Green Pea Pasta
If you’re looking for a unique twist on traditional pasta dishes, this easy green pea pasta sauce recipe is it! It’s a flavorful and creamy vegetarian sauce that’s perfect for any pasta shape, from spaghetti to farfalle.
About This Green Pea Pasta Recipe
I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been craving fresh and simple recipes with lots of vegetables, herbs, and bright flavors.
I’ve been particularly loving fresh and easy pastas like my tahini pasta, tuna pesto pasta and creamy tomato pasta, especially because they come together in just about 20 minutes; and we absolutely love that for getting dinner on the table on busy weeknights!
Like those simple pastas, this recipe features ingredients you most likely have on hand, including bright frozen peas and fresh basil, plus aromatic flavors of garlic and lemon and the creamy addition of cream cheese and parmesan.
In addition to this being a super fast recipe, I love how you really can use pantry staples, including pasta, herbs, and creamy cheese.
Of course, feel free to use any pasta you have in your pantry, including spaghetti, penne, fusilli, farfalle, or any shape you like.
Visual Guide: How to Make Green Pea Pasta
I tested this recipe with various green herbs, including flat leaf parsley, mint, and dill, and you could choose your favorite herb.
Personally, I love the fresh, pesto-like flavor the basil adds, but feel free to add whatever you like and have on hand!
I also tested the recipe with ricotta in place of the cream cheese, as well as whipped cottage cheese in place of the cream cheese, and ultimately preferred the cream cheese, but if you don’t have it on hand, the other options will work.
Since peas are naturally high in plant protein, this pasta dish is a delicious vegetarian meal or a lovely addition to a vegetarian brunch spread, but for an additional protein boost, serve over a protein pasta like lentil or chickpea, or add cooked chicken or shrimp, when serving.
And if you want to make a dairy-free and vegan version, be sure to check out my modification notes below.
In less than 30 minutes, you will have a delicious, spring pasta that is full of flavor!
Process & Tips
This vegetarian pasta comes together so quickly using ingredients you have on hand.
You’ll start by cooking your pasta of choice according to package directions.
Make sure to reserve some pasta water before draining the pasta, as this starchy water can be added back to the pasta to create a silky sauce and help the sauce adhere better to the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, blend together the remaining ingredients to create the sauce.
Time Saving Tip
To save time, you can use frozen peas instead of fresh peas, however, if you have fresh spring or garden peas, this is a lovely recipe to put them to use!
If using frozen peas, simply defrost them before adding them to the food processor or blender.
Once the pasta is done cooking, mix the sauce with the hot pasta, and add as much pasta water to thin the sauce if needed.
If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of additional pasta water, milk or cream to thin it out.
You can also adjust the seasoning to your liking by adding more salt or pepper, and if you prefer a more lemony flavor, add extra lemon juice.
Once everything is all mixed together, add your desired toppings and enjoy!
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
Peas: Use fresh, or frozen defrosted.
Pasta: Use your favorite shape of pasta, including spaghetti, penne, or fusilli. For gluten free, use gluten free pasta.
Basil: I love fresh basil for this recipe, as it adds a fresh, pesto-like flavor. If you don’t like basil or don’t have it on hand, feel free to use your favorite herb, including flat leaf parsley, mint, or dill.
Lemon juice: The fresh lemon juice adds liquid and infuses the sauce with lots of flavor.
Garlic: Since we’re using so few ingredients here, I like to use fresh minced or grated garlic to really infuse that garlic flavor into the sauce. But you could also use garlic powder if that’s all you have on hand.
Kosher salt: Look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store. It has a subtler flavor. Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.
Cream cheese: Adds a wonderful creaminess to this recipe. Use traditional or dairy free, depending on your dietary preferences. Cottage cheese or ricotta cheese can also be used in place of cream cheese.
Parmesan cheese: Try to use freshly grated parmesan if you can. For a dairy free option, replace it with nutritional yeast.
Make It Gluten Free + Dairy Free
For a gluten free version of this recipe, use your favorite gluten free pasta. To make this dairy free and vegan, substitute the cream cheese with vegan cream cheese or silken tofu. Use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese for a cheesy flavor.
Storing, Freezing & Serving
Store any leftover green pea pasta sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat, simply microwave or heat on the stovetop over low heat, adding a splash of milk or cream to thin out the sauce if needed.
This Recipe is…
Green Pea Pasta
- 2 cups frozen-defrosted green peas, or fresh green peas
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1 pound dry spaghetti, or any pasta shape of choice such as penne or farfalle
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a strong boil.
- Add the pasta, stirring to avoid sticking together. Boil on high according to package directions.
- Before draining, carefully remove one cup of pasta water. Set aside.
- Drain the pasta and add back to the pot off the heat.
Prepare the Green Pea Pasta Sauce
- Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, add the peas, basil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to a large food processor or high speed blender. Pulse until smooth.
- Add the cream cheese and parmesan cheese. Pulse until well combined.
- Pour the green pea pasta sauce over the cooked spaghetti, tossing to combine. Add a splash of pasta water to thin the sauce if necessary. Discard any remaining pasta water.
- Serve sprinkled with additional parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.