There’s nothing quite like a bowl of pasta to satisfy a craving. Whether topped with a rich tomato sauce, studded with bacon, or covered in creamy cheese, pasta is the ultimate comfort food. As we enter sunshine season, our pasta dinners deserve the same spring makeover that we give ourselves, our homes, and our routines. Enter: these must-try lemon pasta recipes.
So, how do we bring a little life to something that can be on the heavier side? The answer is simple: just add lemon. Adding a squeeze of juice or citrus zest to your pasta is a simple solution to all of your tasty, but real, problems. With a flavor glow-up in mind, read on for 15 must-try lemon pasta recipes to bring to your lunchtime, dinner dates, or springtime soireés.
Add these 15 lemon pasta recipes to your spring-eatin’ rotation
Rigatoni With Brussels Sprouts & Kale Pesto
Why We Love It: We’re pretty confident that this recipe will earn a spot in your weekly line-up. It’s that good. With brussels sprouts, kale pesto, and toasted walnuts, it’s got something for everyone.
Hero Ingredient: Lots of garlic takes this one over the top. And so does a little grated parm and basil, of course.
Get the recipe for Rigatoni With Brussels Sprouts & Kale Pesto.
Fresh Pasta With Lemon, Rosemary & Pine Nuts from Love and Lemons
Why We Love It: Jeanine and Jack from Love and Lemons keep things fresh with “a lot of love and a squeeze of lemon to finish,” which is definitely reflected in this recipe. It includes pasta (obviously), baby kale, pine nuts, fresh rosemary, and a big squeeze of lemon to top it all off.
Hero Ingredient: That fresh rosemary brings a really nice herbal flavor.
Get the recipe for Fresh Pasta With Lemon, Rosemary & Pine Nuts.
Summer Veggie Pasta Salad With Feta & Lemon-Tahini Dressing
Why We Love It: If you’re craving lots of veggies and a ton of flavor, look no further. This summer veggie pasta is the perfect lunch or light dinner to take out to the patio with you. Add a crisp glass of white and a cool breeze to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for perfection.
Hero Ingredient: Salty feta brings a deliciously cheesy taste to each bite.
Get the recipe for Summer Veggie Pasta Salad with Feta & Lemon-Tahini Dressing.
Lemony Pasta Carbonara with Peas & Zucchini.
Why We Love It: Get your daily dose of green veggies with this lemony carbonara. Zucchini and frozen peas meet Pecorino Romano and a light, creamy sauce to make one delicious pasta that’s easy enough for any weeknight.
Hero Ingredient: Fresh mint adds a sharp herby flavor that’s unexpected, but very much appreciated.
Get the recipe for Lemony Pasta Carbonara with Peas & Zucchini.
Roasted Lemon Artichoke and Browned Butter Pasta from Half-Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: Tieghan describes this pasta as the best cure for the Monday blues and we couldn’t agree more. It’s packed with indulgent flavor, yet is light enough to enjoy without feeling saturated. You don’t want to miss out on this one, trust me.
Hero Ingredient: It doesn’t get much better than that creamy burrata. I’m already eating it with my eyes.
Get the recipe for Roasted Lemon Artichoke and Browned Butter Pasta.
Linguine With Lemon & Tomatoes from Love & Lemons
Why We Love It: This one is so fresh and uses ingredients you probably have in your pantry right now! It keeps things simple with roasted tomatoes, lemon, arugula, mozzarella, and herbs. Add a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts for a buttery crunch in each tasty forkful.
Hero Ingredient: I’m a firm believer that there are a few things better than just-burst tomatoes.
Get the recipe for Linguine With Lemon & Tomatoes.
Herby Spring Pasta Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette from With Food and Love
Why We Love It: Rotini pasta meets spring veggies and the perfect mix of acid in this delicious dish. You can throw this pasta salad together in no time and get your daily fix of veggies while doing it. Honestly, what more could we ask for?
Hero Ingredient: Peas have and always will be delicious. Especially in this star-studded mix of spring greens. Hello asparagus, celery, green onions, and dill! Nice to eat you.
Get the recipe for Herby Spring Pasta Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette.
Spaghetti With Mascarpone, Meyer Lemon, Spinach, and Hazelnuts from The Kitchn
Why We Love It: Creamy mascarpone and Meyer lemon come together to make a lighter-than-usual white sauce that mimics all of the silky saucinesses you’d get from a more traditional cream-based blend. The lower acidity and sweeter taste of that Meyer lemon fares really well in this rich, yet fresh, pasta.
Hero Ingredient: I’d be remiss to go with anything but those buttery toasted hazelnuts. I mean, absolute perfection.
Get the recipe for Spaghetti With Mascarpone, Meyer Lemon, Spinach, and Hazelnuts.
Lemon Kale Pesto Pasta from What’s Gaby Cooking
Why We Love It: Whoever said pasta shells can’t be elegant clearly hasn’t taken a bite of this masterpiece. Not only is it absolutely divine, but this cheesy, herby, gorgeously green pasta is simple enough for busy weeknights and weekday lunches alike. The workweek, made simple.
Hero Ingredient: I’m partial to anything with ricotta cheese. Especially when it’s coated in lemon zest and red pepper flakes.
Get the recipe for Lemon Kale Pesto Pasta.
One-Pot Lemon Basil, Asparagus, and Sausage Pasta from Half-Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: One-pot pastas are another weeknight solution that don’t get enough praise. Dinner with minimal dishes? Sign me up. This weeknight hero comes in the form of short-cut pasta surrounded by spicy Italian chicken sausage, asparagus, green olives, garlic, and lemon of course.
Hero Ingredient: Those green olives bring a salty briney-ness to each bite that keeps things fresh and interesting.
Get the recipe for One-Pot Lemon Basil, Asparagus, and Sausage Pasta.
Pasta With Broccolini, Preserved Lemon and Chickpeas from Feasting at Home
Why We Love It: I’ve never met a broccolini I didn’t like, and this one is no exception. It’s joined by chickpeas, garlic, and preserved lemon to make a really satisfying pasta that’s fresh enough for any time of year.
Hero Ingredient: Sumac drives home that lemony flavor, but can be omitted if you don’t have it on hand—although I recommend finding some. You won’t regret it!
Get the recipe for Pasta With Broccolini, Preserved Lemon and Chickpeas.
Mediterranean Pasta With Herbed Lemon Olive Oil from Crowded Kitchen
Why We Love It: The Mediterranean diet is one that’s consistently delicious (and healthy!), and this absolutely reflects that. It has all of the classics, including sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, and more. Plus, it incorporates some unexpected veggies like broccoli and mushrooms, which are always appreciated.
Hero Ingredient: Herbed lemon olive oil dressing brings all the herby, zesty flavors to the party.
Get the recipe for Mediterranean Pasta With Herbed Lemon Olive Oil.
Weeknight Kale, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta from Fork Knife Swoon
Why We Love It: Goat cheese has always been a favorite of mine, whether it comes in pizza or salad form. But in the case of this lemon pasta with kale, I’ve never met a vehicle for goat cheese I’ve loved more.
Hero Ingredient: An added sprinkling of parm keeps this pasta from tasting too virtuous.
Get the recipe for Weeknight Kale, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta from Fork Knife Swoon.
Creamy Vegan Pasta With Tomatoes and Basil
Why We Love It: Let me introduce you to your new favorite weeknight recipe. This pasta sauce is so creamy and delicious that you’d never know it was better for you (and vegan!). Toss it over those slurp-able bucatini noodles and sprinkle with a hefty dose of lemon zest. Bonus: you’ll have leftovers for the week!
Hero Ingredient: That creamy walnut sauce can’t be beat.
Get the recipe for Creamy Vegan Pasta With Tomatoes and Basil.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio from Love and Lemons
Why We Love It: 20 minutes and a few ingredients are all it takes to throw this simple spaghetti together. Add a serving of greens to the mix and you’re checking all kinds of boxes.
Hero Ingredient: Lemon zest and juice pack the zing.
Get the recipe for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio.
What’s your favorite lemon pasta recipe? Share the link in the comments!