Light and Refreshing No-Cook Lemon Pasta Sauce

Lemon is one of those flavors that goes well with so many things. From beef to fish, pasta to potatoes, you name it and I’ve put lemon on it. The bright refreshing zip of lemon is my kind of flavor and summertime only heightens my love for this tangy citrus fruit.

This past week I was tired and hot and feeling too lazy to cook. I was almost ready to phone it in. I didn’t want anything too heavy or complicated. What I wanted was something light yet filling, something my whole family would enjoy and would get me in and out of the kitchen in a flash. I knew pasta would be easiest and loved by all but it definitely wasn’t red sauce kind of weather and the thought of standing over a  bubbling pot of marinara made me cringe. So I stood in my kitchen scanning my surroundings when my giant bowl of lemons (a kitchen staple) gave me the inspiration for my new favorite summertime pasta dish—Lemon Spaghetti!

I knew the acidity of the lemon would pair beautifully with the salty sharpness of locatelli cheese and whisked in some olive oil to bring it all together into one creamy and refreshing no-cook sauce. Honestly, I can barely even call it a “sauce” because it’s embarrassingly easy to make and so crazy good.  All you need are lemons, locatelli cheese (Parmigiano works well too), and olive oil. I threw in crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat, but left it out of my kids portions and you can do the same for those who don’t like heat. What I love most about this sauce is that it can be made in less than the time it takes to cook your pasta and tastes just as good warm as it does at room temperature. Pair it with your favorite short cut pasta and you have yourself the perfect dish to serve at your next BBQ or picnic.

No-Cook Lemon Pasta Sauce

Serves 4-6


  • Zest and Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup grated Locatelli Romano cheese (Parmigiano works well too)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or black pepper (leave out for little ones)
  • 1 lb spaghetti, cooked al dente according to your package instructions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. Boil your pasta according to package instructions until it is al dente. WHile the pasta is cooking make the sauce.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together lemon juice, zest, grated cheese, oile oil and pepper. Whisk until well combined. Pour sauce over drained spaghetti and top with parsley and an extra drizzle of olive oil before serving. Enjoy!

Christina Stanley-Salerno is a mama, recipe developer, food stylist, photographer and blogger She loves cooking for and with her family. Life is hectic, but Christina is passionate about mealtime because she believes that family meals are the glue that holds everyone together. Creating simple, quick and healthy meals is her specialty and her trick to keeping the family meal a reality, even on busy weeknights.

Follow her on Twitter @TakeBackTables

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