This ultra-easy creamy vegan spinach pasta is done quickly, uses only simple ingredients and is incredibly versatile. The richness of the dairy-free white creamy sauce is addictive and the chewy bites from wilted spinach so amazing. Great weeknight healthy dinner recipe for the whole family!
Next time you are craving a creamy, rich and decadent vegan pasta dish, then you have got to try this recipe.
We are obsessed with this coconut milk mac and cheese and this creamy tahini pasta and make them often. But I am always on the hunt for speedy pasta meals to serve to my family. And this vegan creamy spinach pasta was a hit!
It is like a creamy Alfredo pasta sauce combined with fresh basil, lemon, garlic and spinach. Absolutely delicious.
This recipe is stunning, hearty and feels indulgent enough to make during the weekends or for guests. But also, it is very easy and quick to prepare, making it the perfect weeknight dinner for your whole family. Adults and kids will love it!
It literally takes about 20 minutes to whip up the vegan creamy spinach pasta sauce together, just enough time to cook the pasta.
It is nicely garlicky with hints of zesty lemon and bursts with fresh flavors, thanks to the addition of basil. The chewy spinach bites are also amazing and contrast well with the silky white sauce.
Plus, this recipe is made using dairy-free milk (oat milk) for a fully plant-based sauce that does not compromise on texture. You can add more ingredients or veggies as it is so versatile, but its simplicity and flavor focused on spinach and garlic is what we love the most about it.
This recipe definitely is going to be on a regular rotation in our house and I hope you also give it a try! ❤️
Why you will love this recipe
- Fast and easy recipe
- Favorite vegan comfort food recipe
- Uses simple ingredients
- SO creamy and rich
- Oil-free and made without butter (no vegan butter either!)
- Healthy and packed with nutrients
- The sauce is light yet makes for a filling meal
- Very versatile and can be used as a base to add more veggies
- Fully dairy-free, plant-based, nut-free and easy-to-make gluten-free
Healthy Lemon Spinach Pasta Recipe
Other than making green smoothies, I love sneaking in baby spinach in rice dishes, pasta meals, grain bowls, salads, etc.
Spinach is considered a superfood by many for its astonishing amount of nutrients.
It is especially rich in fiber that keeps your gut healthy, but it is also antioxidants-packed, such as beta-carotene and lutein, that can help you fight various diseases.
It also contains a high amount of vitamins, such as vitamins A and C, plus some folate and iron.
But the surprising part might be that spinach contains some plant-based protein too, about 3 g of protein per 100 g of spinach, helping to make your meals more balanced and nutritious.
Read more about health benefits of spinach in this article from Healthline.
This recipe makes for a very healthy pasta sauce not only because of its content in spinach but also, because it uses dairy-free milk that's lower in saturated fats compared to regular dairy milk. And it has no cholesterol at all, too. It suits anyone following a plant-based diet but will also please any meat-eater guests!
Ingredients you will need
- Pasta: you can use your favorite pasta to make this recipe. I think long pasta works better, especially tagliatelle, spaghetti, angel hair, linguini or fettuccini, but you can also make it with rigatoni or penne. You can choose either regular, whole wheat or gluten-free pasta. Zoodles (zucchini noodles) or chickpea pasta work too!
- Plant-based milk: I used the full-fat unsweetened oat milk from Oatly. I love how creamy this brand is and also, there is no sweet flavor at all, making it my no 1 choice for cooking savory recipes.
- Flour: I used regular unbleached all-purpose flour to make it, although I believe you can also use whole wheat flour if you prefer.
- Spinach: you will need 5 ounces of baby spinach to make it. You can also use mature large leaves of spinach as well, only make sure to roughly chop them first.
- Nutritional yeast: adds a mild cheesy taste to the dairy-free cream sauce.
- Garlic: I used 3 cloves to make it, which added just the right amount of garlic flavor for us. Feel free to add more for a stronger garlicky taste.
- Lemon: just a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds a huge amount of flavor and brightens up the sauce.
- Fresh basil: optional if you don't have it.
How to make a vegan creamy spinach pasta
I recommend getting started by boiling the water for the pasta and once you add the pasta to the pot, then go ahead with making the sauce. The sauce comes together fast!
Cook the pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then, add the noodles and cook al dente. Check the package directions for more information on how to cook them. Then, drain well.
Make the sauce
While the pasta is cooking, then make the sauce.
In a medium bowl, combine the plant-based milk, flour, nutritional yeast and salt. Whisk until smooth without any clumps of flour remaining. Set aside.
Warm up a large non-stick pan or skillet with a little olive oil (or oil spray) on medium heat and then, add the garlic with a little salt. Stir and cook the garlic until fragrant but not browned, which should take 30-60 seconds.
Then, add the fresh spinach and cook while stirring until mostly wilted.
Pour the cream sauce mixture over the pan and stir well. Bring to a simmer (turn up the heat if needed) and let the sauce cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened and super silky. You will have to stir often and even whisk once in a while so the sauce does not stick to the pan or clump.
Combine and adjust the flavors
Add the fresh basil and lemon juice to the creamy spinach sauce and stir. Then, taste and adjust lemon juice and salt to your preference.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, stir to combine and heat everything up together for 1-2 minutes.
Serve with freshly ground black pepper, more fresh basil and a side of lemon wedge. Enjoy!
- When cooking the garlic, do not go anywhere! It only takes a minute to cook and you really don't want to brown or burn it so it does not get bitter.
- Make sure to cook the pasta al dente and no more. I like to put a timer on so I don't forget. The noodles will cook a little more in the warm sauce!
- Make sure the plant-based milk you are using is flavor-free and unsweetened. I have used vanilla-flavor milk unintentionally to make a dairy-free bechamel sauce and I have learned from my mistake! I even recommend tasting the milk before using it in this savory recipe, I have had milk brands before that tasted super sweet without any added sugar listed.
We enjoyed this meal as is for dinner, simply with a side salad. It is hearty and filling enough that you don't really need to add much more to it. By the way, our kids devoured their bowls!
You can garnish the pasta with ground black pepper, some toasted pine nuts, red pepper flakes, lemon zest and vegan parmesan cheese when serving.
Also, this recipe is great served with extra protein if you want to make it even more filling. It would pair well with:
- Vegan blackened tofu steaks
- Marinated pan-fried tempeh
- Crispy baked tofu nuggets
- White beans, such as cannellini beans
- Marinated smoky tofu
- Baked miso tempeh
- Crispy coconut tofu
You can even serve the sauce differently than over pasta, especially if you have some leftover sauce that you want to serve in a more creative way. Try serving the white sauce over:
- Grain bowls
- Baked dishes or casseroles
- Baked potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
Variations to the recipe
I like how versatile this recipe is and you can use it as inspiration to create a basic cream sauce to add your favorite vegetables. Try adding:
- Red pepper
- Artichoke hearts
Feel free to play around with spices and add a pinch of nutmeg, garlic powder or cayenne pepper to boost the flavor. I usually add ground black pepper only when serving because my kids aren’t big fans, but add some to the sauce in the pan as well if you want.
The leftovers keep well for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge (3-4 days). You can add a splash extra of plant-based milk to recreate the saucy consistency before reheating.
To reheat, use the microwave or the stove.
Use certified gluten-free pasta and also, make the cream sauce using gluten-free flour to make this recipe completely GF!
Yes, you can. To make it that way, then start by blending the spinach with the milk, flour, nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt. Cook the garlic in the pan as described and then pour the blended green sauce in the pan. Keep cooking until thickened. I would recommend adding more flour to the blender to make sure it thickens properly (include 1 extra tablespoon). Also, be sure to check out this vegan green sauce for pasta recipe!
Thaw the spinach ahead and also, pat dry it very well to remove the extra moisture so you are not watering down the sauce. You can use about 10 ounces of frozen spinach for this recipe. Frozen spinach is going to give you a sauce that's greener, just something to keep in mind.
Yes! This recipe would be amazing with other leafy greens, especially baby kale, dinosaur kale or collard green.
More easy pasta recipes you might like
- Vegan cajun pasta
- Tikka masala pasta
- Vegan creamy sun-dried tomato pasta
- Creamy harissa pasta
- Creamy gochujang pasta
- Vegan creamy tomato pasta
- Easy cauliflower Alfredo pasta
I hope you like this vegan creamy spinach pasta recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Creamy Vegan Spinach Pasta
- 12 oz pasta of your choice - I used tagliatelle noodles
- 2 cups unsweetened plain plant-based milk - I used oat milk from Oatly
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp flour - all-purpose or whole wheat
- ½ tsp salt - or to taste
- 3-4 cloves of garlic - crushed
- 5 oz fresh baby spinach
- 1 tbsp lemon juice - or to taste
- ⅓-½ cup fresh basil - roughly chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then, cook the pasta al dente. Drain well.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, nutritional yeast and salt. Set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, then make the sauce. Warm up a large non-stick pan with a little oil and add the garlic. Cook on medium heat while stirring almost constantly for about 1 minute (don't let the garlic burn!). Then, add the spinach and cook until wilted, 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the milk mixture in the pan and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and then, let it cook for about 5 minutes or until thicker.
- Stir in the fresh basil and lemon juice and cook for 1-2 minutes to let the basil wilt. Add the cooked pasta and combine. Adjust salt and lemon to taste and serve with freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!
- Storage: keep leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, add a splash of milk and warm up in the microwave or the stove.
- You can add more vegetables or plant-based protein if desired, such as mushrooms, tofu, cannellini beans or blackened tofu. Check out the blog post, I share tons of ideas!
- To make this recipe gluten-free, then use GF pasta and GF flour.