Spinach Pasta Sauce
A superbly flavourful 5-ingredient creamy spinach pasta sauce that you can whizz together in a few minutes. If you think spinach can be bland this tasty sauce is sure to prove you wrong. The fresh citrusy lemon flavour with umami hints from garlic and freshly grated Parmesan is sure to take your pasta to the next level. The recipe includes optional lemony Parmesan bread crumbs to add even more texture and deliciousness to your favourite pasta or ravioli.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the full recipe card if you are in a hurry!
✅ 6 reasons why you'll love this easy recipe:
- It's super flavourful - a fresh green pasta sauce, brimming with delicious citrusy lemon flavour and umami taste of garlic and freshly grated Parmesan.
- Just 5 ingredients - you just need spinach, a lemon, Parmesan, garlic and creme fraiche.
- Quick & easy - this tasty sauce could not be simpler, it really is just a case of throwing the ingredients in your food processor and pureeing for a few minutes.
- A great recipe to make ahead - make a larger batch and store in the fridge so it's ready and waiting to be thrown onto some freshly cooked pasta or ravioli.
- Healthy - this sauce packs in a lot of nutrient-dense spinach which is great for topping up your iron and provides vitamins A, C and K.
- Recipe includes optional lemony Parmesan crumbs - these add even more yummy taste and texture to the finished dish and only require an extra 5 minutes of your time.
🛒 Ingredients and variations:
This zesty spinach sauce just requires 5 simple ingredients: fresh spinach, lemon, Parmesan, garlic powder and creme fraiche.
- Spinach: use fresh spinach or baby spinach instead of frozen. This recipe has not been tested with frozen spinach and it is likely to increase the water content in the sauce.
- Crème fraîche: the recipe has been tested with light crème fraîche. You could also use full fat crème fraîche, but this is likely to make the sauce a little thicker. Add a very small amount if this is the case. Avoid using heavy cream or cream cheese because you won't get the right consistency and the sauce would also be too rich. Sour cream is the best alternative if you don't have crème fraiche.
- Garlic powder: you can also use a clove of fresh garlic, but you will need to mellow it first, so it doesn't add an unwanted sharp flavour to the sauce.
- Parmesan: you can also use freshly grated pecorino or Grana Padano.
- Olive oil: you can use butter instead to toast the breadcrumbs
🧑🍳 Spinach Pasta Sauce in 3 easy steps
Place the spinach and the rest of the ingredients for the sauce into your food processor and blitz until you get a pureed sauce, scraping off any chunks that are stuck to the sides as you go.
2. Parmesan crumbs
Place a skillet over a medium heat and add olive oil (or melted butter). Add the breadcrumbs when the oil is hot and stir in a little bit of lemon zest and garlic powder. Remove them from the pan when they begin to brown, place them into a bowl and stir in the Parmesan.
3. Serve with pasta or ravioli
Add the spinach sauce to freshly cooked pasta or ravioli, top with Parmesan crumbs and enjoy.
🍝 Serving suggestions
Just cook your favourite pasta shape according to the package directions in a large pot of boiling water, drain, stir in the spinach pasta sauce, and serve immediately topped with the parmesan and lemon crumbs.
If you're wondering which pasta shape would be best suited for this sauce rest assured that it will taste great with most long and short pasta shapes. Fusilli and Riccioli tend to be my go-to's. Penne, farfalle, rigatoni, linguine and tagliatelle are also strong options.
This spinach sauce is sure to take a packet of store-bought ravioli to the next level and is an excellent alternative to tomato sauce or creamy sauce. Just combine it with cooked ravioli and serve. Any type of cheese-filled ravioli will pair up nicely such as spinach ricotta, tomato and mozzarella or mushroom.
If you feel that your spinach pasta requires some additional protein, add some bite-sized chunks of chicken into the mix. Simply sauté some pieces chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs in a skillet or take the opportunity to use up leftover cooked chicken.
Top tip: Reserved pasta water adds silky richness and additional flavour to any pasta dish. Set a cup of pasta water aside before you drain the cooked pasta and stir it into the spinach sauce before you add it to the pasta.
👍 Top tips for perfect Spinach pasta sauce
- Scrape the sides of the food processor - you'll probably find stray pieces of spinach get stuck to the sides. I always do! Scrape these back into the sauce with a spatula to ensure your spinach sauce is perfectly smooth.
- Use garlic powder instead of fresh - fresh garlic will work as well, but it will add a sharp bitter taste if you don't mellow it first. It's much easier to use garlic powder.
- Don't turn your back on the Parmesan and lemon crumbs - they can go from nicely brown to burnt in a matter of seconds.
Is spinach pasta healthy?Spinach pasta is much more nutritious than traditional cream and meat sauces. Spinach contains antioxidants, iron, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin K.
How can I use a lot of spinach?There are lots of options and therefore no excuse to let spinach go to waste. You can make pesto, or another type of spinach pasta sauce, a spinach dip, spinach soup, Spanakopita or saag paneer.
Blended spinach pasta sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just make sure you cover it with cling film / plastic wrap or put it into an airtight container.
It is safe to freeze the sauce for up to 3 months, although I wouldn't recommend it. Freezing is likely to alter the consistency of the sauce because crème fraiche is sensitive to frozen temperatures. Plus, the sauce is so easy and quick to prepare, that there's no reason not to whip up a fresh batch each time.
😋 Check out my other speedy pasta recipes
Pasta is quick, easy and super versatile. It's often my go-to for lunch or dinner on a busy day. With so many tasty options, it never gets boring. If you liked this creamy spinach sauce recipe, you should check out my other pasta recipes. They all use simple ingredients and can be made in 30 minutes or less.
Spinach Pasta Sauce
Spinach pasta sauce:
- 160g spinach - washed (Note 1)
- 130g (or ½ cup) light crème fraîche
- 45g (or ½ cup) finely grated Parmesan
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ lemon juice + zest
Lemon and Parmesan crumbs:
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp breadcrumbs
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ lemon - zest
- 20g or 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Spinach pasta sauce
- Place the spinach, crème fraîche, Parmesan, salt, garlic powder, lemon juice and zest in a food processor and blitz until a smooth sauce is formed.
Parmesan and lemon crumbs:
- Place a frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
- Add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and garlic powder when the oil is hot and toast for a few minutes until the crumbs begin to brown.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the toasted crumbs to a bowl.
- Stir in the grated parmesan.
- Combine the sauce with freshly boiled pasta or ravioli.
- Sprinkle the lemon and parmesan crumbs on top and enjoy
- Ensure your spinach is dry before you begin. If you have just washed the spinach, you may have to use kitchen paper to remove the excess moisture.