Lemon Garlic Pasta (6 basic ingredients, 15-minute meal!)

This lemon garlic pasta is the perfect busy weeknight dish! It’s great as a main or side dish along with some chicken or fish. Simply use gluten-free pasta to make it gluten-free.

Finding time to really do anything lately has been difficult. I’m all about easy dinner recipes right now.

This lemon garlic pasta is the perfect busy weeknight dish! It's great as a main or side dish along with some chicken or fish. Simply use gluten-free pasta to make it gluten-free.

This lemon garlic pasta is pretty much the level of cooking I’m capable of right now. It’s super easy and doesn’t sound all that delicious but it really is!

First you make some garlic olive oil and then toss spaghetti (whole wheat, gluten-free, whatever you like) with Parmesan (or Pecorino Romano), basil and lemon.

It’s incredibly quick and tastes better than I think it should for the required effort.

To be on the healthier side, it’s probably better to eat it alongside some protein or a big salad, or at least some veggies like this easy boiled broccoli. I may or may not be a bit of a piggie, eat a big bowl of it with nothing else for lunch and then fall into a carb coma.

I’m going to make it again tomorrow with this pecan crusted salmon. That’s another dish that only takes about 5 minutes to prepare but tastes like it took a lot longer.

I’ve been making this lemon garlic spaghetti for about 10 years and used to use Parmesan but since trying Pecorino Romano, I haven’t gone back to Parmesan.

If you’ve never tried it, that needs to change! I also use it in my roasted smashed potatoes, spaghetti squash alfredo and classic homemade lasagna. This caprese bruschetta would also be great!

This lemon garlic pasta is one of my favorite quick and easy pasta dishes in the summer. When you don’t feel like heating up the kitchen or eating heavy tomato or cream sauce, this is for you. Serve it with this Jennifer Aniston salad for a full, delicious meal.

If you’re in the mood for something more hearty, try this cavatappi pasta is a great option. My healthy alfredo sauce is also nice and filling!

Or if it’s January and you just finished eating the 132nd cookie in the last two weeks… this is perfect.

For the pasta, you can of course use whatever kind you want. Gluten-free, whole wheat or regular. There are also lots of grain-free pastas now available. This homemade grain-free pasta looks great, too!

If you try out this lemon garlic pasta, I’d love to hear what you think! And for another great spring pasta recipe, try this ham pasta!

This lemon garlic pasta is the perfect busy weeknight dish! It's great as a main or side dish along with some chicken or fish. Simply use gluten-free pasta to make it gluten-free.

Lemon Garlic Pasta (gluten-free option)

Rated 5.0 by 1 reader
Lemon Garlic Pasta (6 basic ingredients, 15-minute meal!)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 2 servings


  • 6 ounces (170 grams) spaghetti (whole wheat, gluten-free, or regular)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • a little less than 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (35 grams)
  • 15 small basil leaves (5 grams or 1 tablespoon chiffonaded [= cut into strips] and packed)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (for me, this was 1/2 a small lemon)
  • ~1/4 tsp salt


  1. Boil the spaghetti according to the directions on the package.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and garlic. Mix around occasionally until the garlic starts to brown. Take off the heat and set aside.
  3. When the pasta is done, drain it in a colander and let it sit there while doing the next step.
  4. In the pot that you had the spaghetti in, add the Parmesan, basil, lemon juice and the garlic olive oil. Stir in the spaghetti and salt to taste. Stir thoroughly and be sure to get all the cheese that likes to stick to the bottom of the pot. Serve immediately.

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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64 comments on “Lemon Garlic Pasta (6 basic ingredients, 15-minute meal!)” — Add one!

  • Kay says
    March 25, 2021 @ 7:04 am

    Hi Erin, I don’t like Basil, so are there other herbs that would compliment this pasta dish? Thank you.

  • Kari H. says
    May 13, 2020 @ 5:07 pm

    Hi Erin,
    Did you leave the garlic cloves whole when making the garlic oil? Also, step 3 says to add garlic oil, so I”m assuming you discard the garlic cloves? The recipe doesn’t specify…
    Thanks! :)

    • Erin replies to Kari H.
      May 13, 2020 @ 5:58 pm

      Hi Kari! Aaah, sorry. That should say minced. I’ve added that! Thanks so much for letting me know and very sorry for missing that important info!

      • Kari H. replies to Erin
        May 16, 2020 @ 8:36 pm

        Thank You! :)

  • Katelyn says
    July 30, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

    This was a FABULOUS dish! I left out the parm cheese as I follow a plant based diet, loaded up on the basil, and roasted cherry tomatoes and added those!

    • Erin replies to Katelyn
      July 30, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

      Hi, Katelyn! I’m so happy to hear that you liked the spaghetti. Yay! :) More basil and cherry tomatoes sounds like a great change. Thanks so much for the feedback! :)

    • Rebecca
      replies to Katelyn
      April 25, 2022 @ 4:10 am

      Hi..This so Easy and Yummy. I added alittle more Lemon and Basil because I love it.I also sauteed up some Chicken Breast.I will definitely make it Again. Maybe with Shrimp😊

      • Erin replies to Rebecca
        April 27, 2022 @ 9:27 am

        That sounds delicious! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks a ton for your feedback! :)

  • Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste says
    July 30, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

    This looks fantastic and like the perfect weeknight meal! Thanks for sharing!

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl says
    July 18, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

    Absolutely loving this pasta Erin!

  • Emily says
    April 25, 2013 @ 12:19 am

    This pasta was delicious and so simple to make! I will definitely be making this again- my whole family loved it! I shared this recipe in a recent meal plan on my blog, rainbowdelicious.com. Thanks!

    • Erin replies to Emily
      April 25, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

      Hi Emily! Thanks a ton for the feedback. I'm happy that you enjoyed it enough to share on your post. I'll go check it out! Thanks again. :)

  • Jill says
    April 9, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

    This looks great, super easy yet super tasty. I'm a busy mother so I love coming across simple recipes that all the family will enjoy!

    • Erin replies to Jill
      April 10, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

      Thanks, Jill! The time it takes to prepare this is a huge plus. It's super tasty and I love that, but I love it even more than it comes together in literally just a few minutes. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  • Julia says
    January 16, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

    First–your photos are beautiful! It makes me want to take a bite right now. I love how simple this recipe is. I love lemon and am always up for adding it in to meals where possible. Looks delicious.

    • Erin replies to Julia
      January 17, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

      Thank you, Julia! I hope you can give it a try. So very simple and just the right amount of lemon. :)

  • Loretta E. says
    January 7, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

    Ha ha! So I'm not the only one that finishes taking pictures and then looks through them and thinks, "who in their right mind am I trying to convince to eat this?!" But hopefully I learn (mostly I don't, though) from my mistakes.

    I love simple flavors with pasta like this! Especially garlic…

    • Erin replies to Loretta E.
      January 7, 2013 @ 11:27 pm

      Neither do I! It was only when I actually uploaded the pictures that I realized, "Oh… this looks like plain spaghetti. How did that happen?" I mean, really. How does one even manage? Let's both learn from our mistakes in the future! :)

  • Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations says
    January 7, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

    Haha…sounds like me, scrambling up old pictures for the first real January post ;)
    But I am not talking down on your pasta AT ALL. I love pasta and yours makes me want to lick my screen. Just like any other food blogger's pasta dishes. It is soo hard to find good pasta dishes in Asia. Sure there are egg noodles, vermicelli, glass noodles etc. But I miss my pasta.

    • Erin replies to Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations
      January 7, 2013 @ 11:26 pm

      Haha. I looked long and hard for some photos that I hadn't used yet! I wanted to post this last summer but never got around to it. I'm happy I found them. :) And they don't have pasta like this? That stinks! I suppose you've got enough other good stuff to eat. By the way, where is your home when you're not travelling? I just realized I have no idea!

    • Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations replies to Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations
      January 8, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

      Well, there are some pseudo Italian restaurants here, but we haven't had the best experiences there. Food usually is way overpriced and microwaved! So I prefer authentic local food at a fraction of the cost any day.
      Haha, since moving away from Germany and before starting to travel Canada was my home and still is. Kelowna, BC to be specific :)

    • Erin replies to Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations
      January 9, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

      Microwaved?! Okay. I am now very thankful that we have good Italian restaurants. And I looked up Kelowna. It looks beautiful! We want to move to Canada (or Portland or Seattle like everyone else) but that looks a bit far from any financial district. Darn!

    • Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations replies to Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations
      January 11, 2013 @ 8:57 am

      Yeah, Vancouver would be the closest financial district. If you end up there, Kelowna is only a very scenic, 3-4 hour ride away. Perfect for a summer getaway by the lake or skiing/snowboarding in winter.
      Haha…I feel like a spokesperson of the tourism board. Maybe I can apply for a job with them when/if I go back ;)

      • Joy mcclure replies to Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations
        July 10, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

        Haha so funny, I am from Kelowna and live in Germany right now. Thanks for the recipe!!! Gonna try it out! Have a great day ladies !

        • Erin replies to Joy mcclure
          July 10, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

          Hahaha. That’s kind of a crazy coincidence, isn’t it? I hope you’re enjoying Germany and that you’ll enjoy this recipe! Let me know how it comes out. :)

  • Angela AnotherBitePlease says
    January 6, 2013 @ 3:55 am

    this kind of pasta sauce is what i love…light yet full of flavor..bring on your summer recipes girl…i am in WI surrounded by snow!

    • Erin replies to Angela AnotherBitePlease
      January 7, 2013 @ 9:04 am

      Aww, stupid snow. It's nice when it's all clean and powdery, but then… ugh. Go away, snow. And more summer recipes are coming! :)

  • Heidi @ Food Doodles says
    January 6, 2013 @ 3:33 am

    Um, you and I are on the same wavelength. For a couple days now I've been longing for summer, and kind of feeling bad because I feel like I haven't enjoyed winter enough yet. This dish is just fueling my wishing for summer to come faster. This looks perfect for hot summer evenings, but perfect right now too – it's so simple and light!

    • Erin replies to Heidi @ Food Doodles
      January 7, 2013 @ 9:03 am

      Don't feel bad! You don't owe the winter anything. And you're going to love my post today (if I get pictures!) Or maybe hate me. ;) What's sad is that we have to wait so much longer than the other people for summer fruit. And you have to wait even longer than I do. Booo! :(

  • Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking says
    January 6, 2013 @ 12:13 am

    Oh this looks so healthy and delicious!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says
    January 5, 2013 @ 9:48 pm

    What a fabulous combination of flavours. This pasta is gorgeous! Lovely recipe Erin!

  • My Italian Smorgasbord says
    January 5, 2013 @ 11:01 am

    this is my American husband's quick spaghetti! he does them once in a while and I agree: they are delicious. I must say your version with only a dollop of oil looks more appealing to me than his usual oil-dripping version :) happy new year!

    • Erin replies to My Italian Smorgasbord
      January 7, 2013 @ 8:59 am

      Happy New Year to you, too! And oil dripping versions… I can't do that. Send him here. :D And I had no idea that your husband was American! I had just assumed that he was Swedish.

  • Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction says
    January 4, 2013 @ 11:58 pm

    This sounds like a perfect meal to have after a lot of sweets and "heavy" foods!

  • amy @ fearless homemaker says
    January 4, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

    I looooove anything with lemon, so I know I'd be all over this. YUM!

  • Becca says
    January 4, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

    This looks and sounds very refreshing :)Can't wait to try this for dinner sometime.

    • Erin replies to Becca
      January 4, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

      Perfect college student meal. :) Hope you like it!

    • Becca replies to Becca
      January 4, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

      That's exactly what I was thinking :)

  • Erin says
    January 4, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

    Oh summer…I crave it so much in January!
    This looks great! We had some pasta with garlic for dinner last night, but I bet some lemon would be a great addition!

    • Erin replies to Erin
      January 4, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

      I guess you're right! January is like, "Oh. No more Christmas? Bah! Bring on the summer!"

  • Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says
    January 4, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

    I'm completely looking forward to summer but only because it's so cooooollld right now. Brrrr. And a simple dish like this is so perfect for this time of year. Quick and into my belly.

    • Erin replies to Rachel @ Baked by Rachel
      January 4, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

      It's not that cold here but the sky. I can't deal with it. It's not the 100% cloud cover EVERY day… it's the insanely dark sky that I can't deal with. It always looks like there's a tornado coming. It's weird.

  • london bakes says
    January 4, 2013 @ 10:26 am

    This sounds really tasty and just perfect for a quick weeknight supper. I'm definitely going through a more savoury phase at the moment too so this really appeals to me.

    • Erin replies to london bakes
      January 4, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

      Same here. I'm about to start a huge baking, um, extravaganza, but I have no desire for sweets. I'm thinking cheesy rolls, savory scones, etc.

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious says
    January 4, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    I love everything about this – it's simple, quick/easy and so flavorful!

  • Honey says
    January 4, 2013 @ 6:32 am

    lovely pasta dish… so simple and i bet tastes amazing.

  • eatgood4life.blogspot.com says
    January 4, 2013 @ 4:57 am

    Simplicity is sometimes best. Some of my favorite pasta dishes are 3-5 ingredients. What cold really go wrong with garlic, cheese and olive ol? Nothing at all. Yummy pasta dish, and I would love for maybe spring to get here, too hot in NJ in the summer for me ;-)

    • Erin replies to eatgood4life.blogspot.com
      January 4, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

      I would love spring… if it weren't for allergies! So spring is my least favorite season, which is a pity because it has the best weather. NJ summer sounds unpleasant but at least you have AC. :)

  • Cassie | Bake Your Day says
    January 4, 2013 @ 3:41 am

    I will not be ashamed of eating a whole plate of this…and then maybe a second. So good, Erin!

    • Erin replies to Cassie | Bake Your Day
      January 4, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

      I easily eat the whole portion by myself. I don't even care. It's healthy enough! Cheese? Eh, so what. We all need fat. :)

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says
    January 4, 2013 @ 2:56 am

    I am all over simple, easy, good for you, and delicious right about now!

  • Aimee @ ShugarySweets says
    January 4, 2013 @ 12:31 am

    Oh my this sounds delicious. If I didn't just eat dinner, I would whip this right up!

    • Erin replies to Aimee @ ShugarySweets
      January 4, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

      Thanks! That's one of the things I love about this. You can just whip it up on a whim.

  • The Life of Clare says
    January 3, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

    That sounds like a fabulous recipe for right now! It's stinking hot here in Australia at the moment and the last thing I feel like doing is cooking, or really even eating! Thanks for sharing this one!

    • Erin replies to The Life of Clare
      January 4, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

      Ooh, I never really thought about that! So this means that no-bake treats will always be appreciated, right? :) Most of the readers here are from the US and Canada, but right after Canada is Australia. I need to think more about you guys!


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