When you can make a delicious and beautiful meal in a matter of minutes, I consider that a big WIN! When that same meal is SIMPLE to make, that's a double WIN!
This Lemon Garlic Pasta is the perfect ANYTIME meal! Yes, breakfast, too! I'm only sort of kidding because I actually did eat it for breakfast... cold. In fact, the first time I made it and finished eating my serving, I thought very seriously about eating another serving for dessert. It's that good!
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There are a few things right off the bat that I think really makes this dish spectacular and one of them is the vegetable base that I use. Yes, you can use something else, but I really suggest trying the Minor's brand of bases when you can.
There is nothing comparable to them that I have found. To me, most prepared bases and boulions are very salty and I find Minor's to be super flavorful without being overly salty.
Unfortunately, you cannot buy them in grocery stores, but you can purchase them on Amazon and they have several different flavors. My favorite is probably the vegetable base, but I also use the ham and the clam base. Here are the links and if you grab the clam base, be sure to try out my recipe for New England Clam Chowder!
Minor's has other flavors like beef, chicken, lobster, seafood, and more! The prices tend to vary and when I can I try to always order the items that are sold and shipped by Amazon.
What type of Pasta is best for this recipe?
Any kind you have on hand and love will work just fine, except for homemade pasta. Now, I could be wrong because I haven't tried it, but I think the heat from pressure cooking (even zero minutes) would be too much for freshly made pasta.
Other than that, you can use any type of pasta you like and just adjust the cook time according to the pasta type.
Personally, I love the way angel hair pasta works with this dish, so my top picks would be the angel hair, spaghetti noodles, linguini, or fettuccine.
My suggestions for timing on various noodles is:
Penne pasta: 4 minutes high PC with an immediate release
Spaghetti noodles: 2 minutes high PC with an immediate release
Linguini noodles: 3 minutes high PC with an immediate release
Fettuccine noodles: 3 minutes high PC with a 2 minute natural release
Can I switch up the Vegetables?
Yep! I have done this with each test run. The first time I didn't have spinach so I used broccoli.
If you want to use larger florets of broccoli, you might be fine to do the zero minute pressure cook time. What I did (because I don't like soft broccoli) is cut the florets very small and added them in at the same time the spinach goes in. I found they cooked just enough to soften them without them getting mushy.
Use peppers, don't use peppers. Use onion, don't use onion. Leeks would be amazing in this dish.
Throw in some sun dried tomatoes or even capers. Olives would work.
PLEASE don't skip the whole head of garlic! PLEASE, pretty please with sugar on top! Unless of course, you are allergic or really cannot stand garlic and then, by all means, skip it.
You can use roasted garlic in this recipe, but I would use 2 full bulbs.
If you don't have Minor's Vegetable Stock, you can use a prepared vegetable stock or even chicken stock. Use 2 cups and you might need to increase the seasonings to your liking.
Zucchini or squash would be great in this and I would add them at the end and just use the sear/sauté to cook them, otherwise I think they would get too soft even with just the zero minute pressure cooking time.
If you don't have fresh tomatoes, used canned. Fire roasted tomatoes would be wonderful!
As with most recipes, you can really customize them so they are perfect for you and your family!
How do I Pressure Cook for Zero Minutes?
I realize this sounds kind of odd, but you literally set the time for zero minutes and hit start.
When a recipe calls for a cook time of zero minutes, it is because the food will cook in the time it takes for the pot to build pressure.
It's always important to remember that time to pressure is cook time. As soon as the Ninja Foodi starts to heat the thin liquid and build the steam, the cooking process starts. So, for delicate foods, like angel hair pasta, cooking for 1 minute might be too much.
Can I make Lemon Garlic Pasta without a pressure cooker?
Of course! You will need to use a little more liquid because of evaporation that happens when boiling on the stove.
I haven't made this dish on the stove because it so easy to make in the Ninja Foodi or any pressure cooker, but I would increase the liquid to 2 ½-3 cups and add in the onions, peppers, and lemon juice with the pasta and liquid.
Bring to a boil and cook the pasta until it is just about al dente, you want it to be slightly undercooked because it will finish cooking when you stir in the other ingredients.
If you have too much liquid left, just drain some off. A little is fine though because it will help to create the sauce.
Then, simply follow the rest of the directions. You can leave the stove on low heat or turn it off while adding in the remaining ingredients.
How to Make Lemon Garlic Pasta in the Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker
This one couldn't be any easier! The prep takes longer than the entire cooking process and it's a super easy prep!
I really recommend that you prep all of your ingredients BEFORE you start cooking this recipe. It goes so fast, that if don't have it all done before you start, you might assume there is more time and then there isn't.
If you are in a real hurry and can't prep everything, then slice the tomatoes, grate the lemon and cheese while the pot is building pressure. It goes quick though, so having all of that done beforehand will really help in making this recipe super easy.
The Prep Work
Slice the mini sweet peppers into ½" rounds or dice the bell pepper into ½" dice. Peel the bulb of garlic and smash it with the flat side of a knife. For less garlic flavor, you don't need to smash it. If you want more garlic flavor, mince about 2 tsp. I found that the whole bulb smashed was the perfect amount of flavor.
Zest the lemon and save the zested lemon for later. If you are only using lemon juice and don't have a fresh lemon, use about 3 Tbsp of lemon juice.
Dice the onion into ¼-½" dice. You can even use bigger chunks or strips in t his recipe, don't sweat it. No need to be exact, it will be delicious.
Slice the cherry tomatoes in half or open up the can of diced tomatoes, it will be fine either way.
Grate the cheese. I use Parmesan in this recipe, but you could use Romano or Asiago if you wanted. The important thing to know is I used 1 cup of finely grated cheese that is equivalent to about 1 ounce. If you don't have a fine grater like a microplane and are grating your cheese with a larger grater, then you won't need 1 cup. It will be about ¼ -⅓ cup of cheese.
Of course, I love cheese and if you do too, then, by all means, add more! That makes it even better!
Get to Cooking
This is so simple, it's almost unreal.
Dump in your diced onions, smashed garlic, and sweet peppers.
Break the angel hair pasta in half and alternate the layers like shown below.
You can put in the pasta without breaking it in half by standing it up along the edges of the pot and fan it out around the edges. It will look like it's all clumped together when you remove the lid, but it breaks apart and softens more when the butter is stirred in or simply break the noodles in half like I did in the video.
Add in the 2 cups of water with the 2 tsp of Minor's Vegetable Base OR 2 cups of chicken stock. You can use plain water, but you will need to adjust your seasonings at the end.
Juice the lemon into the pot. Reserve the lemon zest for after cooking.
Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Set the pressure for ZERO minutes and when the time is up, immediately release the pressure.
Do not worry if your pasta looks ugly or even slightly undercooked, it turns out perfectly once the rest of the ingredients are added.
Add in the halved cherry tomatoes, lemon zest and spinach. Stir so the spinach gets under the hot pasta so it wilts.
Add in the butter, salt and 3/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese.
Stir until the butter and cheese has melted. Add the remaining Parmesan cheese to each serving or over the entire dish.
Serve & Enjoy!
Lemon Garlic Pasta with Vegetables
- Any Pressure Cooker
- Dice your onion into 1/4" dice, peel and smash the garlic, zest the lemon, cut the sweet peppers into rings or dice them if using bell peppers. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Grate the Parmesan cheese with a microplane grater.
- Put the onions, garlic, peppers into the inner pot. Break the pasta in half and fan it in the pot in alternate directions. See post for details.
- Mix the vegetable base with the 2 cups of water and pour over the pasta. Juice the lemon and add the juice to the pot.
- Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Set the time to ZERO on high pressure. When the time is done, immediately release the pressure. Remove the lid.
- The Ninja Foodi will be on warm and that is all the heat you need. Add in the cherry tomatoes, lemon zest, and spinach. Toss everything around so the spinach gets under the pasta and starts to wilt. Add in the salt, butter and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese and butter melts.
- Top with some grated parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper and Enjoy
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.