Looking for vegan pasta recipes? You’ll be amazed at the amount of flavor you can achieve using only plant based ingredients.
If you’re looking for go to plant based for weeknights, think vegan pasta recipes! Have you been avoiding pasta because it’s not a typical health food? Good news: a new study found pasta can actually help you lose weight. The Italian researchers found that eaten in moderation, pasta can be part of a healthy diet. And these vegan pasta recipes deliver big flavor with relatively simple preparations. With some advanced planning, most of them can work for weeknights too.
Alex and I don’t eat exclusively vegan, or vegetarian for that matter. But we’re always looking for delicious healthy dinner recipes to get on our table that are loaded with vegetables! And many times we enjoy the challenge of eating vegan recipes for dinner. Our style of eating is called flexitarian: we eat mostly plant based, but occasionally we flex and eat seafood or meat. Vegan recipes like are a weekday staple for us: they’re super flavorful and hearty leave us satisfied without missing any meat. So whether you eat fully vegan or flex like us, we know they’ll be a hit! Ready to get cooking?
And now…our top vegan pasta recipes!
First up in our vegan pasta recipes: a literal explosion of flavor. This noodle bowl is everything that’s great about a spring roll, in bowl form! There’s the contrast of crisp veggies, tender noodles, and crunchy crushed peanuts. There's the intensely savory marinated tofu and an herbaceous punch from the trio of basil, cilantro and mint. Then a zingy Sweet Garlic Lime Sauce infuses a gingery, citrusy goodness throughout.
This vegan pasta works for weeknights or entertaining! It also saves well for lunches throughout the week.
Here's a fast and easy vegan pasta recipe, and it couldn't be simpler. All you have to do is “set it and forget it”! This Instant Pot spaghetti recipe is times when you just don’t want to have to think about dinner. All it takes is just throwing all the ingredients in the pressure cooker!
And the flavor? Take it from one of our readers, Erin, who said: “Oh my, I scraped the bowl clean on this one! The flavor was awesome and it was so easy, it was exactly what I needed right now.”
Don't have an Instant Pot? Simmer these sauce ingredients in a pan while you boil the pasta noodles.
The best recipes are the simplest, in our minds. And the simplicity of pesto pasta with homemade vegan basil pesto and ripe juicy tomatoes can’t be beat. With seasonal ingredients, it will always, always taste beautiful and fresh. And that’s something we can’t get tired of! The silky smooth, savory basil pesto coats the tender pasta, punctuated by the pop of the cherry tomatoes. It's one of our favorite vegan pasta recipes.
This Creamy Vegan Pasta Marinara is one of our old standbys for weeknight meals. It’s so simple to put together and the tangy, creamy flavor of the marinara sauce is out of this world good! Alex and I developed it based on a recipe that uses yogurt to make marinara sauce into a creamy orange sauce that’s a big like Vodka sauce. For the vegan version, we used soaked cashews and it’s just as good! This one’s 5 star in our book!
Weeknight Hack: The cashews need a 1 hour soak, but you can also can soak them overnight to make the prep even quicker. You also can mince the shallot and garlic in advance and store them refrigerated.
Another fabulous vegan pasta recipe of ours is this Vegan Italian Pasta Salad. It’s basically a combination of an Italian salad and pasta: crunchy romaine lettuce is refreshing and contrasts against Kalamata olives, capers, and pepperoncini. There’s a also a smattering of colorful vegetables: tomatoes, zucchini, and red onion. Even though there’s no cheese, it’s a party in your mouth! This vegan pasta comes together in 30 minutes, which is perfect for weeknights.
Weeknight Hack: Since it’s ready in 30 minutes, this one is quick to put together. However, you could slice the romaine and zucchini in advance to make it even more speedy. (We suggest slicing the tomatoes the day of; make sure to store fresh tomatoes at room temperature.)
Of all of our vegan pasta recipes, this one stands out! It’s based on a recipe I had on a winter visit to New York City, and I can still remember the cozy feeling of twirling the spaghetti as the candlelight flickered. Upon returning from NYC, Alex and I set about to create our own version of the vegan meatballs that I fell in love with. These vegan meatballs are made simply of oats, potatoes, walnuts, garlic and a few spices.
And while that sounds humble, the flavor is absolutely outstanding! You’ve got to serve this one with the most high quality marinara sauce you can find (or even the Creamy Vegan Marinara above!) And you must sprinkle it with this vegan Parmesan cheese. It’s less like a block of Parmesan cheese and more like that shaker can you grew up with. We want to sprinkle this on just about everything!
Weeknight Hack: To make this on a weeknight, cook the meatballs in advance; you can keep them refrigerated and then heat them before serving. You also could make the vegan Parmesan cheese in advance.
If you thought vegan pasta recipes were confined to Italian style pasta, think again! This Korean ramen recipe is one of the most delicious we’ve had lately, and it’s all about Asian flavors: gochujang (Korean chili paste), peanut butter, and miso make for a standout vegan ramen broth.
Along with veggies like cauliflower, green beans and carrots, the noodles are topped with quick pickled cucumbers that have been marinated with sugar, miso, lime, and some black sesame seeds. The flavor is standout good! This recipe is from Aine Carlin’s book Cook Share Eat Vegan, so we can’t take full credit for the recipe. While the ingredient list may look a little long, it’s actually easy enough for a weeknight. And pretty simple as far as ramen recipes go!
Weeknight Hack: To speed up prep for a weeknight, you can make the quick pickles in advance and chop the veggies. This cuts down significantly on prep time and you can make the ramen in 30 minutes.
This recipe is an old favorite of ours and one of our go to vegan pasta recipes for quick weeknight dinner. The flavors are simple: peanut butter, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and soy sauce, but they bring big flavor.
This recipe also uses one of our favorite techniques for “cooking” greens without cooking: the cabbage is cooked by pouring the boiling water from the pasta over it. It wilts it down in a few seconds and eliminates the need for dirtying another pan. We’ve used this trick for “cooking” spinach time and time again, like in this 15 minute gnocchi with romseco recipe…which, you could even make as a vegan recipe if you omit the feta and buy vegan gnocchi.
Weeknight Hack: This one is so weeknight friendly, you don’t even need a hack.
This creamy almond milk pasta is covered in what's basically a vegan Alfredo sauce! Here you'll use flour and almond milk to make a roux, and shallot, garlic and herbs to make the flavor pop.
This vegan pasta recipe features orecchiette pasta, a small cup shaped pasta. In Italian, orecchiette means “small ears.” It's a tasty way to enjoy this delicious sauce: or you could use any short pasta you like (penne, rotini, bowties, or shells)
Here's a lightning fast gnocchi recipe, which comes together into a meal in 15 minutes flat. How, you ask? The romesco gnocchi sauce is a delicious blend of almonds, tomatoes, and red peppers in 5 minutes. At the same time, boil your gnocchi, those delicious pillows of pasta cook in just 2 to 3 minutes.
Then use our favorite trick: use the pasta water to quickly wilt spinach instead of cooking it in a separate pot. Stir it all together and you’re done! It’s lightening fast and oh so delicious. Make sure to use Vegan Gnocchi and omit the feta in this vegan pasta recipe.
More vegan pasta recipes
Lastly, here are a few other tasty looking vegan pasta recipes from around the web.
- Amazing Vegan Mac and Cheese from Cookie & Kate
- Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Penne from Love and Lemons
- Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta from Minimalist Baker
- Ditalini with Chickpeas and Garlic-Rosemary Oil from Bon Appetit
Looking for more healthy dinner recipes?
Here are a few more of our favorite healthy dinner recipes on A Couple Cooks:
- Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Soup
- Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- Vegan Pot Pie with Sage Crust
- Vegan Pasta Marinara
- Our Best Vegan Pizza
- Tomato Pasta Sauce with Spaghetti
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.