Basil Lemon Pasta Salad

LAST UPDATED: Jun 02, 2020 | PUBLISHED: Apr 10, 2018 | By:

Lemon Basil Pasta Salad is a light and refreshing alternative to classic pasta salads. It’s full of fresh flavor and is made in minutes with a few simple ingredients.

summer pasta salad

This time of year, I start to make a lot of lemon recipes. They’re light, yet full of color and flavor. It’s a nice change of pace from heavier fall and winter dishes.

Through the years I have made a number of lemon basil recipes. This Lemon Basil Pasta Salad recipe blends a few favorites including lemon vinaigrette I use in an arugula salad and this basil lemon pasta.

Lemon basil recipes are perfect for spring and summer get togethers or for a light and refreshing lunch or dinner. This lemon pasta salad is no exception! It’s perfect for picnics and parties.

In fact, I’ve got an entire post dedicated to rounding up all the reader-fave easy pasta salad recipes around here. Don’t miss it– you’ll want to pin and save it for later!

how to make pasta salad

One of my philosophies is that food should look as good as it takes. This Lemon Basil Pasta Salad is pretty enough to take to any party. It’s my new go to spring and summer pasta salad recipe.

You can make enough to serve a crowd in less than 20 minutes (including prep/cut and boil time)! It’s a great make and take dish because it tastes even better after it spends a little time marinating in the refrigerator for a couple hours. It is a one dish wonder that’s easy to cover and take.

This pasta salad recipe also feeds a crowd! It serves 10-12 side portions. If you happen to have leftovers (which rarely happens), enjoy for lunch! Just toss it with a tablespoon of lemon juice or olive oil.

Even kids will enjoy this irresistible recipe. My girls can’t keep their hands off of it! It’s light, fresh and flavorful!

With just 8 ingredients you can mix this up start to finish in less than 20 minutes. Because this recipe is so simple, I like to use fresh ingredients!

I like to give a lot of detail in my recipe posts to guide readers through any questions. If you’re just here for the printable recipe, feel free to click “jump to recipe” right under the title of this post and you’ll head straight there!

Lemon Basil Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • Pasta – Use the noodle of your choice. I love campanelle, but bow tie pasta, cavatappi, fusilli (spiral), and penne all work well.
  • White Wine Vinegar – Gives this pasta salad a light tang.
  • Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil is preferred, but you can substitute with canola oil.
  • Lemon Juice – Freshly squeezed or 100% Lemon Juice purchased in the produce section of your grocer.
  • Pepper – Thick flakes of black pepper from a grinder on the largest setting adds flavor and texture.
  • Pine Nuts – Adds a little protein a crunch to this pasta salad. Walnuts or almonds are great alternatives.
  • Parmesan – Fresh parmesan in thick flakes provide flavor in every bite.
  • Basil – Fresh basil is the highlight of this dish.Basil is one of the few herbs I always have on hand because the plants are as inexpensive and purchasing fresh basil and easy to grow. Just one leaf adds so much flavor to dishes, making it my favorite garnish. However you can always find it fresh at your grocer in the produce section. It enhances just about every pasta dish!
vinaigrette for pasta salad

Add Protein

This lemon pasta salad certainly doesn’t need anything else, but if you’d like to add a little protein, there are a few delicious options!

light pasta salad

How to Make Lemon Basil Pasta Salad

  1. Prepare Pasta – Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil. Prepare pasta al dente. Rinse in cold water to shock noodles.
  2. Make the Pasta Salad Dressing – Combine vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice in a jar. Shake until thoroughly combined.
  3. Toss – Toss pasta with dressing and pine nuts.
  4. Garnish – Top with fresh cracked black pepper, basil and parmesan flakes.
lemon basil pasta salad
easy pasta salad recipe

Tips

  • Prepare Noodles Al Dente – Don’t overcook your noodles. This will prevent your pasta salad from becoming mushy. It also makes your noodles easier to toss. Overcooking your noodles can result in a mushy pasta salad. 
  • Shock Pasta – Rinse boiled noodles with cold water to shock them.
  • Allow Pasta to Cool – Allow your pasta to cool before adding the pasta salad dressing and ingredients.
  • Marinate – Let your pasta salad marinate in the refrigerator for 2+ hours to allow the flavors to soak in. 

To Store

Refrigerate – Refrigerate covered up to 2 days.

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If you make this spring and summer infused pasta salad recipe, please leave a comment below using my 5 star rating system! You can find all of my pasta salad recipes here if you’re as excited as I am to kick off a season of summer entertaining.

More Amazing Lemon Recipes

summer pasta salad

Basil Lemon Pasta Salad

Author: Julie Blanner
A refreshingly easy Basil Lemon Pasta Salad. This spring and summer pasta salad recipe is a lighter alternative to traditional pasta salads and easy to take to get togethers.
5 from 27 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Refrigerate 2 hrs
Total Time 17 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12
Calories 207 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound pasta {shown with campanelle}
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 cracks pepper or to taste
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup parmesan flakes
  • 1/4 cup sliced thin fresh basil

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot of salty water, bring noodles to a boil and prepare al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Meanwhile, combine white wine vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice in a jar and shake well.
  • In a large bowl toss pasta with dressing and pine nuts. Add fresh cracked pepper, basil and parmesan flakes.
  • Refrigerate 2+ hours before serving.

Notes

Substitutions

  • Pasta – Use the noodle of your choice. I love campanelle, but bow tie pasta, cavatappi, fusilli (spiral), and penne all work well.
  • Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil is preferred, but you can substitute with canola oil.
  • Lemon Juice – Freshly squeezed or 100% Lemon Juice purchased in the produce section of your grocer.
  • Pepper – Thick flakes of black pepper from a grinder on the largest setting adds flavor and texture.
  • Pine Nuts – Adds a little protein a crunch to this pasta salad. Walnuts or almonds are great alternatives.

Tips

  • Prepare Noodles Al Dente – Don’t overcook your noodles. This will prevent your pasta salad from becoming mushy. It also makes your noodles easier to toss. Overcooking your noodles can result in a mushy pasta salad. 
  • Shock Pasta – Rinse boiled noodles with cold water to shock them.
  • Allow Pasta to Cool – Allow your pasta to cool before adding the pasta salad dressing and ingredients.
  • Marinate – Let your pasta salad marinate refrigerated 2+ hours if possible.

To Store

Refrigerate – Refrigerate covered up to 2 days.

Nutrition

Calories:207kcalCarbohydrates:29gProtein:5gFat:8gSaturated Fat:1gSodium:3mgPotassium:111mgFiber:1gSugar:1gVitamin C:1mgCalcium:8mgIron:1mg
5 from 27 votes
Did you Make This Recipe?Mention @JulieBlanner
Disclosure

mini loaves of bread gift wrapped