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Cheap Weeknight Meals: Pasta with Spinach and Olives

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These days, I feel like I am busier than ever. Frankly, I know I can’t be the only one. While I love to cook, on some days making a weeknight dinner seems like more of a chore than a pleasure. However, I’ve developed a small arsenal of quick and cheap weeknight dinner recipes that I turn to after particularly long days.

When it comes to quick healthy cooking, I love frozen vegetables. Frozen veggies are by far the best way to enjoy vegetables at their best when they’re long out of season. Sure, you could use canned vegetables, but unless you canned the vegetable yourself, I try to stay away from canned as much as possible. Often, canned vegetables don’t taste very good, plus many times they contain lots of salt and other extra ingredients that I don’t want in my diet. In general, I have found that frozen vegetables are definitely the way to go for me in the winter months.

In this recipe for Pasta with Spinach and Olives, the main star is frozen spinach. I’m a big fan on dark leafy greens, and spinach is a nutritional powerhouse that is readily available and often reasonably priced. In this recipe, I used black olives from Lindsay olives.

Pasta with Spinach and Olives
Cooking Time:
about 5 minutes

  • 1 handful whole wheat pasta
  • 1 bag frozen spinach, completely defrosted
  • 1 container Italian-seasoned black olives from Lindsay olives, chopped
  • Pre-minced garlic
  • Onion powder
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Black pepper, freshly cracked
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  • On the stovetop, get a pot of water boiling. Once you have a rolling boil, add the pasta to the pan.
  • After about a minute, add your spinach to the pot.
  • Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain away all the water from the pot and pour the pasta and spinach into a bowl.
  • Into the bowl, add the olives, garlic, and spices. Toss to combine.
  • Into the bowl, drizzle in olive oil, toss and serve.

Note: I always make pasta in a pot that has a lid with straining capabilities. Admittedly, this makes cooking the pasta and the spinach at the same time much easier. If you wanted to use fresh spinach, you would simply sauté the spinach, olives, garlic, and spices in a separate saucepan with some olive oil. Then, you’d add the cooked pasta to the saucepan, toss and serve. I like the taste of raw garlic, but you could always sauté your garlic first before adding to this recipe if desired. Additionally, I like to season to taste with my herbs and spices. So long as you keep it simple and don’t choose too many powerful flavoring agents, you can choose any variety of herbs and spices you want.

Two things about the picture: One, I have to sadly admit that I used regular refined wheat pasta when making this weeknight dinner recipe. I normally cook almost exclusively with whole wheat pasta, but I didn’t have any on hand at the time. If you can, you’re much better off with the higher fiber content of whole-wheat pasta. Also, the two red sticks in the top right corner are my chopsticks. I bought them for 50 cents at a yard sale, and I find them to be the ideal tool for making sure I eat slowly. Sometimes, forks and spoons encourage food shoveling, and chopsticks help me slow down and savor every bite of my weeknight dinner.

Frankly, this is kind of a cop-out recipe, but it did make for a delicious, healthy and cheap weeknight dinner. You can’t beat that, right?

Your turn: What are your go-to quick and cheap weeknight meals?

Originally published on FaveDiets


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