This is a light and creamy vegan pasta made with cashew cream, sun-dried tomatoes, and lemon. It's great enjoyed hot or cold and is ready in just about 30 minutes!
Ever since I shared my cashew cream recipe, I've been obsessed with using cashew cream in pasta! It started with spicy vegan pasta, went to vegan artichoke pasta, and now I'm back with a light and lemony cashew cream pasta salad.
- Flavors: This cashew cream pasta features briny and zesty flavors from lemon zest, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes
- Enjoy hot or cold: This pasta is great hot or chilled like a pasta salad.
- Versatile: Satisfying enough to be a main dish but it's also great as a vegan potluck side.
- Creamy like vegan alfredo thanks to a cashew based cream sauce.
This cashew cream pasta is inspired by cashew carbonara that is sold at my local co-op. Because I've never had carbonara before I don't feel comfortable calling it a cashew carbonara, but it is definitely similar to a lot of cashew carbonara recipes out there!
Whatever the name, this cashew cream pasta is a great option for meal prep lunches or weeknight dinners because it comes together in just about 30 minutes and requires only a handful of minutes of active time to make.
- Pasta: I use fettuccine but any kind of pasta will work. Reserve the pasta water for the cashew sauce. Pasta water is starchy which helps the sauce cling to the pasta.
- Raw unsalted cashews are best for cashew cream. Roasted cashews work in a pinch (I've had to do it a few times) but it results in a much nuttier, less neutral flavor.
- Sun-dried tomatoes add acidity and umami flavor.
- Peas: I use frozen peas and let them thaw at room temperature while the pasta cooks.
- Capers add salty and briney flavor.
- Lemon juice and zest come from 2 large lemons.
- Nutritional yeast adds depth and cheesiness.
- White beans add extra protein. Chickpeas are another great option.
Step by step instructions
Before you begin: Cook fettuccine pasta or pasta of choice according to package instructions. Reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.
Soak raw unsalted cashews overnight or soak them in almost boiling water for at least 15 minutes to make the cashew cream sauce. If you have a weak blender you may need to soak them in hot water for up to an hour. Reserve the hot soaking liquid.
Make the cashew cream sauce by adding soaked cashews, reserved soaking liquid, olive oil, and lemon juice to the blender.
Blend until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. I add this cashew cream to the cooked pasta, then add ½ cup pasta water to the blender and bend it again.
This removes to remove any cashew cream from the side of the blender and helps to smooth out the pasta sauce.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pasta. Toss to combine. Enjoy hot or cold!
I haven't tried making cream using any other kind of nut. I've read that some people have success with slivered almonds. But you'll want to stick to cashews for this recipe.
Leftovers are best enjoyed within 3-4 days. Keep covered and refrigerated. I usually eat leftovers of this pasta cold, but you can reheat it in the microwave in just about 2 minutes.
Cashew cream has a slightly nutty flavor but it doesn't taste just like cashews because it also has olive oil, salt, and lemon juice added.
More vegan pasta recipes
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Cashew Cream Lemon Pasta
- 8 ounces fettuccine or pasta of choice
- 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium lemons ~¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 6 ounces sun-dried tomatoes sliced into thin strips
- 15 ounce can great northern beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed
- 2 tablespoons capers adjust to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- red pepper flakes to taste
- Cook fettuccine pasta according to package instructions. Reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.
- Soak raw unsalted cashews overnight or soak them in almost boiling water for at least 15 minutes. Reserve soaking liquid.
- Make the cashew cream sauce by adding soaked cashews, olive oil, the juice from one lemon, salt, and ½ cup reserved soaking liquid to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding extra liquid as needed to thin to a pourable consistency.
- In a large bowl, toss the cashew cream with the cooked fettuccine and nutritional yeast. Add ½ cup pasta water back to the blender. Blend to remove any stuck-on cashew cream from the sides of the blender. Add to the cooked pasta.
- To the pasta add sun-dried tomatoes, beans, peas, capers, the juice of one lemon, zest of one lemon (about 1 tablespoon), black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Toss to combine.
- Taste for seasonings. Enjoy immediately for a warm dish or cover and chill in the fridge for 2 hours for a cold dish.
- Cashew cream: Soak time depends on blender strength. I soak mine in almost boiling water for just 15 minutes, but for a weak blender, you may need to soak them for 30 minutes. Cashews can also be soaked in cool water overnight. More tips can be found in my cashew cream post.
- Leftovers: Enjoy leftovers hot or cold. Keep refrigerated in a closed container and enjoy within 3-4 days.
- Even though I only use about ½ cup of pasta water in the sauce, I recommend reserving 1 cup in case you end up needing more.