Easy, Creamy Pasta with Green Sauce

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This Creamy Pasta with Green Sauce is a healthy, fabulous way to change up your pasta night! The simple basil and arugula green sauce is made in about five minutes, then tossed with the pasta of your choice! This is a super quick and easy weeknight meal–it’s ready in about 20 minutes!

A large bowl of pasta with green sauce sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

This healthy pasta with green sauce is a great way to switch up pasta night OR it makes a fantastic, fresh side dish.

The foundation of this dish is my Basil Arugula Pesto but kicked up with a little creaminess from ricotta cheese. The result is fresh, vibrant flavors, with just a touch of creaminess…divine!

The Basil Arugula Pesto is super versatile and also used in a few more easy pasta recipes like this Caprese Pesto Orzo Salad and this Quick and Easy Tuna Pesto Pasta.

Switch it up with more green pasta flavors in this Cilantro Lime Pasta with Shrimp….sooooo good!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE

  • Super quick–you can make this dish in about 20 minutes!
  • No real “cooking.” All you have to do on the stove is boil up the pasta!
  • It’s healthy! Arugula is packed with vitamins and minerals and adds such great flavor!
  • This green pasta can be a side dish or main course.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Pasta with Green Sauce:

Ingredients needed to make pasta with green sauce.

INGREDIENT NOTES

Arugula: The peppery taste arugula pairs so well with the basil in this green sauce. If you don’t like arugula, you can just double the basil or check out my 11 Delicious Substitutes fro Arugula.

Pasta: I personally love green spaghetti but any shape or size pasta works just fine!

Parmesan Cheese: Pre-grated cheese from the deli section is fine, just stay away from the shelf-stable kind.

Ricotta Cheese: Whole milk ricotta works best and has the most creamy texture.

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE: STEP BY STEP

Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!

How to make pasta with green sauce step by step.

Step 1: Boil up your pasta.

Step 2: While pasta is boiling, make your green sauce. In a food processor, blend basil, arugula, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice for 10 seconds.

Step 3: Add in olive oil, salt and ricotta cheese and blend for another 10 seconds.

Step 4: Toss green sauce hot pasta and serve immediately.

RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS

  • Make sure you reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. You may need it to thin out the sauce a bit when you are tossing it with the pasta.
  • If I know I’ll have leftovers (I hardly ever do) I like to reserve just a little of the green sauce to toss in with any leftover pasta when reheating it.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can blend this up in a blender, too!
  • An extra squeeze of lemon and fresh cracked pepper are so yummy to add when you are serving this dish.

STORAGE & REHEATING

Leftovers: You can store leftovers right in the pan with a tight-fitting lid, in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, just add a splash of chicken stock to the pan and heat it over medium heat until warmed through.

You can also store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat in the microwave on full power until warm. It’s nice to have a little extra green sauce to toss into the pasta when reheating it.

Freezing: I recommend making a big batch of the green sauce and freezing it separately from the pasta. When you are ready to make the dish, defrost sauce or heat it on low in a skillet. Then toss with pasta.

ADDITIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Arugula: The arugula taste in this green sauce is very mild and adds such a unique, vibrant flavor. However, if you are totally adverse to arugula, check out my 11 Delicious Substitutes for Arugula. Just doubling the basil would my first substitution suggestion. Next, cooked spinach would also work, but the flavor isn’t nearly as fresh and vibrant. You could also try another herb such as cilantro or mint.
  • Pasta: Any shape pasta works here! Use your family’s fave!
  • Protein: Tossing cooked/grilled/rotisserie chicken into this dish would be great to add some protein and make this a complete one-pan meal.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do you make green spaghetti sauce?

It’s very simple! In a food processor, combine basil, arugula, garlic, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, ricotta cheese, salt and olive oil. Toss sauce with hot pasta and serve!

What do you serve with this?

You can serve this green pasta as a side dish with a protein like steak, chicken or fish. Or, just make The Best Garlic Bread or some Texas Toast and call it a day!

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Pasta with green sauce on a white plate sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

OTHER “GREEN” PASTA RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

I hope you love this Pasta with Green Sauce! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Easy, Creamy Pasta with Green Sauce

This Creamy Pasta with Green Sauce is a healthy, fabulous way to change up your pasta night! The simple basil and arugula green sauce is made in about five minutes, then tossed with the pasta of your choice! This is a super quick and easy weeknight meal–it's ready in about 20 minutes!
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6
Calories 304 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups basil leaves
  • 4 cups arugula leaves I prefer baby arugula
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt plus more as needed
  • 1 lb. pasta 16 oz.

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. While pasta is boiling, make your green sauce.
  • Add basil, arugula, garlic, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese to food processor or blender. Blend for about 10 seconds (if you don't have a food processor, a blender or Nutri-bullet works, too).
  • Add olive oil, ricotta cheese and salt and blend about 10 more seconds until olive oil is well incorporated (emulsified) into the sauce. If green sauce seems too thick, add a teaspoon or so of water and blend again for a few seconds. Taste and season with salt (See Note 1).
  • Drain pasta. **Reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking water**
  • Return pasta to hot pot. Add green sauce and toss with tongs. Add splashes of pasta water if sauce seems too thick. Continue tossing until pasta is well coated in the green sauce.
  • Serve with more Parmesan cheese, freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon, if you like.

Notes

Note 1: Parmesan cheese brands have varying degrees to saltiness, so I don’t recommend adding TOO much salt right away. Taste the sauce at the end and season with salt if necessary. 

Nutrition

Calories: 304kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 13gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 206mgPotassium: 185mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gCalcium: 227mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This pasta recipe with green sauce was not only delicious, it was very easy to make for dinner after a long day at work.

  2. 5 stars
    This was so good! The ricotta really made the pasta so rich and creamy. I’m glad you said not to salt until the end, because this was so perfect I didn’t need to.

  3. I was looking for something different than the regular tomato or white cream base sauce for pasta! Your arugula and basel pesto was simply mind blowing! Loved everything about this

  4. 5 stars
    Love a good pasta recipe like this one. Comfort food at its finest that is perfect for my family.

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious! Yes, it was super easy to make, which was a bonus. I’ll add this in to our regular rotation. Thanks for the recipe.