Delicious carbs and pastaaaaaa. What I love most about pasta is that no matter what your diet is, you can usually find substitutes for the pasta or noodles to whatever fits your eating habits.
For this dish, since it’s meatless and dairy-free, I like to use a whole wheat spaghetti noodle since it’s more filling and it has a bit of a nuttier flavor. For substitutes, I’ll make notes below in the ingredient section.
You can have this as your main meal or enjoy as a side dish to some roasted chicken or baked fish.
The best part is that this meal is done in 20 minutes at the MOST.
Olive Spinach Pasta
- ½ pound dry whole wheat spaghetti
- Note: you can substitute this with regular spaghetti or any other pasta shape, you can also use gluten-free pasta, or you can use spiralized vegetables.
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- Note: substitute ¼ of an onion if you don’t have shallots.
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/3 of a cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- Note: you can substitute regular black olives instead or green olives.
- Zest and juice from 1 medium sized lemon
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon dried Italian herb mix
- Dried red chili pepper flakes to taste
- ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 cube of vegetable bouillon
- Note: This is the base to make vegetable stock. If you don’t have cubes, feel free to use 1 teaspoon of bouillon powder instead. If you’re not vegan, you can use chicken or beef bouillon instead. Or leave this out if you don’t have it at all.
- 4 to 5 cups fresh spinach leaves
- Note: You can use chopped kale, baby kale, or any other leafy greens that you prefer or have on hand.
- Optional toppings: crispy onions or breadcrumbs.
- In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil and add salt to it, then add your pasta. Cook the pasta two minutes less than what the directions on the package are as we’ll finish the rest of the cooking in the sauce.
- While the pasta is boiling, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the shallots and cook for two minutes.
- Add minced garlic to the shallots and continue cooking for another two minutes.
- To the shallots and garlic, add the Italian herbs, red pepper flakes, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Stir to mix well and continue to cook for two more minutes.
- Add in the sliced olives, stir together, and cook for one more minute.
- Take a half-cup of the water from the boiling pasta and add it to the large skillet/pan with the spices. This starchy water will help with the sauce you’re going to make.
- Add the lemon zest and juice plus the bouillon to the large skillet/pan and stir well to ensure that all the bouillon is dissolved. This is the sauce for the pasta.
- Once the pasta is done, take it out of the water and place it directly into the pan with sauce and mix well to combine, letting it simmer for about a minute.
- Place half of the spinach or greens into the pan with the pasta and mix well to wilt and combine. Then add the second half and mix well once more, letting it all continue to cook for another two minutes.
- If the pasta seems a little dry, add a bit more of the water that the noodles were boiled in. Be careful not to add too much or the pasta will become too soupy!
- Turn off the stove and dish out your pasta because it’s done! Top it with crispy onions and bread crumbs! For non-vegans, cheese or a fried egg or both are totally acceptable toppings too.