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Overhead view of pasta in a vegan white sauce with a side of roasted asparagus.
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4.7 from 10 votes

Creamy Vegan White Sauce Pasta

A delicious pasta dish with a garlicky lemon white bean sauce served alongside roasted asparagus. It comes together easily - perfect for a weeknight dinner. Dairy free and vegan!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Entrées, Pasta
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan
Servings: 6
Calories: 350kcal

Ingredients

For the Asparagus:

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste

For the Pasta:

  • 16 ounces ziti or pasta of choice (use gluten free noodles if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • ½ of a yellow onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans rinsed and drained (or 1 ⅕ cups cooked white beans)
  • ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth plus extra to thin, if needed
  • juice of ½ lemon or to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper optional
  • fresh parsley to garnish
  • zest of 1 lemon to garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 425°F and bring a big pot of water to a boil.
  • Trim off the woody bottoms of the asparagus. Toss the asparagus with oil, salt and pepper.
  • Spread the asparagus out on a rimmed baking sheet in one even layer. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until tender and starting to brown.
  • Meanwhile, cook the ziti (or pasta of choice) according to package directions in well salted water.
  • While the pasta is cooking and the asparagus is roasting, make the sauce.
  • In a small skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil (or 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth) over medium-high heat. Sauté the diced onion for 4 to 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté another 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Combine the beans, onion/garlic mixture, vegetable broth, lemon juice, and salt in a high speed blender and purée until smooth. Add a little more broth (or some of the pasta water) to thin if needed.
  • To serve, combine the ziti and sauce and serve the asparagus either on the side or mixed in with the noodles.
  • Garnish with extra lemon zest, parsley, and an extra squeeze of fresh lemon, if desired.

Notes

~ Salt the pasta water! Salting pasta water is an important step is seasoning the dish.
~ Spread the asparagus out into one single layer on a rimmed baking sheet to ensure they get browned. Overlapping the spears will result in steaming instead of roasting and they will come out soft and mushy.
~ Sauté the onion and garlic before adding it to blender to make the sauce. This will create a deeper, richer flavor in the sauce.
~ Drain and rinse the canned beans!
~ Use fresh squeezed lemon juice for best flavor, not bottled.
~ Save some of the pasta cooking water (about ¼ cup or so) to add to the sauce to make it even creamier.
~ If the sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta cooking water or a splash of vegetable broth to thin it out.
~ Don't like asparagus? Try serving the pasta and vegan white sauce with a side of roasted broccoli or green beans instead. Or simply throw some frozen peas in with the pasta before draining it and mix it all with the sauce.
~ This recipe is vegan and nut free.
~ For a gluten free option, choose certified gluten free noodles.
~ For an oil-free option, use vegetable broth instead of oil for sautéing and roasting.

Storage/Freezing
Leftovers will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Ideally, store the pasta, sauce, and asparagus all separately.
Leftover sauce can also be frozen in an air-tight container or freezer-safe plastic bag up to 3 months. 
I do not recommend freezing the pasta with the sauce combined.

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 298mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 8.3mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 4.5mg