This cold lemon capellini salad will be your new go to for picnics, a summer lunch or a dinner side. Bursting with bright flavor from fresh ingredients, this cold pasta salad is my go to when I want something refreshing! Have it ready in 10 minutes!
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
Quick and easy. This lemon capellini salad is a light pasta that only takes minutes to prepare and uses minimum ingredients. Keep this pasta recipe on hand for hectic weeknights, the perfect side dish, or last minute hosting. Try these other quick and easy pastas, too: lemon garlic pasta, 4 ingredient zucchini pasta, and vegan vodka pasta.
Fresh flavor. Adding with lemon, arugula and fresh tomatoes creates the best, light pasta salad that will rival your go-to pasta salad recipe.
Meal Prep Friendly! This lemon pasta salad is perfect for meal prep because it will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Whether you eat it alone as a main dish, or add some sort of protein with it, it is a great way to add flavor into your weekly lineup!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSITUTIONS
Capellini. Capellini aka angel hair pasta can be found in the pasta aisle of your grocery store. It also can be called thin spaghetti. It is very thin and delicate, which makes it perfect for a light pasta dish. If you are gluten free, you can use your favorite gluten free brand. I personally like the banza angel hair pasta.
Lemon and Lemon Zest. To get the freshest tasting lemon pasta salad, it's important to use both lemon juice and lemon zest. Bottled lemon juice is watered down, which will cause the flavor to not be right. Plus, you need the lemon zest anyway, so just squeeze the juice directly from the lemon!
Arugula. Fresh arugula will provide a peppery flavor to this salad, balancing out the zesty lemon.
Grape Tomatoes. I like using grape tomatoes because they are small and easy to toss it! If you cannot find grape tomatoes, any sweet tomatoes will do, such as cherry tomatoes. You can add the whole cherry tomato or chop them in half.
Green Olives. I used chopped green olives in this recipe to add a salty twist. Capers can be used in their place.
Parmesan Cheese. Whether you use dairy free or regular, parmesan cheese is a nice addition to this lemon capellini pasta salad. You can also use feta cheese or skip the cheese entirely!
The lemon dressing is a combination of simple ingredients including: dried Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh lemon juice and high quality extra virgin olive oil.
You can find dried Italian seasoning in the seasoning and spices aisle of the grocery store.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1. Cook the capellini according to the package directions. Cook it until it is al dente, which will be about 3 minutes. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it then toss is under cold running water to cool it off. You can also let it cool naturally if you are not in a rush.
Step 2. While the pasta is cooking, begin making the dressing. Place all of the ingredients into the large mixing bowl which you will make the pasta salad in and mix until combined.
Step 3. Add the cooked pasta into the mixing bowl and mix it into the dressing. Be careful when mixing because the delicate capellini pasta can break easily. Then add in the chopped olives, cherry tomatoes, arugula, lemon zest and parmesan cheese and mix again.
Option to top with fresh herbs (I love adding fresh basil leaves) pine nuts, crushed red pepper flakes, salt or black pepper.
Store this light pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to eat, mix the salad to re-coat it with the dressing. If the pasta seems dry, add 1 tsp of olive oil then toss.
I do not recommend freezing this pasta salad or heating it. If you prefer your pasta hot, try my butter lemon garlic pasta.
TIME SAVING HACKS
Make the dressing ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. The olive oil may solidify if your fridge runs on the colder side, so if you notice it is on the thicker side, allow it to sit on the counter for 10 minutes and it will liquify again.
Capellini is a type of pasta that is very thin. It also goes angel hair pasta or very thin spaghetti. You can find it in the pasta section of most grocery stores.
This Lemon Capellini Salad will stay fresh for up to three days. When ready to consume, simply toss it to re-mix any dressing that settled on the bottom. If you notice it is a little dry, add a splash of olive oil and mix again.
Capellini is a thin Italian pasta that is usually made of durum wheat.
- Use Fresh Ingredients. In order for this pasta salad to have the brightest, freshest taste, use fresh ingredients. Bottled lemon juice will not taste as great!
- Customize to your liking! The best part about pasta salad is that you can add extra ingredients to your liking. I like to add fresh basil and extra lemon juice. Whatever you prefer, you can add to it!
MORE LIGHT RECIPES
Cold Lemon Capellini Salad with Arugula (angel hair pasta)
- 1 cooking pot
- 1 cutting board
- 1 cutting knife
- ½ lb capellini (angel hair pasta)
- 1 cup arugula
- ¼ cup green olives, chopped or capers
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese dairy free for vegan
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes optional to cut in half or fourths
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- dressing (below)
- 1 tbsp dried italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Cook the capellini according to the package. Drain and place under cold running to allow it to cool.
- While the pasta is cooking, begin making the dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mixing until the ingredients are combined.
- To the mixing bowl, add the cooled, cooked capellini, chopped green olives, parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes and lemon zest then mix until all ingredients are coated in the dressing.