Food + Drink, Main Dishes, Pasta + Noodles, Vegetarian Recipes, Weeknight Dinners, Winter Recipes

Weeknight Kale, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta

January 28, 2014 by Laura

Kale, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta | Fork Knife Swoon

Okay, real talk. As much as I love the idea of starting out the new year as a clean-eating goddess of healthy salads, superfood smoothies and raw, vegan goodness, let’s be honest: it’s the middle of Winter. Winter with the occasional Polar Vortex, and whatever unusually-cold, unnamed weather system this latest snow storm is part of. It’s cold here. Single-digit, wish-I-could-hide-all-day-in-bed, cold.

When dinner comes around, all I want is a big, warm bowl of… comfort. Like steaming, hot bowls of pasta and hearty, savory soups and stews. However, I also would like to still fit in my Spring wardrobe once the weather does warm up, so I’m getting sneaky with my superfoods, and adding them to my favorite comfort food dishes.

Kale, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta | Fork Knife SwoonKale, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta | Fork Knife Swoon

This pasta dish is my perfect compromise. It’s warm and satisfying – hello pasta, I’d like you to meet goat cheese… – and packed with onion, garlic, and a ton of dark, leafy greens. I happen to love the combination of half-spinach/half-kale here, but Swiss chard, Rapini or even broccoli would be really nice in this dish as well. The best part about this recipe (did I mention the goat cheese?) is that it all comes together in less than thirty minutes, which is great for weeknights when I realize it’s 7:30 and haven’t even begun to think about what to make for dinner. Oh, and we happen to already have all the ingredients in the fridge/pantry? Big bonus. You start the pasta water, heat the olive oil, chop the veggies, and the rest falls into place by the time the perfectly al dente penne rigate is cooked.

Kale, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta | Fork Knife SwoonKale, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta | Fork Knife Swoon


3.5 from 2 reviews
Weeknight Kale, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe by:
Yield: 2-4 Servings
  • 1/2 lb dry pasta
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, minced
  • 3 cups (packed) kale leaves, rough stems removed and chopped
  • 3 cups (packed) spinach leaves
  • 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 3 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated or powdered
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste*
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-heat, until the butter is melted and the oil just begins to shimmer. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. When the pasta has about two minutes to go, add the kale, followed by the spinach, and stir constantly until the greens just begin to wilt. The greens will continue to cook from the heat of the pasta, so be careful not to overcook.
  4. Drain the pasta, then return the pasta to the pot (off of the heat). Pour the greens mixture over the pasta, add the goat cheese and Parmesan, and stir to combine. Serve warm.
Note from Laura
You can use any combination of greens in this recipe: spinach, kale, Swiss chard, rapini etc. Also, I find that I don't need to add salt to this recipe - goat cheese and Parmesan tend to have a fair amount of salt, so add sparingly, according to taste.



  • Reply Sara August 21, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Help!, I don’t understand step #4

    • Reply Laura August 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      So once the pasta has finished cooking, pour the pasta in a colander to drain the water. Add the drained pasta back into the pot you used to cook it in, then add the cooked spinach and kale, the goat cheese and Parmesan and stir together until combined. Does that help? Please let me know if there was a specific part that was confusing… Hope you enjoy!!

  • Reply Andrea July 17, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    This was delicious – I used a whole grain penne and added some mushrooms!

    • Reply Laura July 18, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      So glad you liked it! I definitely will have to try this with mushrooms!

  • Reply Liselle July 2, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Brilliant recipe Laura. I’ve been wary of kale despite the hype but, like you, I LOVE goat’s cheese so thought it worth trying. A wonderful combination, tasty, fresh, easy to do and yes, tastes much more wicked than it is! Many thanks.

    • Reply Laura July 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks, Liselle! So glad you love the recipe as much as we do! The goat cheese does it for me, every time… :)

  • Reply Greens, greens and more greens June 11, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    […] • Pasta with Spinach, Kale & Goat Cheese • from fork, knife, swoon […]

  • Reply Millicent March 25, 2014 at 5:08 am

    This was delish! We are a military family overseas and to no surprise the commissary was out of goat cheese (it’s been two weeks now and the locals don’t eat it!) So I improvised and used plain feta cheese and some Parmesan (it was all I had). I tested it on me an my one and a half year old. We both had seconds! This is so good. I can’t wait to serve this with chicken or shrimp for guest someday! Yes, even though it was hardy I may try it with a meat…or Italian bread!? Omg this was yummy and has tons of possibilities and that’s what I love about it!! When my hubby returns from sea he will love this! Thanks! (I am trying to put five stars but for some reason it won’t let me :/ )

  • Reply Emily March 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Made this today. I thought it was great and tasted less healthy than it was. My mom said it was “Tasty, but weird.” I don’t think she likes goat cheese, but I am all about goat cheese. So if you like goat cheese, you will probably like this pasta.

  • Reply Liz February 26, 2014 at 6:56 am

    Thank you for the nice recipe.

    • Reply Laura February 26, 2014 at 8:05 am

      Thanks, Liz! Glad you like it!

  • Reply Cindy February 6, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Hmmmm. Yummy. I wonder what this would taste like with whole wheat pasta & maybe some sun-dried tomatoes tossed in w/the greens…I’m not always crazy about the whole wheat pasta texture & taste, but I’m am choosing healthier carbs. Any suggestions on brands?

    • Reply Laura February 12, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      Hi Cindy! We eat whole wheat pasta most of the time, actually, and this recipe is great with either type. Sun dried tomatoes would be great in this too, or even roasted red peppers. I’m not a great help on brands – I tend to buy the store brand organic pasta in both traditional and whole wheat. For us in North Carolina, that’s Harris Teeter, and I think theirs is pretty good. Hope you like the recipe!!

  • Reply Lena February 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I think I could eat pasta every day of my life – and wouldn’t even feel guilty about it. But adding greens into my pasta does sound good, and I love the goat cheese addition here. Most everything is better with goat cheese.

    • Reply Laura February 2, 2014 at 11:36 am

      I’m the same way… I love love love pasta. And agreed! Just about everything is better with goat cheese.

  • Reply Chris @ Shared Appetite January 29, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Oh man I can so go for a big bowl of this pasta right now! Love how you added in superfoods into comfort food! And you are so right… we need comforting, warming food with all this crazy cold weather going on! Can’t wait to make this :)

    • Reply Laura January 29, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Hi Chris! I hope you love it! :)

  • Reply Casey @ A Touch of Zest January 29, 2014 at 7:17 am

    This looks beautiful!

    Somedays a bowl of pasta really hits the spot, especially when you’re in the middle of a polar vortex ;) And with the added greens there’s no reason at all to feel guilty. Love it!

    • Reply Laura January 29, 2014 at 9:15 am

      I’m pretty sure if you add enough spinach/kale to anything it can be called healthy… :)

  • Reply Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps January 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    These are my favorite kind of dinners, easy and simple, but refined. Plus, goat cheese is always a good idea.

    • Reply Laura January 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      I have a serious problem with saying no to goat cheese… :)

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