This Creamy Tomato, Mushroom, and Spinach Pasta tastes like an indulgent restaurant dish but has less than 300 calories and is ready in thirty minutes.
This Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta with Mushrooms hits the spot when it comes to healthy and super comforting meals. We serve it alongside this Kale Caesar Salad and if we are extra hungry, I add some Lemon Chicken to the recipe as well.
Some nights a big bowl of pasta is all I want and with the right recipe, I can make it work without fearing that my diet will go off the rails. Normally when seeking out pasta recipes I look for something with lots of vegetables so when I saw this delicious recipe for creamy tomato and spinach pasta from Budget Bytes I couldn’t wait to try it. It’s packed with lots of veggies – diced tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms – and then paired with a simple creamy sauce made with light cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. It also can be made in about 20-25 minutes so it’s perfect for a busy weeknight.
The other thing I love about this creamy tomato pasta recipe is that once you learn how to make it, you can make all kinds of yummy creamy pasta dishes. I am constantly switching out the veggies, adding things like chicken or shrimp, and playing with the spices. It’s really versatile and it’s hard to beat this rich and creamy tomato cream sauce. If you are looking for a lower carb option, I also make it with spaghetti squash and sausage and it comes out amazing.
Ways to Add Protein
If you want to bulk up this recipe and add some extra protein, it’s really easy to do. The flavor profile works with almost anything, but here are some of my favorite options.
- Chicken: Chicken is a natural fit for this recipe. I would recommend cutting it into strips and then cooking it in a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Once it is just cooked through, set it aside and follow the recipe as written. Add it back in with the pasta. For a faster option, you could add rotisserie chicken or store-bought grilled chicken strips.
- Shrimp: Another quick and tasty option is shrimp. Cook it in a touch of olive oil or butter beforehand. Then set it aside and follow the recipe as written. Add it back in with the pasta and serve.
- Ground Turkey: Another lean protein option is ground turkey. Start by browning the turkey with the olive oil and onions. Drain any excess fat and then add the garlic and follow the rest of the recipe. This would also work with ground beef or ground chicken. Make sure to season the meat with salt and pepper.
- Chicken or Turkey Sausage: I love adding lean sausage to dishes since it already comes packed with flavor. You can use ground sausage in the same way you would use the ground turkey. For sausage links, cook them first until browned and set aside. Then add them back to the dish with the spinach.
- White Beans or Chickpeas: For a vegetarian option, you could white beans or chickpeas. I like to cook them in the tomato sauce so they take on more flavor. Add them at the same time you add the diced tomatoes. Make sure to drain and rinse them well before adding them.
Can I use different vegetables?
This recipe can be considered a blank canvas when it comes to vegetables and almost anything will work. I have made it with broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, butternut squash, peas, and even cabbage. Depending on the vegetable, you may need to add cooking time when simmering the tomatoes so the vegetable can be cooked through to your liking. If you want to use frozen vegetables that will work as well. Just be careful with frozen vegetables like spinach that release a lot of water since it can result in a watery sauce. For those veggies, I recommend defrosting them beforehand.
Does this recipe work for meal prep?
Pasta dishes can be a bit tricky for meal prep since pasta doesn’t always reheat well. If you want to make this for meal prep, I have a few recommendations. First of all, cook the pasta al dente so that when you reheat it, it doesn’t turn into mush. I also recommend using a lot of sauce when you meal prep pasta since it helps the pasta from drying out. This means you may want to add some extra diced tomatoes. Remember, the pasta will soak up some of the sauce so you want extra if you will be refrigerating it.
How to make a vegan Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta?
It is actually surprisingly easy to make a vegan version of this dish since there are lots of great options when it comes to vegan cheeses on the market. Just replace the cream cheese with your favorite vegan cream cheese. Then use either a vegan Parmesan or nutritional yeast instead of the Parmesan cheese.
How to make creamy tomato pasta?
After trying this recipe, many people want to know the basic recipe for making a simple creamy tomato pasta so they can use it for other recipes. Here is the basic creamy tomato sauce recipe I use when making pasta. This is enough for 8 ounces of pasta. If you are cooking a full pound, you will want to double the recipe.
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2-1 cup onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 14 oz. canned diced Italian tomatoes (not drained)
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 oz. light cream cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- Up to 1/2 cup pasta water
- Directions: Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Add the canned tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. Stir until a creamy sauce forms, adding pasta water as needed to get the right consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Add in your pasta and stir to coat.
- Shortcut: Grab your favorite jar of marinara sauce and bring it to a simmer. Stir in 2-4 ounces of cream cheese and 1/4-1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Thin with pasta cooking liquid (or broth) if needed.
This recipe originally appeared in 2015 but has been updated with new tips and cooking ideas.