Necessity is the mother of invention – so is hunger.  I thought I had nothing in the house to eat, but I did have the ingredients for this amazing pasta dish. Chances are, you do too!

Too lazy to go to the grocery store, I did a thorough inventory of my kitchen: a big bag of frozen spinach taking up room in my freezer, half a lemon, a half-empty box of pasta (or was it half-full?), fresh garlic (okay, I’m Italian, I always have fresh garlic), tomatoes, and fresh basil (thanks to the basil plant near my window).  If you don’t own a fresh basil plant, I highly recommend it because it saves money and makes anything you whip up taste like a culinary masterpiece. I also had whole nutmeg in the spice rack. These ingredients seemed like the start of something promising.  And as it turned out, they were! This dish turned out so well, it seems like I planned it this way.

Your kitchen might have different ingredients than mine, but if you have the pasta – you can add almost anything. Try kale, broccoli, carrots or green beans for that matter. It is good to have at least one green leafy veggie in the mix because greens (not milk) are an excellent source of calcium.  (The only reason milk has calcium is because cows eat green grass – you might as well avoid the middle man and go straight to the plant).

This makes generous portions for four people.  I challenge you to conduct an inventory of your kitchen – see how creative you can be!  And as always, post your creations on our Facebook Page.  We’d love to see what you’re up to.

Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
Level: Easy

pasta spinach 2








  • 1 c. dry small pasta, any type
  • 16 oz.  frozen spinach (you can also use fresh, but you will need about 6 cups because it will diminish when cooking)
  •  c. cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Juice and zest of half lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Fresh ground nutmeg


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. While pasta cooks, heat 1 T. olive oil on medium heat in large skillet and heat the frozen spinach – no need to thaw, you can heat right out of the package. When spinach is heated through, lower the heat and add garlic and tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Heat until tomatoes are heated, but not wilted, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add lemon juice and mix through.
  4. Drain cooked pasta and add to pan and mix to incorporate. Add additional salt or pepper if needed.
  5. Stir in fresh basil leaves.
  6. Plate and sprinkle with fresh nutmeg and lemon zest.

Let us know how this dish worked out for you! Post your photos on our Facebook page at 40-Year-Old Vegan.


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