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Quick Lemony Pasta Recipe

Creamy Vegan Pasta al Limone

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Perfectly cooked pasta, rich and creamy vegan cashew sauce, and the brightness of fresh lemon all combine to make this irresistible vegan Pasta al Limone! 


Units Scale
  • 12-ounces long-cut gluten-free pasta such as capellini, spaghetti or fettuccine noodles
  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for 8 hours in advance (or 1 hour with boiling water)
  • 1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water (plus more as needed)
  • 1 large lemon zested and juiced (about 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest)
  • 2 large peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional Garnish Ideas

  • lemon zest
  • lemon wedges/slices
  • vegan parmesan cheese (such as Violife), freshly grated
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • fresh Italian flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped (large stems removed)
  • vegan butter


  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions (al dente).  I recommend adding 1/2 tablespoon salt to the water to cook the pasta for best flavor.  Do not drain the pasta!  Reserve 2 cups of the cooking pasta water right as the pasta finishes cooking.  This starchy pasta water makes the sauce extra creamy!
  2. While the pasta cooks, drain and rinse the soaked cashews well.  Add the cashews to the blender along with 1 1/2 cups of the reserved pasta water.  Add the lemon juice, lemon zest (use a microplane to zest your lemon), garlic, salt, maple syrup and pepper to the blender.  Blend on the highest speed until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute in a high speed blender).  
  3. Taste the sauce and add more lemon, garlic, salt or pepper if desired.  
  4. Add the sauce to the cooked pasta (remove the pasta from boiling water with tongs and place in a mixing bowl or another pot).  Mix well.  Add more reserved pasta water to the pasta to thin out the sauce if needed.  I usually add another 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water.  
  5. Plate the pasta and add desired garnishes such as lemon zest, lemon wedges/slices, vegan parm, red pepper flakes, parsley and/or vegan butter,  Enjoy immediately while hot.
  6. Store leftovers once fully cooled in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Gluten-free pasta will absorb a lot of the sauce while stored and the sauce will thicken while stored, so you may want to make more or add water to the stored pasta when reheating.  The added water will help to rehydrate the noodles and thin out the thickened sauce.  Reheat pasta on the stovetop for best results. 


Soak cashews in water for 8 hours in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Alternatively, you can "quick soak" them by pouring boiling hot water overtop for an hour or two.  Either way be sure to drain the soaking water and rinse the soaked cashews well before using.  Read more about How (and Why!) to Soak Cashews for the full information.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Entree/Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop and Blender
  • Cuisine: Italian