Lemon Capellini Salad with Arugula is a cold pasta salad made from simple summer ingredients like lemon and arugula. This delicate pasta salad can be made in less than 15 minutes.
There are times when home cooked can be simple. Using up staples like lemons, pasta, and a hard cheese to create something more delicious than the sum of its parts.
This is one of those times.
When you have good ingredients, cooking becomes a lot more intuitive. It’s difficult to go wrong with pasta and cheese.
For this delicate capellini pasta salad recipe, all of the dressing is prepared right in the serving dish and the hot pasta works to wilt and lightly cook the arugula. Because there are so few ingredients, the ones included really shine through! Make sure to crank out lots of fresh black pepper-- the perfect pairing to bring out the already peppery arugula.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Pantry Staples: Aside from the the arugula, all of the ingredients in here you may already have on hand!
- No Chopping Necessary: There’s no chopping involved, just a quick split of a lemon to get out its juice after it has been zested.
- Versatile: This pasta salad is delicious served hot or cold, on its own or as an accompaniment to whatever else you have one hand (think grilled chicken or fish).
Ingredients for lemon capellini salad
- extra virgin olive oil
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- black pepper
- baby arugula
- capellini pasta (can also use angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti)
How to make
Cook pasta according to package instructions
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing
To a bowl add olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, a generous amount of black pepper, and fresh arugula
Drain pasta and add to the bowl while it is still hot
Begin stirring until you start to see the arugula wilt from the heat
Add in freshly grated Parmesan and stir to combine. Serve warm or cold.
Variations and Substitutions
- Omit the Arugula: Instead of arugula, you can use baby spinach in this capellini salad recipe. Or omit the greens entirely for a super simple lemon capellini pasta.
- Add aromatics: Fresh herbs like fresh basil leaves, dill, and parsley all would pair nicely with the flavors of this dish. Garlic is delicious as well, just be mindful that it won't be cooked, and raw garlic can be overpowering.
- Bulk up the veggies: Add in additional veggies like capers or cherry tomatoes.
- Switch up the pasta shape: While I love how the delicate angel hair pasta pairs with the light flavors of the dish, truly any pasta shape will work. Try orzo or mini farfalle!
Let the pasta salad cool completely at room temperature before storing it. Transfer the pasta salad into a clean, airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
More Pasta Salad Recipes
Pasta salad will stay good for 3-4 days in the fridge. Any longer may result in a decrease in quality.
Capellini is slightly thicker than angel hair pasta, with a longer cooking time and more substantial texture. They are very similar and often used interchangeably in recipes.
Lemon Capellini Salad
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- ½ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1 tbsp. black pepper
- 2 cups fresh baby arugula loosely packed
- ½ lb. capellini pasta
- Cook pasta according to package instructions
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing
- To a bowl add olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, a generous amount of black pepper, and fresh arugula
- Drain pasta and add to the bowl while it is still hot
- Begin stirring until you start to see the arugula wilt from the heat
- Add in freshly grated Parmesan and stir to combine