Low-Fat Spinach and Ricotta Pasta

Low-Fat Spinach and Ricotta Pasta
The Spruce
Prep: 8 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Total: 20 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. 

Enjoy this dish by itself, or pair it with a tossed salad or your favorite protein.

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, cooked)
  • 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: 1 tablespoon lemon juice (and zest of 1/2 lemon)
  • Optional: freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 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
    The Spruce
  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, 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.