Are you looking for more ideas to incorporate spinach into your little one's diet or for a quick meal that the whole family can enjoy? Go no further! This hulk pasta is what you are looking for. Ready in less than 30 minutes, you just boil the pasta then toss all the ingredients into a blender and you are done. Enjoy!
I came up with this Hulk pasta recipe, which is a creamy green pasta sauce, when I was trying to introduce baby Alex to spinach but also make my preschooler eat some more spinach-not one of her favorite greens really. You will be surprised by how exciting and delicious a dish sounds to a child just by giving it a superhero name.
You don't need any special cooking skills to prepare this green spinach sauce and you could substitute or leave out some of the ingredients based on your family's diet and allergies, just read on for suggestions.
👩🏻🍳 Why you should try my recipe
- Ready in less than 30 minutes.
- Perfect for midweek quick meals.
- Full of nutrients and goodness.
- Easily adjustable for babies under 12 months.
- Versatile! Could serve with pasta or in sandwiches and more.
To make this creamy green sauce for the hulk pasta, we are going to need fresh spinach, garlic, olive oil, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, walnuts (optional) and some freshly ground pepper.
For babies 12 months and above, you could add a pinch of salt to the sauce. If you find the parmesan cheese too salty for your little ones, leave it out and just add the ricotta which is low in sodium.
For full quantities and to print the recipe, see the recipe card below.
🔪 Step-by-step Instructions
So get your ingredients ready and let's get started!
01. The most timely thing in preparing this hulk pasta is simply boiling the pasta. So, I start by filling up a big pot with water and when it starts boiling, I add the pasta.
I'm using fusilli pasta cause it goes well with the sauce and is easy for the kids to eat. You could pair it with whichever type of pasta you like. I leave it to cook according to package instructions and reserve half a cup of pasta water in case I need some for the sauce.
02. To prepare the sauce, I'm adding all the ingredients to a blender. The fresh spinach, olive oil, garlic cloves, ricotta, parmesan, walnuts, freshly ground pepper and olive oil. The walnuts are optional but they add some extra goodness and protein to the sauce. If your little one is allergic to nuts, you could leave them out.
03. I blend all the ingredients well, making sure there are no big pieces of nuts left and the spinach is blended well. If you find it too thick or difficult to blend, then you could add a couple of tablespoons from the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce or make it easier to blend. However, we don't want it to be too runny as it won't stay on the pasta.
04. When the sauce is ready, I combine it with the cooked pasta and it's now ready to be served.
📖 Substitutions & Variations
- You could use frozen spinach instead of fresh but the sauce might have a dark green color instead.
- Instead of parmesan cheese, you could use romana, padano or cheddar.
- If you don't like nuts or your little one is allergic to walnuts, you could leave them out or replace them with pine nuts or cashews.
- Parmesan cheese is high in sodium, so for babies under 12 months, you could leave it out and just stick to the ricotta cheese.
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🍽 Serving suggestions
This creamy green pasta sauce, or hulk pasta sauce as I like to call it and present it to my kids, is best served with short pasta like rotini (fusilli), farfalle or penne that can hold the sauce well. I like to pair it with some chicken or salmon for extra protein and some cherry tomatoes cut in half.
Apart from pasta, you could also serve the hulk pasta sauce on some bread with cheese and tomatoes or add it to a sandwich, similar to a pesto sauce. Let me know how you served this spinach pesto sauce in the comments below!
The hulk pasta sauce is enough for half a packet of pasta, around 8oz. If you desire to make less, just enough for your little one, then I recommend boiling the pasta quantity that you like and then adding the sauce to the pasta rather than the other way around. This way, you could store the remaining green spinach sauce in the fridge for another use or the next day.
It stores well in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. I haven't tried freezing it, but if you try it, let me know in the comments below how it goes.
- If it's difficult to blend and get the right texture, add one tablespoon of pasta water at a time until you get the desired creamy texture.
- Boil the pasta first as it only takes a couple of minutes for the sauce to get ready.
If the pasta is too hot when you mix it with the green spinach sauce, then the heat will darken the green color. I recommend boiling the pasta, then while it's cooling down preparing the sauce. It only takes a few minutes and it's enough to keep that nice bright green color when you mix both together.
Parmesan cheese is high in sodium and it's better to be avoided for babies under 12 months. I recommend sticking to a soft, creamy cheese like ricotta that will make the sauce cheesy and creamy enough for your little one.
I'm using walnuts for this hulk pasta sauce but you could also use pine nuts or cashews.
Hulk Pasta - Creamy Green Pasta Sauce
- 1 food processor or blender
- 1 big pot (for pasta)
- 5 cups fresh spinach (150 gr)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- ⅓ cup ricotta cheese
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ground pepper
- 8 oz pasta 220gr (short pasta like fusilli or farfalle)
- Fill up a big pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Reserve half a cup of the pasta water.
- In a food processor or blender, add the rest of the ingredients, the spinach, ricotta, parmesan, olive oil, walnuts, garlic clove and pepper.
- Blend everything well. If it's difficult to blend, add one tablespoon of the pasta water at a time until you get the preferred texture. The sauce shouldn't be too runny.
- Mix the sauce and pasta and serve.
- For children above 12 months and adults, you could add some salt to the hulk pasta sauce.
- Make sure the walnuts are chopped and incorporated into the sauce, as they can be a choking hazard for babies if left in big pieces.