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Spaghetti with herbs on a light brown plate next to a tan napkin.

Easy Lemon Herb Pasta

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-4 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian-American


A quick and easy lemon herb pasta for busy weeknights.


  • 2 large lemons
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (see recipe notes)
  • 1/2 lb. spaghetti
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil


  1. Cook the spaghetti in very salty water until al dente.
  2. While the pasta cooks, zest the lemons with a microplane - being careful to avoid the bitter white pith under the skin - and place lemon zest in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Juice each lemon and add lemon juice to the mixing bowl with the lemon zest. Make sure to remove any seeds.
  4. Add olive oil and shredded parmesan cheese to bowl and stir to combine.
  5. When pasta is al dente, save a ladle-full of pasta water and place it in a separate small bowl.
  6. Drain pasta.
  7. Add hot drained pasta to your lemon-oil-cheese mixture. Toss to combine until cheese has melted and pasta is evenly coated. If it needs a little more moisture, add a splash of the reserved pasta water.
  8. Taste pasta and season to taste with salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.
  9. Reserve a tablespoon or so of chopped herbs for garnish.
  10. Toss remaining parsley and basil with the pasta until herbs are evenly distributed.
  11. Serve immediately and top with reserved herbs for garnish.


To keep this recipe truly vegetarian, use vegetarian (rennet-free) parmesan cheese.

Buy good-quality parmiggiano reggiano cheese and shred it yourself - pre-shredded or low-quality parmesan cheese will NOT melt well into the sauce and will just get clumpy (yuck).

Add some grilled chicken, roasted salmon, shrimp, or crab to this pasta to make it a heartier dish. You could also add any seasonal veggies you have on hand, such as broccoli, bell peppers, peas, asparagus, etc.

Keywords: pasta, comfort food, spring