Sunny days call for this Lemon Asparagus Pasta. Made with spaghetti and fresh asparagus in a lemon cream sauce, it’s an easy, yet elegant meal that’s perfect for spring and summer. Vegan and easily made gluten free.
If you love asparagus as much as I do, make sure to check out this simple Air Fryer Asparagus!
Creamy lemon and asparagus pasta
The warm spring sunshine and blooming flowers are a sign that it’s time to fill your kitchen with fresh herbs and colorful fruits and vegetables. Lemon, in my mind, is the ultimate spring ingredient. It’s so delightful and helps simple and nutritious meals, like my Creamy Lemon Tofu and Lemon Lentil Soup, shine.
If you’re looking to add more healthy, zesty, and refreshing meals to your spring menu, this vegan Lemon Asparagus Pasta is a perfect choice! It’s a simple recipe that’s made by tossing pasta and fresh asparagus in a zippy, cheesy lemon cream sauce. It’s reminiscent of Italian Spaghetti al Limone (lemon pasta), but with a vegan twist.
Not only is lemon and asparagus pasta the perfect meal for spring and summer, but it can easily be made in one pot in under 30 minutes. Your guests will never know this elegant meal was so easy!
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- Pasta – This recipe works with any short or long pasta noodle. I used gluten free brown rice spaghetti.
- Asparagus – The best asparagus will pop up in grocery stores and farmer’s markets from late spring through mid-summer. Look for bright green asparagus with large, firm spears. Chop off the bottom 1 to 1 ½ inch of each spear as they’re too woody and tough to eat.
- Olive oil
- All purpose flour – This is needed to thicken the sauce. Gluten free flour works too.
- Dairy free milk – Any dairy free milk will work here but homemade cashew milk or almond milk are the best options. Make sure your milk is unsweetened and unflavored!
- Salt and pepper
- Lemons – You need the lemon juice and zest. Try to use freshly squeezed for the best flavors!
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Vegan parmesan cheese – Violife is my favorite but homemade parmesan works too.
How to make lemon asparagus pasta
Find the complete recipe with measurements below in the recipe card.
Cook your pasta according to the package directions and drop the trimmed asparagus in during the last minute. Reserve some of the pasta water, then drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in the same pot or a clean skillet and add the garlic. Sauté until fragrant, then whisk in the flour. Slowly pour in the milk while continuing to whisk. Bring the sauce up to a simmer and cook until it thickens slightly.
Take the pan off of the heat and stir or whisk in the herbs, spices, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vegan parmesan. Add the cooked pasta and asparagus, and toss to coat. Serve with fresh parsley, more parmesan on top, and extra cooked asparagus on the side. Enjoy!
- Gluten free? Use gluten free pasta noodles and replace the all purpose flour with a gluten free all purpose flour.
- Nut free? Use unsweetened, unflavored soy milk or coconut milk (not from a can).
- Instead of asparagus – Use green peas, broccoli, edamame, snap peas, or another green vegetable.
- Add protein – Sprinkle crumbled tofu bacon or tempeh bacon on top (carbonara-style), or add white beans or seared pieces of vegan chicken in with the pasta.
Want more vegan pasta recipes?
Lemon Asparagus Pasta
- 12 ounces spaghetti or other noodle
- 1 pound asparagus trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 cups unsweetened, unflavored cashew or almond milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 lemons zest and juice
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese optional
- Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water according to package instructions.
- Drop the chopped asparagus into the water for the last minute of cooking.
- Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
- In a large skillet (or the same pot the pasta cooked in), warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Sprinkle the flour on top of the oil and whisk until smooth.
- Slowly pour in the cashew milk, a little at a time, and whisk constantly until smooth. Once you've added all the milk, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook for 2-5 minutes, until it thickens somewhat.
- Remove the pan from heat and stir in the salt, black pepper, lemon zest and juice, crushed red pepper and chopped parsley. Also stir in the vegan parmesan cheese, if using.
- Now add the drained pasta and asparagus to the skillet and toss with the sauce until the noodles are well coated. If needed, stir in some of the reserved pasta water until a desired consistency is reached.
- Serve with additional fresh parsley and more parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!
- Gluten free – To make the pasta gluten free, use gluten free noodles and gluten free flour.
- Nut free – Substitute soy or coconut milk and omit the vegan parmesan cheese, which is usually made with nuts.
- For best results, use my homemade cashew milk. It’s so creamy and free of any additive flavors in commercial milks.
If i skip the oil, will this still turn out okay?
It will be okay yes. Just saute the garlic in some broth or water.
Made it without adding any parmesan. It was delicious! I used plain Oat milk and that worked beautifully. Thanks for sharing your recipes. They are really helpful, my kid has allergies to dairy, eggs, nuts and fish. So I tend to lean into vegan recipes. Also, hooray for plant-based recipes using whole foods!
Hi Gina. I’m glad you loved the recipe! I’m thrilled that your children are able to enjoy a variety of foods! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback! Happy cooking to you!
Oh man, this was delicious! It was such a great dish to serve while we were hosting company! The sauce was so creamy, and I loved the bright, fresh flavor of the lemon! I used frozen asparagus spears because it was what I had – as well as half a bag of frozen peas – and I also cooked chicken for my non-vegan family members to add to it. This is going in the regular rotation this summer!
Hi Coby. I’m so glad you tried the lemon asparagus pasta, and that you loved it! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and ideas! May you enjoy your summer! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!
Absolutely delicious. This is a beautiful company dish. Thanks!
Hi Madonna. It is a a lovely dish for company! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and review!
Can you use soy milk? Thanks.
Hi Sita. Yes, soy milk will work. Just make sure the milk is unsweetened and unflavored. Happy cooking!