Hummus pasta is so creamy, flavorful, and easy to make using versatile vegetarian ingredients. This recipe is dappled with bright lemon flavor, made with just 10 ingredients, and ready in about 20 minutes!
This is one of my favorite meals to make when I want a quick, healthy lunch or dinner without much effort. I always keep a container of hummus on hand for snacks or breakfast (hummus toast is the best), and it also works surprisingly well as a pasta sauce.
Hummus makes a smooth and creamy sauce and offers up so many flavor options. While this recipe calls for garlic hummus, you can really use any flavor or variety.
- Quick & easy: Hummus pasta is ready in just about 20 minutes using less than 10 ingredients.
- The sauce: Hummus, pasta water, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt come together to make a light, creamy, and zesty sauce.
- Versatile: Spinach and cherry tomatoes pair well with lemon and hummus, but you can really use any kind of vegetable here. This is a great recipe to use as a base for clean-out-the-fridge meals, and it also works with any kind of hummus flavor.
- Hummus: I prefer to use homemade plain or garlic hummus, but any kind of smooth hummus works. Check out my jalapeno hummus recipe for a spicy homemade option.
- Pasta: Any kind of pasta shape works here, but I most commonly use spaghetti or fettuccine. Choose white, wheat, veggie, or protein pasta.
- Pasta water: I recommend reserving at least ¾ cup of pasta water. This is the starchy cooking liquid from the pot of cooked pasta. The starches create a silkier sauce and help bind the pasta to the sauce.
- Greens: Arugula adds a great zesty flavor, but spinach also works well and is a more neutral addition.
- Lemons: One small lemon usually has 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a large lemon has about 3-4 tablespoons. We also use lemon zest for extra bright, citrusy flavor.
- Za'atar seasoning: This is optional but it's a small addition that takes this dish to the next level. Za'atar seasoning is a savory blend of oregano, sesame seeds, and several other earthy spices. It is a multi-dimensional spice that originates in Middle Eastern cooking. It can be made at home if unable to find it in the International or spice aisles at the grocery store.
How to make
- Start by cooking the pasta. Reserve at least ¾ cup of the pasta water to use for thinning the sauce. I use the same method to make a creamy sauce in my tahini pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium pot or skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat. Add the sliced cherry tomatoes, spinach, and salt.
- Cook until the spinach is completely wilted and the cherry tomatoes are broken down. Toward the end, if using add the za'atar seasoning to toast for at least 30 seconds.
- Pour in ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water, the lemon juice, and the hummus. Stir to create a relatively thin sauce. Add the cooked noodles, tossing to coat in the sauce. Add extra water as needed to thin the sauce.
Serve garnished with lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper.
- Extra veggies: Try adding roasted broccoli, zucchini, or eggplant. The vegetables in my hummus bowls would go really well here.
- Protein: Hummus contributes a small amount of protein, but adding a can of white beans, air fryer chickpeas, or baked tofu is an easy way to increase the protein.
- Chilled option: Hummus pasta also works well served cold with uncooked vegetables. The original version of this recipe, which I published in 2019, used uncooked tomatoes and arugula. If serving cold, simply whisk together the hummus sauce in a small bowl instead of on the stovetop. Toss everything together and chill for 2 hours or enjoy as-is.
- If using another variety of hummus that doesn't include garlic, I recommend sauteing 2 cloves of minced garlic at the same time as the tomatoes and spinach.
Tips for success
- The smoothness of hummus varies from brand to brand, so I recommend starting with just ¼ cup of pasta water to thin the sauce, then adding more as needed.
- Forgot to save the pasta water? Just use an equal amount of vegetable broth or water and adjust the salt to taste.
- The pasta is lightly sauced in this recipe. For an extra creamy, saucy pasta, just double the hummus sauce.
Leftovers are best within 3-4 days. Keep leftovers refrigerated in a closed container.
Reheat on the stove over medium heat, or reheat in the microwave. The sauce thickens up a lot when refrigerated. Add a splash of vegetable broth to loosen/thin.
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Hummus Pasta with Lemon and Arugula
- 8 ounces uncooked whole wheat spaghetti or pasta of choice
- ¾ cup reserved pasta water as needed
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 cups fresh spinach or arugula
- 1 pint (8-10 ounces) cherry or grape tomatoes sliced in half lengthwise
- ¼ teaspoon salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon za'atar seasoning optional
- ¾ cup garlic hummus see note #1
- ¼ cup lemon juice ~2 small or 1 large lemon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest full small lemon or ½ large lemon
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of well-salted water. Reserve at least ¾ cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta.
- Meanwhile, heat a medium pot or skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil. Once hot, add the spinach, tomatoes, and salt. Cook until the spinach is wilted and the cherry tomatoes are broken down, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the za'atar seasoning. Toast for 30 seconds to bloom the spices, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the hummus, lemon juice, ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water, lemon zest, and freshly ground pepper. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce, adding extra pasta water as needed to thin the sauce. Enjoy!
- Hummus: Any kind of hummus works! Roasted red pepper and olive are other great options. If using plain hummus, I recommend sauteing a couple cloves of garlic with the spinach and tomatoes.
- Leftovers: Keep leftovers refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove over medium-low heat. Add a splash of vegetable broth as needed to thin the sauce.
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