This Creamy Lemon Spinach One-Pot Pasta is a satisfying and simple weeknight meal that takes just 30 minutes to make! There’s no need to drain the pasta and it’s dairy-free.
It’s another 30-Minute Thursday – yayyy! It’s no secret that quick meals are where it’s at on weeknights. But sometimes throwing leftover protein over salad greens that you hope and pray aren’t that wilted gets a little old. Same with leftover protein on bread you hope isn’t stale, a PB&J…at least in my house!
I’m also all about quick and easy clean up (really who wouldn’t be?!). Our apartment kitchen is small and we don’t have many duplicates of dishes/utensils. When we moved here I was a minimalist wannabe and wanted the least amount of clutter possible. A nice thought, but when you’re a food blogger it’s self-induced torture. Case in point, I just bought myself a second whisk and it felt like the splurge of the century to not have to stop in my tracks mid-recipe to wash my one whisk over and over. Luxury!
Anyway, since one moderately-detailed recipe can clear out our cabinets and fill up our dishwasher in one fell swoop, I’ve been eying up one-pot main dishes big time…especially one-pot pastas. Pasta that absorbs up all the liquid and doesn’t need to be drained? Easy, easy, easy. Plus we get to skip the step where I drain pasta and my glasses fog up from the steam. “I don’t always drain my pasta, but when I do it’s when I’m wearing glasses.”
Now let’s talk flavor. To start off this creamy lemon spinach one-pot pasta, the holy culinary trinity of olive oil, onion, and garlic are sautéed in the bottom of a big pot. Then spaghetti is cooked in a mixture of chicken broth and lite coconut milk, which sets the stage for a creamy and dairy-free sauce. Yes!
Toward the end of the cook time, a whole lot of spinach leaves are added along with a few herbs and spices, and everything is left to cook for a few more minutes, until the spinach has greatly reduced and most of (if not all) the liquid has been absorbed. Plate it up and there you go – creamy lemon spinach one-pot pasta perfection.
What’s great about this one-pot pasta is that you can easily customize it to fit your tastes:
- Once the pasta has absorbed the chicken broth and lite coconut milk mixture it’s cooked in, you can add an extra drizzle or two of coconut milk and toss the spaghetti to coat if you’d like a creamier sauce.
- You can add a ton more red pepper flakes for a serious spice kick, or omit them entirely.
- You can use walnuts or your favorite nut for savory recipes in place of the pine nuts, or omit entirely.
- You can substitute vegetable broth in place of the chicken for a fully vegan dish.
- You can use dairy milk/cream in place of the coconut milk if dairy ain’t no thang for you. In this case I suggest loading up the final product with a heavy sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. 😉
Brian likes pasta (because duh, it’s pasta), but it’s never his first pick when it comes to dinner. It probably isn’t even his second pick either. The fact that he moseyed over to the stove and helped himself to some extra of this pasta was the highest form of praise in my opinion. That, and I also snuck a few forkfuls cold from the fridge the next morning if that says anything. This creamy lemon spinach one-pot pasta is a keeper!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 1/2 tbsp)
- 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup lite coconut milk, plus extra at end if desired
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 8 oz uncooked spaghetti
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Juice and zest of one large lemon
- 2 1/2 cups packed fresh spinach
- 3-4 basil leaves, chopped
- 2-3 tbsp pine nuts
- Heat olive oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add diced onion and minced garlic and let cook until onions have begun to brown.
- Add chicken broth, 1 cup of lite coconut milk, salt, pepper, and spaghetti. Let mixture reach a boil, and then lower temperature to medium to medium-low heat. Cover and let cook until the spaghetti has absorbed nearly all of the liquid, stirring periodically. This took about 15 minutes for me.
- Stir in red pepper flakes, lemon juice, lemon zest, and spinach until everything is well-mixed and cook until the spinach has reduced and is tender. Before serving, stir in chopped basil and pine nuts. If you'd like an even creamier sauce, pour in an extra drizzle or two of lite coconut milk and toss to heat slightly and coat all of the spaghetti evenly.
Psssst – My first contribution to 30-Minute Thursday was a recipe for Italian sausage quesadillas, which has worked its way into our weeknight meal routine. Sometimes we’ll sub in leftover chicken if we have it around, making it even quicker but just as tasty. 🙂 You can check out the other 30-minute meal recipes from this month by scrolling down!
One Pot Lemon Thyme Chicken and Rice from Bake.Eat.Repeat.
Easy Baked Gnocchi with Tomatoes and Mozzarella from Floating Kitchen
Shrimp Scampi Zoodles from Flying on Jess Fuel
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Easy Tomato Sauce from Kristine’s Kitchen
One Pan Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo from Pumpkin ‘N Spice
One-Pot Parmesan Risotto with Sausage and Kale from Whole and Heavenly Oven