Easy Lemon Pasta with Arugula and Feta

Look no further than this Lemon Pasta with Arugula and Feta for an easy and brightly flavored 30-minute weeknight dinner. Simple, quick, yet elegant. 

overhead shot of two plates of easy lemon pasta with arugula and crumbled feta

Today’s pasta recipe is nothing fancy. So, no trendy superfood ingredients (win for your wallet). Certainly not difficult to make (win for your self-esteem as a home chef).  And it’s definitely not going to win any beauty awards as our colors are pretty neutral apart from the fresh green accents from arugula.  But oh my goodness,  I am OBSESSED  with this simple lemon pasta and I promise it will brighten up your spirits and tastebuds.

This is one of the recipes I pull out of my back pocket whenever life gets busy and I find myself craving a bowl of carb comfort with just the right amount of cheese without breaking the calorie bank! This easy lemon pasta is my go-to indulgence for those days.

close-up of a plate with lemon pasta with arugula and crumbles feta

It’s ridiculously easy to make and it calls for 7 simple ingredients that you probably almost always have on hand. You will find that the peppery flavor of arugula just pairs so nicely with the other strong flavors used here – salty feta cheese, and bright citrus.

SUPER flavorful with such few ingredients, and so easy to customize with extra ingredients if you’d like (I give you some options in the end). Aways a success with guests if you are the dinner party hosting kinda person. 🙂

overhead shot of easy lemon pasta with arugula and feta with a fork on the side

How to make Lemon Pasta with Arugula & Feta:

Step 1 – Before you begin, have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go because you’ll need to be quick once the pasta is cooked! Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Cook pasta al dente (= with a little crunch) according to package instructions.

garlic being fried in butter then mixed with lemon juice and zest for making lemon pasta recipe with arugula

Step 2 & 3 – About five minutes before the pasta is done, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic for 30 seconds, or until just fragrant. Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest and cook for another 30 seconds. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

If the garlic-lemon mixture is cooked before the pasta, remove the skillet from the heat so that garlic doesn’t burn.

Save 1 cup of pasta water (it’s super important! that’s what makes the creamy sauce!) and drain the pasta in a colander.

pasta being tossed with garlic butter, lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese to make easy lemon pasta

Step 4As soon as pasta is drained, add it to the skillet with the garlic and lemon. Sprinkle 3/4 cup parmesan.

Step 5 – Add 3/4 cup of reserved pasta water and delicately toss with a pair of tongs to coat. Continue cooking on medium heat and tossing until the sauce is shiny and coats the pasta beautifully.

Step 6 – If the pasta looks a bit dry and lumpy, add more pasta water but only a little at a time to avoid diluting the sauce too much and make the pasta watery. Turn off the heat, taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Delicately stir in arugula and serve pasta onto plates. Top with crumbled feta and some more parmesan and serve immediately.

al dente pasta tossed in a pot with garlic butter and lemon juice to make lemon pasta

 

Why is my arugula so bitter?

Arugula is always slightly bitter and spicy, often also described as “peppery” or “mustardy.” Baby arugula, which is picked when still young, is milder and more tender than mature greens. Leaves allowed to mature too long on the arugula plant will become bitter so make sure to get some baby arugula if you like a milder taste.

Add-ins:

  • blistered tomatoes
  • toasted pine nuts or pistachios
  • fresh figs
  • smoked salmon
  • sauteed or charred green asparagus
  • peas

easy healthy lemon pasta served with crumbled feta and arugula

Tips:

  • Don’t skip the salt when cooking pasta and be generous with it too— it’s essential for bringing out the delicious flavor in the pasta!
  • Add some red chili flakes for a sprinkle of danger.
  • Grate some extra parmesan cheese over the pasta before serving, as well as some more lemon zest, and some more cracked black pepper.
  • Arugula is one of those rare salad greens we can also get down with hot, so you could toss it with the hot pasta, but I prefer its taste when fresh.
  • When it comes to choosing a pasta type, I recommend sticking with long pastas like spaghetti, linguini, or bucatini—which is what I used here.
overhead shot of Easy Lemon Pasta with Arugula and Feta
5 from 5 votes
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Easy Lemon Pasta with Arugula and Feta

Look no further than this Lemon Pasta with Arugula and Feta for an easy and brightly flavored 30-minute weeknight dinner. Simple, quick, yet elegant. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword easy lemon pasta, pasta with arugula, pasta with lemon sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 637 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb spaghetti or similar long pasta shapes like fettuccine or bucatini - 500 g
  • 3 tablespoons butter about 40 grams
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 medium lemons zested and juiced
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 2 handfuls arugula
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Before you beginning, have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go because you’ll need to be quick once the pasta is cooked!

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt.

  3. Cook pasta al dente (= with a little crunch) according to package instructions.

  4. About five minutes before the pasta is done, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic for 30 seconds, or until just fragrant. Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest and cook for another 30 seconds. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. If garlic lemon mixture is cooked before the pasta, remove the skillet from the heat so that garlic doesn’t burn.

  5. Save 1 cup of pasta water (it’s super important! that’s what makes the creamy sauce!) and drain the pasta in a colander.

  6. As soon as pasta is drained, add it to the skillet with the garlic and lemon. Sprinkle 3/4 cup parmesan. Add 3/4 cup of reserved pasta water and delicately toss with a pair of tongs to coat. Continue cooking on medium heat and tossing until the sauce is shiny and coats the pasta beautifully.

  7. If the pasta looks a bit dry and lumpy, add more pasta water but only a little at a time to avoid diluting the sauce too much and make the pasta watery.

  8. Turn off the heat, taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

  9. 8.Delicately stir in arugula and serve pasta onto plates. Top with crumbled feta and some more parmesan and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • Don’t skip the salt when cooking pasta and be generous with it too— it’s essential for bringing out the delicious flavor in the pasta!
  • Add some red chili flakes for a sprinkle of danger.
  • Grate some extra cheese over the pasta before serving, as well as the remainder of the lemon zest, and some more cracked black pepper. 
  • Arugula is one of those rare salad greens we can also get down with hot, so you could toss it with the hot pasta, but I prefer its taste when fresh.
  • When it comes to choosing a pasta type, I recommend sticking with long pastas like spaghetti, linguini, or bucatini—which is what I used here.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Lemon Pasta with Arugula and Feta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 637 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 52mg17%
Sodium 593mg26%
Potassium 356mg10%
Carbohydrates 92g31%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 512IU10%
Vitamin C 29mg35%
Calcium 358mg36%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you tried this Easy Lemon Pasta with Arugula Recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

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10 Comments
  1. I love pasta anytime and the lemon and arugula makes it like restaurant food without the price tag. This is the perfect recipe and totally hassle-free. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. I love that this pasta dish is not doused in sauce. I don’t eat pasta often, but I do love arugula and lemon sauce. You’ve given a simple weeknight dish to make. Thanks for sharing.

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