Quick Veggie Pasta

$3.61 recipe / $0.90 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.88 from 8 votes
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Here’s your weekly reminder that not all meals need to be a huge production. Sometimes when you just toss what you have on hand into a pot or a skillet, you get really great results. I usually follow a rough template for these types of meals, but I love to experiment with what ingredients get plugged into the template. This Quick Veggie Pasta is my recent favorite “whatever goes” recipe, and you can easily add meat or make it vegan with one ingredient swap, so it’s very flexible!

Overhead view of quick veggie pasta in a skillet with tongs

Why I Love This Vegetable Pasta

This is my favorite type of fast, easy, satisfying meal. It’s so flexible that you really don’t even need to measure. You can use any type of pasta, any type of vegetable, and you can even play around with the seasonings. It’s simple, it’s good, and it doesn’t take a lot of mental energy to make. :)

Pasta Options

You can literally use any type of pasta for this recipe and in any amount. Long pasta, short pasta, even tiny pasta like couscous or orzo. This is great because I rarely use a full box of pasta at once, so I always have small amounts of random pasta hanging out in my pantry that needs to be used.

And while this next tip will make purists clutch their pearls, I suggest breaking long pasta in half before cooking. This makes it easier to stir chunky objects (like vegetables) into the pasta. You’ll actually be able to mix them together in instead of the vegetables getting all pushed to the outside of the skillet with a clump of pasta in the center.

Vegatble Options

Just as with the type of pasta, you can use virtually any vegetable here! I’ve even made this with frozen mixed vegetables and enjoyed it quite a bit. And not only is the type of vegetable flexible, but the amount is as well. Use more, less, or however much you want. The vegetables I used today are grape tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach, but here are some other great options:

  • kale
  • peas
  • corn
  • avocado (will give the pasta a nice creamy effect)
  • edamame
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • zucchini
  • bell pepper
  • green beans
  • onion (red, yellow, green)

The trick to swapping out the vegetables is to add them to the skillet in order of hardest to softest. A hard vegetable, like carrot, that will take longer to soften should go in the skillet first so it has time to cook, whereas a soft vegetable, like spinach, should be added last so it doesn’t overcook.

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is commonly used as a nutrient-dense seasoning for food. It has a yellow color has a light, flakey texture that mixes well into sauces, and a savory almost cheesy flavor. The nutritional yeast is the star of the show for this pasta dish because it really adds depth to the flavor and tons of umami.

You can usually find nutritional yeast in the grocery store near other non-refrigerated health foods. Some common brands that you’re likely to find in major grocery stores are Bragg’s and Bob’s Red Mill, but I’ve seen several stores selling it under their own name brand as well, like Trader Joes’ and Kroger.

Want to see some other ways to use nutritional yeast? Check out our nutritional yeast archives.

Side view of quick veggie pasta in a bowl twirled around a fork

Love fast pasta dishes? Check out the rest of our Quick Pasta Recipes!

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Quick Veggie Pasta

4.88 from 8 votes
Use up your leftover odds and ends in the kitchen because "anything goes" with this Quick Veggie Pasta! Make it vegetarian or vegan!
Author: Beth – Budget Bytes
Side view of quick veggie pasta in a bowl twirled around a fork
Servings 4
Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. linguine ($0.50)
  • 4 oz. mushrooms ($0.75)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes ($1.25)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach ($0.50)
  • 1 Tbsp butter* ($0.09)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast ($0.42)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Reserve a 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta in a colander.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, slice the mushrooms and cut the tomatoes in half.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt to the skillet and sauté until they have released all of their moisture and water is no longer pooling on the bottom of the skillet (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Add the tomatoes and sauté for about two minutes more, or just until they're heated through (they'll continue to cook more after other ingredients are added). Add the spinach and sauté just until wilted.
  • Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet along with the butter. Toss until everything is coated in melted butter. Turn the heat off.
  • Season with garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper, then toss to coat. Give the pasta a taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. If the pasta gets too dry as you're tossing with the seasoning, just add a splash of the reserved pasta water. Serve immediately and enjoy.

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Notes

*Swap with a vegan butter to make this recipe vegan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 301kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 11gFat: 8gSodium: 200mgFiber: 4g
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Side view of pasta in the skillet being picked up by tongs

How to Make Quick Veggie Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Uncooked linguine in a pot

Start with your pasta first because the rest of the dish will probably be done cooking by the time the pasta boils and drains. I used a ½ lb. linguine for this recipe, but you can use whatever type you’d like. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the pasta, and continue to boil until tender (about 7 minutes). Reserve about a 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain in a colander.

Sliced mushrooms and tomatoes on a cutting board

While waiting for the pasta water to boil, slice or dice up any vegetables you may be using. I’m using up my leftover mushrooms and tomatoes, so I had 4oz. mushrooms to slice and about one cup of grape tomatoes to slice in half.

Sautéed mushrooms in a skillet

Heat a tablespoon of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the mushrooms have released all their moisture and water is no longer pooling on the bottom of the skillet (5-7 minutes).

Tomatoes added to the skillet with mushrooms

Add the tomatoes and sauté just for a couple of minutes more. They’ll continue cooking as you add more ingredients, so they don’t need to be cooked down too far here.

spinach added to the skillet with tomatoes and mushrooms

Finally, add the fresh spinach and sauté for a minute or so more, or just until it wilts.

pasta and butter added to the skillet

Add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet along with 1 Tbsp butter. Toss until the butter melts and everything is coated in butter.

nutritional yeast and seasoning added to the noodles

Turn the heat off, then season the veggie pasta with 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, ¼ tsp garlic powder, about ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Toss until the seasoning is evenly coating everything. If the pasta gets dry, just add a splash of the reserved pasta water.

finished quick veggie pasta in the skillet

Make sure to give the veggie pasta one final taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. You can even try adding other herbs and spices! Crushed red pepper is another favorite add-in of mine.

Overhead view of a plate full of quick veggie pasta
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  1. I absolutely love that this site has so many recipes to use up “scraps”. I almost never have fresh veggies go to waste anymore and it saves me so much money. This recipe is perfect for a quick lunch to clean out the fridge. It felt like a “free” meal because I was just using up leftover pieces of stuff I bought for other recipes! It was pretty tasty too. I used zucchini, yellow squash, and red and green bell peppers.

  2. I love this! I made it in 10 minutes or so! A great way to use all the left over veggies’

  3. This is one of my all time favorite quick recipes!! So delicious and so easy. I love that you can swap things in and out depending on what you prefer or have on hand. Thank you, Beth!

  4. yum! i thought this recipe would be okay, since it was so simple. but it turned out to be very tasty! i enjoyed the mushrooms (i used bella) spinach, and nutritional yeast taste a lot.

  5. I made this tonight with cherry tomatoes and green beans. I have never cooked with nutritional yeast, and I’m so glad I tried it. It was delicious! This dish was a big hit with my family. Thank you!

  6. Fast yet healthy meals are definitely great! Huge time saver. Will try cooking it this week for the family. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. I tried this tonight for dinner — simple and delicious! I used olive oil instead of butter to keep it a vegan dish. Chickpea pasta plus cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, and avocado for the veggies. I threw in a few chopped sweet & spicy pickles for a little twist. Will be adding this to the rotation. thanks for another plant-based winner, Beth!

    1. The butter at the end serves as a finishing coating to make nutritional yeast and other aromas stick, and to amplify the flavors. A liquid oil can’t coat things the same way, but I guess you could use other solid vegan fats such as coconut or palm oil to achieve that effect, minus the butter flavor. And vegan margarine of course.

  8. Thank you Beth! I need these quick recipes for lunch and the fact there’s only 1/4 tsp garlic powder in this recipe makes me hopeful I can make up for it easily with something else (a bit of parmesan and lemon juice? Fish sauce?). (I have a stomach problem now for which I can’t eat onion and garlic, that’s the reason).
    I will try this one of these days and report back. Btw, I recently re-made your bean chili without onion and garlic/allium vegetables (made chili powder from scratch, used anchovy fillets, jalapeno, pancetta cubes and asafoetida for the soffritto and fried the chili spices in the resulting fat before adding everything else) and it was GREAT! I didn’t expect it to be so good. You are my go to blogger for USA recipes and easy recipes.

    1. Thank you, Didina! I’m so glad the recipes have been flexible enough that you’re able to make the needed substitutions to fit your diet. :)

      1. So I finally made it. I used some old veggies lying in the fridges (mushrooms, carrots, zucchini) and also had to reduce oil and butter and change pasta quantities because I’m on a diet (almost done but uff…). I used 2 tsp oil and 1 tsp butter for the veggies and 140 gr pasta (about 2/3rds of the pasta in the original recipe) for 2 people. I kept the original amount of nutritional yeast and veggies and it worked fine. I also added a sprig of rosemary in the soffritto as well as a pinch of asafetida, about 1/4 tsp smoked paprika and 1/4 tsp oregano because I thought they would go well with mushrooms, and because I know that often no onion no garlic recipes need a bit of an extra boost. At the end I also added fresh lemon juice to taste to make nutritional yeast pop (that’s what garlic powder would do) and it worked. I am very pleased with this pasta! It’s tasty and very versatile and I think it could be spun in a million ways changing the veggies and the extra seasonings while using technically one recipe with a bit of add-ons. Next time I’ll try adding 1/2 tsp mustard seeds as I think they would go very well, and maybe some fish sauce at the end to give even more cheese-like umami. But the variation I tried is completely vegan except for the butter and made with ingredients commonly found in Western stores (except for asafetida, which can probably be omitted, just add some no onion no garlic pickle juice you like at the end! Or just try omitting) and still very tasty.