The Best Balsamic Pasta Sauce

Balsamic pasta sauce is perfect for a light pasta loaded with vegetables. Add some herbs to give it even more flavor!


Between my vegetable garden, my CSA, and the farmer’s market, I constantly have a mix of vegetables in my house. Often these are veggies that I don’t eat often, or are new to me. When I’m not quite sure what to do with my haul, I whip up a quick pasta and toss it with this delicious sauce.

I use this sauce on my Pasta Primavera, Caprese Pasta Salad, Creamy Mushroom Pasta, and of course, our very popular Pasta with Oven-Dried Tomatoes and Garlic. It’s also great with some grilled vegetables or as a salad dressing. This sauce also goes well with many different types of pasta. I’ve tried it with traditional pasta, whole grain pasta, chickpea pasta, and lentil pasta. This sauce is wonderful on all of them!

This recipe is super easy to make and only takes a few steps. You can prepare the sauce ahead of time, or whip it up right before you are ready to use it. It’s a great recipe to have on hand for a quick weeknight dinner or a potluck dish, as the vinegar-based sauce holds up better to travel than typical mayonnaise-based sauces. Serve over pasta, toss with veggies for a quick salad, or use as a dressing or dip for vegetables. Any way you make it, this sauce will be amazing!

Tips for perfect Balsamic Pasta Sauce

  • Whisk vigorously. Whisking together the sauce helps it to emulsify, which enables it to evenly coat the pasta.
  • Salt and pepper your finished dish. Balsamic and lemon add a lot of tanginess which can make salt taste stronger. Hold off on adding salt until the end.
  • Add some herbs! I’ve added tons of different herbs to this, and they all have tasted lovely. Thyme, dill, and different varieties of basil are some of my favorites.
  • Don’t have fresh herbs? Use dried herbs instead! If you don’t have any fresh herbs on hand, try 1/2 tsp dried thyme or basil with 1/4 tsp dried oregano for some extra flair. If you are using dried herbs, let the sauce sit for about 10 minutes after mixing so the herbs have time to hydrate. This helps the flavors incorporate.
  • Love garlic? Add more! But be aware that raw garlic can be quite spicy. If I’m serving this to my kid I usually won’t add more than 3 cloves.
  • Try it with different types of vinegar! I often use balsamic, but red wine vinegar works great in this. You can even try white wine vinegar, or a combination of different vinegars for a unique flavor!

Ingredients for Balsamic Pasta Sauce

Balsamic Vinegar: The star of the show! Choose a tasty balsamic vinegar; since this recipe has just a few ingredients and this one is critical. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but give it a little taste and make sure you enjoy the flavor.
Garlic: Raw garlic adds a little bit of spice and a lot of flavor.
Fresh Lemon Juice: I like to use fresh lemon juice in this recipe, especially since there are so few other ingredients.
Extra virgin olive oil: Rich and fruity olive oil round out the acid of this pasta sauce.
Herbs: Optional but delicious. Depending on the rest of the pasta dish, feel free to play with the herbs. Thyme, basil, and dried oregano all work well in this recipe.

How to make Balsamic Pasta Sauce

  • Finely mince the raw garlic.
  • Before cutting the lemon, zest the lemon and reserve the zest. I like topping the pasta with the lemon zest. Squeeze the juice from the lemon.
  • Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Add in any herbs if you are using them.
  • Combine the sauce with your pasta in a large bowl off of the heat. If you mix the sauce with the pasta over the heat, your pasta will soak up all the sauce. After that, top with lemon zest and enjoy!

Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. It will keep for about 3 days.
Any way you prepare it, this sauce will be delicious. I hope you enjoy it! Why don’t you check out some of my other pasta recipes?

More Delicious Pasta Recipes

Yield: About 1/2 cup

Balsamic Pasta Sauce


This light sauce is perfect for veggie-loaded pastas.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes


  • 1 clove raw garlic
  • 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Herbs, optional (see note above)


  1. Garlic: Mince garlic finely. 
  2. Lemon: Zest lemon and set zest aside. Squeeze juice.
  3. Mix it up: Vigorously whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and herbs (if using). 
  4. To serve: Toss pasta with the sauce off of the heat. Top with the lemon zest.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment on the blog, or share a photo on social media and tag @southernandmodern!

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *