This Veggie Pasta dish is sure to be a hit – the pasta is cooked to al dente perfection and tossed with fresh tender vegetables, garlic, parmesan, and a light sauce. Cozy comfort food meets veggie-filled healthy for any night of the week.

If you love pasta, you’ll also love our pasta mains like homemade lasagna, one pot spaghetti, and crockpot creamy Italian chicken. Want some pasta-based sides? We’ve got those, too — creamy caprese macaroni salad, chicken pasta salad, and asparagus pasta salad with creamy lemon dressing.

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vegetarian pasta on a table

Why We Love Garlic Veggie Pasta

If you love garlic and pasta, you’ll adore this meatless pasta dish packed with healthy veggies!

  • Easy – It doesn’t get much easier than boiling pasta, quickly cooking vegetables, and tossing them with oil and cheese to put together a quick and healthy meal.
  • Eat Your Veggies – A great way to add a lot of veggies to your meal.
  • Flavor Packed – Full of flavor, satisfying, and filling.
  • Versatile – Veggie pasta can be served as a family meal or as a side for a casual gathering.
  • Customizable – You can change this recipe up in so many ways -switch up the veggies for pasta primavera, change the sauce, add protein… This easy pasta with veggies dish is a canvas for your creativity in the kitchen!
veggie pasta ingredients

Fresh Veggie Pasta Ingredients

If you’re looking for a delicious dinner option that will help you get more veggies into your diet, this vegetable pasta dish is a great choice!

For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Penne pasta – We love this particular pasta for the way it gets gorgeously coated with the olive oil sauce. Try whole grain or +protein pasta for healthier options.
  • Olive oil – Choose your favorite variety — higher quality is always best for a dish like this that relies on it as its main sauce component. We like to use good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  • Fresh Veggies – Red bell peppers, red onion, baby spinach leaves, and sliced mushrooms.
  • Garlic – cloves and garlic salt. Mince the garlic finely so that it mixes well and that there are no large chunks.
  • Dried Italian seasoning – This adds a variety of Italian-style flavors.
  • Parmesan cheese (or Asiago cheese) – Use either to add cheesiness to the dish.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes – This optional addition adds a touch of heat
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

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How to Make Garlic Pasta with Veggies

Grab a large non-stick skillet, large saucepan (to boil pasta ), and pasta bowls we’re making pasta with veggies!

When you are making this recipe, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.

  1. While the pasta is cooking to al dente, saute red pepper, onion, and minced garlic in a large skillet until soft.
  2. Add the spinach and mushrooms to the red pepper mixture until the spinach is wilted.
  3. Drain the pasta (reserving some of the starchy water), then combine it with the vegetable mixture. 
  4. Add remaining olive oil, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning to the skillet.
  5. Once heated, add a bit of the pasta cooking water, and a bit more EVOO if needed. Sprinkle with cheese; toss to coat. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. If desired, serve with additional cheese and crushed red pepper.

What is al dente?

Al dente is an Italian phrase meaning “to the tooth” and is used to describe the ideal texture of cooked pasta. It refers to pasta that is cooked until it is firm but not too hard, so that it still has a slight bite to it.

Veggie Pasta in a bowl with a wooden spoon

Tips for Making Quick Veggie Pasta


For the best results, here are some tips to make the perfect version of this easy vegetarian pasta dish.

  • When preparing pasta, it is essential to be careful not to overcook it, as this is a key factor in ensuring a successful dish.
  • Reserve starch water in the event that you may need to add it at the end of making the dish if it’s too dry or thick.
  • Use high-quality olive oil (EVVO) for the best results. 
  • Vegetables should be cooked until they are tender and slightly crisp, not soft and mushy.
  • Grating fresh cheese will taste far better than using a pre-shredded, packaged version.
al dente pasta with baby spinach, red bell pepper, mushrooms and onions in a skillet

How To Store Vegetarian Pasta

Refrigerate/Leftovers

Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. – may need a little liquid before reheating.

spoonful of veggie pasta

Pasta FAQs

Does Dry Pasta Go Bad?

Dry pasta, while not expiring, will decrease in quality over time. Unopened dry pasta can be stored in the pantry for up to two years while opened dry pasta should be used within a year.

How do you measure dry pasta?

To measure out a single serving of pasta, make a circle with your pointer finger and thumb, about the size of a quarter. Push the pasta in between your fingers, and whatever fits is the right amount. You can repeat this process to make enough for one, two, or a larger group.

Do Italians use garlic in Italy?

According to some sources, garlic is used less in Italy than it is in Italian-American cooking. Stews and sauces are likely to contain it in Southern Italy and it is not nearly as commonly used in Northern Italy.

bowl of meatless pasta with fresh veggies on a table with 2 forks

Variations on Pasta and Veggies in Garlic Sauce

This pasta dish has plenty of substitutions that can be made.

  • Pasta – Instead of penne, use any type of pasta you like. We prefer to use short pasta for this veggie pasta recipe. In place of traditional pasta, you can use vegetable pasta, gluten-free pasta, whole grain, or +protein pasta.
  • Vegetables – Swap some of all of these vegetables for what you prefer (or add extra veggies) — yellow squash, cherry tomatoes, or grape tomatoes (halved or diced), green beans, or asparagus are all good options.
  • Protein – Add grilled chicken or another favorite protein; cooked shrimp, kielbasa or rinsed and drained garbanzo beans are great choices
  • Garlic – While fresh is always better, you can use jarred, minced garlic if needed. You can also use roasted garlic if you have it on hand.
  • Citrus – Add just a bit of lemon juice or lemon zest for brightness.
  • Wine – Add just a touch of white wine for extra flavor.
  • Butter – Instead of olive oil use butter to make a garlic butter sauce.
  • Herbs – Add herbs like fresh basil or fresh parsley, or whichever dried or fresh herbs you like.
  • Chicken broth – Try boiling the pasta in chicken broth for extra flavor.
  • Oven Roast – Roast the bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms with plenty of olive oil, garlic, kosher salt, and pepper for a whole other level of deliciousness.
bowl of pasta with veggies on a talbe

Serving Suggestions

  • Salad – Serve a simple Italian salad with an easy dressing.
  • Garlic Cheese Bread – Who doesn’t love buttery garlic cheese bread alongside a big bowl of pasta?
  • Protein – Try adding grilled chicken or another favorite protein to meatless pasta. Cooked shrimp, kielbasa, or rinsed and drained garbanzo beans are great choices for adding protein to the pasta.
  • DessertTiramisu brownies are the perfect ending for an Italian night.

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close up of pasta and cooked veggies
al dente pasta with baby spinach, red bell pepper, mushrooms and onions in a skillet

Veggie Pasta With Garlic and Parmesan

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This Veggie Pasta dish is sure to be a hit - the pasta is cooked to al dente perfection and tossed with fresh tender vegetables, garlic, parmesan, and a light sauce. Add your favorite protein to pump up your meal.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or Asiago)
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package al dente directions. *Reserve some of the starchy pasta water to add to pasta if needed.
  2. Meanwhile, cook red pepper, onion, and minced garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp and tender. 
  3. Stir in spinach and mushrooms. Cook until spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Drain pasta, do not rinse (don’t forget to reserve some of the pasta water)
  5. Add cooked pasta, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning to the skillet mixture, and heat through. Toss to combine and add a bit of the pasta cooking water, and a bit more EVOO if needed. Sprinkle with cheese; toss to coat. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  6. If desired, serve with additional cheese and crushed red pepper.

Notes

Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. - may need a little liquid before reheating.

    Add grilled chicken or another favorite protein; cooked shrimp, kielbasa, or rinsed and drained garbanzo beans are great choices

  • *Reserve some of the starchy pasta water to add to pasta if needed.
  • Change up the veggies; eggplant, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, sweet potatoes, and yellow squash.
  • Fresh Herbs: if you’d rather use fresh herbs than dried, fresh rosemary, basil, and oregano would all be wonderful.
  • Switch out pasta; orecchiette, rotini, shells, or spaghetti.
  • Dice or shred veggies for picky little ones.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 433mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 7gSugar: 5gProtein: 12g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used and are just estimates. We encourage, especially if these numbers are important to you, to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.

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pasta with veggies