Simple Weeknight Dinner: Lemon Asparagus Pasta

We are always on the hunt for a simple weeknight dinner that looks as beautiful as it tastes. With asparagus in season, why not make it the star of a pasta dish? Asparagus is loaded with vitamins C, K and folate, is high in fiber, and should really be a part of every meal (just saying).

When switching over to a plant-based diet, it might seem like you won’t be able to indulge in rich, creamy sauces, but fear not - it can be done! One of our favorite bloggers, Minimalist Baker, has a gorgeous recipe for farfalle with a creamy lemon sauce and roasted asparagus. Yes, creamy is possible without dairy!

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta

From Minimalist Baker

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus (12 ounces), trimmed and washed
  • Pinch each sea salt + black pepper
  • 2 lemons, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced (~2 Tbsp)
  • 10 ounces (~5 cups) bow tie pasta 
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 3-4 Tbsp all-purpose flour 
  • optional: 1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (for a subtle cheesy flavor)
     

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C). Add asparagus to a baking sheet and toss with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch each salt and pepper. Top with several thin slices of lemon and bake for 20-25 minutes. Once finished cooking, remove from oven and roughly chop into thirds.

In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously.

While the water’s heating, bring a large skillet to medium heat. Once hot, add 3 Tbsp olive oil and garlic. Whisk and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes or until garlic is just starting to brown.

Add 3 Tbsp flour and whisk. Cook for 30 seconds, then whisk in almond milk 1/2 cup at a time.

TIP: Use a large flat spatula to smash down the bits of garlic and flour to properly incorporate.

Add a healthy pinch salt and pepper and whisk. Slightly lower heat and continue cooking to thicken, stirring occasionally.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Then drain and set aside.

For extra creamy sauce, add sauce to a blender or use an immersion blender to blend. Add nutritional yeast and another pinch of salt and pepper. If it looks runny, add another Tablespoon of flour (or cornstarch). Blend until creamy and smooth, using the “puree” or “liquify” setting if possible. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, then add back to pan and continue cooking over medium to medium-low heat to thicken.

Once your sauce has reached desired thickness, add the juice of half a lemon and stir.
Add 3/4 of the chopped asparagus and the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
Divide between 2-3 serving plates and top with remaining asparagus. Serve with a lemon wedge and vegan parmesan cheese.
 

Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a few days.