This vegan lemon ricotta pasta with wilted fresh spinach is the perfect light spring meal. It’s creamy, lemon-y, cheezey and made with fewer than 10 ingredients. Ready in less than 30 minutes, it’s a weeknight-friendly dinner that is sure to please everyone in your family. Vegan, gluten-free,nut-free, and with an oil-free option.
Why you’ll love it
I certainly hope I don’t have to convince you to like pasta, because even on it’s own, it’s perfection. But when you add this creamy, rich, yet light and springy lemon ricotta…It’s absolutely perfect. Here are just a few reasons why you need to make this pasta for dinner tonight:
When life gives you lemons, make lemon ricotta. Make sure that you chose large lemons that are slightly soft. These lemons will give you the most zest and juice making for a bright and spring-y ricotta.
You’ll want to make sure that you toast the hemp hearts before adding them to the ricotta. This will give your cheese a slightly earthy, warm flavor that you just don’t get from raw hemp hearts.
To toast, simply heat a small skillet over medium low heat and add the hemp hearts. Allow them to cook for 3-4 minutes until they are a light golden brown. Watch them closely so that they don’t burn.
Make sure that your basil is fresh and has been cleaned. I suggested using 5-6 large basil leaves but feel free to add more to your liking. The more basil, the more herbaceous your lemon ricotta will be.
This meal is amazing because the lemon ricotta pairs beautifully with so many different kinds of spring vegetables. If you don’t have fresh spinach try: broccoli, asparagus, green peas, or zucchini.
To a blender or food processor add pressed tofu, zest and juice of 2 lemons, olive oil, toasted hemp heart seeds, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt, and basil. Blend/process the ingredients until they are smooth. Stop as needed to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
Prepare the pasta according to package directions. When it has finished cooking, drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
Pour ¼ cup of the pasta water into the blended lemon ricotta. Continue adding reserved pasta water 1 tbsp at a time until your desired consistency is reached. The ricotta should be smooth and slightly thin but still thick enough to coat the pasta.
Transfer the ricotta to the pasta pot and heat over medium-low. You want the pot hot enough to wilt the spinach but not bubble the ricotta. Add in the fresh spinach leaves and cook for 3-4 minutes. Return the pasta to the pot and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Serve the pasta warm, topped with vegan parmesan and a lemon slice.
I know that this meal will become an instant classic in your home. It’s simple, flavorful, and ready in half an hour. What more could you ask for? Be sure to let me know how much you love this vegan lemon ricotta pasta in the comments below. Enjoy friends!
Ingredient Health Benefits
Basil- phytochemicals, volatile oils (antibacterial properties)
Lemon- vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, potassium
Soy- protein, calcium, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, phytochemicals
Spinach- fiber, vitamin K, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, folate, vitamin B, vitamin A, glycolipids (cancer cell growth suppressors)
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Vegan Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- Blender or Food Processor
- 16oz block extra firm tofu, pressed
- 2 lemons, juiced and zested
- ¼ cup olive oil (sub pasta water if oil-free)
- ¼ cup hemp heart seeds, toasted
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ¼ tsp salt
- 5-6 large basil leaves
- ¼-½ cup reserved pasta water
- 12 oz pasta (gluten-free in necessary)
- 4 oz fresh spinach
- To a blender or food processor add pressed tofu, zest and juice of 2 lemons, olive oil, toasted hemp heart seeds, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt, and basil. Blend/process until smooth stopping as needed to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. When finished cooking, reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain the pasta.
- Pour ¼ cup of pasta water into the lemon ricotta. Continue adding reserved pasta water 1 tbsp at a time until the ricotta is smooth and slightly thin but still thick enough to coat the pasta.
- Transfer the ricotta to the pasta pot and heat over medium-low, hot enough to wilt the spinach but not bubbling. Add in the fresh spinach leaves and cook for 3-4 minutes. Return the pasta to the pot and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Serve the pasta warm, topped with vegan parmesan and a lemon slice. Pairs well with a side of steamed broccoli and toasted bread.