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A quick and easy Spinach and Tomato Pasta Recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes! This vegetarian pasta dish has tender pasta and spinach cooked in a creamy tomato sauce for a simple, satisfying, and affordable meal. Add sausage, ground beef, or chicken for an even heartier dish!

A cast iron skillet filled with penne pasta with spinach and tomatoes.
Table of Contents
  1. Creamy Pasta with Tomato and Spinach 
  2. Ingredients for Creamy Spinach and Tomato Pasta
  3. How to Make Creamy Pasta with Tomato and Spinach
  4. How to Make a Creamy Tomato Sauce for Spinach and Tomato Pasta
  5. What to Serve with Creamy Tomato Spinach Pasta
  6. Spinach and Tomato Pasta Recipe Variations & Cook’s Tips
  7. More Easy Spinach Recipes to Try
  8. Spinach and Tomato Pasta Recipe

Creamy Pasta with Tomato and Spinach 

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 tomato and 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! 

This easy pasta 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! Toss some quick garlic bread in the oven, and you’ve got a complete meal the whole family will love.

An overhead shot of spinach and tomato pasta served at a wooden dining table, surrounded by fresh parsley and a block of Parmesan cheese sitting on the tabletop.

Ingredients for Creamy Spinach and Tomato Pasta

Below is an overview of the simple ingredients you need for this pasta recipe. As always, the complete list of ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. 

  • Penne pasta: you can use any kind or shape of pasta in this recipe, but I love penne because it holds the creamy tomato sauce.
  • Fresh baby spinach leaves: spinach adds freshness and nutrition to this easy dinner recipe.
  • Canned petite diced tomatoes: a quick and easy base for the creamy tomato sauce. You can substitute with fresh tomatoes if desired.
  • Oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper flakes (optional): herbs and spices to flavor the pasta dish.
  • Onion & garlic: aromatics that flavor the sauce.
  • Tomato paste: to thicken the sauce and kick up the hearty tomato flavor.
  • Cream cheese: adds a smooth creaminess to the pasta sauce:
  • Parmesan cheese: for a sharp bite with a hint of salt.
  • Half-and-half or heavy cream: for the creamy tomato sauce.

What’s the best type of pasta to use in this creamy tomato spinach pasta recipe?

The great thing about this simple pasta dish is that you can use your favorite kind and shape of pasta. Use protein-rich pasta, whole wheat pasta, or whatever lifestyle-friendly pasta you usually use. Most pasta shapes will work well in this dish, too — try rotini, fusilli, farfalle, or cavatappi. Even spaghetti, angel hair, or even macaroni would work! The key to delicious pasta is using one that holds onto the sauce, so you get tasty pockets of creamy tomato sauce in every bite.

Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes?

If you don’t have a can of tomatoes on hand or would just prefer to use fresh vegetables instead, you can easily substitute fresh for canned tomatoes in this recipe. Just toss the chopped tomatoes into a skillet and prepare the sauce as directed. You could use sautéed cherry tomatoes, diced Roma tomatoes, or even sun-dried tomatoes for a more intense flavor.

Can I use frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach?

I prefer to use fresh spinach, but you can use frozen spinach if that’s what you have on hand. Just make sure to thaw it completely and squeeze out as much moisture as possible before adding it to the tomato sauce.

How to Make Creamy Pasta with Tomato and Spinach

This quick and easy tomato and spinach pasta recipe uses fresh ingredients and delicious flavors and is a satisfying yet easy recipe for busy nights. You can customize the dish with your family’s favorite meat or protein for even more flavor or keep it vegetarian for a meatless dinner. 

  • Boil a large pot of water on the stovetop and add your pasta. Cook to al dente.
  • Prepare the creamy tomato sauce in a large skillet.
  • Stir in the fresh spinach (it will cook down), then add the pasta.
  • Garnish the creamy tomato and spinach pasta and serve with your favorite side dish.

How to Make a Creamy Tomato Sauce for Spinach and Tomato Pasta

First and foremost, always make sure you’re salting the boiling pasta water! While the pasta is cooking, you can make the creamy tomato sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the fresh garlic and onions in a little olive oil. Next, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, and seasonings to the skillet. I use dried oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes for some heat — but you can adjust based on your tastes. You could use a classic Italian seasoning blend or swap out dried herbs for fresh basil and oregano for an even fresher flavor. The juicy tomatoes will reduce and create a yummy, liquidy sauce.

Reduce the tomato sauce to low heat and stir in the cream cheese. Once the cream cheese is completely incorporated into the sauce, it will be creamier and thicker — then you’ll add the grated Parmesan cheese. At this point, you can begin to add the heavy cream or half-and-half to thin out to sauce to your desired consistency. Start with just a little bit of cream and add as needed. You can always add more, but you can’t take any out! Finally, stir in the spinach. Fresh spinach will cook down into the creamy sauce, leaving plenty of room for the cooked pasta. 

What can I add to spinach and tomato 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), 1 lb. of ground turkey (browned and drained), or about 2 cups of cooked diced chicken. To keep it vegetarian, you could add tofu or more vegetables like sauteed zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, or asparagus.

Penne pasta mixed with spinach and a creamy tomato sauce, served in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon.

What to Serve with Creamy Tomato Spinach Pasta

This dish would be perfect served alongside a loaf of crusty bread or Soft dinner rolls and a simple green salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. Some other side dishes to pair with an easy pasta recipe include: 

A woman serves a pot of spinach and tomato pasta on a wooden tabletop. Fresh parsley and a block of parmesan cheese sit on the table beside the cast iron skillet.

Spinach and Tomato Pasta Recipe Variations & Cook’s Tips

  • 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 lots of 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.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Because this is a cream-based sauce, I do not recommend freezing leftovers.
A creamy spinach pasta with tomato sauce served with a wooden spoon in a cast iron skillet.

More Easy Spinach Recipes to Try

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

Spinach and Tomato Pasta

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 347.8 kcal
This quick and easy spinach pasta is cooked in a creamy tomato sauce and topped with fresh-shaved parmesan cheese. A fast dinner in 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, and 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 and 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 the 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 lots of 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.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Because this is a cream-based sauce, I do not recommend freezing leftovers.

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. Scarlet says:

    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!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Scarlet! I hope that you get a chance to try it!

  2. Betsy says:

    I’m trying this tonight, or later this week. Looks and sounds delicious!

    1. Blair says:

      Wonderful! Enjoy, Betsy! 🙂 I think I’m going to make it again later this week, too!

  3. Natalie says:

    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!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Natalie! I’m so glad that it was a hit with your family! 🙂