This vegetarian tortellini makes it so easy to eat lots of greens for dinner! The creamy garlicky sauce is packed with spinach while being so luxurious and comforting. With just seven ingredients and no need to precook the tortellini, this is an easy one pot meal.
👩🍳 Christine’s Notes
This baked tortellini is a DREAM and I don’t even feel guilty because there is so much spinach. And with the spinach packed into a garlicky cream cheese sauce, it’s just so flavorful! Almost like a spinach dip turned into a sauce.
The process is totally chill. Everything bakes in one pan, and there’s only seven ingredients, so it’s a pretty simple one to put together. Of course the baking time means it’s not speedy, but it’s great for those busy evenings at home when you need to multitask and let dinner cook itself.
🛒 Choosing Your Ingredients – What to Know
- Your tortellini can be any flavor you like (for me it’s four cheese) but the recipe was written to accommodate fresh tortellini which you’d find in the refrigerator section of the supermarket. You can adapt this recipe to use dried or frozen tortellini, but you’ll need to precook it before adding it to the pan – see the Notes section in the recipe card for full details.
- This recipe uses frozen spinach which allows us to easily pack a whole lot of leaf into the dish. If you’d prefer to use fresh spinach, you will need to saute it until it’s reduced, press the water out and then proceed with the recipe. Use about 1 pound (450g) of fresh spinach to match the amount in this recipe.
- The sauce consists of cream cheese, cheese and vegetable stock. For texture’s sake you need full fat cream cheese, NOT light. And I would recommend a fairly salty Italian cheese such as a parmesan or pecorino style cheese (as a vegetarian I look for cheeses made without animal rennet – so generic “Italian hard cheese”, or any kind of non-PDO versions).
This recipe can be budget friendly! While tortellini and other fresh filled pastas can be really pricey, the budget supermarkets like Aldi tend to carry it at very low prices. You should also feel very free to use store brand or generic products for any or all of the ingredients – it won’t matter at all, this is not a recipe that relies on everything being fancy!
👶🏽👧 Serving this Tortellini Bake to Babies, Toddlers or Kids
- My number one suggestion if you’re serving this to littles would be to choose chopped spinach instead of whole leaf. With chopped spinach, the sauce stays more consistent and creamy. Whole leaf spinach can be chewy, stringy and tougher to eat.
- For babies under the age of one, there may be too much salt in this dish due to the vegetable stock. The stock, however, adds a lot of flavor for the adult palette. If you can find a low-sodium vegetable stock – go for it! Otherwise, you’ll need to use water but consider adding some chopped vegetables or herbs to the dish to lend extra flavor.
- A big leafy salad is great for a side dish – something with a sharp vinaigrette to cut through the richness of the pasta.
- If you wish to add a boost of protein to the table, try this Chickpea Salad with Avocado, Mozzarella & Tomato.
- It’s also great alongside some Quick Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes, which can cook in the lower part of the oven alongside this tortellini bake.
- If you have an air fryer you can whip up some Air Fryer Broccoli Parmesan or some Air Fryer Garlic Bread in no time.
Baked Tortellini with Spinach & Cream Cheese
- ½ onion, diced – any color of onion is fine
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 10 oz (280 g) frozen spinach
- 18 oz (500 g) fresh tortellini, see Notes if you want to swap frozen or dried
- 1 cup (120 g) grated pecorino, parmesan or Italian hard cheese
- 1 cup (100 g) grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup (225 g) cream cheese, full fat, not light
- 3 cups (700 ml) vegetable stock or broth
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 360F.
- Heat a little olive oil in a shallow casserole dish (one that can go between the stove and oven). Saute your onion and garlic until soft.1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic
- Prepare the spinach. Microwave it until defrosted, then squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. I find the best way to do this is to put the spinach in a sieve and use a bowl to press down on it which squeezes the water out. Once finished, add it to the pan and mix it through the onion and garlic mixture for a minute or two.10 oz frozen spinach
- Add the cream cheese and the parmesan style cheese (not the mozzarella – this is for topping!) and mix through over very low heat until it's all combined and the cheese is melted.1 cup cream cheese, 1 cup grated pecorino, parmesan or Italian hard cheese
- Add the vegetable stock and tortellini to the pan. The sauce will be very runny, but don't worry, the tortellini will drink it up while it cooks! Cover, then place in the oven for 20 minutes.3 cups vegetable stock or broth, 18 oz fresh tortellini
- Remove from the oven and uncover. The tortellini should have plumped out and the sauce will be much thicker, though still fairly liquid (don't worry, it will continue to thicken). Stir it through.
- Put the oven's heat up to 200C / 400F. Add the mozzarella cheese over the top and then place back in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and browned.1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- Remove from the oven and let it sit for out for 5-10 minutes before serving. This time will allow the sauce to settle.