Vegan Lemon Pepper Pasta – A Diet Food

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Vegan Lemon Pepper Pasta

Recently we had been to Olive Garden for the first time. I think they should rename it as “Salt Garden” instead. Right from the appetizer bread sticks to the main entree, every dish was very very salty. Even though I have to agree that we as a family have restricted our intake of salt and chillies/spicy stuff, the amount of salt used by the restaurant was way too high.

The breadsticks, minestrone soup, and the salad had the highest sodium content. When inquired the waitress about this, she told us that this is how it’s prepared every day and it made us feel like we were from a strange planet. It really made us wonder if the average American is eating so much salt? But on the good side, the prices were definitely reasonable. With so much awareness about health in general and specific issues too, I cannot understand why they would use so much salt?

I don’t think that we will be going there again anytime soon for 2 reasons. a) it’s too far away from our place and b) we don’t want to consume so much salt. So in the meantime to satisfy my husband’s “pasta cravings”, I have to find pasta recipes which are easy to prepare, tasty and healthy as well.

On the mission, I borrowed Betty Crocker’s Easy Everyday Vegetarian book from the library. This “Lemon Pepper Pasta” recipe caught my eye because it used very fewer ingredients and no cheese at all.

Since Divya’s Diet Foods event came to my mind, I decided to make it even more healthy by using whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta and also reduced the amount of oil mentioned in the original recipe.

Whole wheat pasta, asparagus, and navy beans are rich in fiber, so we felt full very soon, ended up eating less. This dish is also protein rich, which again is key when it comes to “diet food”. Whole wheat pasta does taste good, nothing as I dreaded and we also didn’t miss the cheese.

Vegan Lemon Pepper Pasta Recipe

Prep TimeCook TimeMakes
05 Mins15 Mins4 Servings
Vegan Lemon Pepper Pasta – A Diet Food A very simple recipe to prepare a vegan pasta main dish using whole wheat penne pasta, asparagus, bell pepper and seasoned with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • 2 Cups Uncooked Penne Pasta (I Used Nature’s Promise Organic Whole Wheat Penne)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil/Vegetable Oil (1/4 Cup Of Oil Mentioned In The Original Recipe)
  • 1 Chopped Medium Orange Bell Pepper (Red Pepper Used In The Original Recipe)
  • 1 Pound Asparagus Cut Into 1 Inch Pieces
  • As Needed Salt And Pepper
  • As Needed Mrs Dash Sodium Free Lemon Pepper Seasoning (See My Notes)
  • As Needed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Can (15 To 16Oz) Drained And Rinsed Navy Beans
  1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.
  2. Meanwhile in a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add bell pepper, asparagus, lemon pepper, salt; cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and beans. Cook until beans are hot.
  5. Add pasta; toss with vegetable mixture.
My Notes:
  1. If you have doubts about using whole wheat pasta, you can start with 1 cup of regular pasta and 1 cup of whole wheat pasta. Then slowly try increasing the ratio and in no time you would prefer only whole wheat pasta.
  2. Grated lemon zest was used in the original recipe. Since I had the lemon pepper seasoning, I used it instead. So you can simply use a combination of salt, pepper and lemon juice to suit your taste.
  3. I would also suggest using any other hard beans instead of navy beans. Navy beans are very soft and it becomes mushy when you toss the pasta a couple of times. I think either Kidney beans or Chickpeas would be perfect.
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  1. SS

    Dear Madhu(i hope its okay addressing you as madhu !), to be honest i followed everything about your fatfree brownies but made it like a cake with less baking time. Will address you as gurudevi 😉 from now on .

    Thanks for letting us know about the recipe SS. I’m perfectly fine with Madhu.

  2. SS

    ooopsy i almost forgot to mention i made it as a chocolate cake with this addition. Lets call it adventure chocolate cake 🙂

  3. SS

    I’m again back to your site and couldnt wait to share with you my adventure. Thats what I like to call my experimenting in cooking world. I pureed one green apple and chunks of unripe musk melon with one spoon yoghurt and lemon juice. Well guess my stars were in right alignment, just kidding……its came out super soft and yummy. My dearest H now claims this is better than the brownies i made (thats because i was very skimpy on sugarin the last batch i made 😉 )
    Thanks for your tip, will surely try the suggested recipes too !

    That’s great to know SS. Which chocolate cake recipe did you try?

  4. SS

    Thanks again for this scrumptious bowl of nutritious pasta. No CHEZZZEEEEE !
    woow……. I added finely chopped fresh parsley and oregano and the freshness filled aromatic flavours sweeped all tiredness from the house.
    Cant thank you enough Madhu and must say you are a treasury of talent.
    Can you please suggest ideas to use an unripe musk melon, I have already chopped. I was thinking about your bottle gourd cake, using melon as a substitute for bottle gourd.

    You’re welcome SS. How unripe is it? Did you taste it? Is it hard to bite, how about the sweetness? Depending upon the texture I would slightly steam it and try this kheer or kulfi., Its just an idea and I haven’t tried it with musk melon though.

  5. Arundathi

    Lovely recipe, Madhu! I haven’t been here for a while either! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Riya

    Hey Madhu,

    Tried this last night and it was hit in our house. It was tangy and yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


    Thank you very much Riya for trying out the recipe. I’m glad that you liked it.

  7. Cilantro

    Looks good with pepper… and I agree with you, most of the dishes at olive garden are salty.

  8. Lubna Karim

    Wow looks simple and gr8. Bookmarked. Will try soon. 😛

  9. Rupa

    Looks so healthy and yummy…and I love the wheat color of the pasta…gonna try it soon…you rock !

  10. Bhawana

    Cooooool :). A yummy recipe must try in weekends for lucnh :). bookmarked 🙂

  11. Cham

    Lemon pepper sounds great in Pasta 🙂

  12. raaji

    I just love pasta food……its such a healthy version….love to have a bite… 😆

  13. DivyA Vikram

    Looks too yummy Madhu..That too without cheese n using whole wheat pasta sure makes it healhty..thanks for sending this for the event MAdhu..

  14. Bharti

    Hey Madhu
    We used to frequent Olive Garden a lot back in the 90’s when there were limited options for vegetarians living in the suburbs. Thankfully,we have better options now and we rarely go there any more. If I’m going to eat Italian I’d rather go to an authentic place or just make it myself. I like this lemon pepper version. Coincidentally, I just pick up the lemon pepper grinder from TJ’s yesterday.

  15. Uma

    Never been to olive garden before. Your experience tells me better avoid that! We are also not that salty persons. 😀

    Pasta looks so appetizing and being a pasta fan myself (only me in the family), your recipes tempts me even more! that book (Betty Crocker’s) got a place in my next library checkout list. 🙂

  16. aditi

    hey the pasta looks amazing will try soon!!! pastas are a favourite at my home!!! Thanx for this recipe!! 🙂

  17. aditi

    hey this looks amazng and pastas are my favourite so will try soon!!!! thanx!! 😛

  18. sangeeth

    Good one madhu…salty is when i make a mistake in my recipe…otherwise my recipes have less salt and spice too…typical tamil style

  19. Anjali J.

    Pepper pasta looks yummy.. cant wait to try it.. its a lovely picture.

  20. anudivya

    Yep, whole wheat pasta is pretty filling… and it has been quite some time since we switched to it.

  21. Libby

    I have exactly the same reaction to Olive Garden, too much salt! Especially since they are making Italian food, with all those lovely herbs to choose from. I guess pouring on the salt is cheaper than chopping up some fresh basil.

  22. Sukanya Ramkumar

    This sounds to be a healthy pasta dish. Looks great with all the vegetables. Nice pictures…

    Lemon pepper is one of the best condiment for me. Love it so much. Love to add it to grilled corn.

  23. Purnima

    Madhu, this is we get Durum wheat pasta.
    The recipe looks lovely.

  24. Happy Cook

    I just had pasta for lunch,but seeing this is makingme hungry again.