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Spaghetti in Yogurt sauce is like Lebanese alfredo. It’s simple to make, very flavorful, and comes out creamy and delicious! Yogurt is often used in so many Lebanese recipes, and it’s a staple in my kitchen. Growing up, instead of using heavy cream to make a creamy pasta sauce, my mom would use plain whole milk yogurt. In Arabic, this dish is often called Macarona bil laban, which literally translates to pasta in yogurt.
So, If you’ve been looking for a pasta dish that is both delicious and easy to make, this recipe for Lebanese Spaghetti with Pine Nuts and White Yogurt Sauce is perfect! This white sauce is made with plain yogurt, garlic, parsley, and a sprinkling of salt. The fresh parsley and mint add a beautiful brightness, and the pine nuts give it a lovely crunch. It’s simple, yet flavorful. It makes a great alfredo sauce substitute!
why you’ll love this pasta & white sauce with yogurt
- Tangy. The yogurt brings a nice tang to the pasta, which is well balanced by the garlic.
- Creamy. Even though there’s no cream in this recipe, the pasta still comes out creamy and delicious!
- Nourishing. This pasta dish is made with whole milk yogurt, which is a good source of protein and calcium.
- Easy to make. This recipe comes together in under 30 minutes, making it perfect for a weeknight meal!
Ingredients to make pasta with yogurt sauce
- Spaghetti noodles: Traditionally, this dish is made with spaghetti noodles. You can use any type of pasta you like, but I think spaghetti works best.
- Plain whole milk yogurt: Be sure to use plain yogurt and not Greek yogurt. The sauce will be too thick if you use Greek yogurt.
- Garlic: I like to use a lot of garlic in this dish because it really gives the pasta a lot of flavor.
- Pine nuts: Pine nuts are optional, but I think they add a nice crunch to the pasta and add a beautiful presentation.
- Parsley & Mint: Fresh parsley is key in this recipe. It adds a beautiful brightness to the dish. Mint is optional but gives the pasta with yogurt recipe a bright flavor.
- Olive Oil: A little bit of olive oil is used to sauté the garlic and toast the pine nuts.
How to make Pasta WiTh Yogurt Sauce
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet, add the garlic and parsley and cook until fragrant.
- Add the yogurt and salt and use a whisk to combine and lightly warm up the yogurt.
- Continue whisking until the yogurt looks smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the cooked spaghetti to the skillet.
- Toss that pasta with the yogurt sauce.
Tips for making lebanese spaghetti
- Use whole milk yogurt. Because we’re not using heavy cream here, you want the yogurt to be as rich and creamy as possible, so whole milk yogurt is preferred to 2% yogurt. The authentic recipe uses whole milk yogurt for the best taste and consistency and also to help minimize curdling when the yogurt is heated.
- Keep the heat very low. Since garlic is acidic, making the garlic and yogurt too hot may create a reaction similar to ricotta making (dairy + acid + heat). Keeping the heat low or even taking the skillet off the heat ensures a thicker, glossier sauce.
- Stir frequently while cooking the yogurt sauce. Yogurt can curdle in heat when the protein strands tighten up. Stirring frequently will help to minimize this, as does using full-fat yogurt.
- Use a metal pan and whisk. The best way to get smooth and creamy yogurt sauce is to use a whisk and stir frequently. Because the whisk can scratch non-stick cooking surfaces, I recommend using a metal pan.
- Save the pasta water. If your white sauce comes out too thick, adding in some pasta water can help thin it out. Just be sure to add a little bit at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
popular substitutions & additions
- Add hashweh on top. Hashweh is a mixture of cooked ground beef with onions and spices, and it’s a staple for stuffing grape leaves, eggplant, and other vegetables. It’s very common to add hashweh on top of the spaghetti with yogurt to make it a fuller meal.
- Change the herbs. Parsley and mint are very popular fresh herbs to include in this spaghetti recipe, but other herbs like cilantro or basil are often substituted.
- Cook with ghee or butter. Instead of olive oil, it’s also very common to cook the pine nuts and the garlic and herbs in ghee, butter, or clarified butter to enhance the creamy flavor.
- Use greek yogurt. If you want a thicker pasta sauce, you can use greek yogurt in place of the plain yogurt.
what to serve with your Lebanese Spaghetti
how to store & reheat This pasta with yogurt sauce
If you end up with leftovers, they will store nicely in the fridge. Use a container with a tight-fitting lid.
When you’re ready to eat, simply reheat it on the stove over low heat until warmed through. You may need to add a little bit of water to thin out the sauce as it will thicken as it sits in the fridge. Just be sure to reheat the pasta slowly over low heat so that the yogurt doesn’t curdle.
How long will spaghetti with yogurt last in the fridge?
Properly stored, pasta with yogurt sauce will last for up to four days in the fridge.
Frequently asked questions
Plain yogurt is made from milk that has been fermented with live bacteria. The bacteria causes the milk to thicken and turn sour. Greek yogurt is also made from fermented milk, but it’s strained to remove the whey, giving it a thicker consistency.
Spaghetti is the most popular pasta shape to use with this pasta sauce, but any pasta shape will work. If you have young children, try bowtie, penne, or shells.
To make a vegan version of pasta with yogurt sauce, you’ll need to use a plant-based yogurt like almond, coconut, or soy. You could also try using cashew cream in place of the yogurt.
Pasta with yogurt and garlic is a simple, yet delicious dish. This authentic Lebanese recipe uses whole milk yogurt for the best taste and consistency. If you’re looking for a thicker pasta sauce, you can use greek yogurt in place of the plain yogurt. Enjoy!
More Lebanese recipes with yogurt:
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Pasta with Yogurt Sauce
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to package instructions; drain well and reserve ½ cup of pasta water.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet, add the garlic and 1 tablespoon parsley and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn the heat to low, add the yogurt and salt and use a whisk to combine and lightly warm up the yogurt. Remove from heat.
- Transfer the cooked spaghetti to the skillet and toss with the yogurt sauce. Add some pasta water to thin out the sauce, if desired.
- Serve with toasted pine nuts, remaining parsley and chopped mint.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.
This was my delicious dinner tonight!
Glad you enjoyed!!
Loved this recipe…and so did my Lebanese fiancé! I can (and do) get labneh at the supermarket and used it as the base instead of the yogurt. Using Yumna’s suggestion, I thinned out the labneh with the pasta water, and it was the creamiest and smoothest sauce with the best flavors that only labneh can offer! This is now a go-to recipe as I always have labneh in the fridge and some kind of pasta in the pantry. Thank you Yumma!
Thank you so much! That makes me so happy to hear. Yay!!
Delicious recipe!easy to make with simple ingredients!and the taste SO GOOD
Thank you so much! I love that!