Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic Recipe

Jump to RecipeLeave a Comment

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic Recipe– a quick and easy weeknight dinner with only a few ingredients. This Spinach Pasta is tossed in a garlicky olive oil sauce and flavored with lemon, red pepper flakes, basil, and plenty of parmigiano cheese.

This will become a family-favorite pasta recipe! Serve with breaded chicken recipe or your favorite pasta side dishes.

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach

This spinach pasta recipe is an easy pasta dish the whole family will love! This quick dinner tonight is a perfect example of the simplicity of Italian cooking. With a handful of ingredients, you can elevate your pasta game with this delicious garlic and spinach pasta sauce.

With a little olive oil and a cup of pasta water, you will create a tasty and flavorful sauce. The garlic, red pepper flakes, and basil add the right flavors to make this an outstanding and easy recipe!

Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic in a serving bowl with extra cheese on top and ready to serve.

Simple Ingredients

With a few fresh ingredients and pantry staples, you will create a delicious and simple pasta dish that you will come back to time and time again. Yes, this simple pasta dish is that good.

ingredient shot for recipe.
  • Spaghetti or bucatini, any long pasta of choice will work
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Lemon zest
  • Lemon juice
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 
  • Reserved pasta cooking water 
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese), plus more for serving  
  • Optional: season with homemade toasted breadcrumbs or toasted pine nuts 

See the recipe card for quantities.

Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic- in a a serving platter with extra basil and cheese as garnish.

What Kind of Pasta for Spinach Pasta Recipe

For this Spinach Pasta Recipe, you can use a variety of pasta shapes, depending on your preference. Here are some popular pasta shapes that work well with spinach:

  • Linguine: Linguine is a long, thin pasta that pairs well with spinach.
  • Penne: Penne is a tube-shaped pasta that’s great for holding sauces. It’s a good option for more texture.
  • Farfalle: Farfalle, also known as bowtie pasta, is a fun and whimsical shape that adds visual interest to the dish.
  • Fusilli: Fusilli is a spiral-shaped pasta that works well with spinach.
  • Spaghetti: Spaghetti is a classic pasta shape that pairs well with spinach. It’s a good option for a fun pasta to twirl with a fork.
  • Rotini: Rotini is a corkscrew-shaped pasta that’s great for holding sauce. It’s a good option for fun pasta with more texture.

Ultimately, the pasta shape comes down to personal preference, so feel free to experiment and try different shapes to find the one you like best. I suggest using high-quality pasta for the best results.

How to Make Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic Recipe (Step-by-Step Photos)

This pasta dish is so easy to make. You will love it!

ingredient shot for recipe.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season well with kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook al dente according to package instructions.

How to make- Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic- olive oil with garlic and herbs in pan with a wooden spoon in it.

While the pasta is cooking, the sauce comes together quickly. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.

How to make- Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic- adding fresh spinach to pan.

Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add lemon juice. Then add the spinach in batches—season with salt and pepper.

How to make- Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic- letting spinach cook in pan with olive oil and herbs.

Cook spinach until it is soft and wilted-about 5 minutes, giving a quick stir every minute or so.

How to make- Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic- adding cooked spaghetti and pasta water to the pan.

Drain pasta when cooked to al dente, and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the spinach. Pour the reserved pasta water and toss everything to combine.

How to make- Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic- tossing the pasta and adding the cheese.

Add parmigiano cheese and keep stiring. Add lemon zest and fresh basil. Toss until everything is well-combined.

How to make- Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic- adding basil and toss to combine.

If desired, drizzle with a little more olive oil. Serve with more Parmigiano cheese and garnish with fresh basil.

How to make- Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic-

Optional: season with toasted and seasoned breadcrumbs or toasted pinenuts. Enjoy!

a plate with a portion of Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic toasted pine nuts on top. Olive oil in the background.

Substitution for Spinach

Although spinach is the star of the show in this recipe, you can use other greens. Here are some good options for you to try:

  • Kale: Kale is a leafy green with a similar texture and taste profile to spinach. It’s slightly tougher than spinach, so you may need to cook it a little longer to soften it. Like spinach, kale is also a good source of vitamins and minerals.
  • Swiss Chard: Swiss chard is another leafy green that can be used as a substitute for spinach. It has a similar earthy flavor and is slightly sweeter than spinach. You can use the leaves and stems of Swiss chard in your pasta dish; make sure to remove the tough stems before cooking.
  • Arugula: If you’re looking for a peppery and slightly bitter taste, arugula is a good substitute for spinach. It’s a leafy green with a distinct flavor and can add a unique taste to your pasta dish.
  • Broccoli Rabe: Broccoli Rabe is a vegetable that has a slightly bitter and nutty flavor. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a substitute for spinach with a more pronounced taste. Make sure to blanch the broccoli rabe before adding it to your pasta dish to remove some bitterness.
  • Collard Greens: Collard greens are another leafy green that can be used as a substitute for spinach. They have a slightly tougher texture than spinach, so you may need to cook them longer. Collard greens have a slightly bitter and earthy flavor that can complement your pasta dish.
a plate with a portion of Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic toasted pine nuts on top.

Variations

The Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic Recipe is a classic, but there are many variations you can try to mix things up and add your own twist to the dish. Here are a few ideas:

  • Add protein: You can add protein to the dish by adding grilled chicken, shrimp, or even tofu. This will make the dish more filling and add an extra layer of flavor.
  • Use different types of pasta: Instead of using traditional pasta, try using a different type of pasta like penne, angel hair, linguine, or fettuccine. You can also try using whole wheat or gluten-free pasta to make the dish healthier.
  • Add veggies: In addition to spinach, you can add other veggies like roasted cherry tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, or grilled zucchini. This will add more nutrients and flavors to the dish.
  • Use different herbs: You can try using different herbs like parsley, oregano, or thyme to add more flavor.
  • Make it creamy: You can make the dish creamy by adding a splash of heavy cream or a bit of cream cheese. This will make the dish richer and add a velvety texture to the spinach sauce.
  • Add nuts: You can add some crunch to the dish by adding toasted pine nuts or chopped almonds. This will add a nutty flavor and texture to the dish.
  • Spicy variation: If you like spice, add a variety of chili peppers to the oil before adding the spinach. This will add a kick of heat and complement the garlic and spinach flavors.

Storage

Store leftover garlic pasta with spinach in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat quickly on the stovetop over medium heat, adding more olive oil or a splash of water as necessary to prevent it from drying out.

a plate with a portion of Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic toasted pine nuts on top. Fork with a twirl of spaghetti around it.

Top Tips

Here are some top tips for making Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic Recipe:

  • Cook the pasta al dente: Make sure to cook the pasta until it’s al dente, which means it’s cooked but still firm to the bite. Overcooking the pasta can make it mushy and affect the dish’s texture.
  • Use fresh spinach: Fresh spinach has a better flavor and texture than frozen spinach.
  • Use high-quality olive oil: Olive oil is a key ingredient in the dish, so make sure to use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. This will add flavor and depth to the dish.
  • Cook pasta while making the sauce: the spinach sauce comes together fast, so start cooking the pasta first since you need the pasta water for the sauce.
  • Add reserved pasta water: When combining the cooked pasta with the spinach and garlic, add some reserved pasta water to create a sauce. The starchy water helps bind the pasta and the sauce together and creates a silky texture.
  • Finish with cheese: To add some extra flavor, finish the dish with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmigiano cheese. This will add a salty and nutty flavor to the dish.

FAQs

Can I use frozen spinach for this recipe?

While fresh spinach is the best option for this recipe, you can use frozen spinach in a pinch. Just make sure to thaw and drain the spinach thoroughly before cooking.

Can I use a different type of cheese instead of Parmesan?

Yes, you can use a different type of cheese instead of Parmesan, such as Pecorino Romano or Asiago. You can also omit the cheese altogether if you prefer.

Can I add meat to this recipe?

You can add grilled chicken, Italian sausage, or shrimp to this recipe to make it more filling and add an extra layer of flavor. Just cook the meat separately before adding it to the pasta.

a plate with a portion of Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic toasted pine nuts on top. Fork with a twirl of spaghetti around it.

More easy pasta recipes

Looking for other recipes to try? Here are a few:

What to Serve with Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic Recipe

These are my favorite dishes to serve with Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic Recipe:

💙 MADE THIS RECIPE AND LOVED IT? 💙 Please leave a ⭐️STAR rating and COMMENT below- I love connecting with you! Tag me with your creations on Instagram and find me on Pinterest.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
a plate with a portion of Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic toasted pine nuts on top. Fork and spoon near plate.

Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic Recipe– a quick and easy weeknight dinner with a handful of fresh ingredients and pantry staples. This Spinach Pasta is tossed in a garlicky olive oil sauce and flavored with lemon, red pepper flakes, basil, and plenty of parmigiano cheese. Yummy!

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti or bucatini, any long pasta of choice will work
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, about 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Reserved pasta cooking water
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese), plus more for serving
  • Optional: season with homemade toasted breadcrumbs, or toasted pine nuts

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season well with kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook al dente according to package instructions (about 8 to 9 minutes). You will reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, the sauce comes together quickly. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add lemon juice. Then add the spinach in batches—season with salt and pepper. Cook spinach until it is soft and wilted-about 5 minutes, giving a quick stir every minute or so.
  3. Drain pasta when cooked to al dente, and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the spinach. Add the reserved pasta water and toss everything to combine. Add parmigiano cheese and keep stiring. Add lemon zest and fresh basil. Toss until everything is well-combined.
  5. If desired, drizzle with a little more olive oil. Serve with more Parmigiano cheese and garnish with fresh basil. Optional: season with toasted and seasoned breadcrumbs or toasted pinenuts. Enjoy!

Notes

Top Tips

    • Cook the pasta al dente: Make sure to cook the pasta until it’s al dente, which means it’s cooked but still firm to the bite. Overcooking the pasta can make it mushy and affect the dish’s texture.

    • Use fresh spinach: Fresh spinach has a better flavor and texture than frozen spinach.

    • Use high-quality olive oil: Olive oil is a key ingredient in the dish, so make sure to use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. This will add flavor and depth to the dish.

    • Cook pasta while making the sauce: the spinach sauce comes together fast, so start cooking the pasta first since you need the pasta water for the sauce.

    • Add reserved pasta water: When combining the cooked pasta with the spinach and garlic, add some reserved pasta water to create a sauce. The starchy water helps bind the pasta and the sauce together and creates a silky texture.

    • Finish with cheese: To add some extra flavor, finish the dish with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmigiano cheese. This will add a salty and nutty flavor to the dish.

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

You May Also Like

About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

1 Comment