Welcome to our list of 40 easy pasta recipes with quick and wholesome meals for busy weeknights.
No matter your schedule, we’ll show you how to whip up easy and satisfying dishes in no time at all.
From simple one–pot wonders to light and refreshing pasta salads, these meals offer bold flavors without the stress.
Browse through this list and take your pick: from vegetarian and healthy pasta dishes to creamy dishes that are Sunday dinner worthy.
Best of all, they’re made with wholesome and easy–to–find ingredients, making them perfect for families and weeknight dinners.
Pasta in 20 minutes
With its wide array of shapes, sizes, and textures, these 20–minute pastas can be dressed up or down in countless ways to suit your time constraints.
One of the quickest pasta dishes with few ingredients is spaghetti Aglio e olio.
The aroma of the garlic-infused flavor of this 15-minute pasta dish will transport you straight to Italy.
Ready in 20 minutes, this tomato-rich Pasta al Pomodoro is simple but super satisfying.
Zesty, quick, and creamy, this pasta arrabbiata (angry pasta) is easy to make and delicious.
It’s a family–friendly and moderately spicy dinner idea that is ready in just 15 minutes.
Do you want to add more greens to your pasta?
Try this 20-minute broccoli pasta with mashed broccoli sauce and orecchiette pasta; it’s a creamy and fun pasta that will please your entire family!
Try this no–cook sauce with ricotta and parmesan; this recipe is featured in the recipe box.
Mixed with cooked pasta and spinach, this lemon ricotta pasta is a super quick and velvety creamy pasta. Easily adapted to vegetarians and vegans!
This endlessly creamy butternut squash pasta is a must-try!
Roasted and caramelized butternut squash is blended with ricotta and parmesan and mixed with Italian herbs—a restaurant–worthy and quick pasta dish for the whole family.
Here’s a lighter Alfredo sauce with sauteed mushrooms, a no-fuss weekday dinner idea.
Serve with a quick tomato salad for a colorful and complete meal.
Here’s a mushroom pasta with authentic Italian flavor and plenty of bite and chewiness: vegan mushroom pasta.
Eat on its own, or serve with a fennel salad for a restaurant–like meal packed with flavor and greens.
Make the red pepper sauce in just 10 minutes and mix with al dente paccheri or rigatoni pasta.
Or upgrade this pasta with roasted cauliflower for added greens and crispiness; it’s a wholesome and satiating dinner idea.
Pasta Puttanesca is a Neapolitan pasta dish with olives, capers, and canned tomatoes that you can make in 20 minutes.
It’s rich, tangy, and incredibly satisfying to eat despite its simple ingredients.
Quick to make, vibrantly red, and with healthy protein, this cherry tomato pasta is a handy dinner or lunch idea.
Pasta in 30 minutes
Take your pick from velvety, creamy, and easy pasta meals that are ready in 30 minutes or less. You will find vegetarian and vegan cooking instructions in all pasta recipes.
Curious about how to add flavor and zest to your pasta? Try this arrabbiata sauce; it takes just 15 minutes to make and will add creamy and irresistible flavor to any pasta type.
Try with short pasta, such as penne, rigatoni, or fusilli; it’s a perfect match!
A fall and winter–friendly pasta with a creamy–dreamy sauce: easy kabocha squash pasta.
Roast the kabocha squash and mix it with ricotta and parmesan for a quick Italian–inspired pasta sauce that everyone will love.
Roasted eggplant, creamy tomato sauce, and fresh basil is a winning combination in this eggplant pasta (pasta alla Norma).
Make this creamy, nutty, and refreshing pesto pasta mix with al dente pasta, green beans, and optionally boiled potatoes.
With your pesto leftovers, you can easily upgrade your sandwich or pasta salad and prepare for your next office lunch.
Creamy Alfredo sauce but lighter and healthier; here’s a cauliflower alfredo pasta with loads of creaminess and flavor.
If you love cauliflower and pasta, you’ll love this garlic and lemon-infused cauliflower pasta.
A quick and veggie–packed pasta idea with plenty of taste and an Italian feel: mushroom ragu.
We quick-blend mushrooms for texture; it’s an easy way to make a meat–free yet super tasty pasta dinner.
Pasta Family Favorites
Add extra authentic Italian flavor to your cooking repertoire with these family-friendly pasta favorites.
These meals will unite the family around the dinner table with their comforting and timeless appeal.
Pasta a fagioli is a soup and main dish and, best of all, an easy and comforting meal with few ingredients.
The rich and rustic flavors in this dish will please everyone around your table, kids and adults alike.
This lentil pasta recipe with cherry tomatoes will take you to the Italian countryside.
Simple and few ingredients paired with fresh Italian herbs result in a comforting and decadent pasta dish.
You’ll love this wholesome pasta e ceci (pasta with chickpeas) because it’s easy to make in one pot and is ready in just 30 minutes.
It’s made with simple and affordable pantry staples, and you’ll feel amazing eating this nourishing and legume-rich dish.
This lentil bolognese recipe is inspired by Italian bolognese sauce and is a perfect match with pasta, gnocchi, or lasagna.
Make it for dinner, and freeze the leftovers for a meal-prep-friendly and easy pasta sauce for the weekdays.
Here is a perfect pasta for when you’re short on time; you can make the kale pesto sauce in 20 minutes.
The pesto keeps well for up to a week in the fridge and several months in the freezer, so it’s fantastic for last–minute meals.
It’s an easy creamy sauce with ricotta and parmesan cheese that does not require cooking, and it’s ready in 25 minutes!
Here’s a vegetarian and vegan-friendly pasta with tasty crumbled tofu and a rich tomato sauce.
This is essentially a tofu bolognese that you can put together for a quick, easy, and satiating meal in just about 30 minutes.
This is a vegetarian carbonara recipe with tofu or tempeh bacon, a simple recipe that can be made in 20 minutes.
The taste of our carbonara sauce is similar to the taste of an Italian carbonara recipe with an eggy and tangy flavor.
This lemon pasta is quick and easy to make with straightforward ingredients.
Have a bite, and you’ll be transported to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, where lemons and pasta are staple ingredients.
You can serve this lemon pasta as is, folding in some freshly grated parmesan cheese.
This quick and no-fuss marinara sauce recipe is an easy way to give your meals a fresh kick.
You can use it as a pasta sauce, pizza topping, on top of veggies, or as a delicious and versatile dip!
This chestnut pasta is a cozy, creamy, cheesy, and earthy pasta dish with sauteed mushrooms and blended chestnut pesto.
It’s made with a few simple ingredients and is a restaurant-worthy dish perfect for weekends and Sunday dinners.
Easy pasta salads
Pasta for lunch is no problem with these easy pasta salad ideas.
They’re vegan and vegetarian-friendly and ideal for lunchbox meals and bringing to the office.
Need ideas for a quick and healthy lunch? This vegan pasta salad is the ideal lunchtime meal because it’s fast to prepare and delicious.
A sweet and tangy mustard vinaigrette makes this salad a real crowd-pleaser.
This chickpea pasta salad is ready in 20 minutes and is a happy and colorful lunch and dinner idea.
Make it with your favorite veggies, a short pasta type, and canned chickpeas – it’s a wholesome and satiating meal.
Next on our list is a delicious summer salad with a cooling crunch and luscious creaminess.
You can make this creamy macaroni salad ahead and serve it as a main or side dish for potlucks, picnics, and barbecues.
This spaghetti salad is a crowd-pleaser as it combines chewy spaghetti with crunchy veggies, fresh herbs, and a tasty Italian dressing.
It’s excellent for picnics, potlucks, and barbecues but also perfect for meal prep, to bring to work, and for family dinners.
Eggplant salad is an easy and quick recipe with roasted eggplant, chickpeas, and crunchy seasonal vegetables.
It’s perfect as a make-ahead meal for potlucks and picnics.
This creamy and elegant artichoke pasta is ready in just 20 minutes.
Make it with fresh lemon juice, olives, and pine nuts, then serve it for friends and family – it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Next on our list is a light and bright orzo pasta salad.
It’s a quick and easy solution for a tasty, satisfying, and healthy meal. You can make it with fresh vegetables, chickpeas, and a zesty mustard dressing.
This creamy pasta salad recipe is the best for potlucks, barbeques, summer cookouts, and picnics.
It’s versatile, and you can serve it as a starter, side dish, or light and refreshing main.
Pesto pasta salad is a quick and delicious meal you can make with your favorite pesto or dairy-free pesto and fresh veggies.
It’s packed with fresh flavors and excellent for potlucks or a delightful dinner with your family.
These homemade pasta recipes are family-friendly, fun to prepare, and delicious to eat.
Take your pick from these easy-to-follow recipes with step-by-step instructions.
These butternut squash ravioli are soft and delicious pasta pillows filled with incredible butternut squash, ricotta, and parmesan filling.
Serve it with butter and sage sauce for an Italian homemade meal.
Making gnocchi is an excellent family activity; equip yourselves with forks and a clean worktop!
Our homemade gnocchi recipe makes soft and delicious potato pillows with three simple ingredients; it is surprisingly easy to make.
Sweet potato gnocchi is made with microwaved sweet potato and just two other ingredients.
You can make this simple and tasty recipe in about 30 minutes and have it for a lovely dinner with your family. They are more accessible than you think!
Trofie pasta is a quick homemade pasta that you can shape using your hands. We show you how to make trofie at home, like in Italy, with just two ingredients.
Orecchiette with broccoli rabe is a traditional Italian recipe from Apulia, a south-eastern region with incredible food, history, and beaches.
Homemade orecchiette pasta is easy to prepare, with two simple ingredients: water and durum wheat semolina flour.
Healthy pasta toppings
For a quick upgrade to bland pasta, take your pick from these flavor enhancers that pair well with cooked pasta:
- White sauce with five ingredients for a quick and creamy pasta sauce
- 5-min pesto with parsley, artichokes, or arugula
- Roasted vegetables, such as broccoli, eggplant, cauliflower, or bell pepper, and add extra jazz and color to your pasta plate!
- Caramelized onions for a sweet and tangy addition to your pasta meal
- Slow-baked tomatoes with garlic and herbs – a sweet, creamy, and tenderly roasted tomato topping
- Steamed artichokes with fork-tender artichoke texture and a rich, mild nutty flavor
- Chili oil for added zest and spicy-ness
- Sauteed mushrooms are a chewy pairing with al dente pasta and creamy hummus; we try this combination in our hummus pasta recipe.
What to serve with pasta
Transform your pasta dish into a complete meal with these crispy and green salad favorites; it’s a great way to eat your veggies and have your pasta, too!
For many more pasta ideas, check out our pasta category page.
40 Easy Pasta Recipes
- 12 ounces rigatoni or other pasta
- 10 ounces spinach
- 1½ cups ricotta or dairy-free ricotta
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated, or dairy-free cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest or more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
COOK PASTA AND SPINACH
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the salt. Wait for the water to boil again, and add the pasta.Stir, then halfway through, add the fresh spinach.Cook the pasta al dente, as per package instructions. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce.
MAKE THE LEMON RICOTTA SAUCE
- To a large mixing bowl, add ricotta, grated parmesan, olive oil, grated lemon zest, grated nutmeg, salt, and black pepper.Tip: Only zest the yellow peel of the lemon, the white pith can be bitter.
- Whisk well until the sauce is smooth and the ingredients well combined.
TOSS THE PASTA
- Once the pasta is al dente, reserve one cup of the starchy pasta water, drain the pasta, and add it to the bowl with the creamy ricotta mixture.Toss well until the pasta is thoroughly coated. If the sauce is too thick, add some pasta water to make it creamier.Serve immediately with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper and some more grated lemon zest.
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Hi! We are Nico & Louise
Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.
Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.