Creamy Garlic Butter Pasta with Spinach

30 Minute Meals

This Garlic Butter Pasta with Spinach recipe is made with fresh spinach and bow tie pasta tossed in a creamy garlic-butter sauce.

dutch oven with bow tie pasta and spinach.

MY FAVORITE SPINACH PASTA RECIPE

Easy recipe for garlicky and buttery pasta with fresh spinach. A quick and easy meatless main or healthy side dish your family will love!

One of the meals I’ve made for Goce every week for the last several years is this Garlic Butter Pasta. He is my pasta-obsessed husband, and even though he’s mainly low-carb, sometimes a boy’s gotta eat what he wants to eat. πŸ˜ƒ 

I add whatever leafy greens I can find – kale, spinach, chard – and suddenly it looks healthier and a lot more inviting.

What sets this pasta apart from other pasta dinners is that it’s without a heavy sauce, like alfredo. We are only dealing with butter and garlic, plus a pinch of cream cheese and milk.

cooking garlic with butter in a skillet

I’m tellin’ you, never underestimate the power of a good pasta dish. No… a GREAT pasta dish! This Garlic-Butter Spinach and Pasta recipe is seriously amazing.

I told you once before that we do pasta thrice a week; Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta, Cheesy Chicken Orzo, Baked Eggplant Penne Pasta… you get the point.

HOW TO MAKE GARLIC BUTTER PASTA WITH SPINACH

This Garlic-Butter Pasta & Spinach dish is a once a week deal. My other half is obsessed with garlic. Even more obsessed with pasta. The man can live on spaghetti, and he wants me to come up with a garlic and chocolate CAKE! Lawwwd, help us.

But, this delicious meal sitting before you is probably the quickest Olive-Garden-Chef’s-Special type of food you’ll ever make! 

  1. Boil the pasta according to the directions on the box. I use Whole Grain or Whole Wheat Bow Tie Pasta and it takes about 12 minutes of boil time to get that al dente cooked pasta.
  2. Melt butter in a skillet; add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. (I actually just wait for the pasta to be done, then I drain it and use the same pot to melt the butter and create the sauce. Who needs another pot or skillet to wash, ya know whadda mean? πŸ˜‰) 
  3. Add mounds of baby spinach and cook until wilted.
  4. Stir in cooked pasta; add cream cheese and milk; cook until creamy and hot. 
  5. Serve! 

Clearly, in order to enjoy this, you really need to love garlic. And butter. Cream cheese, too. Did I hear a ‘HELL YEAH!’?! Of course I did!!

pasta and spinach in a serving bowl.

This is a 20-minute meal that’s completely fool-proof, and a perfect quick dish for weeknights that will please even picky eaters. 

HOW TO STORE COOKED PASTA LEFTOVERS

Transfer cooked pasta to an airtight container; add a drizzle of olive oil and stir through. Cover and keep refrigerated for 3 to 5 days.

ENJOY!

TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE

5 from 3 votes
pasta and spinach in a serving bowl.
Garlic-Butter Spinach and Pasta
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

This Garlic-Butter Spinach and Pasta recipe is seriously good. Fresh spinach and bow tie pasta tossed in a delicious and creamy garlic-butter sauce.

Course: Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: easy pasta dinner, easy spinach pasta recipe, spinach and garlic pasta, spinach pasta recipe, vegetarian dinner recipes
Servings: 4 serves
Calories: 385 kcal
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces bow tie pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper , to taste
  • fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings , garnish
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk
Instructions
  1. Prepare pasta following directions on the box.

  2. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet or dutch oven.

  3. Add garlic and continue to stir and cook until fragrant; about 30 seconds.

  4. Add spinach; season with salt, pepper, and basil, and cook until spinach is wilted; about 1 to 2 minutes. Depending on the size of your skillet, you might have to cook the spinach down in batches.

  5. Drain cooked pasta and add to the spinach mixture; add cream cheese and milk.

  6. Mix and stir until everything is well incorporated and cream cheese is melted.

  7. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.

  8. Top with fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings.

  9. Serve.
Recipe Notes
WW FREESTYLE POINTS: 14
  • To lower points down to 11, use olive oil in place of butter, and also use fat free cream cheese.
Nutrition Facts
Garlic-Butter Spinach and Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 385 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 10g50%
Cholesterol 47mg16%
Sodium 201mg8%
Potassium 483mg14%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 5882IU118%
Vitamin C 17mg21%
Calcium 112mg11%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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*Originally published on August 24th, 2013. Updated on October 2nd, 2019.

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73 Responses
  1. Anthony

    I made this recipe this afternoon and it was good. I minced the garlic and left it in the dish (I’m a HUGE garlic lover). Some modifications I’ll do in the future is to add shrimp, some lemon zest with a splash of lemon juice.

    1. Hi Jessica! Before preparing the spinach, and while cooking the pasta, I would suggest to first, take about 12-ounces of chicken breasts and cut them up into cubes and season with salt and pepper. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add cubed chicken pieces and cook until chicken is browned on all sides and cooked through, stirring occasionally; this shouldn’t take more than 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and then continue with the recipe, beginning at step 2 in the instructions. I hope this helps! Let me know. Have a great Sunday!

  2. Maheen

    Just made this! I added mushrooms which I cooked right before adding the spinach. Thank you for this simple and yummy recipe! My mum and I loved it.

  3. CS

    I made this today and it was simple and very yummy. I had left over meatballs so I added it. Only took like 10 minutes to make. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. We were shopping at Costco yesterday and we saw Christmas lights and tree ornaments in the store! We haven’t started decorating for Halloween and some kids (not mine anymore) are still in summer break. Crazy! By the way, love your simple pasta. Good fresh spinach will shine in this garlicky butter pasta. YUM!

  5. Patti Edwards

    I am definitely making this dish soon!! We don’t eat enough pasta at my house. If I win the Target card, I know I’ll spend it all on dog stuff!

  6. Barbara Bradford

    I would spend the first of my money on some fresh spinach for your recipe. It looks fantastic. The rest of the money would go for towels, for some reason my towels have a way of disappearing.

  7. Thanks for this quick and easy recipe, I am a pre-k teacher and we have been phasing in for the last 2 weeks but tomorrow,,,,all 20 wil be there!!! I already have my fav wine and a big old glass sitting on the counter but now I have a terrific, quick recipe for my dinner!! If I got the 100 dollar gift certificate I would head to the dollar section to get bunches of stuff for my classroom and to the kitchen area cause I can always find something I need at Target!!!!

  8. Dorothy Teel

    Cool $100 at Target I would be in dream heaven and I would love to get unusual items that I normally do not buy, things for my home and me, LOL I love their serving wear, glassware, tablecloths I would definitely be able to spend the gift card. And No I would not buy my groceries with it.. LOL

  9. julie

    There are a few things I would like for my kitchen and I love their seasonal home dΓ©cor, so I’m sure I wouldn’t have any problem spending $100! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  10. Katie

    Well, it’s Target…so I’d probably spend it on things I don’t need, as per my usual habits there. I would probably blow it on clothes or home decor!

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Katerina
I'm a cookie-maker & picture-taker! For me, eating is a moment to share, an enjoyment, a passion. I hope you enjoy my recipes!
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