Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Spinach and Grilled Chicken

March 8, 2015

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Don’t we all love the lemon and ricotta and lemon and parmesan combinations? And you can never go wrong with lemon, chicken and spinach. Put that all together with a fair amount of pasta and you get this simple yet hearty and satisfying Italian and Greek inspired dinner!

Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Spinach and Grilled Chicken | Cooking Class

I love that you don’t have to make a sauce in a separate pan for this. You just add the ingredients directly to the pasta and voila. I did also try adding the spinach directly to the pasta without cooking it at all first and it didn’t seem to have a chance to fully wilt within a few minutes of cooking it with the pasta.

Which is why in the recipe below I suggested cooking it separately so you don’t end up over-cooking the pasta and drying the sauce.

You can even cook the spinach in the microwave if you’d like. I just add it to a microwave safe bowl, toss it with a little water then cook just until it starts to wilt, stirring it once halfway through cooking and then drain the water.

My favorite way to cook it though is on a steamer basket set over a little simmering water (cover the pan with a lid). You could probably even saute it in the 2 Tbsp oil listed in the recipe then add the cooked pasta and cheeses etc.

Don’t pass this one by, it may just become a new favorite! The vibrant lemon mixed with the mellowness of the ricotta along with the slight char and depth of flavor from grilling the chicken is totally irresistible!

4 from 4 votes

Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Spinach and Grilled Chicken

This super quick lemon ricotta parmesan pasta with spinach and grilled chicken is perfect for weeknights.
Servings: 6
Prep15 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes


  • 1 lb grilled chicken breasts , sliced into strips*
  • 1 lb dry linguine , fettucine or spaghetti
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 6 oz fresh baby spinach , steamed just until beginning to wilt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves**, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups part skim ricotta
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan , plus more for serving


  • Cook pasta in salted water according to directions listed on package, reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining pasta.
  • Drain water (reserve 1 cup) and return pasta to pot. Set pot over medium-low heat, add olive oil and saute garlic 1 minute, then add lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta, 1/2 cup hot reserved pasta water and parmesan and toss to evenly coat.
  • Add in more pasta water as desired to thin and season with salt and pepper to taste, cook and toss, about 2 minutes, until ricotta is heated through. Toss in spinach and grilled chicken. Serve warm topped with more parmesan if desired.


  • *I recommend brushing the chicken lightly with olive oil and season both sides salt, pepper and garlic powder before grilling.
  • **Garlic not originally included in the recipe, updated to include it to boost flavor.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Spinach and Grilled Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 536 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 74mg25%
Sodium 321mg14%
Potassium 693mg20%
Carbohydrates 61g20%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 36g72%
Vitamin A 2990IU60%
Vitamin C 11.5mg14%
Calcium 307mg31%
Iron 2.4mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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  • Kate

    I used penne and this worked well. I butterflied a couple of chicken breasts and seasoned with packet Greek seasoning that I had laying around, salt and pepper and baked. I also added a couple of cloves of garlic to a pan before throwing in all ingredients which rounded the flavours. Onion would be a nice addition otherwise.
    It was very tasty in the end!

  • Dean Riggott

    This is pretty mediocre. None of my kids liked it much. They ate it, but asked me to never make it again. Haha.

  • Emily Kemp

    This looks so amazing, i love the combination of flavours!

  • john farnham

    I was looking to use up some leftover grilled chicken strips and this recipe had good bones. Sure enough, it was excellent! – Sort of comfort food, but in July in AZ the lemon juice and zest lighten the dish and make it summery. Only change was a small amount of garlic powder in the oil-lemon mixture. will definitely make again. Thanx

  • Joan of Ark

    Just cleaned our plates. It was a bit bland for my taste so next time will add garlic like noted above. I would give it a 4/5. I added dress spinach directly into pasta pan and it all blended with the cheese. I didn’t have parmesan cheese so added assagio. Nice presentation and very rich.

  • Jackie

    I can’t wait to try this tonight, I think I’ll add a good bunch of asparagus as well.

  • Lisa

    Instructions should have “grill chicken” as the first step, then the rest of the instructions. As written, you do all the yummy pasta stuff, then uh-oh, now add grilled chicken.