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Creamy Lemon Basil Spaghetti

A simple recipe for creamy lemon basil spaghetti sauce that can be made while the spaghetti cooks.

Creamy Lemon Basil Spaghetti


Quite often when I reach for a packet of spaghetti I'm looking for a quick meal with no cooking other than the spaghetti.

I will either throw some vegetables in with the spaghetti to cook or whip up a quick sauce using what I have in the fridge and my store cupboard.

I also like spaghetti tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and chilli flakes and served with some grated vegan parmesan.


The spaghetti sauce is one of these quick sauces.

It's creamy with the flavours of basil and garlic with lemon to add some zing. It coats the noodles perfectly.

I served it topped with some grated Prosociano (Violife vegan parmesan style cheese). You can also get vegetarian parmesan style cheese, they are usually called pasta cheese or hard cheese. Just look at the pack to make sure it's vegetarian.

I have to admit I was waiting for cries of I don't really like this from my son because it had lemon in it, but surprisingly he enjoyed it.

Yeah it was a shock to me too!

A bowl of Creamy Lemon Basil Spaghetti served with slices of garlic bread


Once the pasta was in the pan and bubbling away I made the spaghetti sauce.

It was just whipped up in a bowl with a spoon, so no more pots to clean.

It was ready and waiting when I drained the pasta and dinner was on the table in 12 minutes.


small bowl of lemon peel


For the little zingy zaps of lemon that adds a tang to the sauce and cuts through the creamy texture, I added lemon peel.

You could add some lemon juice, but that would thin down the sauce and might not have the same zing.

I used finely grated peel from one well-washed lemon.

Alpro Greek Yogurt


For the creamy sauce I used Alpro Greek style yoghurt, which is dairy-free and suitable for vegans. Of course there are a lot of other great dairy-free yoghurts out there. I just share what we are using and enjoying.

If you are vegetarian, you can use whichever Greek yoghurt you enjoy.

small bowl of pesto


For the garlicky basil flavour I used pesto.

I used a jar of pesto but you could of course make your own. Why not try my lemon and spinach pesto?

I always have a few jars of Sacla vegan pesto in my cupboard, but I like Mr Organic pesto too. To be honest I've not found any other shop bought pesto that I like. 

If you have any to recommend, leave a comment below.

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Creamy Lemon Basil Spaghetti. A simple recipe for creamy lemon basil spaghetti sauce that can be made while the spaghetti cooks. Suitable for vegetarians or vegans.

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Scroll down for a printable recipe with quantities.
To save it click print and choose PDF.

Four photos showing creamy lemon basil spaghetti sauce being made,
  1. Add yoghurt, lemon peel, pesto, salt and pepper to a bowl.
  2. Mix until well combined. Don't worry if it looks like the mixture has split, it will come together.
  3. Near the end of the pasta cooking time, scoop out some of the pasta water and pour it into the sauce. Be careful not to burn yourself.
  4. Mix well into a silky sauce, which is much looser that the original mixture.
  5. It's ready to mix through the drained pasta.

Close up of pasta bowl piled with Creamy Lemon Basil Spaghetti topped with grated parmesan



You can tweak this sauce to make a new sauce.

  1. Add some lime peel instead of lemon and some chilli flakes.
  2. Instead of pesto, swirl some sweet chilli sauce or hot sauce through the yoghurt. Add both lemon and lemon peel.
  3. Add tomato pesto instead of basil pesto.
  4. Add sundried tomato paste instead of pesto.
  5. Add olive paste instead of pesto. 

You get the idea!

spaghetti sauce, quick spaghetti sauce, quick pasta sauce, pasta sauce, spaghetti, vegan spaghetti, lemon pasta sauce, basil pasta sauce, pasta, quick dinner, vegan pasta sauce, dairy free pasta sauce, vegan pasta, dairy free pasta
Italian, vegan
Yield: 4-6
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
Creamy Lemon Basil Spaghetti

Creamy Lemon Basil Spaghetti

A simple spaghetti sauce with the flavours of lemon and basil. The sauce is made while the spaghetti cooks. It's luxurious and creamy and clings to the pasta beautifully
Prep time: Cook time: 12 MTotal time: 12 M


  • 6 tbsp Greek yoghurt (vegetarian or vegan)
  • 4 tbsp pesto
  • 2 tbsp lemon peel
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 500g spaghetti


  1. Add the spaghetti to a large pan of fast boiling, salted water and stir.
  2. While the pasta is cooking make your sauce. Add the yoghurt, pesto, lemon peel, salt and pepper to a bowl.
  3. Stir well to combine. It may look like it has split, but don't worry, it will come together.
  4. Towards the end of the pasta cook time, carefully (don't burn yourself) scoop out some pasta water, you need about half a cup.
  5. Mix the pasta water into the sauce which will become silky.
  6. Drain the spaghetti when it is cooked and still al dente (has a little bit of bite/firmness), then mix through the pasta sauce.
  7. Top with vegetarian or vegan parmesan style cheese.
  8. Enjoy!


This sauce can be kept in a airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
I haven't tried freezing it. It's so quick to make, you can just make it as you go and no need to freeze.
This spaghetti is 190 calories for 4 or 286 calories for 6. It's a BIG portion for 4. You can just make as much pasta as you need.
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Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. I make similar sauce but instead of green pesto I use red. We love it!

  2. This was such a wonderful change to our normal red sauce we serve with our pasta. So delicious!

  3. Delicious spaghetti recipe that I am sure never disappoints. Yummy, easy to make and just the way I like it!

  4. Yes please Jac! This is my kind of summer pasta recipe. I love lemon and basil together!

  5. This lemon basil spaghetti is so delicious and has tons of flavor. We loved it!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it Kathryn. Thanks for letting me know.

  6. I love the look of this pasta! I have yet to try the Sacla vegan pesto, but it's definitely on my list.

    1. Thanks and yes it's a good one to have in the cupboard. You'll find it in the free from section usually.

  7. Bintu | Recipes From A PantrySunday, 02 August, 2020

    This sounds so delicious - the combination of lemon and basil sounds wonderful and perfect for summer.

    1. Oh yes it's a good summery meal. Nice and quick too.

  8. Basil is one of my favorite sauces so knew I would love this. It was simple to make and everyone cleaned their plates. Thank you!

  9. This was wonderful, so fresh and light!

  10. Oh so delicious and healthy! Just was I was looking for, thank you so much!


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x