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Caramelized Leek Pasta

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Rachel Conners
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This Caramelized Leek Pasta features buttery, melt-in-your-mouth leeks, garlic, and shallots tossed with your favorite pasta and finished with lemon and parmesan. It’s the perfect quick weeknight meal – done in 30 minutes! Easily made both gluten-free and vegan. 


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted buttervegan if needed
  • 3 leeks, chopped and rinsed, the white and light green parts only, totalling about 4 cups chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
  • 8 ounces dried rigatoni, penne, or fusilli pasta, use gluten-free if needed
  • ½ lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 small bunch fresh chives, or another fresh herb of choice, to garnish
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving, vegan if needed


  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large high-sided saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and shallot. The pan will be pretty full, but similarly to caramelizing onions, they’ll reduce in size significantly. Sprinkle with the salt, and let them cook for about 15 to 2o minutes, mixing every so often until they’ve softened significantly.
  2. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring it into the leeks.
  3. While the leeks saute, cook your pasta according to the package instructions in generously salted pasta water. I used gluten-free rigatoni, but any pasta shape you love will work.
  4. Once your pasta is cooked, add it to the leek mixture, along with the rest of the butter. Toss to combine, and add more salt to taste.
  5. Mix in the zest and juice of half a lemon (or more, if desired). Add in half of the chives and a generous shaving of Parmesan. Toss to combine.
  6. Serve with the rest of the chives sprinkled on top, and extra Parmesan. Enjoy!