If you’ve been looking to add some zest to your pasta life, look no further than this Lemon Spaghetti with Toasted Walnuts.

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When it comes to mealtime, I know plenty of kids who frequently ask for (and generally get) plain pasta with butter. My kids — especially after hearing their friends request it — are no exception, but I try hard to avoid falling into the plain pasta trap.


This Lemon Spaghetti with Toasted Walnuts is one of my ways around that pasta pitfall. The dish retains the simple appearance of pasta and butter that kids find so appealing, but it is by no means plain. Simply adding the lemon and walnuts gives dull pasta and butter added protein, tons of flavor and Omega-3’s. It’s a good step forward for a lot of so-called picky eaters and my kids and hubby LOVE it.


This is one of those weeknight recipes that couldn’t be easier to prepare and has the added bonus of making your kitchen smell amazing in the process. The first night I made it my kids quickly clued into the fact there were nuts toasting away on the stove. 

After I cooked and drained the spaghetti I took a heaping spoonful of rich butter and stirred it into the piping hot pasta.


To finish the dish I used the microplane and started grating lemon. The fragrant oils released in the air made the kitchen smell even more heavenly and everyone was excited to eat the moment I set their plates down in front of them.


If you want to boost the nutritional value of this recipe you can substitute whole wheat pasta, which looks beautiful as well.

Don’t fall victim to the pasta and butter problem anymore. Instead, dress it up with just a few simple ingredients and serve your family this elegant entree that also happens to be insanely easy to make!

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Lemon Spaghetti with Toasted Walnuts

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • zest and juice from 2 small lemons


  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Toast walnuts in a small sauté pan over medium high heat for 5 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat.
  • Drain pasta and reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  • Put pasta back into the pot and stir in butter, oil, salt, walnuts, lemon juice and zest. Toss to coat.
  • If needed, add in the reserved pasta water a little at a time to thin out sauce.
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About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


    1. Agh! Sorry about that – not sure where that text went, but I’ve added it back. You’re correct though – zest and juice from two small lemons.

  1. Pretty sure this is not nut free. Allergies are serious and those of us who deal with them know that a walnut is a nut. But if the category is provided for search purposes, then it’s not really helpful. And feels like the labels (which are a big deal when you have allergies) are an afterthought.

  2. This is exactly the kind of food I want to eat on a weeknight. Simple but still delicious!

  3. This sounds sooo yummy! I would add just a bit of cream cheese or parmesan too for that cheesy, creamy texture my son loves but otherwise wouldnt change it up. Sounds really easy and good too!

  4. I make something similar but add asparagus and granny smith apples. It’s great warm or cold.

  5. Do you think I could substitute sunflower seeds for the walnuts? Trying to make it nut free…

  6. This is SO good !!! This morning I didnt know what to do for lunch, and then I saw this recipe and saved my day !! 🙂
    My kids loved it, it is so easy and so delicious … !!

    Saludos from México!

  7. I would save this type of recipe until your child is older and is more skilled at chewing and eating to avoid the choking hazard!

  8. Hi
    How old for the walnuts? My LO is 19 months I’m just a little hesitant with the choking issue.

  9. My mom used to serve plain pasta with butter and parmesan cheese when we were kids, but I’m loving your flavor boosted recipe. I’ll have to try it with my kids!

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