Weeknight Kale, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta

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.



    • says

      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!!

  1. Liselle says

    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.

  2. Millicent says

    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 :/ )

  3. Emily says

    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.

  4. Cindy says

    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?

    • says

      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!!

  5. says

    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.

  6. says

    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 :)


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