This 1-pot casarecce pasta is ready in 25 minutes and great when you're craving simple comfort food. Think of it like buttered noodles for garlic lovers, with lemon and kale added for good measure! Customize this easy vegan pasta dish with different veggies, beans, cheeses, and herbs.
Why You'll Love It
Who doesn't love the simplicity of pasta, butter, garlic, and lemon? It's a classic for good reason and SO comforting when you're short on time and energy.
This is also the kind of dish I crave when I'm feeling under the weather - buttery, salty, comfort food that's quick. Know what I mean?
My husband was actually the one who encouraged me to post this recipe. I was afraid it was too simple, not really a recipe, so to speak.
Also, many of my regular readers who follow a low-fat, plant-based diet. So sharing a buttery vegan pasta recipe is somewhat rare here.
But Mark loved it so much he kept pestering me to share it with you. So here we go!
You'll love this casarecce pasta recipe because it's:
- made with 7 easy-to-find ingredients
- ready in 25 minutes
- rich with garlic and lemon zest
- and easily customized with different veggies, beans, vegan meats, etc!
What is casarecce pasta?
Casarecce pasta has a smooth surface and short, twisted shape. It originated in Sicily and is often paired with Mediterranean ingredients like fresh vegetables, tomatoes, olive oil, and seafood.
The word casarecce, pronounced cah-sah-ret-chay, translates as "homemade."
I really enjoy casarecce paired with creamy sauces, like this vegan lemon pasta and our favorite vegan mac and cheese.
In fact, I won a local vegan mac and cheese cook off with that recipe and used casarecce instead of macaroni or small shells. It was a pretty exciting day! And this elegantly shaped pasta has held a special place in my heart ever since.
There's something extra luxurious about the smooth surface and the denseness of casarecce when coated in a rich and creamy sauce. Or in the case of today's recipe, butter and olive oil.
- casarecce pasta - I usually purchase this pasta at Whole Foods since they offer casarecce in their 365 line of organic pastas. There are many other brands available in stores and online.
- garlic - we're big fans of garlic, so if you prepare the recipe as written expect the garlic flavor to really shine! Feel free to reduce the number of cloves for a softer garlic flavor.
- vegan butter - any type of salted vegan butter you enjoy is fine, such as Miyoko's, Earth Balance, or Country Crock.
- olive oil - the pasta tends to soak up the butter, so adding a bit of oil keeps the mouthfeel rich and luxurious. Combining oil with the vegan butter also increases the smoke point and makes it easier to saute the garlic.
- kale - curly green kale adds nutrition and color. Feel free to experiment with other veggies and use what you have on hand. See ideas below.
- lemon - you'll need one large lemon for the zest and juice.
- crushed red pepper - adds a nice amount of spicy warmth. Reduce or omit if you're not a fan.
See recipe card below for quantities.
- Cook the casarecce pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Return the pot to the stove. Over medium-low heat, add the butter and oil, and saute the garlic for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat if necessary so it doesn't burn.
- Add red pepper flakes and kale. Increase heat to medium and cook until the kale is dark green and wilted. Add the lemon zest.
- Add the pasta and lemon juice, and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.
What to Serve With Casarecce Pasta
- green salad - a side salad dressed with Italian vinaigrette is perfect. Try my oil-free Italian dressing for a flavorful and light option. This herb-forward avocado green goddess dressing is also a great pairing.
- pesto - a fresh batch of basil pesto takes this dish in a whole new direction! Serve pesto on the side.
- bread - an artisan loaf that has been sliced and toasted is a nice addition, especially with fresh pesto.
Variations and Subs
- Pasta - I'm guessing you probably already have some casarecce pasta on hand, and that's how you landed on this recipe. If not, these pastas are good substiutes for casarecce:
- Gluten-Free - I don't think I've seen gluten-free casarecce in my local stores, but a quick online search indicates there are several brands available, including Banza, Jovial and Garofolo.
- Vegetables - try it with peas, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, or spinach.
- Proteins - to make this pasta dish more filling, add cooked cannellini beans or vegan Italian sausage.
- Fresh herbs - add finely chopped parsley or basil for another layer of freshness and flavor.
A microplane zester is useful for zesting the lemon. You'll also need a large pot for the pasta and a colander.
Pronounced cah-sah-ret-chay, casarecce is from the singular casareccio and means "homemade" in Italian.
Store the leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freezing not recommended.
Reheat the pasta on the stovetop or in the microwave. If it looks dry, add a squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of olive oil.
Always, always generously salt the pasta water. This simple step makes all the difference in flavor!
More Easy Vegan Pasta Recipes
I hope you enjoy this quick and comforting casarecce pasta recipe. If you try it be sure to comment below to let us know!
Casarecce Pasta With Butter, Garlic & Lemon
- 16 ounces casarecce pasta - or fusilli, penne, or rotini. Gluten-free if needed.
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 large bunch kale, thick stems removed, chopped
- 1 large lemon
- salt and pepper
- Cook the pasta in generously salted water according to package directions. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Return the pot to the stove over low to medium-low heat. Add the butter, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and garlic. Stirring frequently, cook the garlic for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat if necessary so it doesn't brown.
- Add red pepper flakes and kale, and increase heat to medium. Cook until the kale is dark green and wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Zest half of the lemon into the pot and add the pasta. Stir to combine. Slice and juice the lemon. Tasting as you go, add as much lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil as you like. Serve hot. Garnish with vegan parmesan, if desired.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.