Low-Fat Spinach and Ricotta Pasta

Low-Fat Spinach and Ricotta Pasta
The Spruce
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 8 mins
  • Cook: 12 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
500 Calories
8g Fat
78g Carbs
31g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 500
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 986mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 78g 28%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Protein 31g
Calcium 472mg 36%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Quick-and-easy spinach and ricotta pasta will satisfy any craving for a decadent and creamy pasta, but this one is low-fat!

With its smooth texture and rich taste, you won't believe it's a healthy choice. The low-fat ricotta cheese replaces the high-fat cream found in similar creamy white pasta dishes, while the spinach and basil bring color, fiber, and freshness to the bowl. 

1:17

Click Play to See This Low-Fat Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni (or penne or shell pasta)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach (roughly chopped)
  • 1 ounce fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup non-fat milk
  • Optional: freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon lemon juice (and zest of 1/2 lemon)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (grated)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Spinach and Ricotta Pasta recipe ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. 

    Pasta being added to boiling water
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  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't brown.

    Onions and garlic being cooked in a skillet
    The Spruce
  4. Add spinach and basil to the skillet and stir until wilted.

    Spinach and onions being cooked in a skillet
    The Spruce 
  5. Then add ricotta cheese and milk (and optional lemon juice and zest) to skillet and stir well.

    Ricotta cheese and spinach being cooked in a skillet
    The Spruce
  6. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup or so of the cooking water.

    Cooked pasta in a colander
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  7. Combine cooked pasta and ricotta mixture in a large bowl. If it is too thick, add a bit of the cooking water to the mixture.

    Spinach and ricotta pasta being mixed in a bowl
    The Spruce
  8. Serve immediately with some freshly ground black pepper and an optional 1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese per serving.

    Spinach and ricotta pasta
    The Spruce

Tips

  • This dish takes about 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish. While the pasta water is coming to a boil, you can chop the onion and spinach. Once the pasta is cooking, you can go ahead and prepare the creamy sauce.
  • For people on gluten-free diets, simply replace regular pasta with your favorite gluten-free pasta. Tinkyada is a good brand because it holds its texture.
  • This recipe can be served as a side dish or a weeknight vegetarian meal. But, when fleshed out with grilled chicken breast, roasted salmon, or grilled vegetables, it can become a good candidate for entertaining.
  • If you like, adding 1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan to each serving won't bump up the fat grams too much, and lemon added to the ricotta mixture gives this dish a little extra brightness.
  • Can also serve this dish with a slice of whole-grain bread and a green salad with your favorite low-fat dressing or sliced tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar.