This creamy vegan lemon pasta is bright, garlicky, and so easy to make! The spaghetti noodles are tossed in a delicious coconut milk sauce with lemon, garlic, parsley, and dairy-free parmesan. Since it’s ready in 30 minutes or less, this dinner recipe is perfect for busy weeknights. Enjoy it with the whole family during spring or summer for a light-yet-comforting meal!
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With spring in full swing and summer on the way, it’s the best time to enjoy light, bright, and fresh flavors. No, that doesn’t mean we need a weekly menu of kale salads and green smoothies. It’s entirely possible to enjoy satisfying comfort foods while still feeling light and healthy!
For this dish, I took one of the most popular citrus flavors and paired it with a classic comfort meal. The end result? Creamy lemon pasta. The spaghetti noodles are tossed in a lemon, garlic, and coconut milk sauce. The consistency is rich and creamy, but the flavor is fresh and bright.
Since this dinner recipe is ready in under 30 minutes, it’s a convenient option for busy families and weeknights. You would never guess it’s completely dairy-free and made with no butter and no cream. It can easily be made gluten-free with your choice of chickpea, brown rice, or lentil pasta, too!
This creamy lemon pasta is:
- Vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free friendly
- Bright, creamy, and subtly tangy
- A light and healthy pasta recipe
- Made with canned coconut milk
- A quick and easy, 30-minute meal
- Perfect for spring and summer
- Kid-approved and non-vegan approved
Lemon pasta sauce made with coconut milk
This lemon pasta sauce recipe is primarily made with coconut milk. In particular, we’re using the Native Forest Organic Simple Coconut Milk. It is a full-fat variety, which means it provides a rich and creamy consistency. Canned coconut milk is often used for soup and curry, but it can also be found in homemade sauces, smoothies, cheesecake, and ice cream.
I love using the Native Forest brand because it contains no sugar, no guar gum, and it’s packed in a BPA-free can. Additionally, this brand of coconut milk is certified organic and kosher.
Ingredients in lemon pasta sauce
- Pasta: Use your favorite type of pasta! I recommend long noodles, like spaghetti or fettuccine. However, it is equally delicious with shorter varieties like penne.
- Coconut milk: This rich, creamy, dairy-free milk is a key ingredient. It mimics real milk and cream, making it a perfect option for vegan sauces.
- Vegetable broth: The pasta sauce is thinned with veggie broth instead of water. It brings extra flavor, depth, and a subtle touch of sweetness.
- Lemons: We’ll use both lemon juice and lemon zest in the pasta. The juice has an acidic flavor while the zest is bright and citrusy.
- Olive oil: I recommend using high quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Garlic: Several cloves are needed for the coconut milk pasta sauce. If you are a garlic lover, feel free to add extra!
- Nutritional yeast: This ingredient gives the sauce a subtly cheesy flavor while keeping it dairy-free. It is also rich in B vitamins.
- Seasoning: Onion powder, salt, and black pepper enhance the flavor.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch, arrowroot starch, or tapioca starch helps to thicken the pasta sauce.
- Parsley: The dish is garnished with parsley, which adds color and freshens the flavor, just before serving.
- Vegan parmesan: If desired, sprinkle on your favorite dairy-free parmesan for a cheesy flavor.
How to make vegan lemon pasta
For the full ingredient measurements and step-by-step instructions, scroll down to view the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
First, cook the pasta according to package instructions. I recommend cooking it al dente, which means it is underdone about 1 minute. (The pasta will cook a bit more when it is warmed in the creamy lemon sauce. Therefore, you don’t want to overcook it in the beginning.) Drain the water and set aside.
Next, combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Mix together and set aside.
In a large pot or skillet, warm the olive oil and minced garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic begins to brown. Add coconut milk, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and the cornstarch mixture to the pot. Stir together and bring to a light boil.
Then, add the cooked pasta and stir together to warm. Add lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix together. Taste and adjust as needed. Serve pasta immediately with fresh parsley and vegan parmesan on top. Enjoy!
What to serve with lemon garlic pasta
There are various ways to serve this creamy lemon pasta, but I’ve listed a few of the best options below.
- Vegetables: This dish pairs well with steamed or roasted broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and broccolini. Feel free to enjoy it as a side or mix it into the pasta.
- Garlic bread: Serve it with vegan garlic bread for the ultimate comfort meal.
- Protein: Toss in plant-based grilled chicken (or regular if you aren’t vegan) for extra protein.
- Side salad: Get your greens in by serving the pasta alongside a fresh salad.
Can I make it gluten-free?
Yes, absolutely! It is so easy to creating a gluten-free friendly pasta dish. Simply swap regular flour pasta with a gluten-free variety instead. Try chickpea, brown rice, lentil, or the various other options available. Personally, I always use chickpea pasta because it is high in protein and fiber.
How to store leftovers
Pasta is always best enjoyed immediately after making it. However, if you have leftovers, you can certainly store them for the next day. Keep any leftover lemon pasta inside a sealed container in the refrigerator.
To reheat the pasta, add a splash of water and microwave for 30-60 seconds until warm. Be careful not to overcook it.
More creamy vegan pasta recipes for spring
- Avocado Pasta (Vegan)
- Vegan Pesto Cavatappi
- Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- Roasted Cauliflower Alfredo (Vegan)
- Vegan Broccoli Pesto Pasta
This creamy lemon pasta recipe is vegan, easy to make, and perfect for busy weeknights! The coconut milk pasta sauce is made with lemon, garlic, and nutritional yeast. It’s bright, fresh, and ready in 30 minutes or less. The whole family will love this light and healthy pasta dish! #veganpasta #vegandinner #lemon #pastarecipe #pastadishes #lemonpasta #pastafoodrecipes #pastasauce #coconutmilk
- 12 oz pasta of choice
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can Native Forest Coconut Milk
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp cornstarch (dissolved in 2 tsp water)*
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 3–4 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley
- ⅓ cup vegan parmesan
- Cook the pasta al dente (or about 1-2 minutes underdone) according to the package instructions. After, drain water and set aside.
- Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Mix together and set aside.
- In a large pot or skillet, warm the olive oil and minced garlic. Sauté 1-2 minutes or until the garlic begins to brown.
- Add coconut milk, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and cornstarch mixture to the pot. Stir together and bring to a light boil. Add the cooked pasta and stir together to warm. Add lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix together. Taste and adjust as needed. If you’d like to thin the sauce, feel free to add a few splashes of vegetable broth or coconut milk.
- Serve pasta with fresh parsley and vegan parmesan on top. Enjoy!
- *Cornstarch: You can use cornstarch, arrowroot starch, or tapioca starch.
- Pasta: You can use any type of pasta. I recommend long noodles, like spaghetti or fettuccine.
- Coconut Milk: Be sure to use original or full-fat canned coconut milk, not lite or light coconut milk. If your label doesn’t say original or full-fat, check to make sure it contains 12-14 grams of fat per serving.
- Storage: Pasta is best served immediately after making it. However, leftovers can be stored inside a sealed container in the refrigerator. To reheat, add a splash of water and microwave for 30-60 seconds increments until warm. Be careful not to overcook it.
- The nutrition information is based on 5 servings using 12 oz whole wheat pasta. It will change if you use another type of pasta.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 455
- Sugar: 4g
- Fat: 23g
- Carbohydrates: 57g
- Fiber: 7.5g
- Protein: 10g
Keywords: vegan lemon pasta, creamy lemon pasta recipes, coconut milk pasta sauce
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