Green pasta sauce is a delicious alternative to marinara. Filled with nutrients from spinach with a touch of creaminess. This has quickly become a kid approved family favorite!
We like making this a full meal by serving with chicken pesto meatballs or sliced chicken breast.
Sometimes a simple bowl of pasta, like these buttered noodles, is the only thing my kids want for dinner. That’s why I love this fresh green sauce for pasta. Quick and easy to make, a great alternative to pesto, but most important, a meal my kids enjoy.
It’s one of those meals I don’t mind making often because it’s made with nutritious spinach so I know they are getting a good serving of vegetables without even realizing it.
Why this recipe works
- Nutritious – This pasta dish is full of vitamins.
- Ingredients – Just need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe.
- Quick – This dinner can be whipped up in under 30 minutes.
- Versatile – Can be served with your favorite protein and vegetables.
- Leftovers – This makes amazing leftovers!
Spinach – Adds lots of nutrients and the beautiful green color.
Olive oil – Used to cook the garlic and spinach.
Garlic – Gives great flavor to this dish.
Parmesan cheese – Everything is better with cheese, right!? Parmesan adds a little saltiness to the sauce.
Cream cheese – Adds a touch of creaminess to the sauce.
Spaghetti – The conduit for the sauce of course. Most any pasta shape works well with this sauce.
Spinach is a wonderful, leafy vegetable full of vitamins with a mild taste that is easy to “hide” in food like these smoothies. This makes it great for picky eaters.
Spinach contains vitamins A, C, and K, folic acid, iron, calcium and more. It’s been shown to benefit blood pressure, eye health and even stress levels.
How to make green pasta sauce
Scroll down for full printable recipe, ingredients and video.
- Saute: Saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add spinach and saute until wilted. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Pasta: Cook pasta according to package directions and drain once cooked.
- Blend: Add cooked spinach, garlic, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese and broth to a food processor and puree until a sauce is formed.
- Combine: Add sauce back into pan along with cooked pasta. Add pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Cook another 2-3 minutes to heat through.
- Serve: Serve while still warm and sprinkle with extra cheese.
How to store leftovers
The best way to store this pasta is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last 3-4 days. To reheat, I add it back into a skillet with a little extra vegetable or chicken broth and heat through.
How to cook spaghetti
- Make sure to not add oil to the pasta water. This will make a barrier on the pasta, not allowing the sauce to stick.
- Salt the pasta water. Add a good amount of salt to the boiling water while pasta is cooking.
- Be sure to occasionally stir the pasta while it is boiling. This helps the noodles not stick together.
Tips for this recipe
- If you don’t have a food processor, mix the green sauce in a blender.
- Feel free to use frozen spinach if you don’t have fresh on hand. Make sure to thaw and squeeze any excess water from the spinach.
- If you like a little spice, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Protein: Try adding chicken, meatballs, tofu or seafood to make this a full meal.
- Vegetables: I love serving this with diced tomatoes on top or you could also try adding sauteed vegetables like asparagus, mushrooms, squash or even avocado.
- Pasta: This sauce goes well with most pasta shapes. I like making it with spaghetti or fettuccini, my kids like it with rotini and rigatoni.
More pasta recipes
- Instant Pot chicken pesto pasta – Chicken pesto made in the pressure cooker.
- Chicken lasagna – Layers of lasagna pasta, shredded chicken and cheese.
- Baked ravioli – Super easy meal of sauce, ravioli and cheese baked to perfection.
- Beef pasta bake – Ground beef, cheese and pasta baked into a delicious casserole.
- Pizza casserole – All your favorite supreme pizza toppings mix with pasta and cheese.
*** If you made this recipe, feel free to leave a comment and rating below.
Green Pasta Sauce
- 1 10 oz bag spinach
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock or chicken stock or water
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1 lb spaghetti or other pasta
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil spaghetti according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, add olive oil to large skillet over medium heat. Stir in minced garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add in spinach and cook until it wilts.
- Add cooked spinach to a food processor or blender. Add in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, broth, salt and pepper. Blend until sauce is formed.
- Add sauce and drained, cooked pasta back into skillet and toss.
- Serve warm with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
Can this pasta be served cold or room temperature?
Yes, you can serve it cold or room temperature. Thanks!
I made this earlier in the week and it was SOOO good! I left out the cream cheese and added in a can of white beans for the protein. And added a big pinch of red pepper flakes. This will be a staple recipe for me from now on.
Do you think this will freeze well? Or should I make a smaller batch? There are only 2 of us in my house and the whole batch is too much for us to eat before it goes bad.
So glad you liked it. Yes, it should freeze well. You can thaw it in the refrigerator over night and then reheat in a saucepan.
Great recipe using common ingredients. Tossed in some leftover chicken and it turned out great.
Can frozen spinach be used instead of fresh spinach?
I haven’t tried it with frozen but you could thaw the frozen spinach and make sure to squeeze out as much excess water before using.
how much olive oil?
1 tablespoon of olive oil works great to sautee the spinach. Thanks!
my son made this for me. I didn’t have spinach but used kale, mint, cilantro and parsley and it came out delicious. also added chili flakes, fish sauce, ginger and soy sauce or Tamari. it’s a HIT!
So glad you enjoyed!
This is such a great idea using spinach! Love all of the everyday ingredients in this too!
Yummy, easy to make and delicious!! 🙂 Gotta love pasta!