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A quick and easy dinner recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes! This vegetarian Spinach Pasta is tossed in a creamy tomato sauce for a simple, satisfying and affordable meal. Add sausage, ground beef, or chicken for an even heartier dish!

Close overhead shot of spinach pasta with tomatoes in a cast iron skillet

I occasionally ask blog readers to share their favorite last-minute weeknight dinner ideas with me. After all, you can never have too many easy options for those evenings when you want to avoid another trip to the grocery store! This particular creamy spinach pasta recipe comes from a reader named Linda, who sent it to me years ago. I’m so glad that I’m finally getting around to sharing it here, because I have a feeling that it will soon become a staple in your home, too!

How to make Spinach Pasta Sauce:

This recipe is such a great option to keep in your back pocket, because it only requires about 20 minutes (from start to finish!), and you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand. It’s nothing fancy, it’s just a really flavorful and satisfying vegetarian dinner!

Overhead shot of a pan of spinach pasta with tomatoes and garnished with parsley

Ingredients for Creamy Spinach Pasta:

  • Penne pasta
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Canned petite diced tomatoes
  • Oregano, basil and crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Tomato paste
  • Cream cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Half-and-half or heavy cream

First, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.

Boiling pot of pasta

Meanwhile, prepare a creamy tomato-based sauce in a skillet.

Creamy homemade tomato sauce in a skillet

Stir in the fresh spinach, and then add the cooked pasta. Thin the sauce with a splash (or more) of cream, just until it reaches the desired consistency. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and more grated Parmesan, if desired!

Front shot of spinach pasta tossed with tomatoes in a skillet

What goes with Spinach Pasta?

This dish would be perfect served alongside a loaf of crusty bread and a simple green salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.

What to add to Spinach Pasta:

If you like a pasta dish with meat, you can add 1 lb. of ground Italian sausage (browned and drained), 1 lb. of ground beef (browned and drained), or about 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken.

Horizontal shot of hands holding a pan of spinach pasta

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • I used just 2 heaping cups of baby spinach leaves here, which wilts down considerably and doesn’t dominate the dish (my kids prefer it this way). If you like more spinach in your pasta, that’s fine! Add an entire 4- or 5-ounce bag of baby spinach leaves to your skillet.
  • Don’t have penne pasta in your pantry? Use any other pasta that you prefer. Other good options include rotini, fusilli or rigatoni.
  • I find that freshly grated Parmesan cheese (from a wedge) melts smoother into the sauce than a jar of pre-grated cheese.
  • Use as much or as little half-and-half as you need to thin the sauce to reach your preferred consistency. Heavy cream would also work as an equal substitute.
Creamy spinach pasta in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon

More easy spinach recipes that you might enjoy:

Wondering what can you do with extra spinach? Here are a few more good options:

Close overhead shot of spinach pasta with tomatoes in a cast iron skillet

Spinach Pasta

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 347.8 kcal
A quick and easy vegetarian Spinach Pasta comes together in just 20 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, NOT drained
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 oz cream cheese, diced
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (or more as desired)
  • ¼ cup half-and-half or heavy cream (or more, as needed)
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley; additional Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water, according to package instructions. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté until tender (about 5 minutes).
  • Add diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the skillet. Stir in tomato paste and ½ cup of water until completely combined.
  • Reduce heat to low, stir in the cream cheese. Continue stirring over low heat until cream cheese smoothly melts into the sauce. Gradually add the Parmesan cheese, stirring until completely combined.
  • Stir in fresh spinach and continue to cook over low heat, just until the spinach wilts (about 1 more minute). Add cooked pasta, toss to coat in the sauce, and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Stir in half-and-half to thin sauce until it reaches desired consistency.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Notes

  • I used just 2 heaping cups of baby spinach leaves here, which wilts down considerably and doesn’t dominate the dish (my kids prefer it this way). If you like more spinach in your pasta, that’s fine! Add an entire 4- or 5-ounce bag of baby spinach leaves to your skillet.
  • Don’t have penne pasta in your pantry? Use any other pasta that you prefer. Other good options include rotini, fusilli or rigatoni.
  • I find that freshly grated Parmesan cheese (from a wedge) melts smoother into the sauce than a jar of pre-grated cheese.
  • Use as much or as little half-and-half as you need to thin the sauce to reach your preferred consistency. Heavy cream would also work as an equal substitute.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the pastaCalories: 347.8kcalCarbohydrates: 52.1gProtein: 12.5gFat: 11.4gSaturated Fat: 4.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.6gMonounsaturated Fat: 4.3gCholesterol: 20.4mgSodium: 744.1mgPotassium: 142.8mgFiber: 4.8gSugar: 6.8g
Keyword: spinach pasta, vegetarian pasta recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Pasta is my favorite comfort food and spinach is my favorite health food so a meal that mixes them both is my kinda meal. Thanks for this easy spinach pasta recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this last night for my family and they gobbled it up! I added ground turkey and subbed mozzarella for the parmesan since that’s what I had on hand. Thanks for a great recipe!