With a creamy vegan pasta sauce recipe packed with nutrition and flavor
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Healthy and indulgent are hard to come by, but this recipe is a rare gem that has both. This lemon asparagus pasta recipe is bursting with flavor from lemon, shallots, and garlic, and it’s hearty with a creamy vegan white bean sauce that has both fiber and protein. It’s springtime! Which means fresh produce is here. Asparagus is one of the first crops that come into season, but for many, it’s hard to get excited about asparagus. These long green, artichoke-like produce can be polarizing just like green beans. But this healthy recipe for lemon asparagus pasta can take even the asparagus skeptic into a believer.
Cream-based pasta dishes are both indulgent and delicious. However, the cream component in the dish is often a heavy cream or a fatty dairy variety and most recipes call for adding cheese as well. While cream and cheese are delicious, they are both high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Cheese is not a significant source of protein (only about 10-20%) and should not be treated as such in vegetarian meals. Creamy plates of pasta should be enjoyed! This easy lemon asparagus pasta recipe provides guilt-free indulgence.
Today we’re showing you how to make a creamy lemon asparagus pasta with a recipe and video demonstration. We will be using cannellini beans to make a creamy and hearty sauce that has both fiber and protein for the cream base. It is comparable to a vegan béchamel sauce but more on the consistency of a mornay sauce. This plant based version is just as filling as its traditional dairy counterparts.
Asparagus is seasonally fresh in the springtime and pairs well with cream-based sauces, lemon, and other vegetables. In this creamy lemon asparagus pasta recipe, we will use shallots, garlic, and lemon for most of our flavor. Watch how to trim asparagus in the video below.
I prefer a short pasta like penne or rigatoni for the pasta because it tends to hold the sauce better than a long pasta, like spaghetti. This creamy lemon asparagus pasta recipe is extremely versatile; you can impress some guests if you invite them over for dinner or use it as a weeknight simple meal. The whole meal is ready from start to finish in thirty minutes, and it costs about $8. It yields about five hearty servings, bringing the cost to just under $2 per person. This quick and affordable meal is hearty and nutritious, with 22g of fiber and 28g of plant-based protein per serving. This meal is packed with vitamins and minerals sure to sustain you and the planet.
Recipe & Preparation
White Bean Sauce
This recipe is straightforward, requiring only a blender and a sauté pan. To save time, I made the sauce a day ahead, and it held up well in the refrigerator. The mildness of the sauce compliments the asparagus, but for a quicker meal, you can eat this just over pasta and have dinner ready in minutes.
|Cannellini beans, rinsed||1 can, 15oz|
|Vegetable Stock||3/4 cup|
|Olive oil||2 tbsp|
Sauce Preparation instructions:
- Roughly chop garlic and shallots
- Saute garlic and shallots in a pan with olive oil and salt until translucent. Set aside.
- Open can of beans, and rinse beans through a strainer to remove excess starchy water
- Add cooked shallots and garlic in a blender, like a Vitamix with the rinsed beans
- Slowly add stock through the top of the blender while blending
- Add olive oil through the top in a slow stream
- Blend until smooth and creamy, about two minutes.
*Hint, if you do not have a blender, consider investing in an immersion blender such as this one.
Asparagus Recipe & Preparation
|Asparagus||1 bunch||1 bunch|
|Lemon, medium sized||1||1|
|Kosher Salt||1/4 tsp||2|
|Olive Oil||2 tbsp||28|
- Mince Shallots
- Prepare asparagus by removing the fibrous ends and chopping in 1 inch cuts (see video for further explanation)
- Add shallots in a pan with olive oil and salt
- Add asparagus and cook until tender with a fork, about 5 minutes
- Add zest of one lemon
Putting it all together
I like to start my pasta while I am preparing my vegetables in order to make the most efficient use of time. Hopefully by this point, you have had your pasta cooking on the stove. If not, this recipe may take a little longer than 30 minutes. Again, here we want to use a short pasta so it holds the sauce well. I used boxed pasta, bur fresh or homemade is always a great option too.
Strain the pasta water, leaving enough pasta water for the pasta to move freely. Add the sauce and stir into the pasta while heating over low heat. Add the cooked asparagus and shallots to the pasta and mix. Then, add olive oil, lemon juice from the zested lemon, and lemon zest. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, and fresh chopped basil. Optional here to add nutritional yeast for some extra dairy flavor.
White beans fall under many different names, including Cannellini beans great northern beans, and white beans. These beans are particularly starchy but are also high in fiber. In this recipe, we will use them in a sauce to highlight their creamy texture and versatility of a legume.
Pasta is widely available across many different regions. You can use whole grain if you’d like, but keep in mind the shelf-life of whole wheat pasta is much shorter than regular pasta. Depending on the brand you get, some pastas have protein in them because they use semolina flour, while other pastas do not have as many nutrients because they are just using a larger size refined wheat flour. Aim for a higher quality pasta in place of the cheap store brand for better flavor. Pasta is quick and delicious, but if you are sensitive to gluten, try gluten-free pasta in its place.
This meal is indulgent and hearty, yet incredibly healthy for you. It’s loaded with healthy fats and fibers, but also is high in protein. Being that it is a vegan dish, there is no cholesterol. Yet, we get a surplus of iron from one portion alone. There is no added sugar here, but some natural sugars coming from various carbohydrate source in the dish.
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Can’t wait to try out this recipe!