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Lemon pasta is deliciously creamy, tangy, and comforting. This dairy-free pasta is sure to be a weeknight favorite that’s ready in only 15 minutes from start to finish!
Italian cuisine is truly one of the best. And as a dairy-free eater, it’s one of my favorite foods to recreate at home. Especially since going out to eat at an Italian restaurant or even traveling to Italy doesn’t always give us the full experience, albeit still a delicious one.
Traditional Spaghetti al Limone is a simple dish consisting of long noodle-shaped pasta such as spaghetti, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil or butter, parmesan cheese, heavy cream, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
In order to make lemon pasta dairy-free, all that’s required are a few small tweaks to give it that luscious creamy mouthfeel, and taste without lacking any flavor. And the best part is that minimal ingredients are required.
- spaghetti – or another long pasta noodle such as bucatini
- olive oil
- lemon zest and lemon juice – the zest gives it that true lemon flavor and the acidity helps to cut the richness of the cream
- dairy-free butter
- cashew cream
- salt and pepper
How To Make Lemon Pasta
Lemon pasta comes together really quickly, so it helps to have everything prepped and ready to get tossed into the pan.
First, you’ll zest and juice the lemon.
Then, you’ll cook the spaghetti in a pot of salted boiling water according to the package instructions until al dente, reserving one cup of the pasta water.
As the pasta finishes cooking, you’ll make the lemon pan sauce by whisking the ingredients together in the skillet.
Once the pasta is done, the cooked noodles get transferred to the sauce along with some of the reserved pasta water, tossing them together until well-coated and seasoned to taste.
Make It Your Way: Ingredient Substitutions
Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.
How can you make this creamy lemon pasta using what you already have? Here are some ideas…
- Gluten-free? ➝ use your favorite gluten-free spaghetti noodles
- Nut-free? ➝ instead of cashew cream, you can use an oat milk creamer
- Add-ins ➝ although Spaghetti al Limone is made simply with just a few ingredients, you can add in cooked protein such as chicken or shrimp or vegetables such as asparagus, peas, or artichoke hearts.
More Dairy-Free Italian Recipes
- Dairy-Free Frittata
- Roasted Broccoli Caesar Salad
- Roasted Tomato Soup With Basil
- Summery Peach Panzanella Salad
Creamy Lemon Pasta (Dairy-Free)
- 8 ounces long pasta noodles such as spaghetti or bucatini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- lemon zest from 1 large lemon about 1 ½ tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons dairy-free butter
- ½ cup cashew cream
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- lemon zest for topping
- fresh basil or parsley to garnish (optional)
- Cook the spaghetti in a pot of salted boiling water according to the package instructions until al dente. (It'll continue to cook further in the pan in the sauce.) Reserve one cup of the pasta water.
- Remove the zest of one large lemon and squeeze out the juice yielding to 2 tablespoons. Set the lemon juice aside.
- Add the olive oil and lemon zest to a large warm skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes before adding in the dairy-free butter and cashew cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir or whisk until combined.
- Using tongs transfer the cooked pasta to the skillet (it's perfectly fine if some excess water clings to the noodles) along with 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water.
- Toss the noodles throughout the sauce until the noodles are well coated, adding more pasta water as needed. The sauce will seize up as it cools, so use a little more than you think. Add in the fresh lemon juice, and season with more salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Serve with more freshly zested lemon and fresh basil or parsley to garnish.