This healthy creamy pasta is full of flavor and velvety goodness and none of the fat! It boasts loads of garlicky deliciousness and fresh lemon in every chewy and creamy bite!
Years ago…like back in my teens (which oddly enough seems like just yesterday) my friends and I were obsessed with this American restaurant chain called Houlihans. The food was good, the waiters were young and cute and they had a smoking section that was discreet enough that I could hide from unwanting, wandering eyes 🙂 It was basically every girl’s dream place for dinner and lunches.
My two best friends and I, Marina and Yelena, were always in there. The manager of the place started joking that we were in there so much we should get a job there. So we did. We all became hostesses and benefited tremendously from the discount on our meals.
My friend Yelena and I were always in love with this one dish called Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Pasta. Yelena and I shared a love for all things sour. She was the only person that I knew that could eat a lemon rind and all without any problems. Yelen (that’s what we call her now) and I were the fun kind of friends who could make fun of each other and never get mad. That’s just how she rolled…
Yelen and I got older, went to college, graduated, got engaged and still remained friends. We don’t see each other too often because she lives a glamorous life in downtown Chicago and I live in the burbs chasing after a little munchkin. Regardless, we always stay in touch and when we do see each other it is always a great time. Yelen is super relaxed and laid back and rarely does anything bother her. So we get along quite great.
As awesome as Yelen is…her skills in the kitchen leave much to be desired. She can make a killer teriyaki salmon in the toaster oven… but that’s about it. Yelen would always text me or write me about her awful kitchen catastrophes.
“Mila did you know you can make cream sauces with almond milk? You can…and it’s awful. Don’t do it. Ever.” This was one text message from her.
“Did you know you can make odd things in a coffeemaker? You can. It’s disgusting. Don’t do it. Ever.” This was another text message.
“Mila do you know the best poached eggs come out of the microwave? They do. I promise. Unless they blow up first. I mastered that technique”
Yelen had so many disasters that I told her I was going to dedicate a portion of my blog to her called just that…Yelen’s Kitchen Disasters. I am still working on that 🙂 While she may not cook for me…she does take me to some of the best restaurants in Chicago…and we always have an awesome time.
During one such occasion she goes to me, “Are you ever going to make me the Tuscan Lemon Chicken Pasta like you promised? Come on…get all creative and stuff and make it taste good without all the fat. You can do it I believe in you!” She said sarcastically and rather enthusiastically.
Well now that I had Yelen’s belief in me…there was no stopping me right? I took all my vegan knowledge and started coming up with different possibilities to make this work. I am sorry to say…I failed, on several occasions.
Through all my research I found this fantastic recipe from the Minimalist Baker and I was inspired even more! I played with the recipe a few times…made a few changes and through it all…there was still something missing for me.
My Magic Onion Sauce…It was the link that I was missing. It gave it creaminess and a super savory flavor and took away the uber nutty flavor from the cashew milk. And one of the other secret ingredients was Vegan Parmesan cheese…AKA nutritional yeast. Not only does it have the saltiness and cheesy flavor of Parmesan but it is so ridiculously good for you!
So I did it. I tested it on the toughest critic…hubs. He approved. Many times over.
So Yelen…I give this dish to you…so many years later and I think you will love it as much as we did back in the day 🙂
Vegan Healthy Creamy Pasta with LemonThis healthy creamy pasta is full of flavor and velvety goodness and none of the fat! It boasts loads of garlicky deliciousness and fresh lemon in every chewy and creamy bite!
- 1 cup of Magic Onion Sauce
- 1 pound dry spaghetti or fettuccine pasta
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 2 medium shallot minced on a microplaner or by hand
- 6 cloves of garlic minced on a microplaner or by hand
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 cups unsweetened cashew milk
- zest and juice of one lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- diced tomatoes to garnish
- minced parsley to garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional: vegan parmesan cheese...AKA Nutritional Yeast
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- While the water comes to a boil, place a large sautee pan over medium heat. Add butter, shallots and garlic. You do not want any color, you just want them to sweat. If you see them getting color, turn the heat down.
- Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for 10 minutes until nice and fragrant and translucent.
- Add pasta into boiling water and cook according to package instructions.
- Stir in flour into the shallots and garlic mixture.
- Add in theMagic Onion sauce.
- Using a whisk to stir, slowly pour in the cashew milk. Keep whisking to get rid of any clumps.
- Add lemon juice and zest.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Add pasta directly to the pan and combine with sauce. Add a bit of the pasta water if sauce is too thick.
- Garnish with vegan Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, parsley and sliced lemons.
- Serve immediately
Notes1. The pasta water is crucial. In all cases of making pasta it always adds as a perfect last minute ingredient. It has the starch of the pasta already in it so it acts like a perfect binder.
2. This pasta does look a bit "glue-like" when it cools, but believe me it is just as delicious. If you want just heat it up and thin it out with a bit more cashew milk and it will taste perfect.