Spring Pesto Lamb Pasta
***This post is in partnership with the American Lamb Board. As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.***
Spring Pesto Lamb Pasta is an easy and delicious spring-inspired recipe. Made with American ground lamb, fresh peas, asparagus, pasta, and tossed with pesto. It’s a great meal to make any night of the week!
Spring has officially arrived. It’s the best time of year.
Here in Colorado we have a few more weeks before we have consistent warm days. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t get into the spring spirit. Fresh vegetables are starting to make their appearance and I can’t think of a better date to accompany these crispy greens than ground lamb.
I’ve got a catalog of spring-worthy lamb-centered recipes: Greek Grilled American Lamb Chops, Ground Lamb and Vegetable Frittata, American Lamb Burger & Frites, and now, this Spring Pesto Lamb Pasta.
A simple, flavorful dish that uses ground American lamb, handful of vegetables, pasta, and copious amounts of pesto.
Why Use American Ground Lamb
I used American Lamb in this recipe. Their lean, nutrient-rich ground lamb is ideal for making a lot of dishes, but they are truly magnificent when used in this spring-infused meal. Aside from the fact that they are one of the most delicious types of protein out there, they are also packed with an array of essential nutrients such as zinc, iron, selenium, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins B6 and B12.
Plus- did you know that a 3-ounce serving of American Lamb has approximately 160 calories and 40% of the fat in them is monounsaturated fat, a good fat also found in avocados and olive oil? So you get a nice amount of carbs from the pasta and hunger-curbing, yet low-calorie protein from the lamb topping to make an amazingly balanced dish that is undeniably delicious to boot!
This easy recipe calls for simple ingredients but packs quite a punch flavor-wise! This pasta recipe is quite versatile too, you can easily swap the vegetables, sauce, and cheese with what you have in your pantry. It’s the perfect dish to welcome the arrival of spring.
- Butter – adds flavor
- Extra-Virgin Olive oil – great cooking oil
- Ground lamb – American lamb is available to meet a range of preferences—from natural or organic lamb to lamb that has been exclusively grass-fed or grain-finished. You can find local ground lamb using their Lamb locator on their website.
- Short grain pasta – use your favorite or whatever you have in the pantry!
- Asparagus – you’ll need about ½ bundle
- Peas – fresh or frozen
- Yellow onion – wonderful for texture
- Pesto – Jarred pesto from grocery stores works great when you need some quickly otherwise homemade works too
- Garlic cloves – fresh flavor
- Kosher salt and pepper – always need to season
- Grated parmesan – garnish, and more garnish
- Fresh basil – garnish
- Lemon Juice & Lemon Zest – optional *adds a bit of brightness to the dish
- Microgreens – *Optional* great way to add a touch more green
How to Make Spring Pesto Lamb Pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions or until al dente. Drain the pasta, but reserved 1 ½ cups pasta water. Set aside.
- Next, preheat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add the olive oil and ground American lamb. Using a wooden spoon, break up the lamb and cook until the internal temperature of 160 degrees is reached. Remove the ground lamb from the skillet using a slotted spoon and place in a medium bowl.
- In the same skillet, add the asparagus, onions, peas, garlic, kosher salt, and pepper. Cook the vegetables over medium heat adding more olive oil if necessary for about 5 to 6 minutes. Once cooked add the ground lamb and stir to combine. Next, add in the cooked pasta and pesto. Stir to combine and pour in reserved pasta water to help spread the pesto sauce. Continue to stir until everything is well combined. Remove from heat and garnish with microgreens and grated parmesan!
- USDA recommends that ground lamb be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160 degrees. Use a food thermometer to make sure that you are cooking the meat right.
- To have perfectly browned ground meat, make sure that it is at room temperature before cooking. You also have to break them down into pieces in the pan on an even layer. Let the meat cook undisturbed for a few minutes until the edges turn crisp and golden before stirring.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can this recipe be made gluten free? As long as you use gluten free pasta, yes it can be.
- Can I use other types of proteins for this recipe? Yes, you can also use ground beef or chicken. Take note though that they would require different cooking times.
- Can I use different vegetables? Yes, please use any vegetables that you would prefer. Green peppers or broccoli would be a wonderful option.
You can store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 to 4 days. Simply reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
More Lamb Recipes to Enjoy:
- Greek Grilled American Lamb Shoulder Chop
- Ground Lamb and Vegetable Frittata
- American Lamb Burger & Frites
Spring Pesto Lamb Pasta
- 1 tbsp Unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 lb American ground lamb
- 1/2 lb Short grain pasta
- 1 15oz Can of peas, drained
- 2 cups Jarred pesto
- 1/2 lb Asaparagus, cut into thirds
- 1 large Yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- Microgreens, for garnish
- Grated parmesan, for garnish
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta, but reserved 1 ½ cups pasta water. Set aside.
- Next, preheat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add the olive oil and ground American lamb. Using a wooden spoon, break up the lamb and cook until the internal temperature of 160 degrees is reached. Remove the ground lamb from the skillet and place in a bowl.
- In the same skillet, add the asparagus, onions, peas, garlic, kosher salt, and pepper. Cook the vegetables over medium heat adding more olive oil if necessary for about 5 to 6 minutes. Once cooked add the ground lamb and stir to combine. Next, add in the pasta and pesto. Stir to combine and pour in the reserved pasta water to help spread the pesto. Continue to stir until everything is well combined.
- Remove from heat and garnish with microgreens and grated parmesan!