After you try this easy linguine and vegan clam sauce, it is sure to be making a weekly visit to your dinner table! Linguine pasta is tossed in a buttery white wine and lemon sauce with plump pieces of soy curl “clams” and capers. This amazing recipe is completely vegan, but it’s sure to have your taste buds thinking things are a little fishy.
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I was never a huge fan of seafood, but one fish dish I did really enjoy ordering at Italian restaurants before going vegan was linguine and clams in a buttery white wine sauce.
The fishy taste was subtle, the lemony wine sauce was a little tangy, and that velvety, buttery texture it was served in was just sublime and really balanced out the entire dish.
I didn’t think it would be an easy task to make a vegan version of this delicious meal and have it be so close to what I remembered. I have never been so glad to be so wrong.
And not only was this vegan linguini clam sauce recipe easier to make than I expected, but the taste is so, so spot on! You won’t believe your tastebuds!
Why We Love This Vegan Linguine Clam Sauce:
- It really brings me back to a dish I truly enjoyed every time I ate it. The similar texture created by the soy curls is amazing! I hope you’ll agree.
- This is an easy recipe to make, and you can halve or double the recipe as needed easily for small or large portions.
- It’s the perfect excuse to make garlic bread!! Not that you need an excuse, but…garlic bread!
Ingredients in Vegetarian Linguine Clam Sauce
All the ingredients in this recipe are staples in our plant-based pantry, and they may just be in yours too!
For the vegan clams, you’ll need:
- Hot water
- Soy curls – This is a wonderful vegan kitchen staple that mimics a variety of various animal products.
- Nori – A seaweed often used in sushi. The seaweed helps give that oceany, seafood flavor to the soy curls helping them taste like clams.
- Old Bay Seasoning – Quite possibly America’s most popular seafood seasoning. At least on the East Coast. (And it’s got a fascinating history!)
- Lemon pepper seasoning
- Lemon juice – Use the fresh stuff and juice a lemon for best results.
- Capers – These unripened and brined flower buds lend a slightly salty and lemony flavor to the dish.
For the sauce and rest of the pasta, you’ll need:
- Linguine – Cooked according to package directions.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Garlic cloves – Finely minced
- Dry white wine – Something like a Pinot Grigio works wonderfully in this dish.
- Lemon juice
- Black pepper
- Sea Salt
- Vegan butter – We like to use the plant-based butter from Country Crock or Earth Balance, but ShopRite also has a very good store brand of vegan butter we like. Check your local grocery store for what’s available in your area.
If you don’t have or can’t tolerate one of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember though, substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a varied degree of difference in the final product. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you!
For the soy curls: TVP chunks would work well in this dish. Some people use hearts of palm. And mushrooms of all types! Shiitake mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and of course, oyster mushrooms – which makes sense given the name.
For the ground nori: Really any type of edible seaweed will do. From wakame to dulse flakes to granulated kelp powder or flakes, they’ll all work. But seaweed varieties vary in intensity of flavor, so measurement adjustments would need to be made. Check out this Master Class article for more information on varieties of edible seaweed. Many major grocery stores carry dried seaweed these days.
For the capers: You can use some chopped green olives. Seriously, you can. You can also use green peppercorns, which I think I prefer. Soak them or brine them yourself to soften them up a bit before adding to the dish.
Pasta options: I like to use a long pasta for this recipe. Spaghetti or fettuccine would work. Cappellini, aka angel hair pasta, would also be a very nice option in this recipe.
Old Bay Seasoning Substitutes
One article suggests the inventor, a Jewish spice-maker who fled Germany and arrived in Maryland in the late 1930s, also used trace amounts of allspice, cinnamon, and cardamom, among others, to distinguish his seasoning as unique.
You can find a wide option of copycat recipes online if you can’t get the real thing. There’s also J.O. crab seasoning or bay spice as well as a plethora of other seafood spice brands available.
How to Make Vegan Linguine Clam Sauce
This recipe takes a few steps getting started, but once you get going it comes together beautifully and easily.
Step 1: Make the nori broth.
Crumble up the nori sheet into pieces over a large bowl and pour 1.25 cups hot water over it. Cover and let stand for 5-7 minutes. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain the nori out of the broth. After this, you should have at least 1 cup of hot water left.
Step 2: Marinate the soy curls.
In that same large bowl you soaked the nori in, mix the dry soy curl pieces, Old Bay, and lemon pepper seasoning. Reheat the 1 cup of nori broth in the microwave or on the stovetop and pour the hot broth over the soy curls and spices. Stir, cover, and let marinate for 15-20 minutes. This would be a great time to get your pasta started if you haven’t already.
Step 4: Make the white wine sauce.
In a separate, large saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the minced garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Next, add the white wine, just 3 Tbsp of the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Let this cook down on medium high heat uncovered for about 2 minutes. Turn down to medium heat and slowly stir in the vegan butter until melted.
Step 5: Bring it together.
When the pasta is finished, strain and rinse lightly and place in a large bowl. Add the vegan clams to the cooked pasta, pour the white wine sauce over and toss well to combine all the ingredients.
How to Serve Vegan White Clam Sauce Pasta
Serve immediately topped with minced fresh parsley or herbs, freshly cracked black pepper or red pepper flakes, a small amount of fresh grated lemon zest, and/or a generous amount of vegan parmesan cheese.
If you’re looking for something lighter, pair it with a vegan Caesar salad or simple greens salad.
Or, serve it as part of a multi-course dinner with all the above and our vegan cannoli cones for dessert.
Vegan Linguine Clam Sauce + Wine Pairing
Alternatively, you could serve this with a full-bodied white wine like an oak-aged Chardonnay. Whereas the pinot grigio’s high acidity will balance the fat in the sauce for a refreshing intermission between bites, the Chardonnay would enhance the creaminess and fat in the sauce, making for a truly decadent experience.
Look for something from California like this Wente River Ranch Chardonnay. You can find some great affordable vegan friendly options from South America too from wineries like Santa Julia in Argentina and Terra Vega in Chile.
How to Store Leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Any longer than that, and things start to get funky.
We do not recommend freezing this dish.
To reheat: You can microwave the pasta for about 2-2.5 minutes. I like to add a teaspoon or two of water to the bowl before microwaving. You can also reheat the pasta in a saute pan over medium or medium-high heat until warmed through. Again, I like to add a little water to the saute pan to help keep the pasta moist.
More Vegan Italian Recipes:
- Restaurant-Style Vegan Chicken Parm
- Vegan Mushroom Lasagna with Pesto and Walnut Sausage
- Spicy Italian Vegan Meatballs
- Creamy Vegan Broccoli Pasta
- Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Broccoli Rabe
When you make this recipe, let us know! We’d be so grateful if you could leave a star rating and review of the recipe below. It helps more people find our site!
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We hope you enjoy this wonderful dish as much as we have. Cheers!
For the vegan clams:
- 1.5 cup hot water
- 4 oz. dry soy curls, broken into small 1/4 - 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 full nori sheet
- 1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
- 2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp capers
For the pasta:
- MAKE THE NORI BROTH: Crumble up one sheet of nori into a large bowl and pour 1.25 cup hot water over. Cover and let stand for 5-7 minutes. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain the nori out of the broth. After this, you should have at least 1 cup of hot water left.
- MARINATE THE SOY CURLS: In that same large bowl, mix the dry soy curl pieces, Old Bay, and lemon pepper seasoning. Reheat the 1 cup of nori broth in the microwave or on the stove and pour the hot broth on top, stir, cover, and let marinate for 15-20 minutes. This would be a great time to get your pasta started if you haven’t already.
- MAKE THE VEGAN CLAMS: Transfer the rehydrated soy curls to a medium saucepan and add the capers, 2 Tbsp of lemon juice, and 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp water. Cover and bring this to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 12-15 minutes, stirring often.
- MAKE THE WHITE WINE SAUCE: In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. When hot, add the minced garlic and saute 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Next, add the white wine, 3 Tbsp of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Let this cook down on medium high heat uncovered for about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and slowly stir in the vegan butter until melted.
- BRING IT ALL TOGETHER: When the pasta is finished, strain, rinse lightly, and place in a large bowl. Add the vegan clams to the linguine, pour the white wine sauce over and toss well to combine all the ingredients.
- TO SERVE/STORE: Serve immediately topped with minced fresh herbs alongside a glass of Italian Pinot Grigio and hefty portion of garlic bread! Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave. We do not recommend freezing this dish.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 701Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 731mgCarbohydrates: 120gFiber: 7gSugar: 2gProtein: 23g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.