This creamy dairy-free vegan lemon pasta (no nuts) is ready in just 15-minutes. It is the perfect go-to lunch or weeknight dinner recipe. White beans and veggies give the sauce its rich texture. Plus, it is gluten-free, easy, and kid approved.
This is one of my favorite pasta sauce recipes. Not only is it made with simple, healthful ingredients, it also tastes amazing. Even picky eaters will polish it off!
You need only 10 pantry and budget-friendly ingredients to make this recipe.
- White beans, or cashews, or a combination of both work great. White beans are loaded with protein, fiber, and iron. Use cannellini, Great Northern, or navy beans. Cashews make the sauce slightly creamier. Soak the raw cashews overnight, or in boiled water for 15 minutes, if you do not own a high-speed blender.
- Nutritional yeast is loaded with protein, vitamin B12, and imparts a cheesy flavor. (Not all brands are fortified with B12, so it is best to check the label.)
- Yellow mustard typically contains turmeric, which gives the sauce a yellow color, mimicking the look of traditional cheese sauces.
See recipe card for quantities.
Chop they veggies into equal size pieces so they cook evenly. Simmer covered until tender. Do not overcook. Save 2 cups of the cooking water (broth) when draining.
Transfer the ingredients for the creamy dairy-free lemon pasta sauce to a blender. Blend on high until smooth, adding more broth as needed.
The sauce should be creamy, but not too thick. It gets creamier as it cooks. Add veggie broth or water as needed for reheating until the desired consistency.
This pasta is versatile. Incorporate more veggies as desired when heating the pasta with the sauce. Asparagus and marinated artichoke hearts are delicious additions.
🥦 Substitutions and Variations
- Pasta - Skip the pasta to change things up. This nut-free lemon sauce also tastes great on its own, served as a creamy soup.
- Cashews & white beans - use an equal amount of both if you are not nut-free. This gives the perfect velvety texture.
- Asparagus and artichoke hearts - The recipe card has the option for adding these ingredients. Use 8 ounces asparagus, and one (12-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts.
- Veggies - Add more veggies: steamed broccoli florets, green peas, baby spinach, kale, leeks, or crispy roasted chickpeas. Mix them in when heating the sauce with the pasta.
- Gluten-free - use gluten-free pasta, and read all nutrition labels
High-speed blenders are a game changer when it comes to blending soups, sauces, nuts, you name it! There tends to be a lot of blending in vegan recipes, and a good quality blender makes things much easier, and gives better results. Therefore, it is a worthwhile investment if you plan on eating more plant-based meals. Research different high-speed blenders based on reviews, and choose the best one you can afford.
Do not heat all the of sauce if you plan on having leftovers. Only heat the quantity you plan on eating. Refrigerate any remaining sauce in an airtight container for up to 5 days. It typically thickens as it chills. Add veggie broth or water for reheating.
Refrigerate any remaining Lemon Pasta in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Add veggie broth for reheating until the desired consistency.
These ingredients do not stand up well to freezing.
💡 Top tip
Do not overcook the carrots, potatoes, and onion or they quickly lose their flavor. Simmer them until they are just fork tender.
Yes! That's why this recipe is perfect for meal prep. Make the sauce beforehand, and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Reheat it with cooked pasta for serving.
Blended white beans are delectably creamy in texture. You won't miss the cashews. Blending them into the sauce adds thickness and richness. Plus, they are loaded with fiber, protein, and iron.
Lemon zest adds a burst of flavor. It is tangy, sweet, and citrusy in flavor, and not as acidic as the tart juice. Do not skimp on the zest! It brings the dish together deliciously.
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Creamy Vegan Lemon Pasta Recipe
- 8 ounces dry pasta
- 8 ounces asparagus woody ends trimmed, chopped into 2-inch pieces (optional)
- 1 cup chopped potatoes (Yukon Gold or russet) peeled, and cut into ¾-inch pieces (about 1 large)
- ¼ cup chopped carrots cut into ¾-inch pieces (about 1 small)
- ¼ cup chopped yellow onion cut into ¾-inch pieces (about 1 small)
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup white beans (cannellini, navy, Great Northern) or raw soaked cashews
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon yellow mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts jarred, and quartered (optional)
- Zest of lemon to taste
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet until al dente.
- Optional: Steam the asparagus for about 2 minutes, or until just tender. Drain. Run them under cold water for one minute. Set aside.
- Cook the veggies: Add the potatoes, carrots, onion, and a dash of salt to a medium saucepan with enough water to cover by about 2 inches high. Bring the water to a simmer and cook covered for about 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water (vegetable broth).
- Blend the sauce: Transfer the potatoes, carrots, onion, cashews or white beans, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, and 1 cup of the vegetable broth to a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
- Heat the sauce and pasta: Pour the sauce into a small nonstick skillet. Add the desired amount of cooked pasta and cook over medium-low heat until warmed through, adding more vegetable broth until the desired consistency.
- Optional: Mix in the asparagus, and artichoke hearts.
- Season with lemon zest, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
- Use ½ cup raw cashews, or ½ cup white beans, or ¼ cup cashews plus ¼ cup white beans to make the sauce. Adding cashews makes the sauce creamier, but for nut-free use white beans instead.
- If using cashews, soak them in boiled water for 15 minutes, or overnight, if you do not own a high-speed blender.
- White beans: cannellini, navy, and Great Northern are all good choices.
- Do not overcook the veggies or they will lose their flavor.
- Use store-bought veggie broth, or the liquid from the cooked veggies, to make the sauce.
- Use a microplane or fine grater to zest the lemon.
- Make the sauce ahead of time. Simply heat it up with the pasta for a quick weeknight dinner.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an ESTIMATE only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.