Say hello to your new favorite weeknight meal, lemon spaghetti!
If you can boil a pot of water, you have all the skills to whip up this amazingly light pasta dish.
Plus, it’s picky-eater-approved, so your whole family will love it.
The light and refreshing flavors of lemon, fresh herbs, and spaghetti noodles jump off the plate with only a few simple ingredients.
This lemon spaghetti is the perfect dinner. And the hardest part is waiting for the pasta to cook!
This light and refreshing meal comes together in less than 20 minutes. Perfect for summer nights when you don’t feel like turning on the oven.
It pairs simple ingredients like olive oil, lemon, garlic, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese. That’s it!
What makes this recipe so spectacular is that everything is fresh! It tastes like summer on a plate, from fresh lemons to fresh basil.
Serve this simple weeknight dish with a crispy garden salad or a crusty baguette to sop up all that extra lemony sauce!
And if you want to make it even more filling and delicious, add some grilled chicken or spicy shrimp.
This dish is very similar to my creamy lemon shrimp pasta recipe. The key difference, though, is that this one is even easier.
It’s still rich and zesty, but you don’t need heavy cream to make a sauce.
- Spaghetti. Spaghetti noodles are perfect for twirling, but you can also use any other pasta you have on hand, like fettuccini, angel hair, or even macaroni noodles.
- Lemon. Using the zest and lemon juice from fresh lemons takes the flavors over the top. Canned lemon juice just won’t cut it- you need fresh lemon!
- Garlic. It’s not a pasta party without fresh garlic. Fresh garlic adds a spicy bite that helps mute the acidity in the fresh lemon.
- Olive Oil. You can use whatever cooking oil you have on hand, but nothing compares to the taste of olive oil. It has naturally occurring herbal and fruity flavors that complement lemon and garlic.
- Salt and Pepper. You don’t need to go heavy with the seasoning in this light and flavorful dish. A pinch of salt and pepper is all you need.
- Parmesan cheese. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese delivers a hint of nutty goodness that compliments the fresh basil and lemon juice so well.
- Fresh basil. There’s no comparison between dried and fresh basil. Chopped fresh basil tastes sweet and savory and compliments Parmesan cheese, garlic, and lemon flavors.
How to Make Lemon Spaghetti
1. Cook the pasta. Follow the directions on the back of the spaghetti box. The noodles should be al dente with a little bite, which takes around 8 minutes.
2. Prepare the sauce. Combine olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper using a small mixing bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined.
3. Drain the spaghetti noodles. Drain the spaghetti using a colander, and then return the noodles to the pot.
4. Dress the noodles. Add your lemon dressing, Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup of basil to the hot noodles and toss.
5. Serve! Plate individual portions of noodles, garnish with remaining chopped basil and enjoy!
Tips and Variations
Fresh is always best. It’s a bit inconvenient (I, too, love my jar of minced garlic), but the flavors of fresh ingredients compared to dried or prepackaged are like night and day.
While you can technically use dried basil or minced garlic in a jar, using fresh lemons is a must!
A pot of lemon juice cannot replace fresh lemon zest and juice.
Cook spaghetti al dente. Ensure your noodles have a little bite on the inside when cooking. When you return the hot noodles to the pot, they will continue to cook in the lemon sauce.
No one wants mushy noodles. It’s always better to err on the side of slightly underdone than overdone.
Add protein. Add your favorite proteins to make this dinnertime dish more filling and hearty.
A lightly grilled chicken breast is always a great choice, but you can add shrimp or salmon.
Don’t toss all that pasta water. Before you dump all that pasta water down the drain, set some aside and add it to your lemon sauce.
It adds more flavor, and the water’s starch helps the sauce cling to the pasta noodles.
Add more texture. Adding crushed garlic toasted breadcrumbs is a great way to add a little texture to this simple dish.
It adds a hint of buttery garlic flavors and a great crunch!
Become a lemon-zesting pro. The zest on the lemon adds bold flavors, but knowing how to remove the zest is key.
A lemon zester is the easiest way, but you can make do if you don’t have one.
A potato peeler works in a pinch or a good old-fashioned kitchen knife.
It takes a little more time and skill, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it.
How to Store and Reheat
In the rare instance that there are actually any leftovers, you can keep them in an air-tight container.
They’ll last in the fridge for up to 3 days.
While in the fridge, the noodles will absorb some of that extra liquid.
To reheat them, place the spaghetti in a skillet with a little water and cook it under medium heat until warm.
You might feel tempted to throw them in the microwave, but resist that urge!
The microwave zaps all the remaining moisture in the noodles, leaving you with dry, frail spaghetti.
Noodles aren’t a great candidate for freezing, but that’s ok.
This addictive dinner dish likely won’t last three whole days in the fridge!
More Light Pasta Recipes You’ll Love
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?