Go Back
+ servings
lemon garlic pasta
5 from 5 votes

Lemon Garlic Pasta with Spinach

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, garlic, spinach, and parsley combine to make this easy pasta dish a restaurant quality meal quick enough for any night of the week.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 6
Print Recipe


For the sauce:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup butter or Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ¼ cup parsley, minced

Everything else:

  • 1 pound pasta, (I recommend spaghetti)
  • 8 cups spinach, fresh
  • ½ cup Parmesan, freshly grated (optional; omit to keep vegan)
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • ¾ cup pasta water, reserved


Make the sauce

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat for one minute. Now add the garlic, and cook for one more minute.
  • Now add the salt and garlic powder. Stir to encourage the salt and garlic powder to dissolve.

Add the butter, lemon zest, and parsley

  • Add the butter, lemon zest, and ¼ cup parsley. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring as the butter melts. We want the butter and the oil to infuse with the flavors of the garlic, lemon, and parsley.
  • Once the butter has melted, continue cooking over medium heat for 1 more minute, then take the pot off the heat, and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside.

Cook the pasta

  • Now start the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, but stop cooking once the pasta is two-thirds of the way cooked. (For example, the spaghetti I used for this dish has a total cooking time of 11 minutes. So I cooked the spaghetti for 7 minutes, reserved ¾ cup of pasta water, then drained the pasta.)

Add the pasta and spinach to the sauce

  • Once the pasta is two-thirds of the way cooked, reserve ¾ cup pasta water, drain the pasta, and add the pasta to the pot with the sauce, along with 2 cups of spinach.
  • Put the pot with the pasta, sauce, and spinach back on the burner over medium heat. With your kitchen tongs, toss the pasta into the sauce and spinach. Set your timer to cook the pasta in the sauce for the remaining cooking time according to your pasta box. (For my spaghetti, that was 4 more minutes.)

Add the pasta water, remaining spinach, and parsley

  • Keep tossing, and add the reserved ¾ cup pasta water, followed by another 2 cups of spinach. Toss a few times, and continue tossing and adding spinach until you have added the remaining 4 cups of spinach.
  • Once the spinach is completely added and mostly wilted, add the remaining ¼ cup parsley and ¼ cup of the Parmesan, if using. Just keep tossing while you wait for your timer to go off!
  • Once your timer goes off, taste the pasta. It should be cooked to al dente perfection. If not, keep the heat on and toss for another minute or two.

Serve and enjoy!

  • Once the pasta is done, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top, garnish with more parsley if desired, and serve!
  • This pasta dish is great served with my Ciabatta Crisps and a side of Gardein or your favorite meat substitute.


This dish is gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta.
This dish is vegan if you use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, and omit the Parmesan.