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This Lemon Olive Oil Pasta is as easy as it is delicious! It requires just a few pantry staples and 30 minutes to make and is a great recipe to keep on hand when you’re in a pinch for time!
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We originally developed this recipe when we were in need of an EASY dinner that used minimal fresh ingredients. If you’re in a season of life where simple meals are crucial, you’re going to fall in love with this comforting bowl of pasta. It’s easy to make in large batches at the start of the week for meal prep and is healthy yet comforting at the same time.
Finally, it’s easy to customize! Add whatever else you’d like to this easy pasta recipe. It pairs well with olives, artichoke hearts, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley, and more.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Pasta: The base of the pasta dish. We opted for Trader Joe’s Brown Rice & Quinoa Pasta because it adds a little protein, but any pasta of choice will do here!
- Olive oil: For best results, we recommend using the best, high-quality oil your budget will allow. It’s the base of the sauce recipe and acts as the primary source of fat and richness. If you’re on the hunt for a new, go-to high quality extra virgin olive oil, check out this helpful resource: 9 Pro Tips on How to Buy and Use Good Olive Oil.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are key to the best, garlicky pasta sauce. We unfortunately wouldn’t recommend substituting garlic powder here.
- Lemon: Lemon zest adds a bright, zesty citrus flavor that takes the flavor of this pasta dish to the next level. Grate it fresh right before adding it to the garlic sauce!
- Basil: We like to use fresh basil straight from our home garden. It adds a fresh, herbaceous flavor that balances the bright flavors in the lemon zest and the rich flavors in the olive oil pasta sauce. If you don’t care for basil, swap it with fresh parsley or another fresh herb of choice.
- Tomatoes: Either grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes work best. The juicier, the better!
- Nutritional yeast: Acts as a dairy-free cheese substitute and also adds a nice boost of B vitamins! Be sure to purchase nutritional yeast, not brewer’s yeast. These ingredients are often confused, but are not the same!
How to Make Olive Oil Pasta
- Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, then add the pasta. Cook according to package instructions or until al dente.
- Make the olive oil pasta sauce. While the pasta cooks, heat a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add 1/4 cup of olive oil and heat until warm. Add the garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and lightly golden brown.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Once the roasted garlic is fragrant, add the lemon zest, fresh basil, grape tomatoes, and nutritional yeast to the warmed olive oil sauce. Stir well to combine and simmer for 1 minute.
- Add the pasta. Transfer the drained, cooked pasta into the pot and mix until everything is well coated.
- Serve. Season the olive oil pasta with salt and black pepper to taste, then top with fresh parsley or basil, red pepper flakes, and vegan parmesan cheese, or as desired.
The simple, bright flavors in this pasta dish pair well with several sides. Here are a few of our favorite ways to complete the meal:
- Add protein: Grilled vegan chicken, creamy chickpeas, or Crispy Tofu would be delicious.
- Side salad: Keep it simple with this Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad.
- Add roasted vegetables: In addition to the grape tomatoes, add your favorite roasted veggies such as roasted zucchini, eggplant, or sun-dried tomatoes for a Mediterranean twist.
- Sprinkle with cheese: Vegan Parmesan Cheese or Vegan Feta Cheese would work well.
- Serve with crusty bread: You can’t go wrong with a side of Vegan Garlic Bread or Garlic Herb Dinner Rolls.
If you’re serving this simple pasta dish for date night, start with our Easy Vegan Cheese Fondue Appetizer and finish with a sweet Silken Tofu Chocolate Mousse, a Chocolate Soufflé Cake, or these Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
If you try this lemon olive oil pasta out and pair it with something else that makes it extra delicious, leave a comment and let us know down below so we can try it too!
This spaghetti dinner is similar to the classic Italian dish, pasta aglio e olio, but it is slightly different. This olive oil pasta is made without chili flakes and includes a few unauthentic additions, including grape tomatoes, nutrition yeast, and fresh lemon zest. Our pasta’s also made with julienned basil instead of fresh parsley. If you love spaghetti aglio e olio, you will love this variation!
Olive oil is an important ingredient in this pasta dish and the pasta would be very dry without it. Instead, we’d recommend trying one of our oil-free pasta dishes such as this Classic Vegan Baked Ziti, this Vegan Sheet Pan Pasta, or this Creamy White Bean Pasta.
Yes! We originally developed this recipe using gluten-free spaghetti noodles, but you are free to use any shape or types of pasta of your choice – gluten-free or not. If you can tolerate gluten, you can even make our Authentic Homemade Vegan Pasta from scratch if you’re feeling ambitious!
When storing leftovers, allow the pasta to cool completely before covering and refrigerating in an airtight container. This simple dish will keep for up to 4 days.
Reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop in a large skillet until warmed through. If the pasta seems dry, add an additional tablespoon or two of olive oil to rehydrate and make saucy again.
As with most of our pasta dishes, we would not recommend freezing this Olive Oil Pasta. If you’re looking for freezer-friendly pasta recipes, we’d recommend freezing a few of our homemade pasta sauces and cooking the pasta fresh. If interested, check out these popular recipes: Vegan Lentil Bolognese Sauce, Homemade Marinara Sauce, or this Roasted Tomato Sauce.
If you make this recipe, let us know what you think in the comments below! + If you post any photos on Instagram, make sure you tag us @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris so that we don’t miss it, we love seeing your photos!Print
Nutrition facts label provided by Nutri Fox.
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