12 Delectable Vegan Pasta Recipes

Pasta dishes are renowned for their versatility and comforting appeal, whether they contain animal products or not. From the delicate strands of angel hair to the comforting embrace of penne, pasta serves as a blank slate for myriad flavors and ingredients. While traditionally celebrated for their marriage with rich cheeses and savory meats, pasta dishes effortlessly adapt to accommodate various dietary preferences and restrictions, including vegan requirements.

If you're not familiar with any vegan pasta recipes, know that the transition to this style of cooking is not only feasible but also surprisingly straightforward, thanks to the abundance of plant-based alternatives and innovative culinary techniques. Sure, you can make a vegan pasta dish just by omitting the meat or cheese. When done correctly, a simple pasta with tomato sauce can really hit the spot. But we can go further than that. With a creative approach and a well-stocked pantry, anyone can transform classic meat- or cheese-based pasta recipes into vibrant, plant-powered delights without sacrificing flavor or satisfaction. 

First of all, virtually all types of pasta pair harmoniously with an array of vegetables, legumes, herbs, and plant-based proteins. From hearty Bolognese sauces bursting with mushroom textures to creamy Alfredo creations crafted from velvety bases of cashew or cauliflower, the possibilities are endless. Moreover, many vegan pasta recipes require minimal cooking time and utilize straightforward techniques, making them ideal for busy weeknights or spontaneous culinary endeavors. So let's take a look at some of the best recipes for making delectable vegan pasta.

1. Vegan Meatballs

While "meatballs" is in the recipe title, we're really talking about cashew-and-tempeh balls, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it. Thankfully, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and the meatballs in this recipe are still as vegan as they come.

The key is in the vegan Parmesan, which is made with ground cashews and nutritional yeast, which — together with ground tempeh and breadcrumbs — mimic the texture and flavor of meat, and allow you to keep the meatballs together while you cook with them.

Recipe: Vegan Meatballs

2. Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

If the one thing you've been craving since you went vegan is your mom's beef stroganoff, you're in luck. With this vegan mushroom version, all your yearnings will be satisfied.

Just be sure to select some very good-quality types of mushrooms here. The bulk of the flavor, not to mention the texture, will come from those, so this ingredient should be your focus, not only in terms of selection, but also when you sauté them in the pan: whatever you do, don't crowd them, or they risk steaming and turning gloopy.

Recipe: Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

3. Vegan Lasagna

While there are plenty of vegetarian lasagna recipes out there in the world, most of which substitute vegetables for meat, vegan lasagna is a little harder to come by, mostly because of the cheese problem. A lasagna without cheese is hardly a lasagna at all.

But that's only partially true. That is, while cheese is by no means necessary in anything, a good vegan lasagna does require some kind of cheese substitute, and we have the ideal thing. It is tasty tofu ricotta, made in a food processor with nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic granules, oregano, olive oil, and seasoning.

Recipe: Vegan Lasagna

4. Instant Pot Mushroom Bolognese

One of the many benefits of being vegan is that you don't have to bother with the long and complicated steps that are often required when preparing meat or fish. That is especially evident in this Instant Pot mushroom Bolognese recipe, which only takes five minutes to prepare and 22 minutes to cook.

But this recipe isn't just quick. It's also good. The combination of mushrooms with chopped walnuts, together with an inventive combination of seasonings that include classic oregano and less traditional soy sauce, join forces to create the ideal flavor and texture. Just serve it with pasta and your job is done.

Recipe: Instant Pot Mushroom Bolognese

5. Tofu Pesto Pasta

Traditional pesto is made with a good deal of Parmesan cheese, so turning it vegan definitely requires a little sleight of hand. But don't worry. It's not complicated, and you don't have to be a magician to pull it off.

All you have to do is throw some tofu cubes into a food processor with nutritional yeast and other ingredients contained in a traditional pesto, like basil, minced garlic, and olive oil. The classic Italian version of pesto incorporates pine nuts in the mixture, but this recipe replaces them with walnuts and saves the pine nuts for a topping, along with chopped plum tomatoes.

Recipe: Tofu Pesto Pasta

6. Vegetarian Pasta E Fagioli

A traditional Italian pasta e fagioli includes a fair amount of diced pancetta or lard, but that doesn't mean you can't make a vegan version of this dish. After all, the bulk of it is made with pasta and beans, staples of vegan cuisine.

You also don't have to worry about sacrificing flavor by leaving out the pork products. By choosing fresh, high-quality ingredients you can amp up the taste just as easily. For one, it's important to start with a good soffritto. So, before adding your broth and all the delicious ingredients that go into this stew, make sure you establish a good flavor base by sautéing thinly diced onions, carrots, and celery in good olive oil.

Recipe: Vegetarian Pasta E Fagioli

7. Vegan Tofu Manicotti

Because tofu has such a neutral flavor, it's an ideal filling for this tofu manicotti recipe, where it takes the place of the milk-based ricotta. It helps that tofu can easily be made to look just like real ricotta, too.

Although the flavor of the manicotti will be different, it won't be lesser, especially if you use the right combination of spices, as laid out in this recipe. The basil, thyme, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes will all join up to pack a hefty flavor punch, while the dairy-free mozzarella cheese will pick up any slack.

Recipe: Vegan Tofu Manicotti

8. Vegetarian Goulash

Goulash is essentially a stew defined by its spice blends and its warm and fuzzy feelings. As such, there is really no need to include meat in this dish to make it satisfying and delicious — especially with the inclusion of tempeh, which gives you something to sink your teeth into.

As such, pay careful attention to the spices when you make this recipe. The garlic is what will give it real heft, while the smoked paprika helps to build a truly unique flavor profile.

Recipe: Vegetarian Goulash

9. Italian Green Soup (Minestra Verde) With Pastina

This soup is aptly named because between the dark kale, leafy parsley, vibrant zucchini, frozen peas, and chopped spinach, practically everything in it is green. So if you're looking for a massive vegetable fix to boost your immune system or get over a health slump, this dish is ideal.

This soup will need to simmer for quite some time in order to blend all its flavors together, so make sure you don't put the pastina in too soon. Rather, prepare it separately — al dente for best results — and pour it into the soup right before taking it off the heat. Otherwise, you risk cooking it into a paste.

Recipe: Italian Green Soup (Minestra Verde) With Pastina

10. Vegan Beet And Black Bean Meatballs

When making vegan recipes with substitutions, it helps to trick your eye a bit so that you think you're actually about to bite into real meat or cheese. This is what's going on with these beet and black bean meatballs, where the intense red color of the beets helps mimic the effect of beef and tomato sauce.

The beets also pull their weight when it comes to the flavor of this pasta dish, lending a certain earthiness. When combined with the black beans, breadcrumbs, walnuts, onions, and chickpea flour, they create the ideal "meatball" texture to pair with your marinara sauce. Just don't overmix them in the food processor, or they might not hold together as well.

Recipe: Vegan Beet And Black Bean "Meatballs"

11. Spicy Penne Arrabbiata

This recipe, in its traditional form, is already naturally vegan, so no fanciful substitutions or tricks are required here. Much of the flavor comes from the spiciness, which appears in the form of crushed red pepper flakes.

The rest is a simple tomato sauce served with pasta, which is part of the appeal. All you have to do is cook up some good-quality canned tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, and those red pepper flakes we mentioned, and you've got yourself a quick and tasty weeknight meal.

Recipe: Spicy Penne Arrabbiata

12. Veganized Gigi Hadid Pasta

We have to thank Gigi Hadid — supermodel by day and, apparently, part-time chef at night — for sharing her spicy vodka pasta sauce, which our very own recipe developer Miriam Hahn has adapted to create this vegan version that uses coconut milk instead of dairy.

This simple and tasty recipe is the perfect meeting of flavor and simplicity. The sauce is quick and easy to make, and the flavor and texture are enriched by the addition of vegan butter and nutritional yeast, which make the sauce creamier and more savory.

Recipe: Veganized Gigi Hadid Pasta