Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara

Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara

Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara

Cheese tortellini makes the best quick dinner recipe! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil.

Some meatless recipes stand a head above the rest, and this is one of them. In fact, I think we’d be happy eating this genius quick dinner every day of the week. Try this cheese tortellini in creamy marinara sauce! In just 15 minutes, you’ve got a pasta skillet that’s a literal symphony of flavor. The fresh basil-infused marinara sauce is perfectly complimented with pillows of tangy goat cheese. (In fact, it’s our baked goat cheese dip made into a main dish, because we love it so much we needed a way to justify it as dinner.) This one is a huge hit in our house…and we hope it will be in yours too!

Best cheese tortellini to buy
Cheese tortellini often escapes our radar when it comes to pasta: usually we think of penne, spirals or macaroni. But there’s lots of high quality tortellini in grocery stores these days! Tortellini are traditional ring-shaped Italian filled pasta. In Italy you can get them freshly made at local shops. What to look for if you’re not in Italy?

Fresh tortellini is sold refrigerated. This is usually the best quality when it comes to tortellini recipes. It boils up in just 2 to 3 minutes.
Frozen tortellini is also a good option. We like frozen because it saves well and you can pull it out at moments notice.
Avoid dried tortellini. Tortellini isn’t traditionally a dried pasta: and all the brands we’ve tried dried just haven’t measured up.
Look for any type of cheese tortellini for this recipe. Use 3 cheese, spinach ricotta, Parmesan: any type of cheese flavor will work.
Cheese tortellini
Secrets to the best creamy marinara sauce
This tasty cheese tortellini recipe is engineered by us to be two things: mega quick and mega delicious! This one’s like a cross between our famous baked goat cheese and our goat cheese pasta. It capitalizes on the best flavor pairing: a great tomato sauce that’s made creamy using soft goat cheese. Here are a few tips for the very best creamy marinara:

Use canned fire roasted tomatoes. This special type of tomato is becoming easy to find. It’s charred over an open flame, which gives them a beautifully sweet flavor right out of the can. Can’t find them? Use the best quality tomatoes you can find.
Use fresh basil. It’s a splurge in winter, but it’s absolutely worth it for the peppery flavor it imparts.
Use soft goat cheese (chevre). You might think a creamy marinara is good with heavy cream. But it’s great with soft goat cheese! None of those hard crumbles with the texture of feta: this sauce deserves a good chevre.
Why it works
Here you’ll use soft goat cheese to crumble into the marinara, and it adds a tang and a creamy body that makes it taste like a best-in-class gourmet meal. Add those beautifully boiled cheese tortellini, and every bite is velvety, heavenly goodness. You can save out a few goat cheese crumbles as a topping, too.

We like to add a little spinach into the mix too! It adds nutrients but the way it melds into the skillet, you can barely tell that it’s there.

More vitamins and minerals than cow’s cheese. Goat’s milk is richer in essential nutrients than cow’s milk. It has more vitamin A & B, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Slightly less calories than cow’s cheese. Goat cheese has just 75 calories per ounce—less than cow cheeses like mozzarella (85 calories), Swiss (108 calories), and cheddar (115 calories).
May be easier to digest. Goat cheese has less lactose than cow’s milk and a slightly different protein structure, so people who are lactose intolerant many times can digest goat cheese.
Can you make it gluten-free?
Yes! There are actually some good brands of gluten free tortellini on the market these days. We don’t eat exclusively gluten-free, so we don’t have a preferred brand. But there are lots of great options in both refrigerated and frozen varieties. Again, we recommend steering away from dried. Do you have a brand to recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

Tortellini recipes
What to serve with cheese tortellini!
This cheese tortellini recipe is an ideal quick dinner: it takes less than 20 minutes to whip up! Pair it with a simple side dish or two and you’re in business. It’s ideal for Meatless Mondays or impressing friends with a tasty vegetarian dinner. Or, you can serve it as a pasta side dish to pair with baked salmon or chicken.

Of course, it can be harder than you think to find side dishes that work with the flavors, compliments it nutritionally, and is easy enough to make while you tackle the main dish. Here are a few of our favorite sides to pair here:

Simple salad: This Easy Arugula Salad could not be simpler (really). Or try Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Apple.
Broccoli: Our go to! We make this Pan Fried Broccoli almost every day.
Asparagus: This Lemony Broiled Asparagus takes just 5 minutes to broil and adds fiber to the meal.
This cheese tortellini recipe is…
Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free tortellini.

Cheese Tortellini In Creamy Marinara

Cheese tortellini makes the best quick dinner recipe! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil.


12 to 16 ounces frozen or refrigerated cheese tortellini
28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality crushed tomatoes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups baby spinach leaves, tightly packed (or chopped spinach)
8 fresh basil leaves
4 ounce goat cheese log
Boil the tortellini according to the package instructions (fresh usually takes 2 to 3 minutes and frozen takes 2 to 5 minutes to boil). Then drain it.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, place the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, spinach, and whole basil leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer while the pasta cooks or at least 10 minutes.
When the pasta is done and drained, add it to the skillet. Crumble in the goat cheese into the sauce and stir until a creamy sauce forms (if you’d like, save out a few crumbles for topping). Serve immediately.