How to Make Creamy Green Pasta Sauce

Savory, lemony, and zippy green pasta sauce is not only a fantastic way to eat your greens, but dare I say a more delicious alternative to pesto or marinara sauce. Packed with vibrant spinach, cheesy Parmesan, and aromatic basil & garlic, it's a light and healthy dinner that you can have on the table in less than 30 minutes.

– pasta (I prefer spaghetti or linguine noodles) – olive oil – garlic – fresh baby spinach – Parmesan cheese – fresh basil leaves – zest and juice from 1 lemon – salt & black pepper – red pepper flakes

Recipe Ingredients

Over high heat, bring a large pot of (generously salted) water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. After pasta is cooked, set aside ½ cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.

Recipe Instructions

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add spinach and cook, using tongs to toss frequently, until spinach has wilted.

Recipe Instructions

Transfer spinach mixture to a food  processor or blender. Add the Parmesan cheese, basil, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper, and blend until mixture is smooth and creamy,  stopping once to scrape down the sides.

Recipe Instructions

After draining the pasta, return it to the previously used large skillet. Pour pasta sauce over noodles, along with 2 tbsp. of pasta water, and toss well with tongs so that noodles are well-coated with the sauce. Add more pasta water as needed, continuing to toss noodles, until you have a  silky sauce.

Recipe Instructions

Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper if necessary. Garnish with red pepper flakes (if using) and serve immediately.

Recipe Instructions

Salt pasta water. Be generous when you salt your pasta water. As the water is absorbed into the noodles, the salt is absorbed along with it, giving it flavor. So, be generous with the salt!

Expert Tips


I create easy recipes that are mainly vegetarian and vegan. And I have a huge sweet tooth, so dessert is never far behind!  Sign up to get recipes delivered to your inbox and get my FREE Guide on Money Saving Tips on Buying Groceries!