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Spring is the ideal time to make a vegetable pasta: It’s the tail end of winter, when we still want comfort food, but there are delicious, fresh foods back in the market stalls. Enter this vegetarian spring pasta with asparagus, which feels particularly light since it doesn’t have an intense tomato or creamy sauce. Mint adds a bright note to balance the buttery sautéed leeks, while red pepper flakes add heat to cut through each bite. Serve with a dry, medium-bodied white wine or a light beer.


Credit: Victor Protasio

Recipe Summary

20 mins
20 mins
4 servings


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Whisk lemon zest and juice, salt, ¼ cup oil, and black pepper in a large bowl. Stir in ¼ cup mint.

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Add asparagus during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and cover to keep warm.

  • Meanwhile, halve leek lengthwise and thinly slice crosswise into half-moons (about 2 cups). Place in a medium bowl filled with water and let stand for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Lift leek slices from water (leaving any grit behind) and drain on paper towels.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook leeks, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add lemon mixture, pasta, and asparagus to skillet with leeks and toss to combine. Serve topped with cheese, crushed red pepper, and remaining ¼ cup mint. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Nutrition Facts

576 calories; fat 31g; saturated fat 5g; cholesterol 9mg; fiber 2g; protein 14g; carbohydrates 61g; sodium 679mg; sugars 5g.