Spinach Artichoke Pasta (30 Minute Dinner!)

Spinach Artichoke Pasta (30 Minute Dinner!)

Creamy, delicious Spinach Artichoke Pasta that’s ready in just 30 minutes! All the amazing flavor of spinach artichoke dip turned into a tasty baked pasta that’s packed with flavor and veggies in every bite.

331 CAL 54g CARBS 13g FAT 17g PROTEIN 10

This Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta tastes like a cozy bowl of pasta covered with your favorite spinach artichoke dip. It’s creamy, cheesy, and surprisingly good for you with tons of spinach and artichoke hearts in every bite.  It’s so good!

If you love warm and cozy pasta recipes, this is a favorite along with this Creamy Mushroom and Chicken Pasta and Creamy Chicken Broccoli Pasta.

Back to this dreamy dish. It’s a marriage of pasta and spinach artichoke dip. I imagine I can’t be the only one who looks at that amazingly delicious dip and thinks about how good it would be smothered on pasta.

Usually, there isn’t enough left to ever actually try it out, so this time I set out to make a lightened-up version just for pasta using all the classic ingredients – creamy cheesy sauce made with cream cheese and mozzarella, tender baby spinach, artichoke hearts, and a layer of Parmesan cheese.  My whole family loved it and it is such an easy weeknight meal. 

Why You’ll Love This Spinach Artichoke Pasta

This is one of my family’s very favorite meals and one of the easiest ways to get my whole family to eat their veggies. 

  • Ready in 30 minutes: This meal comes together surprisingly quickly. Cook the pasta and make the sauce while the pasta cooks. Combine and serve! That’s it! Plus there is hardly any chopping since it uses frozen spinach and artichokes. 
  • Packed with veggies: Although that package of frozen spinach may not look like much, it contains a ton of fresh spinach! Spinach shrinks so much when cooked and this recipe contains over 1/2 pound of fresh, nutritious spinach. 
  • Tastes like the dip: If you love spinach artichoke dip, this is the pasta dish for you! It tastes just like the dip!

Ingredients for spinach artichoke pasta including dry pasta, frozen spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and onions.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here’s everything you need to make this pasta dish. 

  • Pasta: This dish can be made with any type of pasta you like, including gluten-free and alternative pasta. Smaller pasta shapes, like penne or shells, work best since the sauce sticks to the pasta.  If you plan on baking the pasta at the end, cook until al dente. And make sure to save some of the starchy pasta water to make the creamy sauce. 
  • Spinach: Usually I use frozen spinach for this recipe since it is so convenient. Just make sure to defrost it and squeeze out all the excess moisture. Fresh spinach can also be used, just cook it down. You need about half a pound of fresh baby spinach to get 5 oz of cooked spinach. 
  • Artichokes: Use any type of artichoke hearts for this recipe including frozen artichoke hearts, canned artichoke hearts, or jarred artichokes packed in either water or oil. Chop larger hearts into bite-sized pieces. 
  • Garlic and onion: Fresh garlic cloves and onions add flavor to the creamy sauce. I like the mild flavor of shallots in this dish but yellow or white onion also works great. Add some red pepper flakes for a slightly spicy option. 
  • Milk: Traditional artichoke dip uses a combination of sour cream and mayonnaise to create a creamy base. For this spinach artichoke pasta, we swap in nonfat milk and use it to make a roux with flour. Then add cream cheese to get that same silky, creamy texture.  
  • Cheese: Use a combination of cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese for the cheese sauce. Swap in any other cheese you like, just make sure to use something that melts well. We love this with pepper jack for a spicy twist and it’s amazing with herb cream cheese.
  • Optional crunchy topping: If you want to add some crunch to your pasta, top the dish with Panko breadcrumbs before baking it in the oven for a golden brown top. 

Pasta tossed with spinach artichoke sauce in a large skillet.

How to Make Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Follow these steps to make this tasty dish in less than 30 minutes. 

1. Cook the pasta

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water with salt and add the pasta. Cook until al dente (especially if baking). Drain well and save some of the pasta water for the sauce. 

2. Make the spinach artichoke sauce

To make the sauce thick and creamy, the recipe starts with a roux made with olive oil and flour. Nonfat milk is added to this and cooked until it begins to thicken.

Then comes the cheese! A combination of mozzarella and cream cheese ensures plenty of cheese flavor and creaminess. Then it’s just the spinach, artichokes, and some Parmesan for good measure. You can also add a touch of fresh lemon juice or lemon zest. 

Usually, I reach for defrosted frozen spinach and artichokes since I always have them on hand. You could use fresh too, just saute it in a large skillet first and squeeze out any extra moisture. The same goes for canned artichoke hearts.

3. Bake until golden brown

Stir together the pasta and spinach artichoke sauce. Add Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper if needed. 

If you plan on baking the pasta, add it to a large baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle the top of the pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Bake or broil for a few minutes until golden brown. 

Baked spinach artichoke pasta in a ceramic dish with melted Parmesan cheese.

Add Protein – Chicken, Shrimp, or White beans

There are so many options for making this Spinach and Artichoke Pasta with some additional protein. The one we use the most often is chicken. For a quick and easy option, just add some chopped rotisserie chicken.

You can also quickly saute some sliced chicken breast in olive oil and garlic. Then just fold it into the pasta. The same goes for shrimp.

Another option, and one of our favorites, is to use a lean chicken or turkey sausage. Since they already have great flavor, they enhance the pasta without needing to worry about adding additional seasoning.  Just cook them, either sliced or whole, on the side and add to the pasta before serving.

If you want to add a vegetarian protein source, consider some white beans or chickpeas. Drain and rinse them well before adding them to your pasta.

You could also use a vegetarian meat product like vegetarian chicken or vegetarian sausages.

Tips for Making this Healthy Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

  • Drain the vegetables: To make sure you get a creamy and rich sauce, it is extremely important to drain any excess moisture from the spinach and artichokes. You can use cheesecloth or paper towels and just squeeze and squeeze until no more liquid drips out. If the veggies still contain a lot of moisture, the sauce will be less creamy.
  • Baked pasta: Depending on how much time I have and what I am in the mood for, sometimes I turn this into a baked pasta dish like in the photo by baking it for a few minutes so the top gets browned. One important note, this isn’t a true baked pasta dish and will dry out if you bake it for too long. You are just baking it enough to get a lightly browned top.
  • Try different cheeses: To get a richer flavor, you can substitute another cheese for the mozzarella. A strong cheddar, smoked mozzarella, creamy goat cheese, or even feta would all be delicious.
  • Choose the right pasta shape: You can use any type of pasta for this recipe. I find that smaller pasta shapes (penne, rotini, or shells) tend to work the best since they have nooks and crannies to soak up the sauce. You can use regular white pasta, high-fiber pasta, or whole-grain pasta. This will also work with alternative gluten-free pasta made with quinoa, rice, peas, lentils, or chickpeas. Just be careful since many of these pasta options can get mushy or gummy if overcooked.
  • Low-carb option: For a low-carb version of this dish, use spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making this spinach and artichoke pasta.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *