Lemon Ricotta Pesto

Creamy Lemon Ricotta Pesto

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 to 4 servings
  • Category: Pasta + Sauces


Powerful sweet basil, rich toasted pine nuts and bright fresh lemon whipped together with creamy ricotta cheese for a zesty spin on traditional pesto.


  •  ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese, divided
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ box or package spaghetti


  1. Toast pine nuts in 350°F oven, or toaster oven, for 3 to 4 minutes.  Set aside.
  2. Set a medium saucepan with salted water to boil.  Once at a boil, cook spaghetti until al dente – about 7 to 8 minutes – or by package instructions.  If cooking in advance, lightly oil to prevent clumping while it cools.
  3. In a food processor, add garlic cloves and basil.  Pulse 10 to 15 times.  Add parmesan, lemon zest, ¼ cup ricotta cheese and salt.  Turn the food processor to ‘On.’
  4. With food processor running, slowly add olive oil and blend for 1 minute.
  5. In a large sauce pan, add cooked spaghetti and creamy lemon ricotta pesto.  Sauté over low heat until pasta is evenly coated.  Plate and top with remaining ¼ cup of ricotta cheese.
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