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Lemon Spinach Garlic Pasta

Do you use freshly squeezed lemon juice in your cooking? Give this recipe a try, using fresh lemon juice and zest. I promise, you will never go back to the pre-bottled lemon juice again!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins


For the sauce:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 6-7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped

Everything else:

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 6-8 cups spinach, fresh
  • ½ cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • ¾ cup pasta water, reserved


Start the sauce

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, sea salt, and garlic powder.
  • Cook for about 2 minutes, until the garlic smells heavenly and sizzles. Stir the whole time to encourage the salt and garlic powder to dissolve.
  • Add the butter, lemon zest, and ¼ cup parsley. Keep on medium heat, and continue stirring as the butter melts. We want the butter and the oil to be infused with the flavors of the garlic, lemon, and parsley.
  • Once the butter has melted, continue to cook over medium heat for 1 more minute, then take off the heat, and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside.

Cook the pasta

  • Now start the pasta. Cook according to package instructions, but stop cooking once the pasta is about two-thirds of the way cooked. (For example, the pasta I used for this dish has a total cooking time of 12 minutes. So I cooked the pasta for 8 minutes, reserved ¾ cup of pasta water, then drained the pasta.)

Add the pasta and spinach to the sauce

  • Once the pasta is about 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.
  • Turn the heat on to medium, and with your kitchen tongs, begin tossing 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 pasta, that was 4 more minutes.)
  • As you toss the pasta in the sauce, add the reserved ¾ cup pasta water, followed by the remaining 4-6 cups spinach. Toss a few times, then add the remaining ¼ cup parsley and ¼ cup Parmesan. 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.

Plate and serve!

  • 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 can be made gluten free simply by using gluten free pasta.
This dish can be made vegan by using your favorite vegan butter, or additional olive oil in place of the butter in this recipe, and by omitting the Parmesan.