This Lemon Garlic Spinach Pasta recipe is an easy, healthy meal for 1 or 2 that can be on the table in 15 minutes. Vegan with a gluten-free option.
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Today is the start of a new series for quick, healthy and flavorful meal ideas that serve just 1-2 people.
Cooking for 1 can be a drag sometimes, whether you have to do it on the reg or even just occasionally when everyone else has dinner plans.
And sometimes you want a hearty meal (like pasta) but you don’t want to be eating those leftovers for the next 8 days straight. Am I right?
So here’s a solution that is in the middle: this will serve 2 people as a main, or 1 person with an extra portion for leftovers.
- A pot for boiling pasta
- A strainer for draining pasta (if your pot doesn’t have one built in)
- A skillet for cooking the spinach and to mix everything together
- A good knife for cutting the lemon, garlic, and tomato
Start by boiling water and cooking the pasta (I used a penne, can use gluten-free variety if needed).
While the pasta is cooking, saute the spinach in the cast iron skillet with a little garlic and olive oil. (Remember spinach cooks down A LOT).
Toss ’em together.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a little more olive oil if you want.
Maybe a few slices of tomato. If you like things pretty basic, your meal is pretty much ready.
Options to “upgrade” the flavor a bit: herbs (a sprinkle of basil, parsley or oregano are all good options here); a sprinkle of cheese; avocado.
Yes, I said avocado.
I like to add the avocado on the side for some healthy fats and fiber, and it makes the meal a little more filling.
Aaaand I pretty much add avocado to everything I can. If that sounds weird to you, leave it off.
So here’s the vitamin breakdown of this meal:
Lemon: Provides vitamin C
Spinach: Provides protein, fiber, and lots of nutrients
Tomato: Provides vitamins A, C, K, potassium
Avocado: Provides healthy fats, vitamin K, B5, B6, potassium, fiber
Just to name a few.
And it’s all ready in 15 minutes.
This makes for a perfect lunch or quick meal!
Filling on its own, but would also pair well with a light salad or soup.
Tell me: do you like small quick meals like this?
- 1 1/3 cup penne pasta (substitute a gluten-free pasta if needed)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 oz. baby spinach
- 1/2 lemon
- slices of cherry tomato
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 avocado (on the side), optional
- In a medium pot, boil water. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions (usually 8-9 minutes). Drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute.
- Add spinach to pan and saute for 2-3 minutes until cooked down, remove from heat.
- Combine pasta and spinach. Squeeze lemon juice over pasta dish, add tomato slices and drizzle more olive oil as desired. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Options to customize: Add a sprinkle of cheese, sauce, or spices (basil, parsley or oregano are my favorites); garnish with lemon slices.
Avocado on the side is optional for more nutrients + healthy fats.
*You may prefer more spinach than a 5 oz. package, as spinach cooks down a ton! Especially if you aren't including the avocado and have fewer toppings.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 297Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 210mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 7gSugar: 2gProtein: 8g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically by an online tool at Nutritionix. It is not always accurate. Please use your own tools to check if you rely on this information.