If you’re someone who cooks dinner for themselves on a regular basis, there’s a good chance vegetable pasta is in your heavy rotation. Even if it’s not, I bet you have at least two boxes of pasta in your pantry right now. No matter your tastes or food preferences, pasta is the perfect blank canvas for a warm, comforting dinner—and, it only takes 10 minutes to cook.
To be totally honest, I wasn’t always as firmly on board the pasta train as I am now. I grew up in Asia, so most dinners were served with rice. And I’ve always been more drawn to dense breads and whole grains as bases for veggies, cheese and whatever toppings I’m feeling. It wasn’t that I didn’t like pasta; it just wasn’t really a staple for me.
Lately, though, I’ve been especially busy—and often not in the mood to Google recipes or put a ton of thought into dinner. Vegetable pasta has been a real lifesaver, because it can be as simple or as complicated as I feel like making it. And because it never really goes wrong—especially if there’s cheese in it.
In the summer, I was cooking chopped tomatoes in a ton of olive oil, then tossing in cooked spaghetti and mozzarella. Now that it’s cooler out, I’ll sauté some thinly sliced Brussels sprouts and garlic, then add cooked pasta shells and shredded Parmesan. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll go the extra mile and roast cauliflower and broccoli, then mix that with penne and goat cheese. Sometimes there’s even a fried egg involved.
The point is, vegetable pasta can be whatever you make it, and pretty much any combination of pasta, veggies and cheese will work. But if you’re looking for some next-level pasta inspiration, the following 15 vegetable pasta recipes hit every mood, taste and craving.
Basil Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables
Pesto is a great way to add a ton of flavor to a dish with very little effort. This basil pesto pasta with roasted vegetables has a few steps, but if you roast extra veggies for lunch leftovers, it’s totally worth it.
Crusty Baked Shells and Cauliflower
Think of these crusty baked shells and cauliflower like a grown-up version of the best baked mac and cheese you’ve ever had.
Lemony Brussels Sprouts and Breadcrumb Spaghetti
Crunchy toasted breadcrumbs take this lemony Brussels sprouts spaghetti from good to great.
Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake
Baked pasta is the perfect way to warm your house and fill your belly at the same time. This spinach and mushroom pasta bake is decadent and just healthy enough.
Veggie Lovers Pasta Bake
This straightforward veggie lovers pasta bake calls for several different vegetables, as its name suggests. Feel free to swap in vegetables you love for those you may not be so crazy about.
Fettuccine with Kale, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese
Goat cheese is my favorite way to make something creamy when I don’t have any actual cream in the fridge. It melts into a sauce easily, and has just enough tang to make a dish interesting. Try this fettuccine with kale, onion and goat cheese for dinner tonight, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Parmesan, Lemon and Leek
This fancy rigatoni with Brussels sprouts, Parmesan, lemon and leek feels restaurant-fancy thanks to the combo of bitter sprouts, sweet leeks and tangy lemon juice.
Vegan Pumpkin Mac and “Cheese”
The sauce of this dairy-free pumpkin mac and “cheese” is made with raw cashews, nutritional yeast and pumpkin puree. Trust me, don’t knock it ’til you try it.
5-Ingredient Creamy Kale Pasta
Consider this creamy kale pasta your new go-to easy weeknight dinner for the season.
Spaghetti with Cauliflower and Garlicky Swiss Chard Gremolata
This zesty, slightly spicy spaghetti with cauliflower and Swiss chard gremolata is fancy enough for date night.
Vegan Caramelized Onion Pasta
This caramelized onion pasta doesn’t need cream or butter to be next-level good. In fact, all you need is onion, pasta, good olive oil, lemon and a little salt and pepper!
Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna
Want to feed a crowd and impress them at the same time? Go for this baked butternut squash and spinach lasagna, which is sweet, creamy and meat-free.
Easy Balsamic Veggie Pasta
This tart, bright balsamic veggie pasta is light but still comforting, and makes a great lunch the next day.
Creamy Skillet Tortellini with Sweet Potato and Spinach
Pre-made tortellini is any good weeknight cook’s best weapon. This skillet tortellini with sweet potato and spinach dresses up the fridge staple in a whole new way, and adds more than a full serving of veggies to each helping.
Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Shells
If you grew up eating red sauce Italian food, you’re probably freaking out over the idea of these roasted vegetable stuffed shells right now. In a good way.