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This simple pasta with spinach sauce is fast, easy and delicious. It’s ready in less than 15 minutes and makes a weeknight meal the whole family will love.
This is one of those easy pasta recipes perfect when you just need to get dinner on the table in no time. And if you loved my cream cheese pasta, quick lemon ricotta spaghetti, or 1-pot white bean pasta, you’re sure to love this quick spinach sauce packed with nutrient-dense leafy greens.
It’s a winner because while the pasta is cooking, you just need to saute’ the fresh spinach in olive oil and plenty of fragrant garlic. And if the amount of spinach looks overwhelming, I assure you it will quickly wilt in matter of minutes.
Then add cream cheese, parmesan and a generous grating of nutmeg, which works so well with both spinach sauce and parmesan. The result is savory, creamy, with hints of nutmeg, and delicious bright spinach.
Toss pasta with the sauce, serve with grated parmesan cheese, black pepper… and DEVOUR!
What ingredients you need
The ingredients you need for this pasta with spinach sauce are:
- Baby spinach
- Cream cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
- Nutmeg (ground or freshly grated)
- Salt & pepper
How to make it
(Note: full recipe and ingredients are at the bottom of the page)
- Cook pasta until al dente
- Saute’ the garlic in olive oil until fragrant
- Add baby spinach, season with salt, and toss until wilted
- Add cream cheese and pasta cooking water to the skillet
- Stir in parmesan and grated nutmeg
- Toss pasta with sauce until combined, and serve!
Recipe notes & tips
1. How to wilt spinach
Start heating olive oil and fresh garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. A large skillet works well since the wide surface area helps expose as much of the spinach to heat as possible, allowing it to wilt evenly.
When the garlic is fragrant, add spinach. The volume looks huge at first, but it will wilt quickly becoming more manegeable. Add the spinach a handful at a time, season with salt and stir until wilted. The whole thing takes minutes.
I haven’t added tons of cheese or heavy cream to this spinach pasta. I used both pasta cooking water and cream cheese more to create the sauce, rather than making a really cheesy pasta or pasta that swims in cream.
But please, don’t skip the essential touch of freshly grated parmesan cheese, it makes the difference.
3. Pasta with spinach sauce variations
This is such a versatile pasta recipe, you can add more vegetables or protein of your choice, here are a few ideas that work perfectly with this spinach sauce:
- Vegetables: raw cherry tomatoes, cooked peas and grilled vegetables.
- Meat: grilled chicken breast, bacon or sausages. Another delicious add-on is shredded ham or Parma ham; you don’t need to cook it separately, but you can throw it in the sauce while you stir in pasta.
- Fish: grilled or steamed salmon or cooked prawns, you can skip the nutmeg in this case.
Looking for more spinach recipes?
I’m a big fan of spinach, they’re so versatile, convenient and full of nutrients:
- Lemon ricotta pasta with spinach
- Creamy spinach soup (vegan)
- Baked frittata with spinach
- Spinach pizza with feta
If you make this quick pasta with spinach sauce, leave a comment, rate it, or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram.
I would love to hear from you!
Pasta with Spinach Sauce
- 8oz (225 grams) pasta (penne, rigatoni, spaghetti…)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely sliced or minced
- 9oz (250 grams) baby spinach, washed
- ¼ tsp fine salt, plus more to taste
- 5oz (140 grams) cream cheese
- 1oz (30 grams) freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, or ⅓ of freshly grated nutmeg, or according to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- Cook your pasta until al dente following the package directions. Before draining, reserve at least 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add garlic and cook for about 1 or 2 minutes until fragrant (make sure you don't burn it).
- Add part of the spinach and season with salt. Stir until wilted adding handful of spinach at a time.
- When the spinach are wilted but still bright green, stir in cream cheese and 1/3 cup of pasta cooking water (don't add all the reserved water straight away, but save the rest in case you need to loosen the sauce when you add pasta to the skillet).
- Then add grated parmesan cheese and nutmet to the sauce and give a good stir. The sauce will be ready in a couple of minutes.
- Drain pasta, add to the skillet and toss to combine. Serve immediately ¼with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy.