This Lemon Pasta Recipe is made with whole wheat noodles that are bathed in a light lemon cream sauce, then topped with a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley. If this isn’t on your dinner menu for this week, add it!

A white plate with a helping of lemon pasta on it, garnished with fresh parsley.

Everyone should have a handful of reliable 30 minute meals that can be busted out on short notice. Lucky for you (and me) this this Lemon Pasta Recipe only takes 15 minutes to make! Added bonus that this pasta is delish, refreshing, and filling.

Easy Lemon Pasta Ingredients

I’m full of good news today; for this dish you need only a few ingredients:

  • Whole wheat spaghetti noodles, cooked until al dente. When boiling the spaghetti noodles remember to save at least 1 cup of drained pasta water, you’ll use this water to in the lemon pasta sauce.
  • Heavy cream; for a healthier option opt for half & half but know that the sauce won’t be as thick and creamy.
  • 1-2 lemons, zested and juiced.
  • Butter
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley

A black skillet full of lemon pasta noodles garnished with two lemon slices and fresh parsley.

Lemon Pasta Sauce

To make the pasta sauce add the heavy cream and lemon zest to a skillet set over medium heat. Whisk until the liquid begins to simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low and add in the butter.

Stir the butter in until it has fully melted. Once melted whisk in the lemon juice.

A skillet with heavy cream and butter slices in it.

Add the parmesan cheese to the sauce and stir until combined.

Place the cooked noodles in the sauce; using kitchen tongs mix the pasta until it has been covered by the lemon pasta sauce.

A skillet with a lemon cream sauce and freshly boiled whole wheat spaghetti noodles over the sauce.

Add 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the noodles/sauce until you get a nice saucy consistency. I ended up using close to 3/4 cup of the pasta water.

Season the lemon pasta with salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta among bowls and garnish with additional parmesan and chopped parsley.

Kitchen tongs turning whole wheat pasta into lemon cream sauce.

Tips for making or adapting this lemon pasta recipe

To add a deep level of flavor to this dish you can do multiple things:

  1. Replace the parmesan cheese with Romano cheese (How Sweet Eats did this and it’s delish). Romano cheese has a sharp, piquant flavor. I love parmesan so that’s almost always my cheese of choice, and the parmesan gives it a softer and more subtle flavor.
  2. Add asparagus to the dish! I love asparagus in pasta, for example my Goat Cheese and Asparagus Spinach Pasta, it’s amazing! Make it, it’s so yummy!
  3. For a burst of heat add a pinch or a 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the lemon pasta sauce. If you choose to go this route I would add the red pepper flakes at the same time you add the butter. Then proceed with the recipe as written.

Lemon pasta twirled on a fork.

Check out these lemon and/or pasta recipes on my site, you’re gonna love ’em!

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Lemon Pasta Recipe

Whole wheat spaghetti noodles tossed in a delicious creamy lemon pasta sauce, then topped with fresh parsley. This is an easy dinner recipe that will become a family fave.
prep time 5 mins
cook time 10 mins
servings: 5 servings
calories: 546kcal

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 oz whole wheat spaghetti
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons parsley chopped
  • reserved pasta water
  • salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cook pasta until al dente in a large pot of heavily salted boiling water. Don’t overcook the pasta! Drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. 
  • In a skillet over medium low heat add the heavy cream and zest of 1 lemon. Whisk until the liquid begins to simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and add in the butter. Stir the butter until it has fully melted.
  • Stir in the lemon juice.
  • Add the parmesan to the cream sauce, stir until combined. 
  • Place the noodles in the sauce. Using kitchen tongs, mix the pasta until it has been covered by the sauce.
  • Add ¼ cup of the pasta water until you get a nice saucy consistency. Season with salt and pepper. *
  • Divide pasta among bowls and garnish with additional parmesan and chopped parsley. 

RECIPE NOTES

*I added about 3/4 cup of reserved pasta water to get the consistency I like. Add a little as you go; you can always add more but you can't take away. 
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
Calories: 546kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 343mg | Potassium: 235mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1235IU | Vitamin C: 14.9mg | Calcium: 300mg | Iron: 2.9mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
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