One Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes

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Simple one pot pasta with spinach and tomatoes is the perfect made from scratch family dinner that cooks in just 20 minutes. With only one pot to clean and quick prep time, it’s an excellent solution for busy families who still want that homemade flavor.

two white bowls with long noodles, wilted spinach, and burst cherry tomatoes inside.

We make pasta at least twice a week in our house. The kids love it, so it’s the perfect vessel to help them experience new flavors and serve a hearty, filling meal without too much time on busy nights. This one pot spinach and tomato pasta is exactly that. It’s incredibly fast, uses just one pot (I’m looking at you household dishwashers—you’re welcome!), and tastes absolutely fantastic.

The starch from pasta cooking water is the secret to creating a luscious sauce all in one pot. It’s the same technique used in recipes like creamy chicken bacon pasta, marsala cream sauce pasta, and creamy broccoli pasta. In this recipe it dissolves right into the rich cooking liquid with no draining required.

Why This Recipe is Great

  • Easy to Clean Up – One pot to cook means one pot to clean, and we all love that at the end of a busy day.
  • Fast AND Flavorful – This recipe takes 20 minutes or less to make, but it packs huge delicious flavor.
  • Homemade with Wholesome ingredients – Tomatoes, spinach, spices, pasta, olive oil, and cheese. That’s it, nothing highly processed, nothing pre-made.

Ingredients & Substitutions

The ease and flavor of this pasta are so delicious that it has become one of our year-round recipes. I prefer it from late spring through early fall, when the flavors feel most natural, but there are many ways to adapt it all year long.

Ingredients to make one pot pasta with tomatoes and spinach including dried spaghetti, fresh spinach, spices, water, and oil.
  • Pasta – We prefer bucatini or spaghetti, but any type of noodle will work.
  • Water
  • Tomatoes – I recommend cherry tomatoes, but any type will do. You’ll need two 16 ounce cans of tomatoes, undrained, or 2 cups of fresh tomatoes.
  • Olive oil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Garlic Powder
  • Spinach – We use fresh, about 3 cups worth. Frozen can also be used.
  • Parmesan cheese – Totally optional but delicious garnish. You can also use Romano, Asiago, or Grana Padano.

Fresh, Canned, or Frozen Tips

  • Fresh or Canned Tomatoes – We often use 2 cans of cherry tomatoes in place of 2 cups of whole ones, which reduces the cooking time.
    • To use fresh cherry tomatoes, sauté them in the pot for 5-10 minutes over low with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil until they burst and release their juices. Large fresh tomatoes can be chopped and added with the juices.
    • Chopped, crushed, or whole canned tomatoes can be used instead, but do NOT drain them.
  • Fresh or Frozen Spinach – I prefer fresh, mostly because I never remember to thaw frozen spinach first. You can use 1/2 cup of thawed, drained frozen spinach or 5-6 cups of lightly packed fresh spinach leaves.

Step By Step Instructions

You’ll find a printable, detailed recipe card below, but here are the step by step visuals to creating a delicious one pot pasta with spinach and tomatoes.

ingredients including dried noodles, cherry tomatoes, water, and seasonings are in the one pot to make pasta.

Step 1Combine ingredients in one pot

Use your largest cooking or stock pot and add the water, canned tomatoes with juices or chopped fresh tomatoes, salt, olive oil, pasta, oregano, and garlic powder. Cover and bring it to a boil over high heat.

a large pot with cooked pasta, wilted spinach, and cherry tomatoes inside.

Step 2 – Cook until pasta is al dente

Once boiling, remove the lid and reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer. Cook, stirring the pasta every 2-3 minutes to prevent the noodles from sticking. Continue to cook until the pasta is tender and the sauce is reduced.

When the sauce is nearly thickened to the point of coating the pasta, add in the spinach and stir until it’s wilted and well-incorporated. Serve hot with a few shavings of parmesan cheese.

two plates of spinach and tomato pasta with shaved parmesan cheese on top.

FAQs

Can I use fresh pasta for a one-pot pasta recipe?

I don’t recommend using fresh pasta for one-pot recipes. The liquid to dry pasta ratio is carefully tested so that enough water is absorbed to allow the pasta to cook but reduced enough to create a sauce instead of soup. Fresh pasta cooks much faster and absorbs less water, leaving you with mushy noodles and soup.

Can I use alternative pastas, like wheat or gluten-free?

You can substitute any form of dried pasta, but please note that wheat and gluten-free pastas often have different cook times and require different amounts of water. Keep an eye on it and add more water as necessary to keep things from sticking.

The liquid has reduced but my pasta isn’t cooked, what do I do?

Different types and brands of pasta have different hydration needs. If your pasta is not fully cooked by the time the sauce is reduced, simply 1/2 cup of water at a time until it’s cooked.

How do I store this?

Keep leftover pasta with spinach and tomatoes in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove with a splash of water.

Love this recipe? Please consider leaving a 5 star rating in the recipe card below, or a comment to share your experience with fellow home cooks. I hope you enjoy and as always, Happy Eating!

a bowl of spaghetti style pasta with wilted spinach and tomatoes on a wooden cutting board.

One Pot Spinach and Tomato Pasta

Mikayla M.
Dried spaghetti, canned or fresh tomatoes, fresh or frozen spinach, seasonings, and water combine to make a simple one pot pasta dinner that's perfect for a family.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 500 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound dried pasta spaghetti, bucatini, or pasta of choice.
  • 32 ounces water 4 cups
  • 2 cans cherry tomatoes *see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 6 cups fresh spinach *see notes
  • Parmesan cheese optional as garnish

Instructions
 

  • Combine the dried pasta, water, salt, seasonings, olive oil, and both cans of cherry tomatoes with all of the juices from the can into a large pot.
    1 pound dried pasta, 32 ounces water, 2 cans cherry tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Place the pot over high heat and cover it.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, remove the lid, and reduce the heat to medium-high. Maintain a boil, but not a rapid one.
  • Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.
  • Cook according to the recommended time on your chosen pasta, usually 8-12 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the fresh spinach until wilted. Taste and add salt if needed.
    6 cups fresh spinach
  • Serve, garnished with shaved parmesan cheese if desired.
    Parmesan cheese

Notes

Substitutions
  • Fresh or Canned Tomatoes – Swap in 2 cups of whole cherry tomatoes or diced large tomatoes with their juices.
    • To use fresh cherry tomatoes, sauté them in the pot for 5-10 minutes over low with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil until they burst and release their juices.
    • Chopped, crushed, or whole canned tomatoes can be used instead, but do NOT drain them.
  • Frozen Spinach – Use 1/2 cup of thawed, drained frozen spinach or 5-6 cups of lightly packed fresh spinach leaves.
Notes
  • Do not leave the lid on after it comes to a boil or the liquid will not reduce.
  • Make sure you maintain a good boil. Too little and the liquid will not reduce, too much and it will reduce before the pasta is tender.
  • If your pasta is not cooked enough when the liquid has reduced into a sauce, add water in 1/2 cup increments until it’s cooked.

Nutrition

Calories: 500kcalCarbohydrates: 88gProtein: 16gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 346mgPotassium: 534mgFiber: 5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 4243IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 96mgIron: 3mg
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Nutrition information and cooking times are provided as a best estimate. Values may vary based upon ingredients and equipment.

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5 from 7 votes

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14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely love how easy and fast this pasta was to make. I had dinner done in 20 minutes and added leftover chicken! So good!

    1. Eden, what a great idea adding a protein of your choice, a great way to personalize and have a quick dinner on the table.

  2. 5 stars
    We cannot ever say no to pasta and your dish was spectacular! We love the combination of spinach and tomato. Absolutely 💯 mouthwatering and delicious! Well done ❤️

  3. 5 stars
    I just love on pot meals! Next time I make this I will have cherry tomatoes ready to use right from my garden.

  4. 5 stars
    I didn’t change a thing about this recipe and my entire family absolutely loved it! It’s rare for that to happen with different ages, so I’ll be making this again! Thanks!

    1. Vicky, that is certainly a wonderful thing the hear. I am so glad you entire family loved the meal!

  5. 5 stars
    This pasta looks amazing!! I love this combo so much, I just bought all of the ingredients and am making it tonight for dinner. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I needed a fresh dinner idea that was still really simple and this one fit the bill perfectly! So tasty and flavorful! I really loved it and so did my family.

  7. 5 stars
    This pasta recipe was all I needed. Putting dinner on the table in under 30 minutes is awesome. It was delicious and everyone in the family loved it. I’ll be making this again. Thanks for the recipe!