Lemon Rosemary Pasta with Chicken, Asparagus & Spinach

June 26, 2012 by Ali

Sometimes the unplanned meals are the best surprises!

As seems to be common this summer, I found myself at the end of last week with some asparagus, spinach, garlic and lemons begging to be used quickly. So I decided to improvise this creamy lemon pasta. Although for an additional experiment, instead of using cream in the sauce, I subbed in some plain Greek yogurt.

Lo and behold, the experiment proved a success!!! I have to admit that lemon pastas will probably never be my absolute favorites, but this one might be able to persuade me otherwise. The Greek yogurt proved a fabulous creamy base to this simple lemon rosemary sauce. And the chicken, garlicky asparagus and spinach were delicious, garnished with lots of Parmesan, of course. I can never help myself. :)

Definitely a fun pasta that you could easily customize with your favorite veggies and herbs. Cheers to a little kitchen improv!

Creamy Lemon Rosemary Pasta with Chicken, Asparagus & Spinach

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2-4 people


  • 12 oz. pasta (I used mostacolli)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
  • 1 bunch (about 1 lb.) fresh asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup (about 1 carton) Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • optional garnish: extra shredded Parmesan and/or chopped fresh parsley


Prepare pasta al dente according to package instructions. (I would add the pasta to the boiling water around the time you begin cooking the asparagus.)

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (You will know that it is ready when the oil is shimmering, or it sizzles when you place a drop of water in the oil.) Season both sides of the chicken with a pinch of salt and freshly-cracked black pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the juices run clear. Remove chicken and set aside. Wait a few minutes, then slice the chicken into thin strips.

In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add asparagus, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and rosemary and saute for 4-5 minutes until the asparagus is cooked but still slightly crisp. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese, and baby spinach.

Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain the pasta but reserve 1/4 cup pasta water. Toss together the pasta, creamy vegetable mixture and the chicken. Add some of the reserved pasta water if needed to thin the sauce. Serve immediately, garnished with extra Parmesan and/or chopped fresh parsley.

Ali’s Tip: Feel free to substitute in 2 tsp. (divided) dried rosemary if you don’t have any fresh rosemary.

filed in Chicken, Pastas

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

Leave a Reply


33 thoughts on “Lemon Rosemary Pasta with Chicken, Asparagus & Spinach

  1. Ali, this recipe looks and sounds absolutely delicious! I love that you substituted the greek yogurt for the cream in the sauce! Can’t wait to try! P.S. I’m new to your blog and wanted to say hi! Happy I stumbled across this recipe on pinterest!
    Take Care!

    - Jessica

  2. Hi Ali, I love your blog, and this recipe looks incredible! I just wanted to let you know that I featured this recipe in my Feature Friday blog post today for 10 Savory Rosemary Dishes! I hope you can stop by and check out your great recipe!

    - Michelle @ The Gathering of Friends

  3. We made this tonight for dinner, but just made the sauce and put it over rotini pasta. We put in a little more greek yogurt than was called for, and thinned out the sauce with about a 1/4 cup of leftover pasta water. Yummo!!

    - Alyssa

  4. Instead of Greek yogurt try marscapone cheese for the people that posted their dislike for yogurt.

    - Teri

  5. I added the lemon juice to the pasta after draining and added the lemon zest with the asparagus, garlic, and rosemary. Folded the yogurt in when everything was mixed together. No curddling…

    - Jannie

  6. I had the same problem as a few others! Everything clumped together in the end. It still tasted okay, but the presentation was not too appealing. I have to agree, it was almost as if the Greek yogurt curdled with the lemon juice.

    I tasted alright, just not creamy as noted.

    - Debra

    • Try using a lemon greek yogurt and the zest, omitting the juice. You still get the lemon flavor but not the curdle and def add some of the pasta water if too thick. :)

      - kelley

  7. I tried making a version of this, but used seafood instead of chicken and left out the spinach. I plan on making it as written sometime next week with the same ingredients… :) I just thought the lemon and asparagus would be awesome with seafood!

    One thing that I had a problem with and I am wondering if anyone can share a solution– the sauce. It was too thick and tart, so I added the water as suggested. At that point, however, it lost its creaminess and separated out a bit. It tasted fine, but just didn’t look that great and it was a little difficult to coat the pasta evenly. Did I perhaps have too much of the olive oil still in the pan?

    - Elizabeth

    • I had the same problem! It smelled amazing, but everything clumped together in the end. It still tasted okay, but the presentation was pretty lackluster. It was almost as if the Greek yogurt curdled with the lemon juice.

      Any thoughts on how to remedy?

      - Ariel

  8. Your description says “shrimp” instead of “spinach.”

    - Emily

  9. well this looks delicious!!!

    - kellie

  10. I always like the taste of Greek yogurt. Most of the time i use it as a substitute for sour cream. “*”`

    Warmest regards http://www.foodsupplementdigest.com/spirulina-benefits/

    - Cari Gutherie

  11. This recipe was okay. My husband rated it a 6. I may have put too much lemon…but really not a fan of the yogurt substitute. Gave me a stomach ache.

    - jessica

  12. This looks like the perfect summer pasta dish! I will have to try this!

    - Laura

  13. Loving this dish! I am just a sucker for parmesan too! I literally cover my pasta in parmesan! Great innovative recipe!

    - Aninas Recipes

  14. Wow, I love all the fresh flavors in this!

    - Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

  15. I love pasta and most of the time we enjoy it with lemon sauce. I am liking your version too!

    - Kankana

  16. love experimenting in the kitchen and having it be a success! great flavors in this dish and i love the lemon and rosemary..they’re such refreshing flavors to put in a pasta

    - Julie @ Table for Two

  17. HAVE. MERCY.

    - Bev @ Bev Cooks

  18. This looks like a great summer pasta! Can’t wait to try.

    - Riley

  19. This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it!

    - Stefanie

  20. What a lovely idea! I’m not sure I would have thought to add lemon, but lemon and rosemary make such a great combination, don’t they? This looks delicious!

    - Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

  21. Can I have this for breakfast? :)

    - Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

  22. That sounds like a really great dish!

    - Samantha Angela

  23. Such a lovely combination of flavours, I love the touch of rosemary in there!

    - Kathryn