The Trick For Adding Spinach To Pasta Without It Turning To Mush

Pasta is a great way to get some vegetables into your system, as so many pasta dishes are made all the better with some veggie additions – spinach included. The problem is that spinach is a bit prone to turning to mush if overcooked — and it's quite easy to overcook it since it only takes about three or four minutes to sauté spinach. When you're sautéing spinach while cooking pasta in different pans, you may get distracted and accidentally the spinach too long.

In order to avoid this dilemma, here's what you do: As soon as the pasta reaches the al dente stage (when it is firm but chewy when bitten into), lower the heat all the way down to low (cooking pasta usually requires high heat); next, stir in the spinach one handful at a time, for about one total minute then turn off the heat and remove the heat. The spinach may not seem like it's wilted enough, but that's okay — the heat from the pasta will continue to cook the spinach after it's been taken off the heat.

With this method, you won't have to worry about the spinach overcooking, plus it will take less time and effort overall. Now that we've established how to get the spinach just right for pasta dishes, what are some go-to spinach-infused pasta recipes?

Pasta with spinach recipe ideas

Spinach makes for a great addition to classic pasta recipes that you're looking to upgrade. For example, you could do a classic spaghetti with marinara sauce complete with basil, oregano, and Parmesan cheese. Or, you could go with a pesto spaghetti and add in some spinach to up the green factor of the dish — it will look and taste delicious.

You could also go a creamier route with a classic chicken Alfredo recipe, with added spinach. Speaking of creamy, you could even add some spinach into a mac and cheese recipe for extra flavor and make the comfort food a bit healthier. Additionally, Tasting Table has a recipe for Chicken Sausage and Bell Pepper Pasta, which recommends adding spinach if you start making the recipe regularly and want to switch things up.

If you're looking for guidance on what ingredients pair well with spinach, some other veggies include mushrooms, onions, and fennel. Additionally, you'll likely want cheese in your pasta — cheeses that pair well with spinach include feta, ricotta, goat cheese, mozzarella, and, of course, parmesan. Nuts, including almonds and pecans, are also a great complement to spinach, as are herbs like basil, parsley, and thyme all go well with spinach.