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Asparagus Pasta with charred kale, and a lemony cannellini bean leek sauce. This healthy vegan pasta comes together in under 30 minutes- fast enough for a weeknight dinner! Vegan. Video.
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This lemon Asparagus Pasta recipe is a quick and easy springtime dish that can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Simple ingredients come together quickly in this fresh, flavorful vegan pasta dish. Cannellini beans break down beautifully creating a creamy satisfying sauce without dairy, leeks are sautéed until melty pairing perfectly with the richness of the beans. Lemon zest and lemon thyme give a bright balance. Asparagus and kale are cooked tender-crisp with a bit of toasty char flavor. With its delicious vegan ingredients and fast preparation time, this pasta is perfect for a healthy and enjoyable weeknight dinner.
For more Asparagus inspiration check out 20+ Best Asparagus Recipes!
Asparagus Pasta | 60-Second Video
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Pasta!
- Quick and easy: With a preparation time of under 30 minutes, this recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. The cannellini beans break down to create a creamy sauce without dairy, while the asparagus and kale cook to a tender-crisp texture with a touch of char flavor.
- Vegan and healthy: This pasta is completely vegan, making it a great option for those following a plant-based diet. It is also packed with nutritious ingredients like asparagus, kale, and cannellini beans, providing you with a healthy and satisfying meal.
- Versatile: You can enjoy this pasta either warm or at room temperature, making it suitable for any season. It can be served as a main dish or as a side dish alongside your favorite protein.
- Delicious leftovers: Leftovers of this Asparagus Pasta can be refrigerated and reheated for up to 4 days. This makes it a convenient and tasty option for meal prep or for enjoying a quick and flavorful lunch.
Ingredients in Asparagus Pasta
It starts with fresh ingredients- asparagus, kale, leeks, lemon and a good-quality pasta.
Pasta: You can use any good-quality pasta of your choice for this recipe. We used organic Torchiette pasta, which is also known as “little torches.” It holds and cradles sauces well, but you can use similar-sized pasta varieties as well. Gluten-free pasta works too.
Asparagus: Choose fresh asparagus spears for the best flavor. If the asparagus is on the thicker side, you can slice it in half vertically and then into inch-sized pieces. Alternatively, you can keep the asparagus whole for a more tender-crisp texture.
Kale: Look for fresh kale leaves, preferably organic. Swap out other green leafy vegetables such as swiss chard.
Leeks: Leeks add a delicious flavor to the dish. Slice the leeks thinly and make sure to wash them thoroughly to remove any sand or dirt trapped between the layers.
Lemon: Fresh lemon zest and juice bring brightness to the dish. Use a microplane or a fine grater to zest the lemon and extract the juice.
Cannellini Beans: These creamy white beans are the base for the sauce in this recipe. Make sure to use canned cannellini beans or cook dried beans in advance and have them drained and rinsed.
Olive Oil: High-quality extra virgin olive oil is recommended for sautéing the leeks and creating a flavorful sauce.
Thyme: Lemon thyme is used in this recipe to add an aromatic herbal note. If you can’t find lemon thyme, regular thyme will work as well. Or other fresh herbs such as tarragon, rosemary or sage.
Salt and Pepper: Season the dish with salt and pepper to taste.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How To Make Asparagus Pasta
Get your veggies prepped. If your asparagus is on the thicker side slice in half vertically and then in inch size pieces. Or keep it whole for a more tender-crisp texture.
You can cook the veggies two different ways. Roast in the oven or char in a hot skillet.
Charring veggies in the oven feels faster with less hands-on time. Keep a close eye to make sure they do not overcook.
This is the skillet cooked asparagus and kale. Cooking the asparagus and kale in a skillet makes it a little easier to get a sear on the asparagus without overcooking. Either method works.
Saute leeks and garlic. Mash the cannellini beans into the pan along with olive oil, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, thyme, salt, pepper and reserved pasta water to make a sauce.
Creating a beautiful creamy sauce within minutes and no extra dishes!
Asparagus Pasta FAQS
Yes, leftovers of this Asparagus Pasta can be refrigerated and reheated for up to 4 days. It’s a great option for meal prep or enjoying a quick and flavorful lunch.
Serving with grilled or roasted chicken on the side would be fine! Salmon or shrimp would be lovely too.
Dried beans are an excellent source of protein, fiber, folate, iron and magnesium. They may also help balance blood sugar levels.
This dish is vegan and packed with nutritious ingredients like asparagus, kale, and cannellini beans. Asparagus is low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and potassium. Kale is also rich in vitamin C, A, and K, and is a great source of calcium and antioxidants. Cannellini beans provide protein, fiber, and several essential nutrients.
Leftovers keep about 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container, reheat or enjoy chilled!
Enjoy the Asparagus Pasta and let us know how you like it!
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Asparagus Pasta with kale, leeks and a creamy Cannellini Bean Leek Sauce. This healthy, spring, vegan pasta recipe comes together quickly and easily!
- 6–7 ounces dry pasta ( torchiette, orecchiette, penne pasta, etc.)
- 1 bunch kale, 8-10 oz, about 4–5 cups chopped in small chunks, discarding the thicker ribs
- 10 ounces asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces (slice in half vertically if on the thicker side)
- 1 cup leeks, chopped thinly in 1/2 rounds
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped small
- 1 1/2 cups or 15 oz cannellini beans
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (or unsalted butter)
- lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 2–3 tablespoons lemon juice plus more to finish
- 1/3 cup reserved pasta water
- 2–3 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme leaves ( or regular thyme)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo or red pepper flakes (optional)
- Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle (optional) or vegan parmesan, or regular parmesan cheese
- Set oven to 450F if roasting the veggies in the oven. (Instructions included for both oven roasting and pan sautéing below.)
- Cook the Pasta: Place 2 quarts of water in a large pot with 1 tablespoon salt to boil on the stove, cooking pasta al dente according to directions. Drain and reserve 1/3 cup of the hot pasta water.
- Char in OVEN: On a parchment-lined sheet pan (for easy clean up), place cut asparagus tossed with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, on one side of the pan. Rub kale with about a teaspoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt (I use my hands to rub the oil into the kale to get it to absorb and tenderize). Place kale on the other side of the sheet pan and place in the preheated oven for 4-5 minutes, until kale is wilted and starting to lightly char. If you want more char broil for 1-2 minutes. OR Char in large SKILLET: In a hot cast iron skillet, start with asparagus dry frying, stir constantly for 3-4 minutes, when it begins to sear remove from heat adding a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Repeat the same process with kale.
- Make the Sauce: Saute leeks with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat until soft and just beginning to brown for about 3-4 minutes, add garlic sautéing 1 min more. Remove from heat. Add about half of the beans into the pan with the leeks and garlic along with 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, salt, pepper and 1/3 cup reserved pasta water. Mash together with a fork making a creamy blend. Heat up to warm.
- Assemble: Mix the cooked pasta into the creamy bean sauce, adding the remaining whole beans, charred asparagus and kale. Add more lemon and salt to taste.
Fresh thyme can vary in pungency so add according to your taste. I find lemon thyme milder and use the full 3 teaspoons.
Leftovers keep about 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container, reheat or enjoy chilled!
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 458
- Sugar: 4.1 g
- Sodium: 501.2 mg
- Fat: 18.7 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 60.9 g
- Fiber: 8.6 g
- Protein: 15.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: Asparagus pasta, vegan asparagus pasta, Asparagus Pasta recipe, Kale Asparagus Pasta,