Sometimes less is more! This simple lemon pasta recipe is light and flavourful, with bright lemon, plenty of garlic, and umami vegan Parmesan. An easy weeknight dinner!
Some pasta recipes take an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, with a long list of ingredients that can be daunting for anyone who just wants to put a quick dinner on the table. But this lemon pasta is the exact opposite—it’s super simple, yet incredibly delicious!
The main ingredients are fresh lemon juice, garlic, vegan Parmesan cheese, and pasta. And the result? A light, lemony pasta dish that’s sure to be a hit at any dinner table. Best of all, it only takes minutes to make!
Why You’ll Love This Lemon Pasta Recipe
Here’s why you’ll want to make this lemon pasta ASAP:
- Versatile. This is a pasta recipe that pairs with just about any protein or vegetable and works for every season of the year. (And trust me, you will want to make it all year long!)
- Easy to Make. Not only is lemon pasta a breeze to put together, but most of the ingredients are likely already in your kitchen. You don’t have to stress about having all the right ingredients, or going on a special shopping trip for this dish.
- Delicious. What more can be said? This lemon pasta has just the right balance of tart, savory, and umami flavours, and is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Spaghetti – Use regular, whole wheat, or gluten free pasta. You can also substitute another shape if you’d like.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice – You’ll need one large lemon, or two small lemons.
- Parsley – Parsley pairs beautifully with the flavours in this recipe, but other herbs will work as well. Use what you have on hand or what’s growing in your garden!
- Vegan Parmesan cheese – Store-bought or homemade vegan Parmesan.
- Sea salt
- Black pepper – Add more for a kick.
- Pasta water
Why Do You Need to Reserve the Pasta Water?
You’ve probably noticed that a lot of pasta recipes call for reserving some of the cooking water. What’s the deal with that? The short answer is that the starch in the cooking water helps to thicken and bind sauces, resulting in a richer flavor and creamier texture.
What if you forget to reserve the water? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us! In this case, whisk ¼ teaspoon of cornstarch with 1 cup of water and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, until the liquid is hot. Use this as you would reserved pasta water.
How to Make Lemon Pasta
This simple dinner will be ready to devour in a matter of minutes!
Cook the pasta. Boil the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions and reserve 1/2 to 1 cup of the water before draining.
Sauté the garlic. While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the next 5 ingredients. Stir in the parsley, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, sea salt, and black pepper. Cook for 2 minutes more.
Finish. Add the pasta, turn off the heat, and toss to coat, adding the reserved pasta water as needed. Serve with additional parsley and Parmesan cheese.
Tips for Success
This vegan lemon pasta recipe is simple, but these additional tips will help you make sure it turns out perfect:
- Cook the pasta to al dente. This means it should still be slightly firm in the center when you bite into it. Once you add it to the sauce, it will cook a little more, so you don’t want to start with over-cooked pasta!
- Adjust as needed. If you find that your pasta seems a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water.
- Make it your own. For an extra boost of flavor, try adding some chili flakes, lemon zest, or other herbs to the sauce.
I love serving lemon pasta alongside Balsamic Roasted Vegetables, Air Fryer Green Beans, and Lemon Garlic Grilled Zucchini. It also pairs perfectly with Lemon Pepper Tofu. And don’t forget the Roasted Garlic Bread!
How to Store
Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a skillet on the stovetop or in the microwave. You can also eat the pasta chilled if you’d like.
Can I Freeze Lemon Pasta?
Yes, you can freeze this lemon pasta in an airtight container or freezer bag. It will last up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat according to the instructions above.
More Vegan Pasta Recipes
- Hearts of Palm Pasta With Pesto
- Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs
- One Pot Alfredo Penne Pasta
- Creamy Garlic Mushroom Pasta
- Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Pasta
Enjoy friends! If you make this lemon pasta, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
- 8 ounces regular, whole wheat or gluten free spaghetti pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- juice of 1 large lemon, (3-4 tablespoons lemon juice)
- 2 teaspoons parsley chopped, or herb of your choice
- ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup pasta water, (reserved from boiling the pasta in salted water)
- Prepare pasta as per instructions on the box in a large pot of salted water. Drain pasta and reserve 1⁄2 cup pasta water or up to 1 cup if you think you’ll need more.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat your olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant and slightly cooked for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add in the parsley, lemon juice and the parmesan cheese, sea salt and black pepper. Stir together until thoroughly mixed add heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Toss the pasta in the sauce until all ingredients are mixed and turn off heat (you don't want to dry out the pasta). Taste and add more of anything including pasta water. Serve with extra parsley and parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.