Spinach Artichoke Pasta that is surprisingly good for you with tons of veggies for under 350 calories. Made with a quick homemade sauce using spinach, artichoke hearts, and light cream cheese, this dish has so much flavor and is ready in just 30 minutes. Jump to Recipe keyboard_arrow_down
This Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta that's actually good for you and tastes like you covered pasta with your favorite spinach artichoke dip. So so good and actually pretty good for you. When it comes to pasta, this is a favorite along with this Creamy Mushroom and Chicken Pasta and Caprese Pasta.
This is a dreamy dish that is basically a marriage of pasta and spinach and artichoke dip. I imagine I can't be the only one who looks at that amazingly delicious dip and thinks about how good it would be smothered on pasta. Usually, there isn't enough left to ever actually try it out, so this time I set out to make a lightened up version just for pasta using all the classic ingredients, except the mayonnaise. There isn't really a need for it. And it all comes together in under thirty minutes.
In order to make the sauce thick and creamy, the recipe starts out with a roux made with olive oil and flour. Nonfat milk is added to this and cooked until it begins to thicken. Then comes the cheese! A combination of mozzarella and cream cheese ensure plenty of cheese flavor and creaminess. Then it's just the spinach, artichokes, and some Parmesan for good measure. Usually, I reach for defrosted frozen spinach and artichokes since I always have them on hand. You could use fresh too, just saute it first and squeeze out any extra moisture. Same goes for canned artichoke hearts.
Can I add protein - chicken, shrimp, white beans?
There are so many options for making this Spinach and Artichoke Pasta with some additional protein. The one we use the most often is chicken. For a quick and easy option, just add some chopped rotisserie chicken. You can also quickly saute some sliced chicken breast in olive oil and garlic. Then just fold it into the pasta. The same goes for shrimp.
Another option, and one of our favorites, is to use a lean chicken or turkey sausage. Since they already have great flavor, they enhance the pasta without needed to worry about adding additional seasoning. Just cook them, either sliced or whole, on the side and add to the pasta before serving.
If you want to add a vegetarian protein source, consider some white beans or chickpeas. Drain and rinse them well before adding them to your pasta. You could also use a vegetarian meat product like vegetarian chicken or vegetarian sausages.
Tips for Making this Healthy Spinach and Artichoke Pasta
- To make sure you get a creamy and rich sauce, it is extremely important to drain any excess moisture from the spinach and artichokes. You can use cheesecloth or paper towels and just squeeze and squeeze until no more liquid drips out. If the veggies still contain a lot of moisture, the sauce will be less creamy.
- Depending on how much time I have and what I am in the mood for, sometimes I turn this into a baked pasta dish like in the photo by baking it for a few minutes so the top gets browned. One important note, this isn't a true baked pasta dish and will dry out if you bake it for too long. You are just baking it enough to get a lightly browned top.
- To get a richer flavor, you can substitute in another cheese for the mozzarella. A strong cheddar, smoked mozzarella, creamy goat cheese, or even feta would all be delicious.
- You can use any type of pasta for this recipe. I find that smaller pasta shapes tend to work the best since they have nooks and crannies to soak up the sauce. You can use regular white pasta, high fiber pasta, or whole grain pasta. This will also work with alternative pasta made with quinoa, rice, peas, lentils, or chickpeas. Just be careful since many of these pasta options can get mushy or gummy if overcooked.
- For a low carb version of this dish, use spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
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Spinach Artichoke Pasta
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- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 U cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tbsp. flour (leave out for low-carb or gluten-free)
- 1 U shallot, minced
- 1 cup nonfat milk
- 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
- 5 oz. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
- 5 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and chopped
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz. high fiber pasta
Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve ¼ cup cooking liquid.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes until just softened. Add the flour and stir until the flour begins to brown.
Stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to low and cook for 3-4 minutes until it thickens.
Add the mozzarella and cream cheese. Stir until melted.
Add the spinach and artichoke hearts. It is important to make sure the vegetables are drained of any excess moisture otherwise the sauce may break or get watery.
Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
Add the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss together the sauce and pasta. Add pasta cooking liquid if the sauce is too thick.
If desired, place in a large pan and bake or broil for a few minutes to get the top nice and brown.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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