Done in 30 minutes or less, this vegan basil pesto pasta with vegetables is delicious and nutritious. Now, that's a combo we can get behind.
Let's get to it!
Table of Contents
Since it's nearing the end of summer weather where we live, there's some last bits of basil in our garden to use up (ahem, pesto please). And we are always down for some carbs. So, the only logical option would be pesto pasta!
We believe some foods are just meant for each other. Pesto and pasta are members of that group. Seriously, how can both foods be so tasty? All we can say is, thank you to whoever first brought these two together. They're a match made in heaven.
The really great thing about this dish is how convenient everything is to throw together (hooray for busy weeknights). It takes all of 30 minutes, yet tastes gourmet! Plus, it's just as tasty served cold or hot, making it a great lunch for work and school.
We love loading our pasta with tons of Mediterranean-style vegetables, but this part is totally customizable. It's nice to mix things up in the veggie department, but typically we reach for greens like broccolini, arugula, or spinach, lots of sun-dried tomatoes and olives, and roasted peppers! Mmmm.
🍲 Key ingredients
- Pasta: we use radiatori pasta for this recipe, which can be used interchangeably with rotini if you can't find any. The name radiatori apparently comes from the fact that they look like mini radiators (imagine that). They are our preferred pasta for this recipe since there's lots of surface area to catch all that sauce. Plus, the shape pairs well with bite-size veggies.
- Basil pesto: if you're a pesto person, this is your lucky day. Quickly make a batch of our basil pesto, and thank us later (seriously, you'll be done in 5 minutes). It’s herbaceous, savoury, and zesty — just what this pasta needs.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: tangy and sweet are words that come to mind when we think of sun-dried tomatoes. They add just the right amount of intense, juicy flavor to this savoury pasta dish. Tomatoes are high in an antioxidant, Lycopene, which is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer according to some studies. Alright, tomatoes!
- Vegan parmesan: salty, cheesy, and magnificent. Vegan parm is used in both the basil pesto and as a garnish. It's not something you want to skip on. Plus, you'll be delighted to know it provides you with a healthy dose of vitamin B12 from the nutritional yeast content. Now that's a win-win situation.
To start off, you'll need to fill a large pot about ⅔ - ¾ full with water, and bring it to a boil for the pasta. Then, you'll heat some oil in a pan over medium.
We typically use the oil from our jar of sun-dried tomatoes, but olive or avocado oil work great too. Throw in your sliced mushrooms, and sauté them for a couple minutes before adding in the broccolini.
Next, add in the sliced zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped artichokes, and roasted red peppers. Cover your pan, and turn the heat down slightly. Let those veggies sauté for about 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper when they are almost done.
By this time, the pasta water should be boiling. Throw in a pinch of salt, then the pasta. Cook it according to your package directions.
While you're waiting for the veggies and pasta to cook, whip up a batch of our vegan parmesan and vegan basil pesto. When the pasta is done, drain it, then add it back to the same pot you cooked it in. Mix in the cooked vegetables, arugula, and pesto, and combine well.
Serve the pasta with a side of sun-dried olives and vegan parmesan on top. It also tastes amazing with a side of vegan garlic bread, dairy-free bread, sourdough, focaccia, or other types of Italian bread.
This pasta stores well in the fridge for up to 2-3 days, which makes it great for leftover lunches! We do not recommend freezing it.
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- Use broccoli in place of the broccolini
- Roast your own red bell peppers instead of using store-bought
- Buy sun-dried tomatoes in bulk instead of jarred in oil
- Replace the arugula with spinach
🍴 Tasting notes
All we can say is this pesto pasta has got it goin' on. We hope you love this meal as much as we do! It's:
- Delicious & nutritious
If you try this pesto pasta, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Vegan Basil Pesto Pasta With Vegetables
- Large pot
- Large frying pan
- 20 oz pasta of choice ($2.65)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes ($0.12)
- 1 heaping cup mushrooms of choice, sliced ($0.27)
- 1 heaping cup broccolini, roughly chopped ($2.20)
- 1 heaping cup zucchini, thinly sliced ($0.90)
- ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes ($0.31)
- ½ cup artichoke hearts, roughly chopped ($0.50)
- ⅓ cup roasted red peppers, chopped ($0.41)
- 1 heaping cup fresh arugula ($0.41)
- 1 recipe vegan basil pesto ($2.96)
- Sea salt & pepper to taste ($0.02)
- ¼ - ⅓ cup sun-dried olives, pitted and chopped
- Vegan parmesan
- To start, fill a large pot about ⅔ - ¾ full with water and bring it to a boil for the pasta.
- Next, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil or oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in a pan over medium. Add in sliced mushrooms, and sauté them for 1-2 minutes. Then, add in the chopped broccolini and stir.
- After another 1-2 minutes, add in the sliced zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped artichokes, and roasted red peppers. Cover your pan, and turn the heat down slightly.
- Let everything cook down for about 4-5 minutes, or until your veggies are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In the meantime, add a pinch of salt to the boiling pasta water. Cook your pasta according to the package directions, or until they are al dente (careful not to overcook).
- Add in the cooked vegetables, arugula, and pesto, and mix well. Serve the pasta with a side of sun-dried olives and vegan parmesan on top. It also tastes amazing with a side of sourdough bread!
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of this recipe.
- The pasta we are currently loving is the radiatori from Kaslo Sourdough's Pasta Fermentata.
- You can use store-bought roasted peppers from a jar, or slice a raw red pepper in half, seed it, and bake at 450 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Once the exterior appears blackened, the peppers are done. Let them cool, then remove the skins before chopping.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more Mediterranean-inspired dishes, check out our:
- Mediterranean couscous salad for a meal that's great to prep ahead of time!
- Vegan fettuccine alfredo, but only if you love rich and creamy sauces.
- Socca pizza, which you should definitely try if you haven't heard of it.
- Vegan parmesan cheese to top this pasta off with!
Some other vegetables to try using in this recipe include other summer squash varieties like patty pan, eggplant, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, or peas.
The only thing you'll need to swap out in order to make this recipe gluten-free is the pasta. Choose whatever gluten-free pasta is your favorite, and there you have it!
If you want to add a little more protein to this pasta, try using lentil or chickpea pasta. Alternatively, you can just throw whole chickpeas or white kidney beans in for a little extra.