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Lemony Pasta Salad with Fresh Ricotta and Arugula

Updated: Apr 5, 2021

I'm a big fan of vinaigrette-style pasta salads, highlighting mostly veggies, a high quality Italian cheese, and some leafy greens for a little healthy roughage and color. Normally, my summer version of this would be loaded with veggies from the garden, but with it being February and minimal produce being in season, an easy pasta salad focusing on pantry staples is a solid weekday asset to have in the fridge. Use this for a quick lunch, maybe with a little leftover shredded chicken tossed in, or as a simple, already-prepped side dish to accompany a pan seared local fish for dinner. Keep a little extra ricotta cheese on hand for tossing in or garnishing, and make this your workhorse through those busy work days. Serves 4 as a side.


  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

  • salt and pepper

  • 1/4 cup fancy olive oil

  • 2 cups rotini

  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese, set 1/4 aside

  • 1/3 cup olive oil marinated roasted bell peppers, chopped

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh arugula leaves


  1. For the pasta, set a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small jar with a tight fitting or using a small bowl with a whisk, combine the first five ingredients: lemon juice and zest, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Give a vigorous shake or whisk until fully combined, then set aside in the fridge to chill.

  3. Cook the pasta to al dente, or the package instructions. Strain the pasta and set aside to slightly cool.

  4. In a small bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with a little salt and pepper; set aside.

  5. In a large mixing bowl, add the cooled pasta, chopped peppers, fresh arugula, and half of the vinaigrette. Stir to combine, then fold in half of the ricotta cheese until blended throughout the pasta mixture.

  6. Taste for seasoning, add more of the vinaigrette if needed, a little more salt and pepper, stir, then portion into individual bowls. Garnish each serving with the remaining ricotta cheese, and serve.

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