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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 (change as needed): 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. 
Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 1641mg | Potassium: 760mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4805IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 349mg | Iron: 3mg