Light Lemon Pesto Pasta Recipe -
Light Lemon Pesto Pasta Recipe
  • READY IN 30 mins

Light Lemon Pesto Pasta

Recipe by  

"Light, yet full of flavor, this pesto is perfect tossed with hot spaghetti for a quick dinner. It is also excellent as a pizza sauce or smeared on hot French bread. It freezes well to preserve the bounty of summer basil."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    15 mins

    30 mins


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti at a boil until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes; drain. Transfer spaghetti to a large bowl.
  2. Put cubed Romano cheese in the bowl of a food processor; process until coarsely grated, about 30 seconds. Put garlic into the food processor and process until the cheese and garlic are combined. Add spinach, basil, walnuts, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt; process until the mixture comes together into a thick paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. With food processor running, drizzle olive oil into the mixture. Continue processing until the oil is integrated smoothly.
  4. Pour sauce over spaghetti and toss to coat.
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  • Cook's Note:
  • If you have an abundance of basil, this can be made with 3 cups of loosely packed basil.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Sep 18, 2014

Thanks so much AR for correcting the amount of lemon juice! You guys rock! My submitted recipe called for 1/4 cup lemon juice- I let AR know about it an they corrected the recipe! I recommend tossing the pesto with hot pasta so the cheese sort of melts and coats each strand. You might want to reserve a ladle or two of hot pasta water so you can add a little while tossing if you want a saucier dish.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Feb 06, 2015

I made this last night because we felt like having pasta and had all the ingredients on hand. WOW, garlic overload! This recipe definitely has potential, but as is, the garlic is very overpowering. It was even more potent today when I reheated it for lunch. I had a couple of people walk into the lunchroom at work and ask what was in the microwave. Don't get me wrong, this is delicious otherwise. I will definitely make this again but with half the amount of garlic. I really liked the addition of the walnuts. A nice twist on traditional pesto. This would be delicious with chicken or shrimp as an added protein to make it a complete meal.

Jun 14, 2013

Just loved this recipe. I used Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and capellini as the pasta. After mixing the pesto with the pasta in the pasta pot I added additional grated Parmigiano and mozzarella. Then replaced the lid and allowed the cheese to soften. Will be making again. Thank you Baking Nana for this recipe.

Jun 25, 2013

I am surprised that we didn't like this more. My family is all over pesto and garlic. For some reason the garlic overpowered our dish- to the point it was spicy, really spicy. And we could hardly taste the lemon. I made this exactly as baking nana suggested. No substitutions. I am not sure what happened but this isn't for us.- update!! Just had the leftovers and this was DELISH.

Sep 18, 2014

We have fixed the amount of lemon juice called for in this recipe. Our apologies for the error.

Jun 10, 2013

Dd had recently requested pesto and BN had just mentioned her Warning! on the Buzz so I decided to give this a whirl. I had my head in a good book so I ended up mucking this up...over cooked my pasta a tad, over processed pesto, spinach wasn't really dry enough, not enough lemon juice (so I used all the zest of the one lemon I had.) Still, with my poor execution dd gave 2 thumbs up!

Jul 17, 2013

Wonderful! I also used Parmigiano instead of the Romano. My food processor wasn't working right, so I had to use the blender, which made for a smoother sauce than I would've liked, but the flavor is excellent! The little guy helped me make this, and he was eating it by the spoonfuls, lol. I was actually dipping bread in it, and that was delicious...can't wait to try it over the pasta. I make a lot of pesto to freeze in the summer, and this is definitely going to be one recipes that I will use~YUM! Thanks for sharing. :)

Aug 11, 2015

Loved this! I was only making it for one person so I changed up the ingredient amounts. I also used what I had on hand bottled lemon and the cheap parm (I know, I know) but it was still so good! I'm a garlic nut so I used a lot. My Purple Basil is going crazy right now and this was a great way to use it. I also used a whole wheat pasta that I had. I'll be making this often, thanks for sharing the recipe.


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  • Calories
  • 465 kcal
  • 23%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 60.2 g
  • 19%
  • Cholesterol
  • 20 mg
  • 7%
  • Fat
  • 17.2 g
  • 26%
  • Fiber
  • 3.5 g
  • 14%
  • Protein
  • 18 g
  • 36%
  • Sodium
  • 337 mg
  • 13%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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