Creamy Spinach Artichoke Pasta with white beans is the ultimate vegetarian pasta recipe. Ready in just 30 minutes, this weeknight pasta will become a family favorite.
Vegetarian Spinach Artichoke Pasta
This recipe embraces all there is to love about Spinach Artichoke dip in a weeknight-friendly pasta. Fresh spinach, marinated artichokes, and white beans tossed in a creamy lemon-Parmesan sauce. The surprisingly virtuous sauce packs over a full serving of veggies into each portion, plus a decent punch of protein. I mean, what’s not to love about everyone’s favorite hot dip transformed into a (healthier) pasta?
On the table in just 30 minutes, this weeknight pasta will win over even the pickiest eaters. Serve it with garlic bread and a fresh side salad, and you have a restaurant-worthy dinner sure to impress.
How to Make Spinach Artichoke Pasta
This recipe goes from good to better with each step. It takes require two large soup pots or Dutch ovens (one for the pasta and one for the sauce). I use a Lodge Dutch Oven, which I’m obsessed with. In my opinion, it’s one of the best deals you can get on an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, and you’ll be surprised at how versatile it is. It’s a piece I keep on my stovetop year-round and use almost DAILY. But, let’s get back to the recipe:
- Start by sautéing shallots and garlic in olive oil until softened. This recipe calls for 5 cloves of garlic, which do some heavy lifting in terms of flavor. However if you’re a mega garlic lover (raises hand), no shame in bumping this amount up!
- Next, add a whole 6-oz. bag of fresh baby spinach and let it cook down until wilted. (This should take 1 to 2 minutes while stirring constantly.)
- Add cream cheese and vegetable (or chicken) broth, and cook over medium heat. You want to cook the cream cheese long enough so that it completely melds into the broth. It helps if your cream cheese is as close to room temperature as possible before adding it. I suggest taking it out of the refrigerator at least an hour beforehand.
- Once the cream cheese and broth form a smooth, creamy sauce, stir in fresh thyme, lemon zest and juice. Using both the zest and juice of a lemon adds so much brightness, which helps cut through the richness of the creamy sauce.
- Stir in the marinated artichoke hearts and white beans, followed by the hot pasta and reserved pasta water. I suggest setting aside at least 1 cup of pasta water, which helps thicken and emulsify the sauce. I typically use the whole cup, however you can use as much as you need to achieve your desired consistency.
- Lastly, stir in freshly grated Parmesan, sprinkle some pine nuts over the top, and voila!
I always add a final sprinkle of Parmesan right before serving for good measure. Caramelized lemon halves and a drizzle of olive oil are also lovely compliments.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Marinated Artichoke Hearts: I love the mix of spices and briny bite of marinated artichokes. I typically buy jars from Trader Joe’s, which are always tasty and inexpensive. Cento also makes a great product, which are more widely available. If you’re not a fan of artichoke hearts, you can sub them for chopped hearts of palm, or simply leave them out!
- Cream Cheese: I recommend organic cream cheese, which is typically free of carageenan. If you’re making this recipe dairy-free, I love Kite Hill plant-based cream cheese, which is made from almonds.
- Pasta: Feel free to use any shape or type you like! If making gluten free, I recommend Banza Chickpea Pasta because it produces super starchy pasta water, which helps create lusciously creamy sauces. It also has the least bean-forward flavor compared to other brands I’ve tried.
- Parmesan Cheese: Perfect for adding salty, savory goodness. However if making totally plant-based, simply swap it for nutritional yeast. (Tip: I love mixing nutritional yeast with crushed pine nuts for “pine nut Parmesan.”)
What to Serve with Spinach Artichoke Pasta
If you prefer an extra punch of protein, this pasta is fantastic with grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp. However between the veggies, beans, and hearty sauce, I find it plenty filling. As far as sides, a garden salad is always a good choice to add a layer of freshness to the meal. Alternatively, I love this easy 10-Minute Warm Brussels Salad, which is a fab compliment to just about any main course.
Is Veggie Pasta Healthier?
This pasta recipe is brimming with fiber and micronutrients, such as vitamins A and K, calcium, iron, and potassium. It also has a jolt of immune-boosting vitamin C, which is always clutch this time of year. To further up the nutrient ante, use whole-wheat pasta, or swap for a legume-based pasta, such as those made from chickpeas or lentils. Alternatively, you can serve the sauce with spaghetti squash to really surpass your daily veggie quota. Give this simple dinner a try this week for a guaranteed family favorite. And be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!
Other Favorite Vegetarian Pasta Recipes
Spinach Artichoke Pasta
- 1 lb. dry pasta of choice
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped shallots (from 1 large shallot)
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 6 oz. fresh baby spinach
- 4 oz. organic cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. lemon zest, plus 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 (12-oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 15-oz. can navy beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp. pine nuts, finely chopped (optional)
- Cook pasta according to package instructions in salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
- While pasta cooks, heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots; cook 3 minutes, until softened. Add garlic; cook 1 more minute.
- Stir in salt, pepper, and spinach; cook until spinach wilts, about 1 minute. Add cream cheese and broth; cook, stirring often, until cream cheese melds into broth and forms a creamy sauce, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in thyme, lemon zest and juice, artichoke hearts, and white beans. Drain pasta and add to sauce, tossing to coat. Gradually stream in reserved pasta water, tossing constantly, until sauce begins clinging to pasta and desired consistency is achieved (you may not need the whole cup, but I use it all!). Stir in Parmesan cheese in batches to avoid clumping.
- Divide pasta between each of 6 plates, and sprinkle chopped pine nuts over top.