Simple Pasta in the Best Green Sauce


This Simple Pasta in the Best Green Sauce is everything you want on a weeknight – fast, easy, packed with veggies, and all in one pot! What’s not to love?! The flavors are bright and fresh and the texture is creamy and delightful. Adults and kids alike will love this one!

If you’re looking for some other bright and fresh dishes featuring the best flavors of spring, consider this Shaved Asparagus Salad with Lime Vinaigrette or this Easy Cold Asparagus Orzo Salad with Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette!

A white plate on a natural linen cloth with bright green pasta and a lemon wedge.

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What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • IT’S FAST – This is literally a 20 minute recipe! Blending the sauce while the pasta is cooking is so fast, making it perfect for a busy weeknight.
  • IT’S PACKED WITH VEGGIES – One of the things I love most about this recipe is that it is loaded with vegetables. Serve it with a salad and you’ve just doubled down without anyone really knowing!
  • IT’S SO EASY – The prep on this pasta in green sauce doesn’t get much easier — gather up your ingredients, cook some of the veggies and the pasta in the same pot, and blend the sauce. Easy peasy!
  • A FUN PASTA CHANGE-UP – Serving up your pasta with a green sauce is such a fun changeup to the typical weeknight marinara. The flavor profile is completely different, and it catches everyone a little off guard.

Recipe ingredients

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

An overhead photo of the ingredients required for pasta in green sauce.

Ingredient Notes

The ingredients to make this pasta with green sauce are easy to find and readily available at any grocery store. If you’re able, I would highly recommend grabbing anything you can at your local farmer’s market for maximum flavor.

Here are a few ingredient notes:

Pasta: This recipe is best with a shorter cut pasta with ridges and holes for trapping the sauce (this is the pasta that I used). The specific shape doesn’t matter – only that it has ridges or holes.

Zucchini: In this recipe, zucchini is great for providing bulk for the sauce, but mild flavor, allowing the basil, mint, peas and greens to be the stars.

Spinach & kale: I used a mix of baby spinach and baby kale, but you can use any greens that you like.

How to make Simple Pasta in the Best Green Sauce: STEP BY STEP

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list in the recipe card below

Steps 1 & 2:

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and then each half lengthwise again. Then, cut crosswise into a large dice. Then gather the rest of the ingredients for the sauce – pick the leaves of the basil and mint, and zest the lemon.

A cutting board with a zucchini cut in half lengthwise and then each half cut lengthwise again, and then crosswise into a large dice.
A cutting board with basil leaves, mint leaves, lemon zest, 2 halves of lemon, a clove of garlic, and a pile of diced zucchini.

Steps 3 & 4:

When the water has reached a boil, add the spinach, kale, garlic clove and zucchini and cook for 1 minutes. Then, remove it and add it to the blender and set aside.

A pot of boiling water with spinach, kale, zucchini and garlic cooking.
A blender containing the cooked zucchini, spinach, kale and garlic.

Steps 5 & 6:

Next, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.

Then, add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the blender – mint, basil, olive oil, peas, lemon zest and juice, parmesan, salt and pepper.

When the pasta is close to being done, take 1 cup of the cooking water and add 3/4 of it to the blender (reserve the remaining 1/4 cup in case you need it).

A boiling pot of water with the pasta being added.
A blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients added to the cooked ingredients ready to blend.

Steps 7 & 8:

Blend the sauce on high until there are no specks left and it is a bright homogeneous green. If the sauce seems to thick, you can always thin it further with the remaining pasta water.

Drain the pasta (don’t rinse it!) and add it back to the pot. Pour the sauce over and turn the heat onto medium-low. Stir to combine everything well. As the sauce simmers for a couple of minutes, it will continue to thicken. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with more parmesan and black pepper.

A blender with the blended sauce.
A closeup phot of the pasta blended with the green sauce.

Chef Notes & Tips

  • When reserving the pasta water to add to the sauce, wait to take it until the pasta is almost fully cooked. The water near the end of the cooking process has much greater starch content – and this is important for making the sauce adhere to the pasta.
  • DO NOT RINSE THE PASTA!! This is a big no-no, as it rinsed all the starch off of the pasta, which makes it more difficult for the sauce to adhere to the pasta.
  • Choose a pasta with ridges and holes, if you can, as the delicious sauce will make it into all of the nooks and crannies. If you’re using a long skinny pasta, then I would recommend bucatini, as it has a a long narrow hole to trap the sauce!
  • For the very best textured sauce, a high powered blender is best. If you don’t have that, you can use an immersion blender or a food processor.

A white bowl with green sauce pasta next to a bright pink napkin on a white hex tile background.

Storage & Reheating

STORAGE: Store this pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Please note that as time goes on, the green color will continue to darken.

REHEATING: To reheat this pasta, add it to a saute pan over medium heat with a splash of water until heated through. Alternatively, you can also reheat it in the microwave in 30 second intervals until heated through.

FREEZING: You can freeze this pasta, as there is no milk or cream in it, but the flavor and texture will not be same after thawing and reheating.

Additions & Substitutions

Heat: To add some spice to this sauce, you can add red pepper flakes if you like. I would not add too much, as it will compete with the light flavor of the sauce.

Different herbs: You could consider parsley and/or dill as additions to this sauce.


Lemon: Lime would be a good substitute for the lemon in this recipe.

Parmesan cheese: Pecorino Romano cheese would be a great substitute for the parmesan.

Pasta: You can substitute a cut pasta with ridges and holes with something like bucatini or spaghetti.

Different herbs: You can completely change out the basil and mint for other fresh herbs such as parsley and dill.

Zucchini: You could use broccoli stalks instead – though please note that they would definitely need to cook longer to be able to be blendable.


Yes, it is!

The only dairy in this recipe is the parmesan cheese. You can omit it to make it dairy free, if you wish.

Yes, you definitely can. Please note, that the bright green color will start to darken after about a day in the refrigerator.

You do not have to cook the zucchini, garlic, spinach and kale as I did in this recipe. However, the flavor profile will be slightly different, as it will have a more raw flavor from the garlic and a more grassy-green flavor from the unblanched greens.

I hope you love this SIMPLE PASTA IN THE BEST GREEN SAUCE! If you make it, be sure to leave a rating so I know how you liked it!

A white bowl of pasta in green sauce next to a bright pink napkin.

Simple Pasta in the Best Green Sauce

This Simple Pasta in the Best Green Sauce is everything you want on a weeknight – fast, easy, packed with veggies, and all in one pot! What's not to love?! The flavors are bright and fresh and the texture is creamy and delightful. Adults and kids alike will love this one!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 324 kcal


  • 2 heaping cups spinach
  • 2 heaping cups kale
  • 1 zucchini (small)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1/2 cup peas (frozen)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (plus more for garnishing)
  • 1 lb pasta


  • Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil over high heat.
  • Prepare the zucchini by slicing off the top and bottom and discarding.  Then, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into cubes.  Set aside.
  • When the water has come to a boil, add the diced zucchini, garlic clove, spinach and kale and cook for 1 minute.
  • Remove and place directly into a blender and set aside.
  •  Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente.
  • As the pasta is getting close to being done, remove 1 cup of pasta cooking water and set it aside.
  • To the blender with the zucchini, garlic and greens, add the basil, mint, frozen peas, parmesan lemon zest, and juice of half of the lemon, salt, pepper, and ¾ cup of the reserved pasta water.  Blend on high speed until the sauce is bright green and a completely homogeneous color – there should be no flecks of green – it should just be solid green.  If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it with the remaining pasta water.
  • Drain the pasta (do not rinse it!) and return it to the pot and then add the sauce straight from the blender.
  • Turn the heat on medium-low and stir the pasta around to coat well and let the sauce simmer and thicken a little.
  • Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving dish.  Add a generous grating of parmesan and cracked black pepper.  ENJOY!


  • Cooking the spinach and kale for 1 minute helps to set the bright green color.
  • Cooking the garlic clove for 1 minute helps to make the raw flavor of garlic more subtle and less over-powering.
  • This recipe only calls for the juice of half a lemon.  However, as lemons are different sizes and yield different amounts of juice, you may find that you want to add the second half of juice.
  • If you don’t have a blender, you can use a food processor or immersion blender.  You may not be able to get the color to be solidly green, but you should be able to get close.


Calories: 324kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 13gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 78mgPotassium: 372mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 788IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 106mgIron: 2mg
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