I love this simple vegan pasta dish because of its complex layered flavours. The fragrant fresh herbs, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and twist of black pepper just work together great. Since creating the recipe I’ve made it many times.
This pasta looks and tastes remarkably sophisticated. Which had me laughing, because this result wasn’t my original goal at all! This outcome however is an awesome surprise.
I’d been talking with a friend who mentioned wanting something easy to make in the evenings. Yet here I was eating it and the whole dish, looks, smells and tastes like something fancy. A recipe I’d happily cook for a date!
But back to the original goal for now – pasta seemed like a good base for an easy recipe. The real challenge would be creating the sauce. Crucially, I decided it should be something that can be made in one bowl and doesn’t need cooking, just mix it up while the pasta is simmering.
The avocado mashing step is also a great opportunity to really crush up the herbs and extract their flavours.
The no cooking rule wasn’t actually a hindrance, it led to the idea of something fresh and bright. A creamy mashed up avocado makes a perfect, almost instant sauce. Add some olive oil and it thins down to a smooth, lighter sauce that will mix throughout the pasta.
Fresh herbs are an obvious choice here, they have excellent flavours that carry well in oils – but which ones to use? This is where balance started to become an important consideration.
I had in mind a rich herby base, some brighter top notes and something a bit bitter to balance against something sweet.
Finely diced basil makes the rich herb base. Chives, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar make the brighter top notes. The sweet balsamic vinegar balances against the slightly bitter parsley and garlic. Just a little raw garlic is used here. It’s strong stuff, but also an awesome flavour with plenty of umami. Finish it all off with a few grinds of black pepper.
Balance however isn’t just in the design – at least not when making recipes with fresh ingredients of varied flavour and strength. Balance is also something we need to season for each time we cook. Fortunately, this recipe can be easily handled by adjusting just the lemon juice and black pepper. If it needs more flavour, add a little more of both. If it’s too lemony, grind in a little more pepper and taste again – but if it’s too peppery, add a few drops more lemon and test it. Repeat as needed until you have the flavour you want.
Like many of the best Italian dishes, it’s rather simple really. Just a fresh herb vegan pasta – but the result is delicious.
Have you enjoyed making this vegan pasta, or have a question or suggestion? In particular, I’d love to hear what kind of vegan recipes you need right now in your recipe book? Also, if you need a way to use up any leftover herbs check out another delicious vegan Italian recipe – mushroom pizza marinara here.
Creamy Avocado & Herb Vegan Pasta
- 300 g dried pasta (most dried pasta is vegan, but check ingredients)
- 1 large avocado, soft and ripe (flesh only, discard skin and stone)
- 20 g fresh chives (finely diced)
- 10 g fresh basil leaves (finely diced)
- 5 g fresh parsley leaves (finely diced)
- 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons light olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- few grinds of black pepper
- a few sprigs of fresh parsley
- Cook pasta according to packet's instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, put the avocado flesh, herbs, garlic and salt in a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth and creamy. Stir in olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and a few grinds of black pepper. Taste and adjust if needed – adding more pepper if too lemony, or more lemon if too peppery.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and return it to the warm pan. Add the avocado sauce and stir through until pasta is well coated. Serve and garnish with a few sprigs of parsley.