Packed with greens and with a creamy texture that pairs so perfectly with any noodles, this Spinach Pasta Sauce is a most delicious green pasta sauce. And it’s ready in about the same amount of time as it takes to cook the pasta!

Spinach pasta sauce on noodles, plated on counter.

Spinach Pasta Sauce

I love vegetable pasta sauces, from Green Pasta Sauce, to Cauliflower Alfredo, Red Pepper Sauce, and now this Spinach Pasta Sauce. It’s such a fun and nutritious way to serve up a variety of ingredients to kids, with bright colors as a bonus.

This spinach pasta recipe has a full 11 ounces of baby spinach in it but has a creamy texture (from ricotta cheese, rather than cream) and a subtle flavor that’s a nice alternative to tomato-based sauces. You can add or subtract flavor as you and your family like, you can use it with any shape of pasta, and you can freeze the sauce for future meals, too.

This spinach sauce is versatile and yummy, and I hope it’s an easy way for you to serve greens to your kids.

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Ingredients You Need

Below is a look at the ingredients you need to make this pasta sauce recipe so you know what to have on hand and ready to go.

Ingredients for spinach pasta sauce on kitchen counter.

Olive oil: I like to saute my spinach in olive oil or butter, so you can choose the one you prefer or have. I typically use extra-virgin olive oil and unsalted butter.

Minced garlic: Garlic adds flavor to the spinach; You can mince fresh garlic cloves or use jarred minced garlic.

Onion: Adding minced onion is optional, but it helps to tone down the flavor of the spinach so I usually add it.

Baby spinach: I use a big clamshell container of baby spinach, but you can use two bags of spinach, too. It cooks down so much that we intentionally start with a lot.

Ricotta cheese: Ricotta cheese blends with the vegetables to make a creamy spinach pasta sauce. It has a mild flavor and a lovely texture. If you prefer to make this sauce without dairy, you can substitute thawed frozen peas.

Parmesan cheese: This type of cheese, whether grated or shredded, adds more flavor to the sauce.

Pasta: You can toss the spinach pasta sauce with any pasta you like, including cavatappi, fettuccini, rotini, tagliatelle, or another shape.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Below is an overview of how to make this pasta recipe so you know what to expect from the process. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full recipe, including the amounts and timing.

Steps to make spinach pasta sauce.

1. Add the olive oil to a medium skillet over medium-low heat. When warm, add the garlic and onion, if using. Stir and cook until fragrant.

2. Add the spinach and stir to wilt.

3. Once wilted, turn off the heat.

4. Add the spinach to a blender with the rest of the ingredients to make the sauce.

Additional steps to make spinach pasta sauce.

5. Blend the sauce very smooth, adding a little pasta water to make it easy to blend. Cook the pasta.

6. Add sauce to the cooked pasta and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

One large plate and one small bowl of spinach pasta sauce on noodles.

How to Store

You can make the sauce ahead or store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or freeze in a freezer container for up to 6 months. Thaw to use.

Store leftovers of the pasta tossed with the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Warm through to serve.

Best Tips for Success

  • Add onion to the garlic for additional flavor to balance out the spinach.
  • Use baby spinach or full-size spinach here. Both work in the dish.
  • To make this dairy-free, substitute thawed frozen peas for the ricotta cheese and vegan Parmesan for the dairy Parmesan.
  • Season to taste with salt.
  • Add lemon zest, cracked black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, or minced fresh herbs such as fresh basil or parsley to the top of portions for more flavor.

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spinach pasta sauce on plate.

Spinach Pasta Sauce

Packed with greens and with a creamy texture that pairs so perfectly with any noodles, this Spinach Pasta Sauce is a most delicious green pasta sauce. And it's ready in about the same amount of time as it takes to cook the pasta!
4.97 from 26 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 331kcal
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (feel free to double this)
  • ½ cup finely diced onion (optional but recommended)
  • 11 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (or thawed frozen peas)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon zest, cracked black pepper, minced basil or parsley, and/or additional Parmesan cheese (optional, for serving)
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Instructions

  • Add the olive oil to a medium skillet over medium-low heat. When warm, add the garlic and onion, if using. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add the spinach and stir to wilt.
  • When wilted, turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • (If you are using the option with the peas, add them to the pan before you cover it so they thaw as the pan sits.)
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve one cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Add the spinach mixture, the ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoon of the pasta cooking water, and the Parmesan to a blender. Blend very smooth, adding a little more water if needed to blend well.
  • Add as much sauce as you like to the cooked pasta and season to taste with salt and pepper. (You may have a little sauce left over after tossing with the cooked pasta to coat, depending on how saucy you want it. You can save that for another meal.) Serve with additional Parmesan cheese and optional toppings, if desired.

Video

Notes

    • You can make the sauce ahead or store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or freeze in a freezer container for up to 6 months. Thaw to use.
    • Store leftovers of the pasta tossed with the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Warm through to serve.
    • The garlic and onion helps to balance the spinach flavor. Feel free to double my amounts if you prefer more flavor.
    • Use baby spinach or full-size spinach here.
    • To make this dairy-free, substitute thawed frozen peas for the ricotta cheese.
    • Season to taste with salt.
    • Add lemon zest, cracked black pepper, crushed red pepper, or minced fresh herbs such as basil or parsley to the top of portions for more flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 331kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 170mg, Potassium: 390mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 3847IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 171mg, Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I think this is delicious as is, and such a pretty color! My 16-month-old will only eat it if I mix it with marinara, which turns it a horrible color, but to each their own, I guess.

  2. 5 stars
    I tried the recipe last night and it came out great! Since I had no ricotta or frozen peas, I used shelled edamame that was on-hand in my freezer. The result was super creamy. I did use more pasta water than specified to thin it out. It came together surprisingly fast, at first I was scared I wouldn’t have time to cook for dinner. Overall, it was tasty and the kids were interested in the bold green color.

  3. 5 stars
    So delicious! My toddler is allergic to whey protein, so I resolve this by cooking cheeses to break down the proteins. I just put the ricotta and Parmesan in a small saucepan with about a quarter cup of water and heated for about 10 minutes before adding to the blender. I didn’t have to add any extra water to the blender because of that. I doubled the garlic and loved it. Very garlicky that way, though.

  4. 5 stars
    Do you think this work okay with frozen spinach? I have a fresh bag and intended to make this right away but won’t have time now for a week 😬 I was thinking I’d just freeze the bag of spinach I have so it doesn’t to bad.

      1. 5 stars
        Thanks Amy! This was a great meal! I used a whole onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 bags of 6 oz spinach and frozen peas. The sauce was so tasty! Definitely had a strong pea flavor but we like peas. Both my 11 month old and 5 year old loved it. I zested a lemon in the blender as well. Usually I like to add some salt and pepper to the adult plate but the fresh grated parm gave enough of salt flavor. I added chicken sausage to the adult plates and 5 year old. I have enough sauce left over to mix in to a grain dish for another baby/kid meal. Really easy meal with a nutritional punch!