This easy spinach alfredo pasta comes together in under 20 minutes and is a vegetarian dinner recipe the whole family will love!

Spinach Alfredo Pasta

Pasta with butter and cheese was rare for us when we first started eating whole food. With so many new foods to experiment with, we focused mainly on experimenting with whole grains and fresh vegetables. But today, our “moderation is key” approach has us experimenting with whole wheat pastas studded with veggies. Plus —newsflash — butter’s back to being good for you. So here’s a creamy spinach alfredo pasta that’s easy to make and totally delicious.

Want a plant based / vegan alfredo sauce? Try our Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo.

Creating this easy pasta recipe

Instead of the typical cream-based alfredo sauce we’re used to here in America, this fettuccine alfredo uses the “traditional” method: tossing the warm pasta with butter and parmesan cheese, which melts into a gooey, savory sauce. We’ve added spinach here to pack in some nutrients; you also could use other greens like tender baby arugula. (Got spinach left over? See our top spinach recipes.)

We hope you enjoy this take on classic Italian comfort food! We’ve used whole wheat pasta here, but you could certainly use gluten-free if you have allergies.

Spinach Alfredo Pasta

Tips for making spinach alfredo pasta

This vegetarian pasta recipe comes together in under 20 minutes, but keep these things in mind when you’re making it:

  • Use freshly grated Parmesan — The Parmesan cheese sold in shaker cans doesn’t melt like the stuff you can buy at the cheese counter. If possible, grate the Parmesan yourself, or buy the pre-shredded cheese in a bag. Just avoid the stuff in the can at all costs!
  • Wash your greens before using — If you’re using a bunch of spinach and not boxed baby greens, make sure to wash them first!
  • Use salted butter — We prefer using salted butter in this spinach alfredo pasta recipe, to bring just the right amount of salt to the dish.
Spinach Alfredo Pasta

Looking for more pasta recipes? 

Outside of this spinach alfredo pasta, here are a few of our favorite pasta recipes:

Spinach alfredo pasta

This recipe is…

This spinach alfredo pasta recipe is vegetarian.

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Spinach Alfredo Pasta

Spinach Alfredo Pasta


  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x

Description

This easy spinach alfredo pasta comes together in under 20 minutes and is a vegetarian dinner recipe the whole family will love!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 12 ounces spaghetti or fettuccine
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook the pasta to al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water in a liquid measuring cup; set it aside. Then drain and rinse the pasta.
  2. In a large saucepan or skillet, heat a splash of the pasta water over medium heat. Cook spinach leaves until just wilted and bright green; then remove to a bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of kosher salt and set aside.
  3. In the saucepan, add the milk, ¼ cup of the pasta water, and the Parmesan cheese. Cook over low heat, stirring until a smooth sauce forms.
  4. Add the pasta to the pan and stir to coat. Add the butter, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper and stir to combine until the butter melts. If necessary, and a splash of pasta water to smooth out the sauce. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately

Notes

Inspired by Simply Recipes and Saveur

  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Spinach Alfredo Pasta, pasta alfredo

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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28 Comments

  1. I always shy away from alfredo because it is usually so darn creamy and heavy and makes me feel all guilty and stuff. But I like the simple look of this one and, my, how I’ve been craaaaving spinach!

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever had fettucine alfredo – I’ve never seen it over here and always steered clear when I’ve been in the the US as I don’t do well with heavy/cream sauces but this? This sounds wonderful. Rich but light at the same time especially with the brightness of the spinach in there too.

  3. I made a similar noodle dish a few days ago as a side dish for our meal with whole wheat elbows , parm, little butter and added a beaten egg to the mixture for a little extra protein. My kids devoured it! Love the spinach in yours and will have to add a green next time. I think even something simple like parsley or other herbs would be delicious. Thanks!

  4. I absolutely LOVE this and am totally on board with butter. And if you haven’t yet tried ghee….oh.em.ghee. [bahaha – had to] So super rich and amazing, especially for cooking eggs in. The simplicity of this is awesome, minus the sand. ;)

  5. My, my… We are an older couple and we gave up heavy cream sauces some time ago..
    I found your blog while surfing for simple meals for 2..
    THIS recipe will be made this week..
    Thank you… :O)

  6. I had this for lunch tiday and it was perfect! Quick, easy, and delicious! I am always looking for pasta dishes because this is what I cook whan I have no inspiration (or too much inspiration and can’t choose what to cook!). Pasta is always the best solution ;) I used orechiette because this is what I had on hand and chopped the spinach to match with the size of pasta, but it wilted much more than what your picture suggests (it was still very good!) so next time I’ll try with long pasta or I won’t cook the spinach beforehand, and toss it directly with the pasta! Thank you for the recipe :)

    1. Glad you tried the recipe! The spinach we purchased at the farmer’s market was hardier than your typical store-bought baby spinach… taking closer to the 3 minutes of cook time. Thanks for writing!

      1. I had spinach from the farmer market too but I think that it was pretty tender so that might explain why it wilted. Also I think that’s because I chopped it! But it was really great though :)

  7. I love this idea and will have to try it! I don’t typically make or eat a lot of alfredo because the “typical” version is too heavy to me. This sounds much more my style.

    Also, I have such a hard time with arugula. For me, the flavor is overpowering (even without the sand, LOL!) even in small quantities so I almost always use spinach instead.

  8. Hello! This is a great reminder that some of the best pasta sauces are very simple. I laughed at your crunchy arugula story. It reminds me of the time the same happened to me with some broccoli. I think I even ate some of it for a second day, trying to convince myself that it was edible. Nope, it wasn’t.

  9. Excellent! I added mushrooms and red pepper flakes. Would try it next time with either shrimp or chicken.. Thank you!!!

  10. I had problems with the cheese not melting and clumping up. Is that supposed to happen? Any tips for me?

    1. Yes, this happens before the cheese melts! Just keep tossing it – you can keep the heat on very low if that helps. You can also add a little bit more pasta water and keep tossing until it comes together. It gets clumpy right before it melts, so just keep going and it should form a sauce!

      1. I’m glad i read this before i made it, mine had the same issue, so i just added a bit more pasta water and kept tossing and it did come together into a nice sauce.

  11. Fabulous recipe. Sauce was very rich, but not overly filling. Added some diced chicken cooked in rosemary infused olive oil and some fresh thyme. Great compliment to the dish for those looking for the protein boost.

  12. Yum! This is so good! I love the added nutrition from the addition of spinach . This dish tastes light, yet decadent at the same time!

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