Thank you for checking in before the major Caitie’s Cooking launch, coming up on May 4th! This week I’ve got a quick and easy dinner for you to enjoy: a delicious spinach and tomato pasta, and it honestly does take only 20 minutes (including the time to photograph it for you).
The main ingredients are tomatoes, spinach, garlic, cilantro, olive oil and whole wheat pasta. This recipe is vegetarian and vegan, and if you’re living a gluten free or paleo lifestyle, substituting the noodles for zoodles (zucchini noodles) or an alternative pasta may work for you. Also, I love serving it with a little bit of crumbled feta cheese on top, so if you have some of that kicking around, be sure to toss it in too (unless you’re vegan or dairy free, of course).
Anyways, lets check out what these powerhouse ingredients do for you!
These beauties are full of beta-carotene, a pigment known to be found in carrots. Your body turns this into retinol, better known as Vitamin A, which is one of the four fat soluble vitamins (the rest are vitamins D, E, and K). Vitamin A is credited with improving the appearance of skin, being good for your eyes, and is also an antioxidant.
Tomatoes pack a ton of other nutrients as well, with a 100g (3.5oz) serving providing nearly 30% of your daily value of Vitamin C, and 7% of your daily value for folate and potassium.
We’ve all heard that we should be consuming dark leafy greens like spinach, but why? Besides the fact that they’re loaded with nutrients, with hardly any calories, spinach contains a ton of Vitamin K, another fat soluble vitamin. Vitamin K is used by the body to help with blood clotting (it sounds bad, but trust me, this is what stops you from bleeding when you cut yourself!) and it helps your body use calcium and build your bones. It’s also another excellent source of Vitamin A, just like those tomatoes!
On top of this, in a 100g (3.5oz) serving of spinach you’ll find 15% of your daily value of iron, 20% of your daily value of magnesium, nearly 50% of your daily value for Vitamin C, and 10% of your calcium daily value.
Can you believe it? Wow!
On top of this, add in the wonderful fibre found in the whole wheat pasta, and the vegetables themselves, and you’re looking at a filling and nutritious meal.
So the first step, is to wash and chop all your necessary ingredients, and to set a pot of water on to boil. I used an assorted pint of heirloom cherry and grape tomatoes, so I had a bunch of fun colours, but you can use whatever type of small tomato you’d like. Don’t cut up the cherry or grape tomatoes though, as they’ll get hot and split, imparting a nice roasted tomato taste to your pasta when it’s done.
Once everything is ready, toss the tomatoes and garlic in a pan with some oil. I use olive oil, and cook with it on low-medium heat. When things start to look hot, the tomatoes start to split, and the garlic begins to brown (see left), you can toss in your spinach and cilantro. Cover the pan, reducing the heat if necessary.
By the time the spinach is in, your water should be boiling, so toss your pasta in for 6 minutes, then strain, reserving about half a cup of the pasta water. Next, you get to toss the pasta and that reserved water in the pan, where your spinach should now be wilted. Give everything a good stir, season with salt and pepper to taste, and you should end up with something that looks like this:
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
*Please use caution if serving this right away, since the tomatoes will be very hot!
Interested in learning more about fat soluble vitamins? Stay tuned for our upcoming posts on the
Q & A page!
Want to learn a little more about fibre? Click here for an informative post telling you everything you need to know!
20 Minute Spinach & Tomato Pasta
- 1 Package of Whole Wheat Pasta
- 3 – 4 Cloves of Garlic, finely diced
- 4 Cups of Baby Spinach
- 2 Dry Pints of Cherry Tomatoes
- 1/4 Cup of Fresh Cilantro
- 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- Optional: 1/2 Cup of Feta Cheese
- Set 2L of water on high and bring to a boil.
- Pour 2 Tbsp of olive oil into a pan, and heat on low-medium heat.
- Add whole cherry tomatoes and garlic, and cook until tomatoes begin to split and garlic browns.
- Add spinach and cilantro to the pan and cover.
- By this point, your water should be boiling, and you can add the entire package of pasta. Boil for 6 minutes, reducing heat to medium-high if necessary (to prevent it from boiling over!)
- Once pasta is cooked, and spinach is wilted, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and drain the rest. Toss the pasta and the reserved pasta water in the pan, mix with the vegetables, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Let stand for 5 – 10 minutes to allow the tomatoes to cool (they will be very hot!).
- Drizzle with the remaining oil, and serve either as is, or with crumbled feta cheese divided between the four servings.