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Close overhead shot of spinach pasta with tomatoes in a cast iron skillet
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5 from 2 votes

Spinach Pasta

A quick and easy vegetarian Spinach Pasta comes together in just 20 minutes!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword spinach pasta, vegetarian pasta recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 347.8kcal
Author Blair Lonergan

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 pasta | Calories: 347.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 52.1g | Protein: 12.5g | Fat: 11.4g | Saturated Fat: 4.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4.3g | Cholesterol: 20.4mg | Sodium: 744.1mg | Potassium: 142.8mg | Fiber: 4.8g | Sugar: 6.8g