Pasta with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

This is one of those recipes that requires very little thought, energy, effort, or skill to make. It’s also one of those recipes that is pretty darn hard to screw up. And yet…I managed to do just that. It didn’t matter. It still turned out smashingly well. And sounds super fancy to boot.

One tip (ahem, experience speaking here): don’t let the balsamic reduce too far. I did. And it ended up sticking to the bottom of the pan. Doh.

Another tip: once the asparagus is done roasting, turn off the oven and pop in the pine nuts. They will toast while you wait. Super easy, and super energy efficient. I know. I’m cool like that.

I believe this recipe originally came from Food & Wine Magazine, but it’s hard to tell since there are only about 80 bazillion versions online.


Pasta with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter (Dairy Free)

A dairy free version of this timeless pasta dish.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 -6


  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 4 tbs Earth Balance or vegan buttery spread
  • 1 lb penne


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Toss with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.
  4. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Turn oven off. Place pine nuts on baking tray and place into oven to toast until lightly browned. Remove from oven.
  6. Meanwhile, put the vinegar in a small saucepan and simmer until 3 tbs remain.
  7. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 tsp pepper. Remove from the heat.
  8. Cook the penne according to package directions (about 13 min.).
  9. Drain the pasta and toss with the butter, vinegar, pine nuts, and asparagus.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Allergen Information

Nightshade free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, and egg free. Can also be made wheat free and gluten free with choice of gluten-free pasta.
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Written by

Emily Levenson is learning to trust her gut all over again. She is committed to listening to AND following the nuggets of wisdom her gut has been dishing out for decades. You can follow Emily's journey here on the blog, through the Nourish + Flourish podcast, and through her posts on Instagram.

4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. My aunt makes this as well–she adds in sun-dried tomatoes (I know, a no-no for you, Emily, sorry!), fresh pea pods, fresh string beans, and whatever else she has on hand.

    Also…the kicker: fresh goat cheese. The creamy stuff. It makes the recipe non-vegan, but even more heavenly. Balsamic vinegar + creamy goat cheese = what God serves in heaven.

  2. I just have to say that I’m thrilled to see your “cinnamon free” message at the end. So few people even know about cinnamon allergies!

    Making this for dinner tonight. 🙂

    1. i don’t know that too many people have cinnamon allergies or intolerances. unfortunately, i’ve been avoiding cinnamon for 3 years now. it’s surprising how many things that cinnamon is in!

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