Print Options:

Creamy Spinach and Farfalle in the Instant Pot (Super Yummy, Can be made Vegan)

Prep Time20 minsCook Time35 minsTotal Time55 mins

Consider this Instant Pot recipe a cross between a traditional pasta in cream sauce and a favorite of mine, creamed spinach. The vegan version of this recipe with margarine and Oat, Soy, or Almond cream/milk tastes just as good as the vegetarian version.

Creamy Spinach and Shells in the Instant Pot (Super Yummy, Can be made Vegan)

 2 tbsp butter or margarine
 1 medium single-lobed shallot, chopped (¼ cup)
 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
 1 tsp rubbed or ground sage
 ½ tsp table salt
 ½ tsp ground black pepper
 ¼ tsp grated or ground nutmeg
 3 cups loosely packed *chopped* baby spinach leaves (3 ounces)
 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
 12 oz raw dried medium farfalle (bow tie) pasta or pasta shells
 ½ cup heavy or light cream (or Oat Milk/Soy Milk/Almond Milk original flavor creamer (but not a Vanilla flavored one though) for a vegan dish)
 8 oz Swiss or white cheddar cheese (optional), shredded (2 cups) - (Or Daiya cheese vegan substitute -optional) as topping
Notes - Before you Start

Note: Don’t be tempted to cut corners and dump whole baby spinach leaves into the pot. They’ll wad around the pasta, making a slimy mess. Chop them into smaller bits so that they don’t get in the way of the creamy deliciousness.

Directions - Let's Get Started!

Using a 5-, 6-, or 8-quart Instant Pot electric pressure cooker:

Press: SAUTÉ
Set it for: MEDIUM, NORMAL, or CUSTOM 300°F
Set time for: 5 minutes


As the pot heats, melt the butter (or margarine) in the insert set in a 5-, 6-, or 8-quart Instant Pot. Add the shallot and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Do not brown. Stir in the sage, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until aromatic, just a few seconds.


Add the chopped spinach and stir well to combine. Pour in the broth and scrape up any browned bits on the pot’s bottom. Warm for 1 minute, then turn off the heat. Stir in the dry pasta (shells or bow-ties/farfalle) until coated and lock the lid on the pot.


Set level to: HIGH
Valve must be: Closed
Set time for: 6 minutes with the KEEP WARM setting off


When the pot has finished cooking, use the quick-release method to bring the pressure back to normal. Unlatch the lid and open the cooker.


Press: SAUTÉ
Set it for: MEDIUM, NORMAL, or CUSTOM 300°F
Set time for: 5 minutes


Bring the pasta mixture to a low simmer, stirring constantly. Add the cream (or non dairy creamer) and continue cooking, stirring almost constantly, to reduce the liquid and remove the cream’s raw flavor, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese (optional). Use hot pads or silicone baking mitts to transfer the (hot!) insert to a nearby wire rack. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Stir again before serving warm.

Other Pots

Because of the more complicated ratios between spinach and pasta, this recipe does not work well in a 3-quart or 10-quart Instant Pot.

Variations or Customizations Beyond the Original Recipe

For heat, you can omit the black pepper and add up to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes with the sage.


Feel free to substitute chopped baby kale or baby arugula for the baby spinach.


Recipe adapted by Geoff Peters from Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough's excellent book "The Instant Pot Bible 2 - The Next Generation"