Lemon Pasta (Pasta al Limone)
Lemon Pasta (also known as Pasta al Limone) is one of those light, simple throw-together pasta dishes that is just perfect for spring and summer. It makes a perfect side dish for just about any dinner that comes off the grill or out of the oven, from steak to chicken to shrimp. Its flavors are fresh, bright, and delicious. Even better, it can be prepared in a flash!
My family absolutely loves this lemon pasta recipe! It’s SO tasty and I love how quick and easy it is to whip up. While the angel hair pasta cooks, you can stir together the lemon dressing. Once the pasta is done, toss it in the dressing and finish it off with sweet tomatoes, salty capers, fresh basil, and grated Parmesan cheese, for just a bit of richness and creaminess. You can’t get much simpler than that, and with such clean flavors, this pasta is an excellent complement to a variety of cuisines.
Lemon pasta is also a great make ahead dish because it’s really great enjoyed cold — maybe even better? I made it the other afternoon, stuck it in the fridge and then served it later with my Italian Salad and some crusty bread. So good!
lemon pasta ingredients
Nothing too fancy in this delicious lemon pasta recipe. All you need are high-quality, basic ingredients. Here’s the lineup:
- Pasta. We love to use a thin spaghetti, like angel hair, as our pasta of choice for lemon pasta, but really any type of pasta will work.
- Olive oil + lemon juice. This mixture dresses your pasta and gives it a lovely, sunny flavor. I recommend using a high quality olive oil for this recipe. This olive oil is my favorite and I also really like this more budget-friendly olive oil as well.
- Salt. Brings out all of the delicious flavor!
- Garlic powder. Garlic is pretty much a must in any pasta dish. By all means, use fresh garlic if you have it.
- Parmesan cheese. I highly recommend buying a high-quality parm and grating it yourself. Because this recipe contains so few ingredients, quality really counts.
- Tomatoes. Use one large diced tomato or some sweet cherry tomatoes that are halved. Feel free to add as much or as little tomato as you like.
- Capers. One of my favorite ingredients for adding extra pizzaz to a dish. Capers are tangy, briney, and somewhat lemony. They are perfect in lemon pasta!
- Basil. Finishes this salad with that special something!
how to make Pasta al Limone
This lemon pasta recipe couldn’t be more simple! It’s ready in three easy steps! Here’s a quick rundown of the process, but for full instructions, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Boil pasta. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water according to package instructions and until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite.
- Make lemon vinaigrette. While the pasta is cooking, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt.
- Combine ingredients and enjoy. Once pasta is cooked, toss it with lemon vinaigrette, add in the parmesan, tomatoes, and capers. Stir everything together and serve or refrigerate for about an hour to serve cold. Add fresh basil just before serving. Taste and season as needed. Dig in!
customize this lemon pasta
This pasta is delicious as-is, but feel free to change things up to customize it to your family’s preferences and what you have available.
- Make it gluten free. Simply use a gluten free pasta of choice.
- Make it vegan. Use a vegan parmesan cheese or a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast instead, or just omit the cheese.
- Add protein. Feel free to toss the pasta with cooked, diced chicken breast or shredded rotisserie chicken or cooked shrimp.
- Add veggies. I think chopped roasted bell pepper and chopped artichokes would also be super tasty in this recipe.
how to store this lemon pasta recipe
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. No need to reheat! Give it a good stir and serve it cold and garnish it with some extra basil.
The next time you’re on the hunt for a summery side dish, I hope you’ll give this Pasta al Limone a try! The adults will love it. The kids will inhale it. Heck, you can even throw some slices of chicken breast on top and call it dinner! A quick, stovetop dish that’s tasty and versatile? Sign. Me. Up. 😉
more favorite pasta recipes
If you try this lemon pasta recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
- 1/2 pound (usually 1/2 box) thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta or another favorite long pasta
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or the juice from one lemon)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 large tomato diced or a handful of sweet cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1/4 cup capers
- 15-20 basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally.
- Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic powder. Whisk together until smooth. Pour desired amount over pasta. Then top with the parmesan, tomatoes, and capers. Stir to combine. This is great served warm, but we like it even better served cold. To serve cold, refrigerate the pasta for about an hour. Add basil right before serving. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Enjoy!