© 2018 Green Kitchen Stories Spinach_watermelon_penne_1

Creamy Spinach Penne with Watermelon

Hi friends, hope you’ve had a great summer. We took a little break from the blog as we have been in Copenhagen and Barcelona. But we are back now with a great little dinner recipe. It’s a version of something we have been eating all summer. It has been record-breaking hot in Europe so pairing lukewarm buckwheat penne with juicy and crunchy watermelon has been feeling very right, very often.  Satisfying, simple and soothing. Our kids love this buckwheat penne and that also plays a part why it’s been on repeat. In fact, our little Noah (soon two years old!) starts crying if we serve him spaghetti or any other pasta: “Noooooh, [I want] my pasta“.

In this version we are dressing (almost drenching) the pasta in a herby spinach, herb and almond milk sauce that is inspired by something we saw in Deliciously Ella’s feed a while back. It’s very good, creamy and quick! We then stir in chickpeas and avocado and top everything with watermelon, feta cheese, almonds and heirloom tomatoes. It is a pretty awesome little dinner that can come together in 15 minutes if you are quick with the knife and good at multitasking.

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There are plenty of ways to spin this.
• If you cannot find buckwheat penne you can of course use regular or whole wheat penne.
• Vegans can just skip the cheese (and perhaps add in a little nutritional yeast for extra flavour).
• Fresh or roasted corn could be a great addition when they are in season.
• You can swap basil and mint for cilantro and parsley for a more Middle Eastern take.
• If you are allergic to nuts, use oat milk or regular milk and swap the almonds for toasted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
• For a wintery version of this, you can add in roasted broccoli and pomegranate seeds instead of watermelon.

Spinach_watermelon_penne_7

Buckwheat Penne with Creamy Spinach Sauce & Watermelon
Serves 4

Buckwheat pasta penne for 4 persons (approx 400 g /14 oz)

Creamy Spinach Sauce
1 onion

2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
125 g / 3 packed cups fresh spinach
400 ml / 1 1/2  cups almond milk
a good handful each of fresh basil and mint
1-2 tsp maple syrup
1 small lemon, juice
a large pinch sea salt & pepper

To Serve
1 x 400 g / 14 oz tin cooked chickpeas
1/2 watermelon
1 avocado
10 heirloom cherry tomatoes
15 toasted almonds
10 fresh mint
100 g feta cheese

Boil salted water in a large saucepan, add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package. Meanwhile prepare the sauce.

Peel and chop onion and garlic. Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Sauté onions and garlic on medium high heat until translucent and light brown. Then lower the heat, add spinach and let it wilt down, pour in almond milk and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, take it off the heat and use a stick (immersion) blender to mix it smooth. Taste to check that the flavours are balanced. You can add more lemon juice, herbs, salt or maple syrup if you prefer.

When the pasta is ready, drain the water in a sieve, give it a quick rinse and transfer the pasta back to the saucepan along with a splash of olive oil. Pour the spinach sauce over the cooked pasta and stir to combine.

Drain the chickpeas and cut the avocado into cubes and add them to the creamy pasta. Cut the watermelon into cubes, divide the tomatoes in halves, chop almonds and mint and crumble the feta cheese. Arrange all those ingredients on top of the creamy pasta penne. Serve and dive in!

26 Comments

  1. Posted 11 Aug ’18 at 11:07 | #

    Such a gorgeous recipe! Loving all the colours. I’ve never used watermelon in a pasta dish before, so this should be a fun experiment!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Posted 11 Aug ’18 at 12:37 | #

    What a great idea to use a different pasta rather than the norm. It makes it look so beautiful

  3. kate
    Posted 12 Aug ’18 at 00:40 | #

    Thanks for the winter adaption suggestions, I always feel envious at your beautiful summer recipes when in the Southern Hemisphere it is cold and damp!

  4. Posted 12 Aug ’18 at 09:45 | #

    amazing recipe. thanks. I will follow your blog.

  5. Posted 12 Aug ’18 at 18:32 | #

    I’ve just saved this recipe! I want this for dinner ASAP. It’s truly the perfect summer meal. I’ve never tried buckwheat pasta but Noah’s enthusiastic endorsement has me convinced :) Hope your trip went well!

    Beatrice | The Bliss Bean

  6. Posted 13 Aug ’18 at 11:17 | #

    Well that is just great! Thank you for the idea of such a lovely pasta!

  7. Posted 13 Aug ’18 at 13:11 | #

    love the addition of watermelon! Must be a nice burst of sweetness.

    chevrons & éclairs

  8. Emma
    Posted 13 Aug ’18 at 23:50 | #

    Such striking colors! Love the green sauce against the black pasta

  9. Posted 14 Aug ’18 at 08:54 | #

    Haha, we discovered something similar this summer :-) lovely recipe!

  10. Nathalie
    Posted 14 Aug ’18 at 09:34 | #

    I’m really loving all your recipes, I got one of your books as a birthday gift and i’ve been enjoying it so good! Keep up the good work!

  11. Feli
    Posted 14 Aug ’18 at 12:56 | #

    Will try this cool summer recipe tonight with guests. However, fresh spinach is not available on the Canaries now. Will use frozen spinach instead, unless you have a better idea…? Frozen peas maybe?

    • Posted 15 Aug ’18 at 21:05 | #

      Hi Feli, frozen spinach and frozen peas both work well for this instead of fresh.
      /David

  12. Posted 15 Aug ’18 at 17:48 | #

    Hello, when you say cooked tinned chickpeas, how long do you cook them for since technically they can be eaten raw…. although I always prefer to cook for my toddler.

    Thank you!

    • Posted 15 Aug ’18 at 21:25 | #

      Hi Magda, we simply mean a tin of chickpeas. With cooked, we mean that they already are cooked. But I can see now that it was a confusing way to write it. A tin of chickpeas is a tin pf chickpeas :)

  13. Sylvia Rack
    Posted 17 Aug ’18 at 02:48 | #

    There’s something weird going on with your website, I cant see any pictures when I click on your posts, just icons representing that a pic should be there, I noticed this yesterday too and don’t have a problem seeing the pics on all my other fav food blogs I visited today so I think its something in your end, good luck!

  14. Sylvia
    Posted 17 Aug ’18 at 02:50 | #

    nevermind they just loaded. I feel stupid ha

  15. Cristina
    Posted 18 Aug ’18 at 00:51 | #

    I just tried this recipe. The spinach sauce is amazing! Amazing!! I put dried parsley and thyme instead since i didnt have basil and mint.

    The toppings just continued adding to its goodness!

    Thank you!!!! :)

  16. Posted 18 Aug ’18 at 04:51 | #

    this is the first time i saw spinach and watermelon in one dish, very innovative!

  17. Posted 20 Aug ’18 at 09:39 | #

    I love one pot dishes! Makes my life so much easier. That Butternut Squash dish looks amazing! Thank you

  18. Mona
    Posted 20 Aug ’18 at 12:26 | #

    Stunning colours! Must try and remember to cook this recipe once it’s summer here in the Southern Hemisphere and watermelons and yummy tomatoes are available. We make your quick pasta-tomato dish with peaches quite often when they are in season so Im sure I will love this recipe, too. (By the way I got really exciting seeing your first book at the library today. I had to leave it behind when moving from Europe to NZ but I managed to take your other three books with me. Wouldn’t want to live/cook without them! Planning to make the apple cinnamon buns tomorrow. I had completely forgotten that recipe was in your first book and struggled finding it anywhere)

  19. Posted 29 Aug ’18 at 11:29 | #

    Lovely recipe. Try it soon

  20. Posted 31 Aug ’18 at 15:12 | #

    This is such an amazing idea. I want to make it

  21. Posted 23 Sep ’18 at 20:32 | #

    Looks awesome recipe to taste soon. Hope the combination of watermelon and Spinach Penne will be yummy.

  22. Posted 25 Sep ’18 at 15:42 | #

    Normally I don’t mix fruit with my pasta but this just seems too delicious not to try.

  23. Posted 16 Oct ’18 at 00:31 | #

    I can already tell that the pasta is going to be delicious! Can’t wait to try it out, thanks for sharing!

  24. Petra
    Posted 24 Oct ’18 at 20:34 | #

    We´ve been making this dish once a week since you posted it, the kids were blown away and regularly ask for it. My older one (7) even said the other day that he´s gonna make this for HIS kids :) Thank you very much!

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