If you’re on the prowl for a meal that’s nourishing, easy to make, and quick enough to toss together at the end of a busy day (i.e., 30 minutes or less), then this Vegan Creamy Garlic Lemon-Pepper Pasta is about to make your wildest plant-based dreams come true. This ultra-creamy pasta comes together with just 8 ingredients (plus s + p) and 30 minutes of time. It’s easy enough for a quick weeknight meal at the end of a busy day and special enough for a fancy weekend occasion. The sauce is made by blending together boiled cauliflower, raw cashews, plant-based milk, fresh lemon juice, nutritional yeast, lots of black pepper, and sea salt. The creamy mixture gets stirred in to six cloves of sautéed garlic and simmered until hot and bubbly. Final step? Add heaps of hot pasta to the pan + toss.
Not only does this dish come together in 30 minutes flat, it requires just 8 ingredients (plus s + p). Better yet, you’re bound to have most, if not all, of the ingredients on hand.
Big promises, I know, but are you ready for an even bigger one?
This dish has quickly climbed the recipe ranks to become one of my all-time favorite savory meals, effortlessly nudging itself past tried and true favorites, and I have a feeling it will do the same for you.
Outta the way!! Simple and sexy pasta comin’ through!
Words like ‘sexy’ are normally reserved for chocolaty, velvety things like this cake, but who says pasta can’t be sexy, too?
This pasta is ultra-creamy with a captivating zesty, garlicky, and peppery bite. The sauce is made with cauliflower, raw cashews, plant-based milk, oodles of garlic, big pinches of pepper, and a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice.
And it’s out. of. this. world.
Serve this silky pasta to hippy-dippy, tree-hugging vegans or meat lovers with big, bold appetites. It’s a crowd-pleaser that knows no bounds and leaves no appetites unsatiated.
To make this utterly dreamy, super rich and creamy vegan pasta, you’ll start by cooking your noodles of choice and boiling 2 1/2 cups of cauliflower florets until fork tender (about 7 minutes).
Add the cauliflower florets to a blender along with a cup of plant-based milk, 1/4 cup raw cashews, two tablespoons fresh lemon juice, one tablespoon nutritional yeast, sea salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Blend on high for two minutes, or until smooth and creamy.
Meanwhile, add a drizzle of olive oil and six minced cloves garlic to a large sauté pan, and cook until the garlic is soft and fragrant (about 2 minutes).
Then, pour the cauliflower sauce into the pan, increase the heat, and simmer for 3 minutes, or until the sauce is hot and bubbly.
Finally, add the pasta to the pan and toss to coat.
If desired, add a bit of pasta water to thin the sauce. Then, taste and season with more black pepper.
Twirl the hot pasta into bowls and serve it up.
Peppery pasta perfection.
CREAMY VEGAN GARLIC LEMON-PEPPER PASTA
This ultra-creamy pasta comes together with just 8 ingredients (plus s + p) and 30 minutes of time. It's easy enough for a quick weeknight meal at the end of a busy day and special enough for a fancy weekend occasion. One pasta, best of both worlds. The sauce is made by blending together boiled cauliflower, raw cashews, plant-based milk, fresh lemon juice, nutritional yeast, lots of black pepper, and sea salt. The creamy mixture gets stirred in to six cloves of sautéed garlic and simmered until hot and bubbly. Final step? Add heaps of hot pasta to the pan and get stirring.
- 12 ounces gluten-free linguine or rigatoni*
Garlicky Lemon-Pepper Sauce
- 2 1/2 cups small (1-inch) cauliflower florets (fresh, not frozen)
- 1 cup unsweetened plain plant-based milk (I use almond milk), plus more if needed to thin**
- 1/4 cup raw cashews***
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste if desired
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 3/4 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (more or less, to taste)
For the Pasta
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. (As they say, your pasta water should be as salty as the sea.)
- Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
Strain off the cooking water.
For the Garlicky Lemon-Pepper Sauce
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets to the pot and boil for 7 minutes or until very fork-tender. Strain off the water.
Add the boiled cauliflower florets, almond milk, cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and black pepper to a high-speed blender (do not use a food processor).
- Blend on high for 2 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy. Set within reach of the stove.
- Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large sauté pan over low heat. Cook for 2 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.
- Stir in the cauliflower sauce, increase heat to medium, and simmer for 3 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Turn off the heat, add the pasta to the pan, and toss to coat. If a slightly thinner sauce is desired, add more plant-based milk, one small splash at a time, to thin. (Note: If you add more milk, you'll need to increase the seasoning to accommodate.)
Taste and generously season with more sea salt and black pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately.
*For a rich and super creamy pasta (as pictured), use 12 ounces of pasta. For a slightly less saucy pasta, use up to 16 ounces (1 pound).
**Ensure that your almond milk is plain, unsweetened, and free from "natural flavors". Some brands of almond milk (e.g., Califia) add "natural flavors" to their plain/unsweetened almond milk that, to me, impart an undesirable sweetness in savory dishes that's difficult to overcome even with added salt and seasonings.
***If you're not using a high-speed blender (e.g., Vitamix or Blendtec), soak the cashews for at least 2 hours or boil for 10 minutes to soften.