Pasta Aglio e Olio with a twist

Garlic is one of my favorite ingredients for just about all food. Being Italian-American, there is never enough garlic. The smell of it is so comforting and gives me immediate flashbacks to childhood.

One of my favorite quick dishes from childhood is pasta agile e olio. Simply, pasta with garlic and oil. Garlic is sautéed in a nice amount of olive oil, spaghetti is thrown in, and it’s of course topped with a handful of parmesan cheese. Lately, this is all I’ve been thinking about.

This week is also my first full week back at work. I’m mentally juggling a million tasks that need to get done, with an already packed schedule pre-planned by my administrators. I am definitely bringing home things to do this week to preserve my sanity.

Today I walked into my apartment to a dishwasher full of clean dishes, a sink full of dirty ones, planning on making dinner, lunch, and snacks for my fiancé and I for the rest of the week, and looking forward to working through the planning I brought home.

I needed a quick dinner. However, I also bought a LOT of vegetables this week and I’m really trying hard to reduce food waste at home. I thought about the smell of garlic and how much I’ve wanted pasta aglio e olio but felt guilty about not using any of the vegetables. Until I realized I bought baby spinach and baby kale and almost jumped up and down with excitement since I could throw that into spaghetti. That is exactly what I did.

This is a super simple recipe, but a delicious staple that will save your weeknight dinner on a night you are struggling and do not want to spend all night cooking. It will also fill any garlic cravings you may be having at the moment. Enjoy!




  • 1 lb spaghetti of choice (I used Trader Joe’s brown rice spaghetti)
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 1/2 bag of baby kale
  • olive oil
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • vegan parmesan cheese (I used Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Parmesan cheese)


How to:

In a large pot, boil salted water. When boiling, add spaghetti and a drizzle of olive oil.* In a separate pan, add a large drizzle of olive oil (you really want a good amount there to coat the bottom). Over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add in your garlic. Watch the garlic carefully, as you don’t want it to burn. Stir the garlic every few minutes until the garlic becomes golden brown and slightly crispy. Once the garlic begins to crisp, add in your baby spinach and baby kale until it wilts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the spinach and kale are wilted, put to the side until the spaghetti is cooked. After the spaghetti is cooked, drain it, and add it to your pan with the garlic, oil, spinach, and kale. Mix well so the olive oil coats the spaghetti and the spinach and kale becomes mixed into the center of the spaghetti. Plate it and add a handful of your vegan parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

*Normally, I do not put olive oil in my pasta water as it makes the pasta sauce harder to stick to the pasta, but my brown rice spaghetti gets very sticky so I like to add a little bit of olive oil to help it all not stick together.


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