This healthy lemon ricotta pasta recipe features bright lemon flavors, creamy ricotta cheese, and chickpea pasta. Healthy, organic, and simple ingredients combine for a delicious flavor and easy dinner that requires minimal effort. Ready in under 20 minutes, one-pot ricotta lemon pasta is the perfect meal for any night of the week!
Easy weeknight dinners and one-pot meals are definitely a favorite in my house. Healthy, quick, and easy clean-up saves time to enjoy the evening with family. It can be a great meatless weeknight dinner or easily add an additional protein like shrimp, salmon, or chicken if you prefer!
Choosing the Right Pasta
For the longest time, we stayed away from recipes with pasta to avoid the highly processed, simple carbohydrate kinds of pasta that flood the mainstream grocery stores. They spike blood sugar and the chemical processing and hybridization of commercial wheat products cause inflammation and fatigue (among other things).
Our favorite pasta swaps have always been spaghetti squash, spiralized zucchini, or roasted cauliflower. (YUM!) These are the best low-carb, whole-food, and plant-based pasta alternatives.
After a while, we discovered Banza brand pasta. It is a high-protein and gluten-free pasta that tastes just like the traditional pasta we grew up with. Every now and then we switch it up and go for a Banza pasta.
Note: There are some other better-for-you pasta brands out there that incorporate ancient and sprouted grains that are worthy of a shot as well!
We are grateful to have options now to make processed and unhealthy pasta brands a thing of the past!
Now let's set some healthy intentions. Then we can head to the grocery store for a handful of ingredients to create this healthy and delicious one-pot pasta meal.
Intentions and affirmations are quick and simple yet powerful and transformational habits to cultivate and weave throughout the fabric of our lives.
Setting clear intentions with positive affirmations and gratitude elevates the vibration of every step in the process of the day.
It directs the energy of our day, our space, our food, and our cells to match the vibration of our desires- our intention. It is staying connected to our purpose and centered even amidst a chaotic world.
Simply take 3 slow and even deep breaths and begin to imagine, or remember, what your goals and intentions are. some examples are:
It is my intention to create food that makes my whole family feel good. Everyone feels healthy, happy, and energetic.
I choose ingredients that are clean and nutritious and my body thanks me for it.
This meal is fun to make and even more enjoyable to share with my loved ones. I am thankful for the ability to make this with ease (and clean it up quickly, too!)
Choose whatever intention and positive affirmation that feels best for you and your goals. Repeat them as often as it feels right for you. Intentions work well before any activity, meal, or event. Read more about setting intentions here.
Pull up your shopping list, and let's talk ingredients!
Choose organic, sprouted, or ancient grain pasta, Banza chickpea pasta, or use roasted cauliflower, cooked spaghetti squash, or spiralized zucchini for more vegetables, low-calorie, and low-carb alternatives that taste amazing.
For this recipe, we are using Banza rotini pasta. Rotini is a short pasta that my toddlers tend to enjoy.
Banza also has spaghetti and penne pasta!
We use organic baby spinach that comes pre-washed and packaged in the produce section. Be sure to get organic spinach, as leafy greens tend to be highly sprayed with pesticides on conventional farms! You can also add or use fresh arugula as well. The more diverse the green leafy vegetables we use, the more nutrients and health benefits we receive!
Ricotta makes a delicious creamy sauce. Be sure to look for organic ricotta for the best-sourced ingredients available. Whole-milk ricotta tends to make a creamier sauce than skim-milk ricotta.
For a dairy-free option, search for almond milk ricotta. I have not personally tried it yet, but if you do, let me know how you like it!
* With dairy-free cheeses, be sure the check the ingredients as some companies may add chemical ingredients. The more simple and clean the ingredients, the better!
Organic is best
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra Creamy Oat Milk
Adds an even creamier texture to the sauce
Fresh Parmesan Cheese
Search for organic cheeses for the healthiest option that avoids unnecessary additives and stabilizers. Parmesan adds a delicious flavor that melds beautifully with the lemon ricotta sauce.
Be sure to grab an organic lemon so that when you do the zest, there isn't a waxy pesticide exterior getting into the food!
Red Pepper Flakes
Pink Himalayan Salt
The best salt that is minimally processed and contains a wide range of trace minerals
Cracked Black Pepper
Reserved Pasta Water
The pasta water contains starch which helps thicken the sauce slightly. Only add a small amount of the starchy water at a time when the recipe calls for it, as needed
Cook pasta according to the package directions.
In the last 1-2 minutes, on medium-high heat, throw in the baby spinach and allow it to wilt. stirring occasionally.
Drain pasta and spinach, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
Return cooked pasta and spinach to the pot on medium heat.
Add lemon juice and lemon zest, garlic, oat milk, seasonings, olive oil, and a small amount of pasta water and stir for about one minute.
Melt ricotta and parmesan cheeses and stir.
Add additional pasta water as desired for consistency.
Keep in mind when removed from heat, the sauce will thicken slightly.
Top with chicken or shrimp if desired. Serve hot. Enjoy!
Hint: Take the ricotta and parmesan out of the fridge while the pasta cooks so that it can take the chill off of it. Room temperature cheese will melt so much easier!
Substitutions and Variations
Gluten-Free: Omit parmesan, as this cheese can sometimes have gluten due to stabilizing additives. also, choose a gluten-free pasta or pasta alternative. If choosing pasta, be sure to choose an ancient grain, sprouted, or chickpea pasta!
Pasta alternatives: Spaghetti squash, spiralized zucchini, or roasted cauliflower!
Dairy-free: There are dairy-free cheeses out there made from almond milk or coconut milk. if opting for this choice, be sure to check the ingredients to avoid artificial additives or preservatives.
Vegetarian: Simply make without adding meat! There is plenty of protein and this vegetarian pasta recipe is very filling on its own!
*Add vegetables like peas, asparagus, arugula, or squash for extra veggies, texture, and flavor!
*Can use organic heavy cream in place of oat milk, if desired.
A Grater with a Microplane for Zesting
Measuring Cups and Spoons
One Pot Lemon Ricotta Pasta (Organic with Low Carb Swaps)
- 8 oz Banza rotini pasta
- 15 oz organic whole milk ricotta cheese
- 5 oz fresh baby spinach
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large organic lemon juiced and zested
- 5 oz fresh organic Parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup reserved pasta water
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
- ¼ tap cracked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- ¼ cup extra creamy oat milk
- Cook Banza rotini pasta according to the package directions. In the last 1-2 minutes, on medium-high heat, throw in the baby spinach and allow it to wilt. Make sure to cook the pasta al dente.
- Drain pasta and spinach, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Return cooked pasta and spinach to the pot on medium heat. Add lemon juice and lemon zest, garlic, oat milk, seasonings, olive oil, and a small amount of pasta water and stir for about one minute.
- Melt ricotta and Parmesan cheeses and stir. Add additional pasta water as desired for consistency. Keep in mind when removed from heat, the sauce will thicken slightly.
- Top with chicken or shrimp if desired. Serve hot. Enjoy!
YES! Many people ask if ricotta can be heated- and the answer is yes! This is why it works so well in lasagna and other baked Italian dishes. Unlike other cheeses like mozzarella or cheddar, ricotta softens and melds into a creamy texture that is perfect for a sauce. For this dish, ricotta and parmesan work together with starchy pasta water and creamy oat milk for a perfectly creamy sauce. Give it a try, you will love it!
When properly sourced from organic and grass-fed whey (cows), ricotta can be a healthy choice for cheese. Ricotta is high in protein, amino acids, and several minerals and vitamins. The highest nutrient content includes phosphorus, calcium, selenium, and riboflavin. The fermented whey used to make ricotta may benefit bone health, support weight loss, and lower blood pressure when used sparingly in recipes.
Ricotta has a high water content. Freezing a ricotta-based sauce may cause it to become watery when defrosting. This will change the consistency once reheated.
Banza pasta is a high-protein pasta with lower carbs and a lower glycemic index (think reduced blood sugar spikes!) With 13g of fiber, 24g of protein, and minimal ingredients, it is a healthier option compared to traditional white flour pasta.
Store the leftover ricotta pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. (Please note that freezing ricotta may cause it to become watery and may change the texture of the sauce.)
Be sure to clean all utensils and pans between uses and sanitize any areas that come into contact with raw meats. See guidelines on USDA.gov for more info
Do you love this recipe? Let us know in the comments below!