Lemon Capellini Salad (With Tomatoes And Capers) is a light pasta salad that is super easy to make using minimal ingredients. Serve it hot or cold.
About This Recipe
Lemon Capellini Salad is a refreshing pasta salad made using capellini pasta (or angel hair pasta), cherry tomatoes, capers, and a few other simple ingredients.
It is great to serve as a light meal on its own or as a side dish with meat or veggies. It is also a great dish to serve at BBQ, picnics, parties or potlucks.
The best thing about this dish is that it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until you are ready to serve it.
Capellini Pasta – The key to making a great lemon capellini salad is to use good-quality pasta. I like to use Capellini (or angel hair pasta, thin spaghetti noodles) because it is a very thin pasta and absorbs the flavors of the dressing well. You can also use other types of pasta such as farfalle or rotini.
You will also need a few other basic ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, baby capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil leaves.
How To Make Lemon Capellini Salad
Cook The Pasta
Put a large pot of water on your stove to boil.
Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoon salt and then add 250 g capellini pasta.
Cook until Al Dente (just cooked).
Make The Sauce
While the pasta is cooking, heat ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Added ⅓ cup baby capers (drained), 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 2 tablespoon lemon zest and saute for 8-10 seconds.
Now add 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes, 2 cups packed baby spinach, and 1 cup of chopped basil leaves, and saute for a minute.
Drain the cooked pasta (reserve some water) and add it to the pot and toss well.
Add ¼ cup lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper and toss well to coat the pasta.
Add ½ cup grated parmesan cheese and mix well.
Check for salt and add more if needed.
Add some reserved pasta water if the pasta looks dry.
Serve as hot pasta salad or refrigerate for a few hours and serve as a cold pasta salad.
There are a number of delicious variations that you can try with your Lemon Capellini Salad. Some of my favorites include:
Add nuts like pine nuts, almonds, and pecans for extra flavor and texture.
Use chopped sun-dried tomatoes in place of the cherry tomatoes for a more intense tomato flavor.
Switch up the types of vegetables used in the salad, such as swap fresh spinach with arugula or add roasted red peppers for a pop of color and flavor.
You can replace cherry tomatoes with grape tomatoes or regular tomatoes cut into bite size pieces.
You can also replace spinach with peppery arugula.
Basil leaves can be replaced with fresh oregano or any other herb of your choice.
Pro Tips By Neha
Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions. This will ensure that the pasta is properly seasoned.
Be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice for this salad. The bottled lemon juice will not provide the same flavor.
If you are making this pasta dish ahead of time, wait to add the cherry tomatoes until just before serving so that they do not get mushy.
Feel free to experiment with different types of pasta and vegetables in this salad. There are many delicious possibilities!
Reserve 2 tablespoon of the brine from the capers and add the reserved brine to the pasta recipe for a nice tangy taste.
Serve it on its own for a light lunch or dinner.
You can pair it with sliced grilled chicken, pork, or beef for an easy and satisfying main dish.
Serve it as part of a buffet-style meal along with bread and sides.
This salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
I do not recommend freezing this salad as the pasta will become very mushy when thawed.
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Lemon Capellini Salad Recipe (With Tomatoes And Capers)
- 250 grams capellini pasta (or angel hair pasta, thin spaghetti noodles)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup baby capers (reserve 2 tablespoon brine (optional))
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes)
- 2 cup baby spinach (packed)
- 1 cup chopped basil leaves
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Cook The Pasta
- Put a large pot of water on your stove to boil.
- Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons of salt, and then add capellini pasta.
- Cook until Al Dente (just cooked).
Make The Sauce
- While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Added capers, red pepper flakes, garlic, and lemon zest and saute for 8-10 seconds.
- Now add cherry tomatoes, spinach, and basil leaves, and saute for a minute.
- Drain the cooked pasta (reserve ½ cup of cooking water) and add it to the pot and toss well.
- Add lemon juice, salt, and black pepper and toss well to coat the pasta.
- Add parmesan cheese and mix well.
- Check for salt and add more if needed.
- Add the reserved pasta water if the pasta looks dry.
- Serve as hot pasta salad or refrigerate for a few hours and serve as a cold pasta salad.