I love the sparkling joie de vivre of lemon in any pasta, especially so when it's boldness is mellowed--but not stifled--with olive oil and combined with the sweetness of basil in this Vegan Lemon Pasta with Basil.
This is the kind of food I can eat any day for any meal. It's rich but not heavy, and it has all the warmth and brilliance you'd expect of the season.
This is a lemony pasta, and by that I mean it's super lemony. There is half a cup of lemon juice here, and shards of lemon zest from two large lemons, coating a pound of spaghetti. The basil adds a nice break with its licorice-like sweetness.
The sauce itself couldn't be easier to make. It comes together in a bowl and requires no cooking, just five ingredients (and a sixth, optional one) and a whisk. All you need to cook is the pasta.
You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta, or entirely no-cook by using zucchini noodles, if you have a mind to. I hope you'll try it. This pasta makes me happy every time I eat it, and I hope it will make you feel the same way!
You will need two to three large lemons to make half a cup of lemon juice. Try and use organic lemons so you can also zest them. The zest adds more complex flavor to this dish, and you don't want to miss out on it.
The rest of the sauce is made with extra virgin olive oil, vegan cashew parm, salt, pepper, and an optional ingredient--vegan mayo. I like using the mayo because it makes the lemon sauce creamy and mellows the lemon flavor down just a little without taking away from its richness. You can leave it out altogether.
I used both parsley and basil this time in the pasta because I had a little bit of both. You can go with either, but I really love the sweetness of basil in this dish.
Once you have all your ingredients, just place them in a bowl and whisk, then stir in the pasta. Don't forget to reserve some pasta water to add to the sauce.
-Lemons. Use the juciest lemons you can find, and try and use organic because you will need the zest too in this recipe.
-Pasta (spaghetti is great, but another long pasta shape, like fettuccine, works as well)
-Extra virgin olive oil (use a good variety since this is one of the main flavor components)
-Vegan Cashew Parmesan (use my easy recipe or a storebought version)
-Ground black pepper
-Vegan mayo. This is optional, but nice. You can make my homemade recipe, linked here, or use storebought vegan mayo.
Vegan Lemon Pasta
Vegan Lemon Pasta with Basil
- Bowl, large stockpot, strainer
- 1 pound spaghetti (or any long pasta)
- ½ cup lemon juice (about 2-3 large lemons)
- 2 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup vegan parmesan cheese
- ½ cup vegan mayo (optional)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup basil leaves (torn)
- Bring a large stockpot with water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, parm, mayo if using, salt and ground black pepper to taste in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce along with ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and stir to coat the pasta with the sauce. Check seasoning and add more salt if needed. Stir in the basil.
- Serve the pasta with more vegan cashew parm on the side.
- Nutrition info includes vegan mayo.
I don't know why, but I was a little skeptical of this recipe. Maybe I was worried that a no-cook sauce would be good . . . anyway, I am here to say it was delicious. I was so pleased with it and my family woofed it down. There were no leftovers and that is a sign that everyone thought it was great. I am a recent vegan and I was just floored by how creamy and velvety the sauce was. Thanks for this recipe. I'll have it on regular rotation - especially on weeknights when I have to put something on the table fast.
Hi is the cashew parm necessary? I am allergic to coconut soy and nuts, do you know of any other substitute for the cashew parm?
You can use breadcrumbs—season with the same ingredients as the parm recipe.
This has become a favorite for me!! I made it two days in a row now and want more. So glad I stumbled on your page.
I made this last night, and it was a hit! Thank you for this easy yet yummy, lemony recipe☺️
So great to hear!
I will definitely make this recipe love easy pasta dishes in the summer !
I made this tonight and it was good. I was worried when I made the sauce cause of the strong lemon taste but when I added it to the pasta and added the 1/2 cup of water it absorbed into the pasta. I'll make this again. Nice to change it things up.
This sounds perfect for the hot days of summer. I love the comfort of pasta and a light creamy sauce. Can't wait to try it this weekend! Thank you.