12 Light Summer Pasta Recipes That Prove You Can Have It All

The pastabilities are endless.

Let’s be real. Sometimes “routine” and “summer” don’t exactly go hand-in-hand. Waking up after 9… maybe 10? Yes, please. Lunch at 2? Not a problem. And one of the favorite ways to enjoy a carefree day like this is with a bowl of pasta that satisfies every warm-weather craving. These light summer pasta recipes are such an easy solution for lunch or dinner at home or on the go, and everyone in your family is sure to love them. It’d be hard not to.

As we inch closer to the (arguably) best season of the year, we’ve been consciously acknowledging more and more things we love about

Whether it’s waking up a few minutes (hours) later, enjoying a meal at home with the fam, or soaking up the sun during a mid-afternoon walk, summer continues to ignite joy inside me through the little things that are so easily taken for granted.

Something we’ve realized with the passage of time is that when we’re not attuned to the things that make us happy, they really start to pass us by. Which is definitely not the mantra of the summer. Instead, it’s much more enjoyable when we can recognize the things that make us tick and find ways to make them more present in our lives.

But what does this have to do with pasta, you might ask? We don’t know about you, but something else that brings me joy is cooking simple foods, celebrating the flavors of the season while they’re available, and, most of all, savoring moments of relaxation, which are best served alongside a meal. These light summer pasta recipes are perfect for enjoying summer’s sweet spontaneity and bringing more joy to every day. It’s time to let loose and enjoy, which, after all is what summer is really about.

12 light summer pasta recipes to brighten up your summer:

Green Goddess Pasta Salad.

This lean, green, fighting machine pasta is vegan, full of veggies, and totally delicious. It’s the easiest way to get your daily dose of greens while enjoying a flavorful lunch or dinner that you’ll walk away from feeling refreshed. Sign me up.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • We’d be lying if we told you the green goddess dressing wasn’t the star of the show here, but we have to give props to the avocado. Creamy and undeniably swoon-worthy.

Creamy Lemon Pasta.

Creamy may not be at the top of your summer food vocabulary, but this pasta defies the rules and brings a fresh approach to indulgence. Yes, butter and cream are the foundation of its sauce (that’s seriously good enough to drink), but the addition of lemon lightens things up and makes it suitable for summer.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • A heavy hand is key when it comes to the herbs and red pepper flakes.

Creamy Vegan Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil.

This recipe continues to find its way into our rotation and we’re amazed by its flavor each time we make it. That walnut sauce is to-die-for good, the just-burst tomatoes are unparalleled, and the whole dish comes together in about 15 minutes. Too good to be true? Make it for yourself and find out.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • Again, pile on those garnishes. It’s the lemon zest, basil, and red chili flakes that really make this pasta shine.

Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts and Kale Pesto.

Packing in the greens, this kale pesto, Brussels sprout-studded pasta is loaded with flavor and good-for-you ingredients. Think walnuts, olives, and lots of veggies. All coming together to deliver one heavenly-tasting pasta.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • Warning — you’ll want to drizzle that silky kale pesto over everything.

Spaghetti alla Nerano.

Thinly sliced, golden brown zucchini is the feature element in this dish that’s inspired by traditional Spaghetti alla Nerano. You’d never know that it only takes 15 minutes to throw together, which makes it perfect for a weeknight dinner or dinner party! And, with zucchini season creeping up, there’s no time like the present to whip up this simple but impressive dish.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • Basil, basil, and more basil.

Spaghetti with Garlicky Shrimp, Asparagus, and Tomatoes.

For a more substantial, protein-oriented pasta, look no further than this garlic shrimp spaghetti. It follows the Mediterranean Diet, which we know is the healthiest diet in the world, and introduces several healthy veggies into the mix. Practically perfect for a lunch or dinner that will stick with you without making you feel too heavy.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • Those tomatoes cook down beautifully and adopt an almost jammy consistency. Yum.

One-Pot Pasta Primavera with Summer Veggies and Ricotta.

More veggies! Seriously, we can’t get enough of these pasta recipes that celebrate summer produce. In this case, it’s all about asparagus, broccolini (a personal favorite), peas, and cherry tomatoes. All coming together to produce a positively palatable pasta primavera.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • Ricotta brings all kinds of creaminess to the table. Or the noodle, rather. It’s like a cheesy blanket that’s light enough to constitute a summer pasta.

Lemony Pasta Carbonara with Peas and Zucchini.

This carbonara is a little lighter than your traditional pancetta-laden dish, which is exactly what makes it the ideal summer pasta. Replacing salty meats with peas and zucchini, this creamy vegetarian version is best enjoyed al fresco. And with a crisp white, perhaps.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • Peas, of course. It’s time these small-but-mighty superstars get the recognition they deserve.

Summer Pasta Salad.

Caramelized grilled veggies, meet swirly pasta. This is the type of pasta salad you’ll want to have on hand all summer, and it’s a universal crowd pleaser at barbecues. It’s also packed with protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats. A win on all fronts.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • Kalamata olives bring a briny, salty flavor that makes everything else pop.

Summer Spaghetti with Tomatoes Burrata, and Basil.

Mega-creamy burrata lovingly coats each noodle to polish off a dish you’ll want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Seriously. And if you think it sounds a little heavy for a summer evening, think again! The “sauce” on this is literally just burst tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic. The largest bowl you have, please.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • With pasta as simple as this, make sure you’re using fresh tomatoes, fragrant basil, and good-quality olive oil. The proof is in the pudding, er, pasta.

One Pot Garlicky Mushroom Pasta with Sausage and Arugula.

Sausage doesn’t exactly scream “light” summer pasta. But we beg to differ, and here’s why. This recipe only uses a small amount of Italian sausage to basically mimic a sausage and mushroom pizza (yum), and the sauce is only lemon zest and juice, arugula, parmesan, and a little butter. We’re declaring it “light” because you can eat it for lunch without dragging through the rest of your day or enjoy it at dinner without feeling overly full. No further questions, please.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • We’re always pro-mushroom. They’re so nutritious and endlessly delicious.

Summer Veggie Pasta Salad with Feta and Lemon-Tahini Dressing.

Too hot to properly enjoy a warm bowl of noodles? Not a problem. This summery pasta salad is laced with all kinds of veggies and herbs that are made even better by the miso tahini dressing that tops them. It’s healthy, balanced, and so easy to savor on even the hottest of summer days.

  • Hero Ingredient:
    • A dose of salty feta in each bite really seals the deal here. Feel free to pick out some cubes with your fingers. We know we will.

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