This Simple Lemon Pasta Recipe is a delightful pairing of creamy sauce, pasta, and a bright lemon flavor that makes an easy weeknight meal.
Easy to adapt for vegan and gluten-free diets, it’s become a family favorite.
It was inspired by a blogger challenge, where I recreated a recipe from Jen Around the World. (With permission of course!)
My husband, Paul, loved it so much he told me it was one of his favorite recipes I’d ever created!
Simple Lemon Pasta
This recipe for lemon pasta sauce is easy to modify if you are vegan, dairy-free, or gluten-free – or all the above!
With only a few ingredients, it’s also ideal for those last minute meals that take little time to prepare.
For a heartier meal, grill up some chicken breasts and make Lemon Pasta with Chicken. Or sauté a bag of frozen asparagus and make Lemon Pasta with Asparagus.
See how versatile this recipe is?
How to make dairy free lemon pasta
For those who need to have a dairy-free or vegan recipe, here are a few simple substitutions that keep the recipe compliant while maintain its integrity.
● Substitute my Tofu Sour Cream Recipe or Tofutti Sour Cream for regular sour cream.
● Use nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese if you need a vegan option.
● A dairy free or vegan butter spread like Earth Balance is an easy (and delicious) option.
Making this a low-fat lemon pasta
If you can have dairy, lighten this recipe for Lemon Pasta Sauce by using either a low-fat sour cream or a non-fat Greek yogurt.
I prefer the Greek yogurt since it’s tastier and sometimes low-fat sour creams can contain sketchy filler ingredients that you may want to avoid.
Another fat reducing tip is to use a low-fat buttery spread.
Sometimes when lowering fat in a recipe, you may need to amp up the flavor.
Adding capers to this recipe would work wonderfully and have a similar flavor profile to chicken piccata.
(Capers are also delicious in salads, so don't worry about the leftovers!)
Gluten free lemon pasta suggestions
While I used whole wheat pasta for this version, you can easily use gluten-free pasta.
There are so many terrific brands on the market these days. Even the store brands are delicious and cook up well.
My kids aren’t gluten-free and I can manage to get them to eat my GF pasta with this yummy lemon pasta sauce and a hearty helping of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
More easy pasta recipes for dinner
Pasta is one of my all-time favorite options for fast and easy meals.
There are so many options for dressing up a pasta recipe. Plus, they’re easy to modify to make them gluten or dairy free.
Or try Pasta with Cannellini Beans and Italian Vegetables for a quick and easy dinner.
- 1 box pasta (any variety)
- 4 tablespoons butter or buttery spread
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 2 cups sour cream, vegan sour cream, or non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- Flat-leaf parsley, chopped – to taste for garnish, plus extra for serving
- Cook pasta al dente in salted water. Drain, rinse, and place pasta back in the pot. Place lid on the pot to keep pasta warm. Set aside.
- Juice one lemon into a bowl. Strain to remove pulp and seeds.
- In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add minced garlic and lemon juice. Turn off heat.
- Add your sour cream (or sour cream substitute) to the butter and oil mixture. Add lemon zest and salt. Stir everything together and taste. Add more salt if necessary.
- Pour sour cream mixture over drained pasta. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water.
- Place pasta in a large serving bowl and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
- Serve with extra grated cheese and parsley on the side.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 541Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 31gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 662mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 12g
Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.
Originally published on September 10, 2012. Updated with new pictures and information.