This fresh spinach and tomato pasta recipe has a light yet mouthwatering garlic butter sauce! It's bright, simple to make, and great for lazy summer weeknights.
Why you'll love it
This spinach tomato pasta is one of my favorites to cook with garden tomatoes on those warmer days. It's on the lighter side yet still comforting, and it's best enjoyed on the patio with good friends and a glass of white wine. The buttery, garlicky sauce goes perfectly with the fresh tomatoes and spinach. Add in a little parmesan cheese, and now we're talking.
I think the tomatoes especially make this easy pasta recipe special. As it cooks, the tomatoes burst and create the sweet base of the sauce, and garlic and butter take it over the top. This simple tomato pasta really couldn't be easier to make with just a handful of ingredients! It's best when tomatoes are in season during the summer months, but I've made it in winter and it's still very good.
What you'll need
- Pasta - I like a longer pasta like linguine because it feels kinda elegant, and the butter sauce coats it so well
- Olive oil and butter - for sautéing and making the base of the sauce
- Garlic - use even more if you're a big garlic fan! I like to mince them using this garlic press since you don't even need to peel the cloves first. Easy peasy.
- Tomatoes - I used an assortment of multi-colored little tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or even chopped regular tomatoes would work fine. Whatever looks good and ripe at the store, from your garden, or the farmers' market is best.
- Italian seasoning - if you're a regular around here, you know this is a staple in my pantry. It's a convenient blend of fragrant dried herbs that comes all in one jar.
- Spinach - baby spinach adds some greens and even more freshness
- Parmesan cheese - the final touch to make the sauce irresistible. I always recommend grating your own parmesan cheese and keep a block in my fridge at all times. It tastes and melts better. I love my Microplane to grate the cheese.
Why do you reserve pasta water?
- Reserving some water when boiling pasta for the sauce is a classic cooking technique. The starch in the water acts as a binder, which is what helps the sauce ingredients come together so well and makes it silky.
How to make spinach and tomato pasta
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Boil your pasta according to package directions. While it's cooking, make the sauce.
- In a skillet with butter, olive oil, fresh minced garlic, and Italian seasoning cook the tomatoes until they're nice and soft and have released their juices. Stir in the spinach until it's wilted, reserve some of the hot pasta water and add it to the skillet, then drain the pasta and add it to the skillet along with the parmesan cheese.
- Toss it all together, season with salt & pepper as needed, and enjoy.
Substitutions and variations
- Got some fresh garden basil? Throw it in just before tossing it with the pasta. You could certainly swap the dried herbs for fresh ones if you happen to have some on hand.
- If you want to add some protein, you could stir in some shrimp. They cook quite fast, so adding them into the sauce and cooking until pink would work well. Some cooked or rotisserie chicken is another option.
- I used linguine, but feel free to use whatever pasta you have on hand or is your favorite. I recommend longer shapes for this one like spaghetti, bucatini, etc.
What to serve with this pasta
- It's great as a light vegetarian meal and needs nothing more than a slice of crusty bread or a dinner roll!
- If you're craving a salad, though, try some mixed greens with my Easy Italian Salad Dressing from scratch. It's restaurant quality but so easy.
- Want to make it more substantial? Pair it with a generous slice of Cheesy Garlic Bread.
Leftovers and storage
- This one is best fresh, but leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge in a covered container.
- Reheat in a saucepan over a low heat for best results until warmed through.
- I don't recommend freezing leftover pasta with fresh ingredients as a general rule. It won't come out the same texture or as fresh tasting.
Questions about this fresh tomato spinach pasta, or want to leave me a review? Talk to me in the comments below! As always, tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram with your creations.
Fresh Spinach and Tomato Pasta
- 8 ounces pasta (I used linguine)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 5-6 cloves garlic minced
- 12 ounces little tomatoes (grape, cherry, etc.) cut in halves
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, when the pasta is about 10 minutes away from being cooked, start the sauce. Add the olive oil and butter to a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the garlic, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning to the skillet and cook until the tomatoes have become very soft (about 4-5 minutes). You may need to turn the heat down a bit (don't let all the liquid bubble off).
- Stir in the spinach and let it cook for a minute or two until it's wilted.
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water and add it to the skillet, then drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, along with the parmesan cheese. Toss the pasta with the sauce (ensure the parm has melted in smoothly), season with salt & pepper, and serve immediately.
- Use whatever tomatoes look best/you can find. Anything in the ballpark of 12 oz. will work fine.
- This recipe is great with fresh basil if you have some!
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.