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Looking for a fast and easy dinner recipe that tastes like it took all day? This creamy goat cheese pasta is done in 20 minutes and sure to be a favorite.

Creamy goat cheese pasta
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Can you ever have too many easy dinner recipes? As often as we create everyday easy dinner ideas for this website, we still have nights we don’t know what’s for dinner! So here’s a new dinner that couldn’t be easier if it tried: our 20-minute creamy goat cheese pasta.

Why we love this recipe: This pasta is so tangy and creamy, sweet from the tomatoes and lightly peppery from the fresh basil. The secret to the creaminess is that goat cheese, which brings a complexity that’s almost like a vodka sauce. Combined with chewy penne, it’s out of this world tasty!

Goat cheese pasta

Ingredient notes for goat cheese pasta

This pasta is so easy to make, essentially a stovetop version of this Instant pot pasta (if you have a pressure cooker, head over to that recipe!). For the stovetop version, it’s simply a matter of cooking up some penne, and making a quick marinara sauce at the same time. Here are a few ingredient notes:

  • Use fire roasted tomatoes if you can find them. Fire roasted tomatoes taste sweet right out of the can, and don’t require simmering for hours to get good flavor. If you can’t find fire roasted, look for the best quality crushed tomatoes you can find. You could also blend up some diced fire roasted tomatoes if you can find those.
  • Another key to this recipe is fresh basil. Adding whole fresh basil leaves to the sauce adds a peppery undertone that’s quite unlike any dried herb you can buy. You can use the remaining fresh basil leaves as a garnish for the pasta when it’s done.
  • Soft goat cheese (chevre) is the star ingredient. Look for a 4 ounce log of chevre, which is simple to find at most grocery stores.
Goat cheese pasta

Is goat cheese better for you than cow’s cheese?

So, goat cheese: is it healthier than cow’s cheese? Actually, yes! There are many benefits of goat cheese over a standard cow’s cheese like cheddar or mozzarella (via Prevention):

  • Goat cheese has more vitamins and minerals than cow’s cheese. Goat’s milk is richer in essential nutrients than cow’s milk (like vitamin A & B, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium).
  • Goat cheese has slightly less calories than cow’s cheese. Goat cheese has just 75 calories per ounce—less than cow cheeses like mozzarella (85), Swiss (108), and cheddar (115).
  • Goat cheese is easier to digest. Goat cheese has less lactose than cow’s milk and a slightly different protein structure. That means even people who are lactose intolerant many times can digest goat cheese!
Goat cheese pasta

Use local goat cheese if possible

If you can find it for this goat cheese pasta, try to buy local goat cheese! Supporting local vendors is so important for the local economy: and what’s more fun than supporting local goats! We have a local goat cheese vendor at our farmers market that we love. So consider checking out your farmers market or groceries for any local goat cheese options.

How to cook pasta to al dente

Cooking pasta too long is a common mistake in the kitchen. To cook pasta to al dente, check the package instructions and then start tasting your pasta a few minutes before that! The timing listed on many packages results in rubbery pasta.

You want to catch the pasta right when it goes from crunchy to tender. It should still be slightly firm inside–but not crunchy!

Dietary notes

This goat cheese pasta recipe is vegetarian.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of goat cheese is best for pasta?

For a creamy and luxurious sauce, soft, fresh goat cheese like chèvre is ideal.

What pasta shape works best with goat cheese sauce?

Short pasta shapes like penne, fusilli, or rotini are great for holding onto the creamy goat cheese sauce. However, long pasta like spaghetti or fettuccine can also work well.

What other ingredients pair well with goat cheese pasta?

Goat cheese pairs beautifully with various flavors:

Vegetables: Roasted or sautéed vegetables like cherry tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, and zucchini.

Herbs: Fresh herbs like basil, thyme, oregano, and chives.

Nuts: Toasted pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds for added crunch and flavor.

Protein: Grilled chicken or sauteed shrimp.

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Creamy goat cheese pasta

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.3 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x
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Looking for a fast and easy dinner recipe that tastes like it took all day? This creamy goat cheese pasta is done in 20 minutes and sure to be a favorite.


  • 8 ounces penne pasta (regular, not whole wheat)
  • 28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, tightly packed (or chopped spinach)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 ounce goat cheese log


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the penne until al dente, checking a few minutes before the package instructions to see if it is tender but still firm. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, place the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, spinach, and whole basil leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer while the pasta cooks or at least 10 minutes.
  3. When the pasta is done and drained, crumble the goat cheese into the sauce and add the pasta. Stir until a creamy sauce forms. Serve immediately.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Mary says:

    This pasta recipe is delicious! I’ve made it twice for my family. I decided to put the fire-roasted tomatoes in the Vitamix because one of my kids does not like chunky tomatoes. Easy fix! I read in a previous review that this sauce was bland. I’m guessing that person probably used regular canned tomatoes and not fire-roasted tomatoes – because this recipe is 100% full of flavor! It was so easy to make and I will definitely make it over and over! Highly recommend.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Used to eat goat cheese as a kid…but I guess I outgrew it. The tang from the cheese was too strong and recipe overall bland.

    Will try another cheese next time.

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