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Vegan Creamy Garlic Lemon-Pepper Pasta
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4.73 from 22 votes

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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Entrée, Pasta
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, plant-based, Vegan
Servings: 3 to 4
Author: Ashley

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 12 ounces gluten-free linguine or rigatoni*

Garlicky Lemon-Pepper Sauce

  • 2 ½ cups small (1-inch) cauliflower florets (fresh, not frozen)
  • 1 cup filtered water or unsweetened plain plant-based milk, , plus more if needed to thin (see important note** if you opt to use milk)
  • ¼ 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
  • ¾ 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)

Instructions

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.

Notes

*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. When in doubt, use filtered water instead.
***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.