Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Greens
If you use Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta, this Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Greens is not that big of a splurge on carbs. But see my tips in this post for several variations of this delicious meatless pasta dinner that are even lower in carbs.
Through the years I’ve tried quite a few recipes that featured some combination of pasta and greens, and I don’t think it’s any secret that kale is probably my favorite leafy green. So I absolutely swooned over this Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Greens made with Organic Mixed Baby Kale.
This recipe is a different take on the usual pasta/greens combo, in particular because of the way the generous amount of lemon zest accents the flavor of the kale. This recipe would make a great veggie and pasta side dish (and maybe you can tell your kids that it’s Macaroni and Cheese with Kale!) But for a meatless dinner I’d happily eat a big bowl of this with a nice green salad on the side.
What ingredients do you need?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- macaroni, preferably Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows (affiliate link)
- greens such as kale, collards, mustard greens, or swiss chard
- Minced Garlic (affiliate link), or use fresh minced garlic if you prefer
- lemon zest
- lemon juice
- Olive Oil (affiliate link)
- Parmesan cheese
What greens can you use for the Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Greens?
I love this recipe with my favorite Organic Mixed Baby Kale, but you can use kale, collards, mustard greens, Swiss Chard, spinach, or any other greens you like the flavor of. Cooking time will be shorter for softer greens, especially spinach.
How can you make Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Greens lower in carbs?
- If you make this recipe with Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows (affiliate link) it will be much lower in net carbs than other types of macaroni, only 15.5 net carbs per serving.
- You could make the recipe with Palmini Low-Carb Linguini (affiliate link) if you like the hearts of palm pasta. I would cut the Palmini Linguini into shorter lengths, cook about 5 minutes in salted boiling water, and then drain and use in the recipe.
- If you double or triple the amount of greens but still use the 8 oz. package of Fiber Gourmet Elbows to make this recipe stretch to 6 servings, that will not only reduce the amount of carbs, but will make the Fiber Gourmet pasta less expensive per serving.
More About Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta:
The biggest drawback to the Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta for many people will be the price. I haven’t found it in stores near me, so I buy it at Amazon where you can buy a package of 6 boxes and get it for $6.66 per box. (affiliate link). For me it’s such a treat to have “real” pasta without so many carbs that don’t mind buying six boxes at once. And in most of the recipes where I’m using it I try to use more lower-carb ingredients and less pasta, so that reduces the carbs and makes the cost-per-serving less for the pasta.
How to make Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Greens:
(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- Start cooking the pasta in boiling salted water; then zest one or two large lemons, and squeeze the juice. (I like a lot of zest so I’d use two lemons but you can get away with one. You won’t need all the lemon juice for this recipe, but just freeze the extra lemon juice.)
- If you’re using larger greens you’ll need to chop them up but with the Organic Mixed Baby Kale, we just washed it in the salad spinner.
- Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan; then add minced garlic and lemon zest and saute 1 minute.
- Add the greens and cook until they’re wilted. This will take just 2-3 minutes for baby greens and about 5 minutes for larger chopped greens.
- Drain the pasta when it’s al dente, saving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Add the hot pasta, lemon juice, and reserved pasta cooking water to the pan.
- Turn off heat and mix in the Parmesan cheese and serve hot, with extra Parmesan to add at the table..
More Vegetarian Recipes with Kale:
- Kale, Mozzarella, and Egg Bake
- Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad
- Baby Kale and Mozzarella Quesadillas
- Kale, Mushroom, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
- Kale Pasta Salad
- 8 oz dry macaroni (preferably Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows)
- 1 tsp. salt for pasta cooking water
- 5 oz. Baby Kale (see notes)
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 T lemon zest (or more)
- 1 T lemon juice (or more)
- 2 T olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- Cook Macaroni in a large pot of salted water until barely al dente, follow cooking time on the package of pasta. If you're using Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows for the pasta that might take as long as 15 minutes before reaching al dente.
- Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water before draining.
- While pasta cooks, zest the lemon and squeeze the juice and finely chop the garlic if using fresh garlic.
- Wash greens in a salad spinner if needed and spin dry.
- If using larger greens, slice crosswise into 1 inch wide ribbons, discarding stems. (Baby greens don’t need to be sliced.)
- Heat olive oil in large frying pan, add garlic and lemon zest and saute 1 minute.
- Add greens and saute until wilted, about 5 minutes for larger greens or 2-3 minutes for baby greens.
- As soon as pasta is al dente, save 1/4 cup cooking water and then drain the pasta well and add to greens/garlic/lemon mixture, with lemon juice and reserved pasta cooking water (as needed.)
- Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve hot, with additional cheese to be added at the table if desired.
You can use kale, collards, mustard greens, swiss chard, spinach, or whatever greens you prefer for this recipe. Cooking time will be shorter for softer greens, especially spinach.
For years I made this recipe with Dreamfield's Macaroni, but now I would use Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows. Use any macaroni or other pasta shapes of your choice.
This recipe created by Kalyn.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2.9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6.8gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 816mgCarbohydrates: 45.7gFiber: 25.5gSugar: 1.6gProtein: 11.3g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Suggestions:
If you make the Lemon Parmesan Pasta recipe with Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows, this recipe will have 15.5 net carbs per serving. You can make it even lower in carbs by doubling or tripling the amount of greens and using the same amount of pasta. Made with whole wheat pasta, this pasta with greens would be a great dish for phase 2 or 3 of the original South Beach Diet.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Leafy Greens or Pasta to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for This Recipe:
The Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Greens was first posted in 2006! The recipe was last updated (with a recommendation for Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta) in 2023.