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Charred Asparagus Kale Pasta with a creamy, lemony, Cannellini Bean Leek Sauce. This healthy spring vegan pasta comes together fast enough for a weeknight dinner!
Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.~ Buddha
I am loving easy suppers right now as springtime just beckons us outdoors! This vegan pasta recipe is good warm or at room temperature making it a perfect picnic dish! I have even been eating leftovers cold out of the fridge.
Simple spring ingredients come together quickly in this fresh and 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.
It starts with fresh ingredients.
Here we used organic Torchiette Pasta, aka “little torches” known to hold and cradle sauces well. Most similar-sized pasta will work too.
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.
Here are the lightly charred veggies just out of the oven. This method feels faster to me with less hands-on time. Keep a close eye to make sure they do not overcook.
This is the skillet cooked asparagus and kale. I found 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, lemon juice, thyme, salt, pepper and reserved pasta water to make a sauce.
Creating a beautiful creamy sauce within minutes and no extra dishes!
Toss all together and top with this delicious recipe for Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle for a rich Parmesan-like flavor.
Leftovers keep about 4 days in the fridge, reheat or enjoy chilled!
Enjoy the Charred Asparagus Kale Pasta and let us know how you like it in the comments below.
More Recipes you may like:
- Creamy Pea Pasta (Vegan)
- Pasta with Broccolini, Preserved Lemon and Chickpeas
- Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce
- Orecchiette with Creamy Carrot Miso Sauce
- Our 20 BEST Vegetarian Pasta Recipes! (Vegan-adaptable)
- 20 Fresh & Healthy Asparagus Recipes
- Smoky Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens
Charred Asparagus Kale Pasta with Lemony Cannellini Beans
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6 cups 1x
- Category: Vegan, Pasta, spring recipes
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
Charred Asparagus Kale Pasta with 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, 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
- 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 pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo or red pepper flakes (optional)
- Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle (optional)
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 with 1 tablespoon salt to boil on the stove, cooking pasta 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 SKILLET: In a hot cast iron skillet, start with asparagus dry frying, stirring 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.
Top with Aleppo (if desired), fresh chives and lots of vegan Cheesy Sprinkle! Also good with goat cheese or Parmesan.
Fresh thyme can vary in pungency so add according to your taste. I find lemon thyme milder and use the full 3 teaspoons.
- 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 pasta recipe, Asparagus Kale Pasta, Kale Asparagus Pasta,
We absolutely loved this recipe! I love that it’s vegetarian, but still hearty and filling. We melted goat cheese into the sauce which was delicious. Love the fresh lemony flavor, along with the charred kale! Definitely a keeper!
Great to hear Sarah!
I prepared the recipe as written, plus added two extra cloves of garlic (I love garlic), and the juice of the whole lemon that I zested. Cannellini beans and lemon are so complementary. This dish was delicious!
I love this recipe, it’s so delicious and easy to make! I like to double the beans for a little extra sauce. Yum!
Happy to hear this Anne!
This is so easy to make and so delicious! I made it the first time with curly kale and this time with lacinto kale. I loved the lacinto so much better. The white bean sauce is so filling and yummy with the lemon and garlic. My husband doesn’t eat pasta so he eats it as a side and I mix in the pasta for mine. So good!!
You have officially become my go-to food blog. I’ve made 5 recipes so far from your blog (including this one, twice!) and they are absolutely delicious. All of them have been great weekday recipes!
Thanks so much Nicolas!
Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. 5/7 family members went back for second helpings including the kids! I’ll bookmark to make again!
Great to hear Miranda!
Good, natural ingredients. Perfect mix of vegetables, beans, pasta. Easy to make. Vegan. The whole thing is one great creative combination (not only flavors but also using the cannellini to make a healthy “cream” base, etc.). And totally delicious. I have one other asparagus pasta recipe that I’ve relied on for years but this one is absolutely my new go-to! This recipe is excellent, thank you.
You are welcome! I like this one too. So glad you enjoyed!
Loved it! Heavy on the veggies, used Banza chick pea pasta so did not add in the reserved whole beans at the end. Didn’t have asparagus, so used broccoli. Also added more pasta water (about a cup), hot red pepper flakes and a hand full of parsley.
Great! Love the adaptions!
Easy, flavorful, and cheap!
This is excellent! Given the massive size of the kale bunch at my grocery and being unsure of your intention for the amount of kale, I instead opted for around 4-4.5 ounces of salad -grade baby kale, which worked fine. But it would be helpful to indicate the weight of the kale as with the asparagus. A “bunch” is highly variable based on the store and the variety of kale.
Thanks Mary! Will note the recipe. 😊
Hello Tonia. This is excellent. I wonder if oregano might work work in place of thyme?
that sounds great! Thanks!
Delicious! I’ve made this recipe twice. First time I followed the recipe, tonight I added preserved lemon. Yumm! I can’t quite get this together in 30 minutes, but it easy and fast. I plan to adapt the main recipe and use other veggies.
Thanks Jaye! Love preserved lemon. Appreciate the feed back on preparation time.
Will charring the asparagus actually cook it? Or is it supposed to remain a little raw?
Charring does cook the asparagus to a tender crisp texture. Especially when it is cut into pieces.
Next time I prepare this delicious recipe I want to add some lightly toasted pine nuts. They seem to be calling to me.
Sylvia, I am so grateful to have found your blog. Although a seasoned cook (no pun intended) of many years, your expertise and wonderful recipes have become my go-to. I have loved every one I have tried so far. I am doing my best to use seasonal vegetables at the moment. Even my carnivore husband has really enjoyed the meals I have prepared. I have finally taken the plunge with an Instant Pot, too. So far it is sitting on the counter as the recipes I have found seem to be less Spring oriented. Thank you so much for the new horizons.
Sounds good and glad you are enjoying the blog, Martie. Yes, I agree, I tend to put the instant pot during the warmer months- unless I want to cook beans.:)
Absolutely delicious and will definitely make it again! Perfect amount of lemon seasoning. Had 2 bowls – one with Aleppo and one without and both equally tasty!
This was delicious! So refreshing and easy to make, as well!
Made this for Monday night supper after work. Fast, easy and really delicious! I will definitely make this again. Thank you!
Great to hear Kelly!
Delicious!!! I added some chopped preserved lemon for added tanginess and broccolini just cause it’s in season. Amazing dish!
oh perfect, sounds yummy. so glad you enjoyed!
Looks easy and delicious!
It will be dinner today!!