Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Penne With Creamy Spinach And Goat Cheese Sauce

This meal satisfies my need for goat cheese, greens and pasta all on one plate.

penne pasta

Photo: noukorama (Flickr)

I used a mix of legume-based pasta and whole wheat for this recipe.

Culinary Hide-And-Seek

Okay, I confess. I am one of those moms that will hide things in her children’s food. I am not ashamed of this.

I have had a few openly tell me in the past that I was not teaching good eating habits to my children. But you know, those people probably never tried to feed a picky eater. I hide a little, offer a little. There is a delicate balance that needs to be maintained when feeding a child and I respect that.

Fooling A Picky Eater

So, the other day I was craving three things with a ferocity that rivaled a bear after honey: I really wanted some pasta, greens and goat cheese. I woke up thinking about it, sat and thought about it at work, and while running after school I had put together a plan.

The problem was I knew my oldest would pitch a fit. I was not in the mood for his “20 questions about what was in the food” fun time. Never fear, I am not afraid of that. So while he was at swimming I made this quick little sauce so I could get rid of the evidence before he got home.

Talk about nutrient-packed. I used a mix of legume-based pasta and whole wheat. My green of choice: spinach. This meal was filling and satisfied my need for goat cheese, greens and pasta all on one plate.

Feeling confident, I plated his dinner. He just looked at me like I was an idiot and said, ” Okay, Mom. I know there must be something in here that I don’t like. What is it?” I smiled and assured him there was no trick and I promised he would like it.

Not only did he like it, he asked for more.

Penne With Creamy Spinach And Goat Cheese Sauce


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound penne pasta of your choice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 ounces Chevre goat cheese or other soft goat cheese of your choice
  • 1 ounce reduced-fat cream cheese
  • fresh pepper
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • reserved pasta water to thin sauce
  • fresh grated Parmesan for garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to the directions and reserve 1 cup of the water.
  2. Meanwhile in a food processor, mince the garlic and salt. Add the cheeses and pulse a few times. Then add 3/4 of the spinach leaves and pulse until smooth. At this point you may want to add a little of the pasta water to thin your sauce.
  3. Add this to the drained pasta and toss to coat.
  4. I served this on a bed of spinach that was lightly drizzled with olive oil. We also had leftover grilled chicken so this was a complete meal.

Heather Tallman

Heather Tallman is a Bloomington native, freelance writer and mother to 2 busy boys. She is also a food writer for her local newspaper as well as the creator of Basilmomma, a cooking blog. She writes about her culinary hits and misses and all of the life that goes along with it. Her goal is to create fast, fresh and family-friendly meals that teach her children and others that creating meals from farm to table is not only attainable but easier than you think.

View all posts by this author »

  • Michele Gerhard

    Love, love, love you and this fabulous meatless recipe, Heather! :)

  • Kimby

    I’m so glad you posted this recipe, Heather!  I have all the ingredients and it sounds delicious.  I’ll be thinking about it during work tomorrow, too – know exactly what you mean. :)

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media