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Lemon Basil Pasta Salad Recipe

Lemon Basil Pasta Salad in a bowl.

The highlight of this recipe is the basil. The flavor of fresh basil is the essence of sunshine and warm summer days. You can probably find basil plants at your local grocery store all year round. These plants require nothing more than a sunny window and watering once or twice a week. The great thing about growing basil is that the more leaves that you harvest, the better the plant will do. Not only is basil tasty in this recipe, even just a handful of shredded leaves will add to the flavor profile of many of your favorite recipes. When you have it on hand in the kitchen, you will find yourself tossing basil into so many different recipes.

Lemon Basil Pasta Salad in a bowl.

Lemon Basil Pasta Salad

April Freeman
Fresh, tangy and with the deliciousness of summer herbs, this recipe for Lemon Basil Pasta Salad is the perfect dish to serve when the weather is too hot to eat anything heavy. Unlike many pasta salads that feature mayonnaise or salad dressing, this pasta salad feels light and fresh on your tongue.
Cuisine American


  • Drain
  • Bowl
  • Small jar
  • Pot


  • 6 to 10 ounces Multicolored Pasta
  • 3 tbsp White Vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup Shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp Fresh basil, sliced thin


  • In a medium sized pot over medium high heat, bring 2 to 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add a quarter tablespoon of salt to the water and stir until it is dissolved. Add the pasta, stirring occasionally, and cook the pasta according to the recommended time on the package.
    Boiling fusilli pasta in a bowl.
  • Drain the pasta and rinse it with cool water to bring the noodles down to a cool temperature. Set the pasta aside in the sink to allow it to drip.
    Draining Fusilli colored pasta.
  • Refrigerate the pasta for 2 to 4 hours or overnight for the best flavor. Store the pasta salad in the refrigerator in a container with a tightly fitted lid for up to three days. In a small jar, combine the vinegar with the olive oil and lemon juice. Cap the jar and shake it well.
    Lemon juice and and fresh basil in a bowl.
  • Put the pasta into a large bowl and toss it with the dressing. Add the pepper and salt, tasting the pasta and add more as needed. Add the basil and the parmesan cheese, stirring and tossing to combine the ingredients.
    Lemon Basil Pasta Salad in a bowl.


While many people will eat pretty much anything, no matter how it looks, most of us want our food to look as good as it tastes. This pasta salad is a gorgeous combination of colorful pasta noodles and cheerful green basil. Everyone will want to dig right in when they catch a glimpse of your Lemon Basil Pasta Salad.
In our pasta salad we used multicolored pasta that is made from vegetables. However, if you do not have that on hand and you have another kind of pasta, feel free to make the substitution. Your pasta salad will turn out perfectly even if you use bow tie pasta, penne, or spiral pasta for this recipe.
While many recipes taste the best when they are freshly made, that is not the case for many cold salads and pasta salad recipes. Often, these dishes are better when they are made ahead of time and refrigerated so that the flavors can blend for a few hours. This recipe for Lemon Basil Pasta Salad is much the same. It needs to be refrigerated for 2 to 4 hours before you serve it. However, if you chill it overnight, it will be even tastier.
While this pasta salad is excellent as is, you can make some tasty tweaks to the recipe to increase the protein and fat content. Often, people enjoy eating a bowl of cold pasta for lunch in the summer months. This is a refreshing way to pack a lunch when it’s hot outside. However, for this recipe, you really do need additional protein and fat to increase your satiety. You can add pine nuts to this recipe to do this. Two or three tablespoons will increase the protein content as well as provide a satisfying crunch to the recipe. Another alternative is to cut up a grilled chicken breast and stir the chunks into the Lemon Basil Pasta Salad. The mild flavor of the chicken pairs nicely with the savory, herbal goodness of the pasta and dressing.
Another tip for this recipe is to use care when you are cooking your pasta. Usually, boxes of pasta have a range of times that are recommended to cook the noodles, like 12 to 14 minutes. You will want to cook the noodles at the minimum time for this recipe. Overcooked pastas will make the pasta salad mushy and unappealing.
Our recipe is scaled to a smaller size. It makes a decent amount, but it is mostly the size of pasta salad that you would prepare as a side dish for something else when you are cooking at home for your family. If you want to make a larger version of this recipe, you can simply double or even triple the sizes of everything listed. This is one recipe that is super easy to scale up to potluck size.
Keyword Lemon Basil Pasta Salad, Lemon Basil Pasta Salad Recipe, Pasta Salad Recipe

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