating to help reconstitute the sauce. Leftover pasta will absorb some of the moisture, so adding more water during reheating makes it a bit saucier. 
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The Nutrition Information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the Nutrition Information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.

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