This spicy Cheesy Tomato Spinach Olive Pasta is a quick and easy vegetarian meal. Melty cheese, tangy olives and healthy spinach. A meal in a skillet.
Have only 20 minutes or so to put dinner on the table? Cutting back on meat meals for the week? No problem. This pasta recipe fits the bill. It has great flavor combined with the comfort food factor, namely melted cheesy pasta. I upgrade the health profile with extra tomatoes, spinach and high-fiber pasta.The briny olives and chili flakes give it a nice kick, but feel free to leave one or both out if you’re not a fan.
I use grated Mozzarella cheese from a package. Needless to say, fresh small mozzarella balls (Bocconcini) would be even better. Apart from boiling the pasta, this whole dish is prepared on the stove in one skillet in about 20 minutes total, assuming you have a homemade or bottled prepared tomato sauce on hand. Hard to beat that for a quick homemade meal.
And don’t worry about leftovers if you have any. The pasta heats up beautifully in the microwave over the next few days.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Use another kind of pasta such as Penne.
- Add cooked sausage or chicken chunks for a bulkier meat meal.
- Leave out the olives.
- Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.
Shortcuts for Cheesy Pasta
- 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 them).
- Use garlic from the jar or frozen cubes.
Serve with a nice hot crusty bread, garlic bread or a simple salad.
Cheesy Tomato Spinach Olive Pasta Recipe
- 1.5 cup dry fusilli (or other) pasta
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 small tomatoes, chopped (or 4-5 cocktail)
- 2 tsp garlic, minced (2 cloves)
- 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce (we use White Linen from Costco)
- 5 cup fresh baby spinach (or 1 cup thawed and well-drained frozen spinach)
- 1/3 cup chopped black olives
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes (or more to taste)
- 1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese (or balls, cubed)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- BOIL PASTA: Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- MAKE SAUCE: Heat oil in a skillet to medium high. 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 chili 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.