This feta cheese pasta with shrimp and spinach is so easy and delicious. The creamy sauce tastes like it is from a restaurant but takes only 30 minutes to cook. Adapted from the world famous “TikTok Pasta” this recipe is a must-try.
Feta Pasta with Shrimp and Spinach
The recipe here is my take on this amazing idea. Instead of using only feta, I add burrata and parmesan cheeses. The result is a more luscious, and cheesy sauce.
I also add thyme and other ingredients, which makes it taste like it is out of a mediterranean restaurant. Rather than cherry or grape tomatoes, I choose vine ripe tomatoes that release more juices to give a thinner consistency and volume to the sauce.
Just in a snap you can dish out this creamy and flavorful feta cheese pasta sauce. Top it with shrimp and it is divine.
Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt, Pepper, Herbs, Cheese, Pasta, Spinach, Shrimp, Lemon Zest.
- Tomatoes: Use juicy variety such as vine-ripe tomatoes.
- Olive Oil: I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil for perfect flavor. Dont skimp on the oil.
- Garlic: Minced or grated fresh garlic works well.
- Red Pepper Flakes: Adds a nice kick to the sauce.
- Salt and Pepper: Use these judiciously, because the cheese already has some salt in it. And we are also using red pepper flakes.
- Herbs: I think fresh thyme works best. Then I also add some dried oregano. Use fresh herbs when possible.
- Cheese: I use a combination of feta, burrata and parmesan cheeses. Use block feta cheese made from sheep’s milk for best results. The combination of mozzarella, curds and cream in burrata gives the pasta sauce the right consistency. For grated parmesan cheese, I choose those with no cellulose, or grate a wedge of cheese. This cheese adds a delightful nutty flavor.
- Pasta: I use small size pasta as that goes along the size of shrimp and other ingredients in this dish. It is much easier to spoon or eat it. I used ziti pasta, but other options you could try are penne, elbow, rigatoni, campanelle, farfalle, etc. And I use no more than 8 oz of pasta for this recipe, so that the creamy sauce stands out too.
- Spinach: Use baby spinach as it cooks quickly.
- Shrimp: I prefer to use fresh raw shrimp, but frozen and thawed is fine too. Remove the shells and make sure to devein the shrimp. You can leave the tails on if you like.
- Lemon Zest: This is optional but try it if you like. I did not use it, as I like the thyme flavor in the sauce.
Although not an exact substitute, you may try replacing burrata with fresh mozzarella and some cream. Or try goat cheese.
How to Make Feta Cheese Pasta
*Full recipe at the end of blog post. Start cooking the pasta after 15 minutes of baking the sauce.
- Prep tomatoes: Toss together diced tomatoes, olive oil, grated garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, herbs and spread it in the baking dish.
- Add Cheese: In the center of tomatoes, place the feta cheese, burrata cheese and sprinkle parmesan cheese. Drizzle some olive oil and bake.
- Boil Pasta: Cook the pasta to al dente stage following the package directions. Turn off the heat and add spinach. Drain the pasta with spinach and reserve some pasta water.
- Herbs, Lemon Zest and Garlic: After complete baking time, add remaining herbs, garlic and lemon zest (optional). Mash the cheeses until smooth and crush the tomatoes very well. Combine it all into a nice sauce.
- Cook Shrimp: Stir in shrimp and bake the sauce for 5 to 6 minutes. Alternatively, toss shrimp with some olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and bake for 9 to 12 minutes and then use it.
- Add Pasta: Stir in the drained pasta. Add “hot” pasta water to adjust the sauce consistency.
- Add Other Vegetables: Instead of spinach use broccoli, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, yellow squash or bell peppers. Steam the sliced vegetables or toss them with olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper and bake at 400˚F for 15 to 20 minutes until done. Stir the roasted vegetables into the pasta or serve it on the side.
- Shrimp: Add the shrimp directly to the sauce and cook if you want to infuse the flavor into it. Alternatively you can toss the shrimp with olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and bake at 350˚F for 9 to 12 minutes or broil for 3 to 5 minutes until opaque.
- Add Other Protein: Instead of shrimp use easy to cook chicken tenders, ground meats, beef strips or fish chunks.
- Other Herbs: You can try fresh basil.
- Vegan and Dairy Free: I have not cooked it with vegan feta cheese but you could try adding it in the last 10 minutes. Otherwise, roast the tomatoes for 30 minutes, crush well and then stir in coconut milk and some cashew butter.
- Gluten Free: Use lentil based pasta instead of regular wheat pasta.
- High Protein: Use lentil pasta and add shrimp or other protein alternatives.
- Lower Carb: Substitute wheat pasta with zucchini noodles (zoodles) or spaghetti squash.
What to Serve With It
Tips and Notes
Consistency: Add more pasta water for a saucier consistency.
Make Ahead: You can assemble all the ingredients in a baking dish and refrigerate up to a day before to have it ready to bake the sauce.
It is ideal to cook pasta fresh. But, you can cook the pasta and shrimp a day ahead. Make sure to toss the al dente pasta with some olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen for 2 months. Add pasta water as needed and reheat.
This feta cheese pasta recipe is egg free, nut free and soy free.
Feta and parmesan cheeses used in this recipe are among the healthiest, which provide more flavor for the amount of calories and fat. To lower saturated fat, you can replace burrata cheese with feta or try using cashew butter.
Shrimp are low in calories, rich in protein, vitamin B 12 and selenium. They also provide omega 3 fatty acids, iodine, copper, phosphorus and choline.
More Delicious Recipes
- Healthy Mac and Cheese
- Low Carb Cauliflower Pizza
- Vegetarian Manti (Mushroom Dumplings)
- Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Chicken
★ DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE COMMENT AND GIVE IT A STAR RATING BELOW!
Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant Dip)
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Prick the eggplants with a fork in couple spots and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the skin turns darker and shrinks. Check foot notes for grilling, broiling or stove top options.
- The eggplants should be cooked through completely in the center. To check, press the back of a fork on the eggplant. It should compress easily all the way into the center without any resistance.
- Cut through the eggplant skin and scoop out the soft cooked flesh and mash it with a fork and set aside.
- Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, discarding some seeds if you wish. See note below for peeled and deseeded tomatoes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan at medium setting. Add the chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne or chili powder, ⅓ teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes are softened, stirring in between, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the mashed eggplants and cilantro. Continue to cook over low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, mashing it if needed, into a thick but slightly textured dip like consistency.
- Stir in lemon juice and salt. Adjust as per taste, let it cool and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate it overnight before serving.
- Take the zaalouk from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and let it come to room temperature. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes if you prefer.
- Chunky Zaalouk: To make a chunkier but less traditional zaalouk, insert garlic cloves into eggplant and roast it in the oven at 400˚F, along with the tomatoes. Chop the eggplants and tomatoes. Add the spices, herbs, half the olive oil, salt and mash it up to desired consistency. Drizzle olive oil and serve.
- Cooking Eggplants:
- Grill: Roast eggplants on charcoal or gas grill for 20 to 30 minutes, turning them slowly in between, until skin turns darker and shrinks.
- Broil: Cut eggplants lengthwise into halves and place the cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Place on the second rack and broil until skin turns darker and shrinks, about 20 minutes.
- Stovetop: Peel the eggplants completely, only some stripes or leave the skin on if you don’t mind it. Cut the eggplants into small pieces. Steam on high heat until soft or cook in a pan with some water until soft and mushy.
- Easy Zaalouk: Combine all ingredients with ⅓ cup of water and cook it over stove top until softened. Mash it up well and drizzle olive oil.
- Peeled and deseeded tomatoes: If you prefer, you can blanch the tomatoes. Cut a small cross on the surface of tomatoes and dump them in hot boiling water. After a minute, pick out the tomatoes and peel the skin, cut them into halves and deseed. Chop them into small pieces.
- Use more tomatoes if you want the dip to be saucy. You may even try using a little bit of tomato paste to give it thickness.
- Leftovers: Can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze zaalouk for couple months. Thaw and reheat. Adjust the consistency, evaporating or adding water as needed. Check the seasoning as well.
- Nutrition facts not including any added salt.
- For other variations, tips and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
Feta Cheese Pasta with Shrimp
- 1 lb tomatoes juicy vine-ripe, diced
- 4 garlic cloves grated, divided
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme divided
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano divided
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes adjust per taste
- Salt to taste see note
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 oz block Feta cheese
- 4 oz Burrata cheese cut in halves
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz ziti pasta
- 1 pound raw shrimp large or medium, peeled and deveined
- 4 oz baby spinach or arugula
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest optional
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Toss together diced tomatoes, ¼ cup olive oil, ⅔ grated garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, ½ the herbs and spread it in the baking dish.
- Make a well in the center of tomatoes and place the feta cheese block, burrata cheese halves and sprinkle the parmesan cheese. Drizzle remaining olive oil on the cheese and bake at 400ºF for 30 to 40 minutes until the tomatoes cook and release juices.
- About 15 minutes after baking time, bring salted water to a rolling boil in a cooking pot. Cook the pasta until al dente stage following the directions on the package. Turn off the heat and add spinach. Drain the pasta with spinach and reserve some pasta water.
- After complete baking time, remove the baking dish from oven and add remaining herbs, garlic and lemon zest (if using). Using a large and wide spoon, mash the cheeses until smooth and crush the tomatoes very well. Combine it all into a nice sauce.
- Stir in the shrimp. Bake the sauce for an additional 5 to 6 minutes until shrimp turn opaque. Alternatively, toss shrimp with some olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and bake it for 9 to 12 minutes and then use it.
- Stir in the drained pasta. Add “hot” pasta water to adjust the sauce consistency.
- Salt: Use it judiciously, because the cheese already has some salt in it.
- Cheese: Use feta cheese blocks made from sheep’s milk for best results. For grated parmesan cheese, I choose those with no cellulose, or grate a wedge of cheese.
- Pasta: Use small size pasta. Other pasta options you could try are penne, elbow, rigatoni, farfalle, etc.
- Shrimp: Use fresh raw shrimp, but frozen and thawed is fine too.
- Consistency: Add more pasta water for a saucier consistency.
- Make Ahead: Assemble all the ingredients in a baking dish and refrigerate up to a day before to have it ready to bake. It is ideal to cook pasta fresh. But, you can cook the pasta and shrimp a day ahead. Make sure to toss the cooked pasta with some olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.
- Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen for 2 months. Add pasta water as needed and reheat.
- Nutrition Facts: Not including any added salt. The sodium value for shrimp is based on retail market shrimp that typically come in contact with sodium solutions while processing. It may vary if using fresh untreated raw shrimp.
- For more tips on variations and serving suggestions check out the blog post above.