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 onepot wonders to light and refreshing pasta salads, these meals offer bold flavors without the stress.

easy pasta ideas

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 easytofind ingredients, making them perfect for families and weeknight dinners.

Pasta in 20 minutes

With its wide array of shapes, sizes, and textures, these 20minute pastas can be dressed up or down in countless ways to suit your time constraints.

1. Zucchini pasta

Zucchini Past with fork and pine nuts

Grated zucchini, fusilli pasta, and parmesan cheese are the main ingredients in this light and quick zucchini pasta. Serve as is, or pair it with a chickpea salad for added greens and color.

2. Pasta aglio e olio

garlic and oil pasta aglio olio

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.

3. Pasta Pomodoro

tomato basil pasta or spaghetti al pomodoro with shaved parmesan

Ready in 20 minutes, this tomato-rich Pasta al Pomodoro is simple but super satisfying.

Serve your pasta with bruschetta or an easy side salad for an inviting and wholesome meal.

4. Penne all’arrabbiata

penne arrabbiata in a pan

Zesty, quick, and creamy, this pasta arrabbiata (angry pasta) is easy to make and delicious.

It’s a familyfriendly and moderately spicy dinner idea that is ready in just 15 minutes.

5. Broccoli pasta

broccoli pasta recipe

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!

6. Lemon ricotta pasta with spinach

lemon ricotta pasta with spinach

Try this nocook 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!

7. Butternut squash pasta

Butternut squash pasta with pistachio

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 restaurantworthy and quick pasta dish for the whole family.

8. Mushroom Alfredo

Mushroom Alfredo in a bowl with a fork

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.

9. Vegan mushroom pasta

vegan mushroom pasta with cherry tomatoes and parsley

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 restaurantlike meal packed with flavor and greens.

10. Roasted red pepper pasta

Red Pepper Pasta is a bowl with basil

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.

11. Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca with a fork

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.

12. Cherry tomato pasta

Cherry tomato pasta with fork

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.

13. Rigatoni arrabbiata

rigatoni arrabbiata

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!

14. Kabocha squash pasta

kabocha pasta with fork

A fall and winterfriendly pasta with a creamydreamy sauce: easy kabocha squash pasta.

Roast the kabocha squash and mix it with ricotta and parmesan for a quick Italianinspired pasta sauce that everyone will love.

15. Pasta alla Norma

pasta alla norma

Roasted eggplant, creamy tomato sauce, and fresh basil is a winning combination in this eggplant pasta (pasta alla Norma).

If you love eggplant parmigiana or Sicilian caponata, this is a must-try pasta for you!

16. Pesto pasta

pesto pasta with green beans and small potatoes

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.

17. Cauliflower Alfredo pasta

Cauliflower Alfredo with fork

Creamy Alfredo sauce but lighter and healthier; here’s a cauliflower alfredo pasta with loads of creaminess and flavor.

It takes just 25 minutes to make and makes a complete meal when paired with a pear salad or red cabbage salad.

18. Cauliflower pasta

roasted cauliflower pasta

If you love cauliflower and pasta, you’ll love this garlic and lemon-infused cauliflower pasta.

Add parmesan cheese and roasted pine nuts for added flavor, and serve with your favorite side salad and crostini to complete your meal.

19. Mushroom bolognese

Mushroom Bolognese with fork

A quick and veggiepacked 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 meatfree 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.

20. Pasta e fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli with garlic and fresh herbs

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.

21. Lentil pasta

pasta and lentils

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.

22. Pasta e ceci

pasta e ceci in a bowl

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.

23. Lentil bolognese

Lentil Bolognese with a silver fork

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.

24. Kale pesto pasta

Kale Pesto with bow tie pasta

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 lastminute meals.

25. Artichoke pasta

Artichoke pasta with fork and mint leaves

My grandma used to make this Pasta al Limone dish with delicious ripe lemons from the Amalfi coast, mixing fragrant lemon zest with fresh ricotta from the local farm.

It’s an easy creamy sauce with ricotta and parmesan cheese that does not require cooking, and it’s ready in 25 minutes!

26. Tofu Bolognese

tofu bolognese on spaghetti

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.

27. Vegetarian carbonara

carbonara on a plate

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.

28. Lemon pasta

Lemon Pasta Recipe in a bowl with a fork

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.

29. Marinara sauce with spaghetti

marinara sauce on spaghetti

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!

30. Chestnut pasta with mushrooms

chestnut pasta with mushrooms

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.

31. Asparagus pasta

Asparagus pasta with green peas

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.

32. Vegan pasta salad

Italian pasta salad with Italian dressing

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.

33. Chickpea pasta salad

Chickpea pasta salad with a silver fork

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.

34. Macaroni salad

Macaroni salad with peas

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 potluckspicnics, and barbecues.

35. Spaghetti salad

Spaghetti salad with fork

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.

36. Eggplant salad

roasted eggplant pasta salad

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.

37. Artichoke pasta salad

Artichoke Salad with bowtie pasta

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.

38. Orzo salad

orzo salad in a large bowl

Next on our list is a light and bright orzo pasta salad.

It’s a quick and easy solution for a tastysatisfying, and healthy meal. You can make it with fresh vegetableschickpeas, and a zesty mustard dressing.

39. Creamy pasta salad

Creamy pasta salad with mayo and olives

This creamy pasta salad recipe is the best for potlucksbarbequessummer cookouts, and picnics.

It’s versatile, and you can serve it as a starter, side dish, or light and refreshing main.

40. Pesto pasta salad

Pesto pasta salad with pine nuts

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.

Homemade pasta

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.

Butternut ravioli

homemade butternut squash ravioli

These butternut squash ravioli are soft and delicious pasta pillows filled with incredible butternut squashricotta, and parmesan filling.

Serve it with butter and sage sauce for an Italian homemade meal.

39. Potato gnocchi

homemade gnocchi recipe with bolognese

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.

40. Sweet potato gnocchi

butter and sage sweet potato gnocchi on a plate

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 with homemade pesto

trofie pasta with vegan pesto

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

Orecchiette broccoli rabe

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:

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!

Asparagus pasta with peas and lemon

For many more pasta ideas, check out our pasta category page.

easy pasta recipes with simple ingredients

40 Easy Pasta Recipes

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 8 votes
You can make these easy pasta recipes for a delicious weeknight dinner with few ingredients. The recipes are vegetarian, and you can easily adapt them for vegan guests too.
This recipe is a creamy and fresh lemon ricotta pasta.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 – 5 people
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American Italian

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces rigatoni or other pasta
  • 10 ounces spinach
  • 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
  • teaspoon nutmeg grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

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.
    boil spinach and pasta together

MAKE THE LEMON RICOTTA SAUCE

  • To a large mixing bowl, add ricotta, grated parmesan
    olive oil, grated lemon zest, grated nutmegsalt, and black pepper.
    Tip: Only zest the yellow peel of the lemon, the white pith can be bitter.
    ricotta sauce with parmesan
  • Whisk well until the sauce is smooth and the ingredients well combined.
    mix ricotta and spices

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.
    spinach and ricotta pasta with fork

Notes

Nutrition information is for one portion of lemon ricotta pasta out of five.
PASTA COOKING TIP
You’ll need 3 quarts (12 cups or 3 Liters) of water and 1 ½ tablespoons (21 grams) of salt for 12 ounces (340 grams) of pasta
DIFFERENT VEGGIE?
You can make this pasta dish with most veggies. Scroll up to the “variations” chapter to learn how.
DAIRY-FREE?
You can use our easy homemade soy ricotta and almond parmesan.

Nutrition

Calories: 504kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Potassium: 585mg, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 5819IU, Vitamin B6: 0.3mg, Vitamin C: 16mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 277µg, Calcium: 401mg, Folate: 132µg, Iron: 3mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 96mg, Zinc: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

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.

Easy right?

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