Easy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta


Easy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Pin
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This easy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta recipe with fresh baby spinach takes 25 minutes total to make and is loaded with flavor. The perfect quick meatless weeknight dinner.

side view of a bowl with penne pasta tossed in an easy sun-dried tomato sauce

Lovers of simple weeknight meals will fall hard for this Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta recipe.

Some days it feels like I’m on the go non-stop, from the moment I wake up right until dinner time. Those days are usually when I tend to reach for phone and pizza menu. But lately, I have found a delicious (and cheaper) alternative.

A pasta dish that is super quick and stupid easy. By the time you’d have that pizza menu scanned and have made up your mind whether it’ll be calzone or margarita, you could already be halfway done with cooking. No kidding!

close-up side view of a bowl with penne pasta tossed in an easy sun-dried tomato sauce
The simple sun-dried tomato pasta sauce is made in a food processor within seconds, then combined with hot penne pasta. In go fresh baby spinach and creamy Parmesan cheese.

Heaven in a bowl, you guys!

How to make this Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta recipe:

Prep: Cook your pasta in amply salted water according to the package instruction. Reference my tips for making penne pasta below. Reserve one cup of the cooking water (!!!). Drain and return the cooked pasta to the pot.

a photo collage showing how sun-dried tomatoes are being processed into a smooth sauce in a small food processor

Step 1 & 2 – While your pasta is cooking, prepare the sun-dried tomato sauce. Add the sun-dried tomatoes with some of the oil to the container of a small food processor and process until you have a paste, with small chunks left.

sun-dried tomato sauce and pasta water being tossed with freshly cooked penne pasta

Step 3 & 4 – Add the tomato sauce and reserved cooking water back to the pot of pasta and mix thoroughly using a wooden spoon. In the beginning, it will look like there’s too much liquid but keep mixing. The starches from the pasta water will do their magic and the pasta sauce will thicken and coat the pasta beautifully.

photo collage depicting baby spinach and grated parmesan being added to a pot of freshly cooked penne pasta

Step 5 & 6 – As a final step, add chopped basil, spinach, and parmesan and mix again. The heat of the pasta will wilt the spinach. Taste and adjust season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with more Parmesan.

overhead shot of a pot with sun-dried tomato pasta with spinach and parmesan with a wooden spoon

How to cook penne pasta perfectly every time:

The cooked yield of each type of pasta very much depends on the shape you go for. Four ounces of tube-shaped pasta like penne equals 2 1/2 cups cooked.

Fill a pot with at least 4 quarts of water for each pound of pasta. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, THEN salt the water generously. Did you know that adding the salt before boiling will increase the time it takes for the water to heat up? And we want this dinner to be on the table pronto, right?

overhead shot of two bowls with easy sun-dried tomato pasta sprinkled with parmesan cheese

Also, don’t worry, only about 10 percent of the salt in the cooking water will be absorbed by the pasta. Dump your dried pasta into boiling water. Stir the cooking pasta once in a while to ensure even cooking and to prevent it from clumping together.

It is not necessary to add oil to the cooking water. Actually, it’s a really bad idea as the oil only coats the pasta. And guess what, this keeps the sauce from sticking to your penne pasta.

Once cooked, drain your pasta well. Don’t rinse – no matter what mum told you. Instead, shake the colander to remove any excess water. Rinsing will wash off the surface starch – we don’t want that. Only pasta for salad should be rinsed.

Get creative with these mix-in ideas:

Once you have discovered the beauty of this simple pasta recipe, you can play around with it and spruce it up with these mix-ins:

  • Chicken – chopped leftover rotisserie works great
  • Toasted seasoned breadcrumbs or panko
  • A splash of cream
  • Goat cheese or crumbled feta
  • Roasted squash
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Canned, drained and rinsed white beans

overhead shot of two small bowls with sun-dried tomato pasta with spinach, basil and parmesan cheese

Tips for making this sun-dried tomato pasta recipe

  • For chopping the basil with minimal flavor loss, my technique is the following: Wash the basil, pat dry with paper towels, and remove the leaves from the stem. Now stack several leaves together and roll them into a neat cylinder. Cut the basil crossways into thin strips.
  • Don’t buy pre-grated parmesan. Freshly grated tastes so much better. Plus tubs of pre-grated Parmesan can often include a certain percentage of wood pulp. Ahem, thanks but no thanks!
  • It is best to warm up any leftover pasta on the stovetop with a little water, broth, or even a naughty splash of white wine.

Variations on this recipe:

  • You can also use dry sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil). In that case, soak about 6-7 oz of sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes, drain and place in the food processor with about 1/4 cup olive oil and one teaspoon dried oregano (or an Italian herbs blend).
  • I used penne pasta but any short pasta will work.
  • Use gluten-free pasta if you are gluten-intolerant.
  • For a vegan version, skip the parmesan cheese and sprinkle the finished dish with vegan parmesan cheese.
overhead shot of two bowls with easy sun-dried tomato pasta sprinkled with parmesan cheese
5 from 4 votes
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Easy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Spinach

This easy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta recipe with fresh baby spinach takes 25 minutes total to make and is loaded with flavor. The perfect quick meatless weeknight dinner.

Course dinner
Cuisine Italian, Vegetarian
Keyword pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, penne pasta with tomatoes, sun-dried tomato pasta recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 609 kcal
Author Marie

Ingredients

  • 16- oz Penne pasta 500 g, or your favorite short pasta
  • 1 8.5- oz jar sun-dried tomatoes 240 g, packed in oil
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan grated (+ more for serving)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instruction. Reserve one cup of cooking water (don’t forget, it’s important!). Drain and return pasta to the pot.
  2. While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a food processor (ideally using a small jar if you have one) add the sun-dried tomatoes with the oil and process until you have a paste, with small chunks left.
  3. Add sauce and cooking water to the pot of pasta and mix thoroughly. At the beginning, it will seem like there’s too much liquid but keep mixing and the magic will happen: the sauce will coat the pasta beautifully.
  4. Then add chopped basil, spinach and parmesan and mix again (the heat of the pasta will wilt the spinach). Taste and adjust seasoning (salt and pepper). Serve with more Parmesan.

Recipe Notes

  • For chopping the basil with minimal flavor loss, my technique is the following: Wash the basil, pat dry with paper towels, and remove the leaves from the stem. Now stack several leaves together and roll them into a neat cylinder. Cut the basil crossways into thin strips.
  • Don't buy pre-grated parmesan. Freshly grated tastes so much better. Plus tubs of pre-grated Parmesan can often include a certain percentage of wood pulp. Ahem, thanks but no thanks!
  • It is best to warm up any leftover pasta on the stovetop with a little water, broth, or even a naughty splash of white wine. 
  • You can also use dry sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil). In that case, soak about 6-7 oz of sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes, drain and place in the food processor with about 1/4 cup olive oil and one teaspoon dried oregano (or an Italian herbs blend).
  • I used penne pasta but any short pasta will work.
  • Use gluten-free pasta if you are gluten-intolerant.
  • For a vegan version, skip the parmesan cheese and sprinkle the finished dish with vegan parmesan cheese.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Spinach
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 609 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 225mg 9%
Potassium 2661mg 76%
Total Carbohydrates 123g 41%
Dietary Fiber 12g 48%
Sugars 28g
Protein 25g 50%
Vitamin A 46.6%
Vitamin C 38.4%
Calcium 15.3%
Iron 45.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you tried this Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

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posted in
Clean Eating Main Dishes Meal Prep Pasta Quick & Easy Meals Recipes Vegetarian
10 Comments
  1. What a delicious pasta dish this was! My daughters are some of the pickiest eaters around and they both devoured their plate. Thank you!

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