NOTE: This post contains affiliate links to products I regularly use and love. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
A quick & easy cream cheese sauce for your favorite pasta
A pasta dinner with a sauce made from cheese AND a vegetable removes just a little bit of the guilt, right? Well, I thought so. This recipe contains a cream cheese sauce made with salty feta, funky parmesan, aromatic garlic, and healthy spinach.
The combination of a few simple ingredients actually packs a punch of exquisite flavor. And adding a little pasta water helps it to beautifully coat each strand of linguine, fettuccine, spaghetti, or whatever you like!
The consistency of the sauce is not “creamy” like an alfredo or cream-based sauce. However, it does not skimp on flavor and visual appeal with the lovely specks of green laced around each strand of pasta. My baby actually loved eating bite-sized pieces of this pasta for many days after, so your kids will love it too!
What you’ll need to make it: Ingredients & Tools
Gather up some garlic, cheeses, and spinach that is fresh or frozen. And a few other ingredients and cooking tools.
Here’s the lineup:
- Pasta (a long type, such as linguine, fettuccine, spaghetti, tagliatelle, etc.)
- Pasta water–to loosen up the cream cheese sauce and make it silky
- Fresh or frozen spinach (just defrost it in the microwave for a few minutes first)
- Cream cheese (or substitute with vegan cream cheese)
- Feta cheese (here is an amazing vegan feta recipe if you want to make your own)
- Parmesan cheese (or substitute with nutritional yeast)
- Food processor or blender–it will Simplify Your Life! I used a small processor. A Ninja blender will also work well to create an even smoother sauce.
- A large nonstick pot (this product link is an updated version of the pot shown in the photos)
Certainly, a fabulous sauce for pasta has never been so quick and easy to make. You will have a tasty dinner in minutes!
How to make Pasta with Spinach Cream Cheese Sauce in 3 easy steps
Step 1: Boil the pasta and reserve some of the pasta water
Use any pasta that you like, preferably a long pasta or one that hugs sauces well (e.g., rotini, cavatappi, rigatoni, etc.). Be sure to season the water rather liberally with salt until it resembles that salinity of seawater and cook the pasta to al dente or just under it. And the most important step is to reserve 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta.
Step 2: Make the spinach cream cheese pasta sauce (in a food processor or blender…easy peasy!)
The pasta sauce is made quickly and easily by simply throwing everything into a mini food processor. The mini food processor really comes in handy because it’s much more compact to store in the cabinet. And it requires much less time and effort when it’s time for cleaning up. I love it!
Anyway…back to the sauce! You will end up with a better blend of ingredients if you blitz them in steps. So, begin with the garlic to make sure it is finely minced because large chunks of garlic in a sauce are not the most palatable.
To the processor, first add the garlic…blitz to a mince. Then, add the spinach and blitz again until well shredded. Next, add the cheeses and pulverize to a nice thick paste-like sauce. Perfect!
Step 3: Mix the pasta with the sauce and pasta water
Once the pasta has been drained, dump it back into the pot off of the burner. The pasta should still be hot when it is time to add the sauce, but if it has cooled down too much, place the pot back on the burner on low heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water to unstick the pasta if needed.
Dump the sauce onto the pasta and add a couple more tablespoons of the pasta water to help loosen up the sauce (that comes to a total of 1/4 cup of pasta water at this point). If the sauce is struggling to evenly coat the noodles, add more pasta water, a little at a time.
Remember, this sauce is not super creamy or saucy, per se. It is meant to hug the pasta and provide delicious flavor.
Done! Time to eat.
More quick and easy pasta recipes
- One Pan Chicken & Sundried Tomato Pasta
- Toasted Hazelnut Pesto with Blistered Tomatoes
- Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Pasta
Pin this recipe
- 8 oz. long pasta of your choice (linguine was used)
- 1/4-1/3 c reserved pasta water
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 c spinach, fresh or frozen (defrosted)
- ¼ c cream cheese, cubed
- ¼ c feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- A drizzle of olive oil
- A sprinkle of parmesan
- Boil the pasta. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, seasoning the water well with salt. (Don't forget to reserve some of the pasta water before draining.) Return the pasta to the same pot it was cooked in but off of the burner.
- Make the sauce. Meanwhile, in a small food processor, add the garlic and pulse until minced. Next, add the spinach and pulse until minced as well. Next, add the cheeses, salt, and pepper and blend everything until smooth.
- Sauce the pasta (See Notes). Scoop the sauce onto the drained pasta. Add a little of the reserved pasta water at a time while tossing the pasta until the sauce is at the consistency to your liking. The noodles should be evenly coated with sauce, but not necessarily creamy.
- Garnish the pasta. Drizzle the pasta with olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan before serving. Delish!
- The pasta should still be hot when it is time to add the sauce, but if it has cooled down too much, place the pot back on the burner on low heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water to unstick the pasta if needed.
- Freezing the sauce is not recommended because the cheeses in the sauce can separate when reheated.
- You can make the sauce ahead and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 521mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g
The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used. I am not a doctor, nor a certified nutritionist and make no claims to the contrary. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. Please consult your personal physician with any questions you may have regarding your own health and diet.