An easy recipe that looks like an elaborate meal, this pasta with sautéed spinach is a perfect example of how simple ingredients can be transformed into something delicious. Tender spinach, a little olive oil, basic seasonings and not much else make up the "sauce" in this easy pasta dish that the whole family will love!
If you're feeling uninspired with your current side dish rotation, I have just the thing!
This simple pasta dish is fresh, elegant and nearly effortless (as is this Lemon and Herb Rice).
Made with a handful of ingredients, this delicious recipe is the kind of quick dish you can pull together in minutes yet has power to bring excitement to the dinner table (like this Cashew Shrimp Alfredo).
With light savory flavors, this pasta spinach recipe wonderfully complements almost anything you decide to serve it with.
Fish? A natural pair. Pork? A divine match. Whatever you have planned for dinner tonight? This will probably be a good choice!
- Fresh Spinach- I recommend using baby spinach. If using larger leaves, roughly chop them first. Thawed frozen spinach can also be used.
- Brown Rice Pasta- I like to use brown rice whole grain pasta (which makes this recipe gluten free) but whole wheat pasta or another choice will also work. I often make this with fusilli but any kind of pasta shape works!
- Avocado Oil- For sautéing the spinach- another cooking oil or butter will also work.
- Garlic- You can use ½ teaspoon of garlic powder in place of fresh garlic cloves if needed.
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Fresh Herbs- I used parsley but basil, oregano or thyme would also be great options (or a combination!). If you don't have any fresh on hand, you can use 1-2 teaspoon of dried instead.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- You want to use good quality as this is combined with the pasta water and seasonings to make a bit of an olive oil sauce- so you'll really notice it if you use a low quality oily tasting one. Alternatively, you can use butter.
- Balsamic Vinegar- A bit of acid brightens and brings together all of the flavors in this simple pasta dish! If needed, you can use red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or lemon juice instead.
1. Cook pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta according to the package directions for al dente, giving it a quick stir a couple of times to prevent clumps. Drain pasta reserving a cup of the pasta water for the sauce.
2. Sauté Spinach. Meanwhile, as the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the avocado oil and garlic for 30-60 seconds. Add the spinach and stir to coat. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until the spinach has wilted down.
3. Combine. Reduce the pan to medium low heat and add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the sautéed spinach along with the seasonings, vinegar and ¼-1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir to combine, adding additional pasta water if desired, cover and cook for 1-2 minutes until hot. Stir in the olive oil and chopped herbs and remove from heat.
Leftovers and Storage
I find this recipe tastes the best fresh but it can be stored and reheated for leftovers, if needed.
To Store: Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To Freeze: This pasta spinach dish can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: Reheat in a skillet over medium low heat with a splash of water (2-4 tbsp) for 5-10 minutes until heated through, stirring often. It can also be rewarmed in the microwave.
Make it Your Own
- Add More Vegetables- If you would like to up the vegetables in this dish, you can sauté them in the garlic and oil before adding the spinach until nearly softened. Some good options would be:
- Bell Peppers
- Use Different Greens- Instead of spinach (or in addition to it), you could include some other greens such as:
- Swiss Chard
- Buttery Spinach Pasta-
- Use butter in place of both the avocado and olive oil.
- Lemony Spinach Pasta-
- Use lemon juice from one lemon in place of the balsamic vinegar and top with some fresh lemon zest.
- Make it Cheesy- Stir in 2 ounces of crumbled soft cheese or shredded medium cheese at the same time as the seasonings and pasta such as:
- Goat Cheese
- Turn it Into a Main Course- Add a cooked and diced or shredded protein at the same time as the pasta for an all in one meal. Some ideas:
- Shredded Chicken
- Sugar Free Pulled Pork
- White Beans
Garnish this simple pasta dish with:
- Parmesan Cheese
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Chopped Fresh Herbs such as parsley and basil
- Cracked Black Pepper
- Diced Fresh Tomatoes or Fresh Cherry Tomatoes
And try serving it with:
- Herb Roasted Cod with Cherry Tomatoes
- Sautéed Frozen Green Beans
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin
- Easy Turkey Spaghetti Sauce
- A Side of Garlic Bread
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Pasta with Sautéed Spinach
- 6 oz brown rice pasta
- 5 oz spinach
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil good quality
- 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Cook pasta as per package directions to al dente, stirring a couple of times while it is cooking to prevent clumps. Drain, reserving 1 cup water.
- Meanwhile, saute garlic in avocado oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the spinach, stir to coat, cover and let cook down for 3-4 minutes.
- Reduce skillet heat to medium low and stir in the cooked pasta, seasonings, ¼-1/2 cup pasta water and vinegar. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until warmed through, adding more pasta water if needed.
- Remove from heat and stir in the olive oil and chopped herbs.
- Serve garnished with parmesan cheese if desired.