These Delicious Spinach Pasta Recipes Will Help You Add More Greens to Your Weeknight Dinners
Spinach may not give you Popeye strength, but it certainly packs a palatable iron-rich punch. Scroll through for sumptuous spinach pasta dishes—they're so good that they'll prompt even the pickiest eaters to demand seconds.
While we love a spinach salad, we firmly believe that the best vehicle for spinach is undoubtedly pasta. Whether your go-to is fresh or frozen, these versatile green leaves wilt down and heat up in sheer minutes, providing bright color and vibrancy, a silky texture, and an abundance of nutrients that will truly level up your pasta game. Ready to get started? You can't beat the Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells shown here.
How does spinach improve your dish's nutritional value? Spinach is an extremely nutrient-dense ingredient, meaning it's low in calories but high in beneficial nutrients, including iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, K, and B9 (otherwise known as folate). And if all that isn't enough to make you see that spinach is a powerhouse ingredient, don't forget that this leafy green vegetable provides tons of fiber and antioxidants, too.
Spinach is also a super accessible ingredient—it's available frozen, fresh, and canned—so there's no excuse to not have some on hand. If you purchase fresh spinach, wrap it loosely in a damp paper towel. It can be refrigerated this way inside a sealed plastic bag for three to five days. Make sure to thoroughly wash and dry your spinach before cooking. If using frozen spinach, you'll want to plan ahead and thaw it first. Once thawed, we recommend using a colander and/or towels to squeeze as much water out of the spinach as you can before adding it to your recipe—trust us, nobody wants a watered down pasta sauce!
Once your spinach is prepped, all that's left to do is choose your pasta recipe. Click through the delicious options ahead and you'll have a hard time picking just one.
Prosciutto Carbonara with Spinach
As far as pasta dishes go, carbonara is undoubtedly on the richer side (and we love it for that very reason!). If you want to balance out that heaviness and add a little freshness to this classic dish, try adding in a few handfuls of spinach. Just a few minutes of stirring at the end of cooking is all it needs to wilt down and happily marry with the sauce and pasta.
Squash Lasagna with Spinach
Frozen spinach is your friend, and considering how much this green wilts down when cooked, using it is a budget-friendly, efficient way to pack a whole lot of vegetables into a recipe. This lasagna does just that, pairing a hefty 10 ounces of this great green with hearty kabocha squash and a rich béchamel, creating a decadent vegetarian dinner that's impossible to resist.
Penne with Spinach Pesto and Turkey Sausage
Though pesto is usually made with just basil, it doesn't have to be. We upped the green factor here times three, introducing both spinach and peas into this version, to give this favorite sauce even more vibrancy and texture. After a super quick spin in the food processor, it's ready to be tossed with penne and sausage, coating the entire dish in fragrant, bright, and green goodness.
Ravioli with Roasted Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Capers
We love keeping store-bought ravioli on hand for fast weeknight meals: They cook quickly, are easy to dress up, and are impressively versatile. This recipe pairs spinach ravioli with silky eggplant, bursting cherry tomatoes, and caramelized shallot. The entire dish is then topped with Parmesan and basil. It's a surprisingly simple, elegant weeknight meal you'll keep coming back to.
Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lentils, Spinach, and Leeks
Pairing whole-wheat pasta with lentils and spinach is a no-brainer; the earthiness of the lentils and spinach combine beautifully with the heartiness of the pasta to create a healthful, wholesome dish. Sautéed garlic, leek, and thyme provide fragrance to this rustic meal and tie everything together.
Linguine with Shrimp and Spinach
The shorter the ingredient list the better, and that's true not only for your budget and time, but also because it means each individual ingredient has a chance to shine. This weeknight-friendly recipe keeps it super simple, tossing linguine and shrimp with a touch of fragrant extra-virgin olive oil, bright lemon zest and juice, and a few handfuls of fresh spinach.
One-Pot Penne with Spinach, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts
One-pot meals are the way to go; why spend extra time doing dishes when you don't need to? This recipe cleverly calls for cooking spinach directly with the pasta, and then topping the mixture with rich touches of salty Parmesan, creamy ricotta, and buttery toasted pine nuts to elevate the humble penne into something special.
Tangy Pasta Salad with Spinach
Why weigh down a pasta salad with a heavy dressing when you can keep it light and refreshing with a shake-in-a-jar lemon-herb dressing? Choose your short pasta of choice (the more ridges to catch and cling to the dressing, the better!), toss it with crisp celery, fresh chopped spinach, and briny capers, and this super-green pasta salad will make your picnic perfect.
Spinach Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and we think there's no need to reach for the boxed stuff when it's so simple to make from scratch. This grown-up, dressed-up version boasts a generous amount of gooey Gruyère and wilted spinach; it tastes so decadent that you won't even realize you're eating your vegetables.
Sausage and Spinach Alfredo
This recipe transforms our go-to macaroni and cheese recipe into the ultimate repurposed leftovers. Italian sausage sautéed with onions and red pepper flakes provide sweet, salty, and spicy elements that are all balanced by the addition of rich cream, cheesy macaroni, bright spinach, and nutty Parmesan.
Pasta with Snap Peas, Basil, and Spinach
It doesn't get easier than this recipe! One boiling pot of water cooks the pasta, blanches the snap peas, and wilts the basil and spinach. Just a quick stir with Parmesan and cream brings everything together in this super quick, convenient, and vegetable-forward pasta dish.
Spinach Linguine with Walnut Sauce
We love spinach stirred and wilted into any pasta dish, but why not take it a step further and find pasta that actually contains spinach? Spinach linguine is the perfect choice (and a fun way to switch up your pasta game if you're getting bored of the usual). Its muted green color is the perfect backdrop for this cream sauce that comes together in the food processor with rich toasted walnuts and aromatic garlic.
Spicy Chicken Pasta
This one-pot wonder of a pasta dish has it all—starch, vegetable, protein—and comes together in just 20 minutes. The diced chicken cooks directly with the pasta to maximize efficiency, and the sauce comes together in the very same pot, adorning the pasta with pungent garlic, silky spinach, an acidic kick from tomato and lemon, and some heat thanks to red pepper flakes.
Spinach Linguine with Ham and Broccoli
We love the combination of spinach pasta and a creamy sauce, and this is the ultimate version. Small-but-mighty pieces of salty ham and aromatic garlic form the base of the rich cream sauce, which then coats the spinach linguine and broccoli (boiled together to simplify clean-up!). This is pasta perfection.