• March 9, 2020

    Creamy One-Pot Ricotta Pasta with Spinach & Kale

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    This easy ricotta pasta recipe is packed with greens. It’s a delicious, quick, one-pot recipe featuring ricotta, spinach, kale and broccoli rabe. 

    Spinach Ricotta Pasta RecipeHow to Make Ricotta Pasta

    First choose a pasta you like. I like a flat pasta you can twirl, like fettuccine, linguine or tagliatelle (which is pictured). 

    Then choose your greens:

    • I use kale, spinach and broccoli rabe but you can use any greens you like, such as beet greens, swiss chard (aka silverbeet), broccoli, and/or bags of frozen mixed greens.
    • Keep it to 1 lb of leafy greens or 8 oz leafy greens plus 1 lb of something sturdier like peas, broccolini, broccoli, or broccoli rabe. 
    • If you choose a frozen option, that’s easy and perfect, just pop them in the cooking water in the last few minutes of cooking the pasta, drain with the pasta, and add both to the simple ricotta sauce together in the same step. 

    Easy Ricotta Pasta Recipe

    For the nights when you’re craving a healthy vegetarian dinner that’s still super satisfying, look no further. This recipe has three times more green vegetables than it has pasta, and the simple creamy ricotta pasta sauce has lots of protein and not actual cream.

    You could even double the spinach and/or kale and dial back the pasta even more and it would still be super satisfying.  I love a dinner crammed with greens. This is a creamy pasta you can feel really good about.

    Simple Ricotta Sauce Ingredients

    The ricotta has a sweet, milky flavour and creamy texture with tiny curds. I amp it up in this recipe with fried garlic and chili flakes, which stand up to the bitterness of the greens and add a flavour pow to a mild cream sauce. Saving pasta water is key as the salt and starch it contains make it an actual ingredient, it’s not substitutable with plain water.

    • Olive oil 
    • Garlic
    • Crushed chili flakes
    • Ricotta
    • Salt
    • Reserved pasta water

    How to Make Ricotta Pasta Sauce

    • After draining the pasta into a colander, return the same pot to the stove. 
    • Add olive oil, garlic and chili flakes. 
    • When garlic softens and smells fragrant, stir in the kale and/or spinach and cook until just wilted.
    • Stir in ricotta, salt and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. 

    If you want to make this ricotta pasta more palatable to kids, finely chop spinach (milder flavour) in a food processor in place of the kale and swap broccoli in place of the broccoli rabe.

    OR you can also simply swap in peas instead of kale and omit the broccoli rabe.

    Spinach Ricotta Pasta Recipe

    Easy Ricotta Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Kale

    This easy Ricotta Pasta recipe is packed with greens. It’s a delicious, quick, one-pot recipe featuring ricotta, spinach, kale and broccoli rabe. 
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Course: Dinner
    Cuisine: Italian
    Keyword: Ricotta Pasta
    Servings: 4
    Author: Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD


    • 8 oz tagliatelle (or favourite noodley pasta)
    • 1 1-lb bunch broccoli rabe
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 4 large cloves garlic minced
    • 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
    • 2 cups full-fat ricotta made with 100% Canadian milk
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 8 oz finely chopped kale and/or spinach finely chopped


    • Cook pasta and broccoli rabe together in a large pot of salted, boiling water for 8 minutes. Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water for later then drain in a colander.
    • Return pot to stove and add olive oil, garlic and chili flakes. When garlic softens and smells fragrant, stir in the kale and cook until just wilted. Stir in ricotta, salt and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Return pasta and broccoli rabe to the pot and toss to coat in the sauce, adding a splash more pasta cooking water if desired.


    8 oz is about one full bunch of kale. Discard the stems. 
    Tried this recipe?tag @foodess


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    Hi, I'm Jennifer Pallian, BSc, RD. I studied cooking, baking and food chemistry in a university lab, have years of experience as a professional test kitchen recipe developer and providing technical baking support to bakeries and home bakers. Want to know why your bread didn't rise? I've got your back.I now work full-time as a blogger, putting the years of science and baking to work right here. On Foodess, I share the best recipes in my arsenal - tested-till-PERFECT recipes for cozy baking, easy recipes for weeknight meals and delicious globally-inspired comfort food, plus lots of science-based cooking and baking tips. Welcome!

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