Lemon Caper Penne Pasta

Souplantation was a popular buffet chain in America and the lemon caper penne pasta was something I got every single time I went. This copycat recipe will taste just like you remember it, so if you are having those old Souplantation cravings this pasta dish might just hit the spot!

When I was in school my father would take my brother and I to Souplantation every Monday. And while Souplantation is no longer with us, this copycat recipe brings back those memories as one of my favorite dishes there was this lemon caper penne pasta. Now, I haven’t been to said restaurant in nearly a decade, but in honor of the good memories I’ve decided to remake the recipe for the blog.

This recipe is the same one posted to Souplantation At Home years ago, and I have to say it is really accurate. I’ve only changed a few things like using heavy cream instead of half and half, and using chicken stock instead of base. Now, I’m not going to say that this is authentic Italian food, because it’s more American than anything, but this is a good copycat recipe (just like my copycat of Carbone’s spicy rigatoni!!!). If you like tangy, fresh flavors then you will still enjoy this lemon caper penne (at home).

How To Make A Souplantation Copycat Lemon Caper Penne Pasta

This copycat recipe is a bit different than most of my pasta recipes, and it’s likely because it was meant to be mass produced for a buffet. However my recipe scales down to a two person serving so it’s a great weeknight dinner.

Ingredients (2 people)

ingredients to make a lemon caper penne pasta dish on a marble table
  • 300 grams Penne Pasta about 2 cups or 8 ounces
  • 100 grams Spinach – You can use another green if you prefer. I actually like to make mine with arugula even though spinach is the authentic version
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Flour AP
  • 250 ml Heavy Cream about 1 cup
  • 60 ml Lemon Juice 1/4 cup, freshly squeezed
  • 60 ml Chicken Stock 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 tbsp Lemon Zest (I suggest a microplane but any fine grater will work in this recipe)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 tbsp Capers more or less to taste


The best thing about this dish is it can be done entirely in one pan. This makes clean up a breeze, and keeps the cooking streamlined. To start, set a pan of water boiling with some salt. Add in the penne pasta (10 oz or 300 grams). When the penne is cooked, reserve a quarter cup (60ml) of pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander.

The sauce only takes 5 or so minutes so the pasta will be fine resting on the counter. In the pan add 2 tbsp of flour and 2 tbsp of butter on medium low heat. Whisk together to create a roux and let cook for a minute, being careful not to let it burn.

Once the roux is combined add the heavy cream (250 ml ~1 cup), lemon juice (60 ml 1/4 cup), Chicken stock (60 ml 1/4 cup), lemon zest (1/2 tbsp), salt (1/4 tsp) and black pepper (1/4 tsp). Raise the heat to medium and whisk everything together. Here the original Souplantation copycat recipe says to cook for 10 minutes, but I feel that is far too long, and 2-3 minutes is more than enough for it to thicken combine.

Once the lemon sauce is thickened and combined, reintroduce add in the spinach (or rocket in my case) and turn off the heat. The residual heat will slightly wilt the greens and help them mix into the sauce better.

Add your penne and after mixing lightly, add the capers and mix again. The recipe calls for 2 tbsp of capers, but I’ve doubled it because 1) I like capers, and 2) think of that ingredient as ‘to taste’. I mean, it is called Lemon Caper Penne, not Lemon Roux Penne.

At Souplantation this is the end of the line for the lemon caper penne pasta recipe. At least, I can’t remember any garnishes. I decided to add a few lemon supremes on top because I’m all about that tart flavor. You can also serve it with some fresh chopped parsley, or a lemon wedge.

lemon caper penne souplantation copycat in a pan with a microplane and lemon slice

Lemon Caper Penne Pasta

This Souplantation copycat lemon caper penne is easy to make at home, especially since Souplantation just shut down.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Main Dish, Primi
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 people


  • Pan


  • 300 grams Penne Pasta about 2 cups or 10 ounces
  • 100 grams Spinach (or other leafy green you want)
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Flour AP
  • 250 ml Heavy Cream about 1 cup
  • 60 ml Lemon Juice 1/4 cup, freshly squeezed
  • 60 ml Chicken Stock 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 tbsp Lemon Zest
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 tbsp Capers more or less to taste


  • Start boiling a pan of salted water. Add the penne pasta and let boil for 8 minutes or until al dente according to your package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water, strain the pasta and set aside.
    300 grams Penne Pasta
  • In the pan add the butter and flour on medium low heat and whisk together. Stir for a minute to cook but prevent burning. Then add in the rest of the ingredients except for the capers and spinach (or other green). Turn the heat up to medium and whisk constantly to thicken and reduce. After about 3 minutes add in the spinach and turn off the heat. The residual heat will wilt it into the sauce. Add the pasta.
    100 grams Spinach (or other leafy green you want), 2 tbsp Butter, 2 tbsp Flour, 250 ml Heavy Cream, 60 ml Lemon Juice, 60 ml Chicken Stock, 1/2 tbsp Lemon Zest, 1/4 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • Toss the pasta to combine (or use a rubber spatula as it's actually easier with this sauce). Add the capers and mix again. Serve in black bowls a la tradition and garnish with fresh chopped parsley or lemon supremes (if you like it tart like me).
    4 tbsp Capers


This pasta holds well for a few days in the fridge. The sauce does congeal though, so I would add a tbsp of water before microwaving it again to thin it out. 
You can add chicken or other meats for more protein (or tofu if you like), but if you want to make it completely vegetarian you can use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. I would recommend a 1/4 cup of vegetable stock + 1/2 tsp dried mushroom powder.
Keyword Copycat Recipe, Lemon Caper Penne, Lemon Pasta, Souplantation
lemon caper penne pasta pin recipe
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8 thoughts on “Lemon Caper Penne Pasta”

  1. Love, love this! Thank you! But I don’t use spinach or capers, but I add diced chicken breast.
    So delish! A dish to wow company for sure.

  2. 5 stars
    They also had a chain called Lettuce Surprise You in Atlanta and they would prepare this dish during their lemon themed summer months. I believe April or May. The search for this recipe is what brought me here. THANK YOU! I was beginning to feel like a Souplantation/Lettuce Surprise You lone ranger!

  3. ScarletPeterson

    5 stars
    Omg this brings me back! This was also mu favorite souplantation hot recipe so this copycat is PERFECT!!!

    I made it for dinner to surprise my husband who also loves it and he thought I figured out how to recreate it. Sorry but I’m keeping your blog my little secret for now 😉

  4. MafaldaHopkirkIsAnnoying

    5 stars
    This is THE BEST Souplantation copycat recipe for lemon caper pasta I’ve made. Thank you!

  5. BethanyAllspice

    5 stars
    I miss souplantation too. This is a great copycat recipeand no changes needed

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