The first time I had Cacio e Pepe was in Boston, MA for a business trip. At this small Italian restaurant, the waiter recommended it as it was the best pasta they served. Reluctantly, after taking my first bite, my mouth filled with heat from the spice and a delicious, creamy and cheesy flavor. I could not stop eating it.
Since I love experimenting with plant-based foods at home, I decided work on my own iteration. My first attempt lacked the “creamy” flavor of cheese. So, I sought out other ingredients to make this dish pop, and I found a winning pair: ramps & lemon.
What I love about this dish even though there is no “creaminess” per se, is the flavor. It has a peppery bite, a zing of lemon, and a mild onion flavor.
I also topped the pasta with cashew parmesan for texture and to get that “cheesy-like” flavor. Adding it is completely optional, so if you don’t have any on hand, or the ingredients to make it, you will still enjoy this flavorful dish. If you happen to have arugula, toss some into this dish to add an extra peppery bite.
I hope you all enjoy this dish: it’s simple, requires only 5-ingredients, and the perfect meal for the Spring time when all the wild ramps are in season.
Until next time friends, Namaste. ♥
If you try this recipe, share feedback on what you think! Leave a comment below and rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo and tag #eatlovenamaste on Instagram! 🙂
Vegan Cacio e Pepe with Ramps and Lemon
5-Ingredient Cacio e Pepe made with Ramps and Lemon that is plant-based, full of flavor, and easy to make!
- 1 lb bucatini pasta
- 4 tbsp vegan butter or sub unsalted butter if not vegan
- 1 1/4 lb ramps
- juice & zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp black pepper
- cashew parmesan optional *
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Separate the ramps by the white root ends and the leafy green tops. Coarsely chop the white root ends and add them to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the black pepper and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, until toasted.
Add the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer over medium heat and add the cooked pasta. Reduce heat to low and add the lemon juice, zest, and the leafy green tops. Toss until the greens are wilted, and the sauce coats the pasta.
Remove from heat and divide pasta into bowls. Top with cashew parmesan and extra lemon juice for zing!
Cashew Parmesan: Add 1/4 cup cashews with 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast and a generous pinch of salt to a blender and blend until a fine meal form.