This Light Asparagus Pasta with Fresh Basil is the perfect meal to make when you want to impress but still want to keep things simple. This pasta is delicious on its own or with a choice of protein.
What Makes This Pasta Special?
This Italian-inspired pasta is super easy to make and absolutely perfect for spring and summer!
It can be hot outside but that doesn't mean we need to stop making pasta! Delicious pasta, just a little lighter! Pasta dishes that require minimal effort and no heavy sauces are my go-to this time of the year!
Fresh basil and the toasted pine nuts take this dish from good to amazing. It's like making pesto pasta without the extra effort. You get all of the flavors and do none of the work!
Variations and Substitutions
- Frozen peas - Probably all of us have some frozen peas hidden in the back of our freezer. Use them! They go really well with the asparagus and all the spring flavors. The combo works really well in this Arborio Risotto with Asparagus and Peas too! So good.
- Cherry tomatoes - enhance the summer flavors with some cherry tomatoes for a burst of flavor! Just throw a handful in the pan along with the asparagus and sautee them until they get softer and a little mushy.
- Vegan Cheese - use some vegan parmesan instead of the recommended grated Pecorino cheese to make this dish 100% vegan. If you can't find vegan cheese, use nutritional yeast.
- Red pepper flakes - add 1/4-1/2 tsp to the asparagus while it's cooking if you enjoy the heat!
Serving and Storing
This dish is best serve right away but it does store pretty well too.
You can serve it on its own, with a choice of protein or salad! Try it with this Cucumber Radish Salad, it's the perfect combo for spring and summer!
To store, let the pasta cool down, transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. The pasta might get mushy when you try to reheat it. This also depends on the pasta you use. I find brown rice pasta to fall apart easier than regular gluten pasta.
Removing the ends gets rid of the tough woody part of the asparagus. The best way to do this is by holding it with both hands and bending it until it snaps. It will naturally break right where the tough ends stop.
Asparagus can be eaten raw so this is based on preference. I like cooking it for about 10 minutes. The asparagus turns darker green and softens but it still has a bite to it.
Look for spears that aren't wilted at the top and aren't limp or turning yellow overall. They should be tough and bright green.
Store it in a jar with enough water to cover the bottoms of the spears. Either out or inside the fridge. It will last a bit longer in the fridge.
Are you craving even more asparagus and looking for new ways to cook it? Try this Cheesy Baked Asparagus! It's a great simple side and always a hit.
Similar Pasta Recipes to Try
Craving more pasta? No problem! Let's make all the pasta!
PS: The creamy sun-dried tomato pasta linked below is my absolute favorite. I know I said this is the season for no heavy sauce but I couldn't help it. It's the best!
- Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pasta with Capers and Dill (GF, vegan)
- Arugula Basil Pesto Pasta with Roasted Beets (GF, vegan)
- Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta (GF, vegan)
- Fresh Tomato Pasta with Herbs (GF, vegan)
Delicious easy to make pasta for spring and summer. Made with fresh asparagus and lots of herbs.
- ¼ cup raw pine nuts
- 1 tbsp avocado oil (or another cooking oil)
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (or 2 small shallots)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 20 asparagus spears, wooden ends removed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup dry white wine (or broth)
- 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh, chopped)
- ½ tsp dried parsley (or 1 tsp fresh, chopped)
- ½ tsp dried rosemary (or 1 tsp fresh, finely chopped)
- ¼ - ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 250g brown rice pasta (or pasta of your choice)
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- ½ cup grated Pecorino cheese, divided*
- Black pepper to taste
Optional add-ins: frozen peas, cherry tomatoes, protein (tofu, fish, seafood, chicken, etc.)
- Start by toasting the pine nuts. Heat a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add the pine nuts and toast tossing frequently for a few minutes until they’re evenly golden brown. Take off heat and set aside until ready to serve.
- In a large pan, heat up the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped yellow onion and the sea salt, and sautee for about 5 minutes on medium until translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chopped asparagus, toss, and slowly pour in the wine.
- Add the dried oregano, parsley, and rosemary. Add the red pepper flakes if using.
- Cover and cook for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
- While that’s cooking, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Save ½ cup of the starchy cooking water.
- When the asparagus is dark green and tender but not mushy, squeeze in the lemon juice, add the basil, and the pasta. Sprinkle in ¼ of the pecorino cheese. Toss everything together and season with more sea salt and black pepper if desired.
- Serve dusted with more Pecorino cheese and sprinkled with the toasted pine nuts.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
*Cheese substitute: 1:1 vegan cheese or 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
The nutritional information is just an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information is not guaranteed.
Keywords: asparagus, pasta, basil, summer