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Tomato Spinach Pasta

This spicy, cheesy tomato spinach pasta is a quick and easy vegetarian meal. Melty cheese, tangy olives, tomato sauce and healthy spinach. A simple dinner in a skillet.

Perfect for when you only have 20 minutes or so to put dinner on the table or you’re looking to add another meatless meal to the rotation.

plate of pasta with spinach tomato and cheese

This easy pasta recipe has great flavor combined with the comfort food factor, meaning a melted cheesy pasta dish the whole family will enjoy.

I up the nutrition with extra tomatoes, fresh spinach and high-fiber pasta. It’s a great way to sneak in extra veggies too.

The briny olives and red pepper flakes give it a nice kick, but feel free to leave one or both out if you’re not a fan.

All you need is about 20 minutes, assuming you have a homemade or bottled prepared tomato sauce on hand. Hard to beat that for a quick homemade meal.

What to serve with the pasta

Serve this easy recipe with a nice warm crusty bread, garlic bread or side salads like winter salad or fig salad. For dessert, how about an simple 10-minute no-bake Berry Crumble .

Tailor To Your Taste

Here are several variations and substitutes you can try.

  • Cheese: I use grated Mozzarella cheese from a package if that’s what I have around. Fresh mozzarella or small mozzarella balls (Bocconcini) is even better.
  • Pasta: Use any kind of pasta such as regular penne, fusilli, ziti or whole wheat pasta. 
  • Spinach: If you don’t have fresh baby spinach (or regular spinach), frozen spinach is fine too. Use about 8-10 ounces, thawed. Squeeze out the moisture before adding it.
  • Tomato Sauce: Use any good quality tomato sauce (we use White Linen from Costco). For a creamy tomato spinach pasta, add a bit of cream cheese or a splash of half and half cream (or heavy cream if you don’t mind the calories).
  • Healthier version: Use low fat cheese if you want to reduce calories and fat. Or less cheese. Saute extra veggies before adding the tomato sauce. Use pasta with whole grains for extra fiber.
  • Add-ins
    • Add cooked Italian sausage, shrimp or chicken chunks for a bulkier non-vegetarian meal.
    • Use black or green olives. Or leave them out if you don’t like them. 
    • Feel free to saute other vegetables before adding the tomatoes. Good options are peppers, mushrooms, zucchini or whatever you have around. 
    • Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.

How to make tomato spinach pasta

pasta, salt, pepper, grated cheese, garlic, olives, tomato sauce, tomatoes, spinach
Ingredients: dry pasta, salt, grated mozzarella cheese, garlic, olives, tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, fresh tomatoes, fresh spinach, Parmesan cheese
pasta draining in colander
Cook pasta according to package instructions to al dente or how you like it. Drain and set aside.
sauteed tomatoes in skillet
Saute fresh tomatoes in a large skillet for a few minutes, then add garlic and tomato sauce.
tomato spinach sauce in skillet
Add baby spinach and olives. Cook for a minute or two on medium heat until spinach is wilted.
tomato spinach pasta in skillet
Add cooked pasta, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine until cheese is melted.
forkful of pasta with spinach tomato and cheese p
Serve with extra shaved Parmesan cheese on the side if you like.

Shortcuts 

  • Leave out the tomatoes and the extra step of sauteing them if you want (I like the extra chunkiness in the sauce so I add regular or fresh cherry tomatoes).
  • Use garlic from the jar or frozen cubes instead of fresh garlic.
  • Buy fresh pre-washed baby spinach.
  • Buy fresh pre-grated cheese.

Make Ahead

  • The pasta warms up beautifully in the microwave over the next few days.
  • Keep leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge.

Other easy vegetarian pasta dishes you might like

forkful of pasta with spinach tomato and cheese 1
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4.67 from 18 votes

Tomato Spinach Pasta

This spicy cheesy Tomato Spinach Pasta is a quick and easy vegetarian meal. Melty cheese, tangy olives, tomato sauce and healthy spinach. A simple meal in a skillet.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Vegetarian dish
Cuisine: Italian, Vegetarian
Servings: 4
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • See Note 1 for variations and substitutes
  • 1.5 cup dry fusilli pasta
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce good quality
  • 5 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup chopped black olives
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese (regular or low fat)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • COOK PASTA: Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions (which is usually set to al dente pasta). Cook longer if you like it softer. Drain and set aside. You can reserve a bit of pasta water if you want to thin out the sauce a bit.
  • MAKE SAUCE: Heat oil in a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add chopped tomatoes. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and olives and saute for another minute. Add tomato sauce, then spinach and stir until wilted and heated through, about 2 -3 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes.
  • FINISH PASTA: Add Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and stir until melted (or leave Parmesan to pass on the side). Add salt and pepper if needed (olives are salty so may not be needed). Serve with warm crusty bread and butter or garlic bread. This pasta is also great reheated the next day.

Notes

  1. Variations and Substitutions
    • Cheese: I use grated Mozzarella cheese from a package if that’s what I have around. Fresh mozzarella or small mozzarella balls (Bocconcini) is even better.
    • Pasta: Use any kind of pasta such as regular penne, fusilli, ziti. Even spaghetti. 
    • Spinach: If you don’t have fresh baby spinach (or regular spinach), frozen spinach is fine too. Use about 8-10 ounces, thawed. Squeeze out the moisture before adding it.
    • Tomato Sauce: Use a good quality tomato sauce (we use White Linen from Costco). For a creamy tomato spinach pasta, add a bit of cream cheese or a splash of half and half cream (or heavy cream if you don’t mind the calories).
    • Healthier version: Use low fat cheese if you want to reduce calories and fat. Saute extra veggies before adding the tomato sauce. Use pasta with whole grains for extra fiber.
    • Add-ins
      • Add cooked Italian sausage, shrimp or chicken chunks for a bulkier non-vegetarian meal.
      • Use black or green olives. Or leave them out if you don’t like them. 
      • Feel free to saute other vegetables before adding the tomatoes. Good options are peppers, mushrooms, zucchini or whatever you have around. 
      • Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.
  2. Make Ahead
    • The pasta warms up beautifully in the microwave over the next few days.
    • Keep leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge.
 
Nutritional information is an estimate. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Tomato Spinach Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 300 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 1641mg71%
Potassium 760mg22%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 4805IU96%
Vitamin C 26mg32%
Calcium 349mg35%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Tomato Spinach Pasta, originally posted in 2017, has been updated and edited with new information and images.

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