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Leek pasta in small white bowls in front of skillet.
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4.2 from 5 votes

Lemon Leek Pasta (Vegetarian)

This Lemon Leek Pasta recipe is light, healthy, and ready in 30 minutes. It's gluten free and great for a vegetarian weeknight dinner.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: leek pasta, lemon leek pasta, gluten free leek pasta, vegetarian pasta,
Servings: 5
Calories: 570kcal
Author: Christine Rooney



  • Mince 4 cloves of garlic and chop 2 cups of kale or green of choice.
  • Remove the dark green woody tops and hairy bottom portion of 2 large leeks and discard. Slice the lighter green portion of the leeks into thin slices. Place the leek slices in a bowl of cold water to remove any dirt if necessary. Scoop the leek slices into a strainer or colander using a slotted spoon or spider strainer. Pat the leeks dry with a towel or paper towel.
  • Heat a skillet to medium and add 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Once heated, add the garlic, leeks, and ¼ tsp. kosher salt and pepper. Saute for 8-10 minutes, stirring often. The leeks will cook down and caramelize a bit.
  • Boil a pot of water and prepare 1 package of Barilla Red Lentil Penne pasta according to package instructions. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the skillet along with 1 cup of reserved pasta water, the chopped kale, and another ¼ tsp. kosher salt and pepper. Stir to combine and saute for 4-5 minutes or until the kale wilts down a bit.
  • Add the zest of 2 lemons to the pasta using a microplane or small grater. Add the juice of the lemons as well. Add 1 cup of shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese to the pasta. Stir to combine and cook for another minute or so.
  • To Serve: Garnish with walnuts or nut of choice along with minced basil or fresh herb of choice and another sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
    Other topping ideas include capers, artichokes, or olives.


Feel free to adjust the salt and pepper levels to your liking.
Other topping ideas include: Capers, Olives, Roasted Red Peppers, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Artichokes, Feta or Any Variety of Cheese


Serving: 2cups | Calories: 570kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 583mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3554IU | Vitamin C: 61mg | Calcium: 331mg | Iron: 3mg