This is such a tasty, full flavoured and zingy pasta dish!
The creamy lemon pasta sauce in this recipe pairs perfectly with the asparagus and roasted walnuts. Light, lemony and 100% plant-based, the ingredients are natural and easily whipped up in a small blender. Although simple to make, I prefer to make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.
Asparagus is in season right now, and this is a great way to enjoy those spring shoots. They are nutrient-packed, high in anti-inflammatory nutrients and are an excellent addition to all kinds dishes.
The recipe is below.
Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta
Creamy lemon sauce
Makes 21/2 cups (600ml)
- 1 cup raw cashew, softened
- 1 cup vegetable broth or stock, homemade or a low sodium store-bought
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic buds
- 2 medium-size yellow onions, chopped
- A few dashes of dry red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes (levure maltée) or grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Sat and pepper, to taste
Place the raw cashews in a small microwavable bowl filled with water and cover with a lid or plate. Microwave on high for three minutes to soften the cashews. With a meshed sieve, drain/discard the hot water and rinse out the cashews under tap water. Transfers the soft cashews into the bowl of your blender or Nutribullet and add the vegetable broth. Set this aside.
On stove-top, heat up a small deep frying pan with 1/4 cup olive oil. When the oil is heated through, lower the heat. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook these in the oil, stirring often, until soft but not brown. This can take about 8-10 minutes. When done, transfer the sautéed ingredients with the olive oil into the blender or Nutribullet bowl.
Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan), lemon zest and salt and pepper to the blender bowl. Blend for a minute or so, until creamy smooth.
Transfer the sauce into a sealed container. You can let it cool and then refrigerate it or freeze it or proceed to making pasta.
Pasta and asparagus
- Pasta of choice, cooked according to package
- A large bunch (300-500 gr. or more) fine fresh asparagus, sliced on a diagonal into 2-inch or 5cm pieces
- Extra virgin olive oil, a small amount for sautéing
- A small bunch of fresh basil or parsley leaves, finely chopped
- Creamy lemon sauce (above)
- Reserved pasta water (1-2 cups)
- Roasted walnuts, chopped (spread on baking sheet and roast in oven for 7-8 minutes at 200°C/ 390°F)
- Salt & pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese (to sprinkle on servings)
Cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water and according to package.
While the pasta cooks, on stove top, heat up on medium-high a stick-free pan lightly brushed with olive oil. Add the sliced asparagus and sauté continuously for a few minutes. Season the asparagus with salt. Keep tossing. The asparagus should be cooked but remain on the crunchy side. Set aside when done.
When the pasta is done, reserve a good 2 cups of pasta water for later (this will give your pasta dish a creamy and glossy texture. You may not use all of the water, but better to have more than not enough). Strain and then transfer the cooked pasta back into the pot. Cover and set aside on counter top.
In small sauce pan on stove top or in microwave, heat up some of the lemon cream sauce that you need (about 1/4 cup per person or more). Store leftover lemon cream sauce in refrigerator.
Transfer the sautéed asparagus into the pot of pasta and add the chopped basil or parsley. Toss well. On stove top, place the pot of pasta and asparagus on low heat and add the heated lemon cream sauce, one big spoon at a time, alternating with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pasta water (more or less depending on how much pasta you made). Repeat this a few times, alternating with sauce and pasta water, and tossing until the pasta and asparagus are coated but not imbedded with sauce and the texture is creamy smooth and to your satisfaction.
Add a few handfuls of roasted walnuts and toss well (the walnuts add such a nice flavour to this dish!) Alternatively, and for guests with allergies to walnuts (which I did here), you can transfer the walnuts into a small bowl and guests can sprinkle them on their own servings.
Serve immediately into large bowls while warm. Enjoy with grated parmesan and some additional salt and ground pepper to taste. Enjoy!