Fregola sarda or frègula is a small pearl-shaped pasta similar to pearl couscous. It has a satisfying al-dente bite and chewy texture.

Fregola is easy to cook, and you can use it to make delicious pasta salads or easy pasta recipes.

Here, we’ll show you how to cook it in one pot in 30 minutes with mixed vegetables, broth, herbs, and cheese for an easy, creamy, and protein-packed meal.

Creamy fregola with vegetables and a silver fork

Dietary Note: This recipe is suitable for a vegetarian and vegan diet, but it is not suitable for a gluten-free diet.

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What is fregola pasta?

Fregola pasta on a white plate with a silver spoon

Fregola, correctly spelled frègula, is a Sardinian pasta made with durum wheat semolina flour rolled by hand into small pasta balls and toasted in ovens.

The name frègula comes from the Latin “ferculum,” which means crumb.

Its shape is that of a large crumb, reminiscent of Arabic couscous, although larger.

difference between Israeli couscous and regular couscous side by side

It’s almost indistinguishable from pearl couscous or Ptitim.

Fregola is sold dry, like any other Italian pasta.

This makes it incredibly versatile. You can boil it in water and toss it in a sauce.

Or you can cook it in one pot with vegetable broth and other ingredients.

fregola pasta recipe with veggies

Here, we’ll show you one of our favorite fregola recipes.

We cook it in one pot with mixed vegetables, vegetable broth, and herbs.

You’ll love this cooking method because it’s easy and produces a creamy dish.

Plus, you can make it any time of the year with your favorite seasonal vegetables.

Similar recipes: Pearl couscous salad, orzo salad, Mediterranean couscous salad, Couscous with vegetables.

Ingredients & Substitutions for fregola pasta with vegetables

Ingredients for creamy fregola pasta

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Fregola pasta

You can find fregola in the pasta section of your supermarket or online.

Substitute fregola with pearl couscous; they are almost identical, or with risoni or orzo pasta.

Veggies

Pick your favorite seasonal vegetables. We use.

  • Garlic and onion: Always use those two as they are needed for the flavor base or soffritto. For even more flavor, you can add a finely chopped carrot.
  • Eggplant + zucchini + cherry tomatoes: substitute any other veggies such as mushrooms, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, potatoes, corn, kale, and more.
  • Green peas: substitute cooked or canned chickpeas, lentils, or beans.

Herbs & Spices

  • Dried oregano: substitute thyme or mixed Italian herbs.
  • Dried marjoram: optional.
  • Fresh herbs like chopped parsley and basil are optional; you can always add some.

Broth

We used vegetable broth, but you can use any other broth.

Salt, pepper, and olive oil

We recommend sea salt or kosher salt, extra virgin olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper.

Substitute avocado oil or coconut oil for olive oil. Add red pepper flakes for heat.

Cheese

Stir in some grated parmesan cheese or non-dairy parmesan to make the dish ultra-creamy and flavorful.

Optionally, you can top with crumbled feta cheese or non-dairy feta for more flavor and umami.

Fregola pasta with vegetables and crumbled feta

How to make fregola with vegetables + Tips

Adjustable US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Chop 1 heaping cup of tomatoes in half, one eggplant, and two zucchini into 1/2-inch or about 1 cm dice.

Finely chop one large onion and 2 cloves of garlic.

Tip: Cut the veggies into pieces of similar size so that they cook at the same time.

vegetables and frozen peas in bowls

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped onion and sauté on medium heat for 3 minutes. Stir often.

Oil-free? To make fregola pasta oil-free, add the chopped onion to a cold pan. Set the heat to medium-low and cook the onion slowly. When heated, the onion’s natural oils will be released. Stir often, and if the onion starts to burn, add a splash of water.

onions sautèeing in a blue skillet

Add chopped/pressed/grated garlic, diced eggplant, and diced zucchini.

Season with a teaspoon of salt, 2 twists of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon of marjoram, and sauté on medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring often.

Add the halved cherry tomatoes, and cook for three more minutes, stirring often.

chopped vegetables added to a blue skillet

Add 12 ounces of fregola pasta and toast it with the veggies for about a minute.

Fregola added to vegetables in a skillet with a wooden spoon

Now stir in 1 cup of frozen peas and 2 cups of vegetable broth and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked with a slight bite.

Add 1 to 2 more cups of broth as needed to finish cooking the fregola.

frozen peas and vegetable broth added to a skillet

Stir often to prevent the fregola from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Tip: Fregola pasta is sticky. To reduce stickiness, either stir often or use a non-stick pot/pan.

hand cooking vegetables and fregula in a skillet

Turn the heat off, then stir 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley or basil.

Substitute grated pecorino cheese or a non-dairy cheese of choice.

Tip: Add more or less cheese based on personal taste. Most cheeses and non-dairy cheese will work here. For example, cream cheese or non-dairy cream cheese is also delicious here.

Fregola with vegetables and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Serving suggestions

Taste and adjust for salt before serving. Optionally, add a grating of lemon zest.

Fregola in a white bowl with a silver fork

Optionally, top with crumbled feta cheese or nondairy feta to taste (we like VioLife).

Fregola served with feta in a bowl

Fregola with veggies is a fulfilling main course that stands well on its own. We sometimes serve it with a simple side salad, such as:

Storage & Make Ahead

Make ahead: Fregola pasta is a quick one-pot recipe for weeknight dinners, and it’s best served right after it’s been cooked. It’s not the best recipe for making ahead.

Refrigerator: Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 48 hours.

Reheat: Warm in the microwave for 2 minutes or in a pan with a splash of water for 3 minutes.

Freezer: Not suitable for freezing.

Creamy fregola in a bowl with a hand

More one-pot pasta recipes

creamy fregola with peas, zucchini and cherry tomatoes

Fregola Pasta

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 2 votes
Fregola sarda or frègula is a small pearl-shaped pasta similar to pearl couscous. It has a satisfying al-dente bite and chewy texture.
Fregola is easy to cook, and you can use it to make delicious pasta salads or easy pasta recipes.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fregola pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped/grated/pressed
  • 2 medium zucchini cut into ½-inch or 1.2 cm dice
  • 1 medium eggplant cut into ½-inch or 1.2 cm dice
  • 1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups vegetable broth + 2 more cup if needed
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano + ½ teaspoon marjoram optional
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • teaspoon black pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • ½ cup grated parmesan or more to taste | substitute non-dairy parmesan | + optionally crumbled feta or non-dairy feta to taste.

Instructions 

  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet, add 1 large onion (chopped) and sauté for 3 minutes.
    Add 2 cloves garlic (grated), 2 medium zucchini (diced), 1 medium eggplant (diced), 1 teaspoons salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon dried oregano and sauté 3 more minutes, stirring often.
    Add 1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes (halved) and cook 2 more minutes.
    chopped vegetables added to a blue skillet
  • Stir in 12 ounces fregola pasta and toast it for 1 minute.
    Fregola added to vegetables in a skillet with a wooden spoon
  • Add 2 cups vegetable broth and 1 cup frozen peas and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked but with a slight bite.
    Add 1 to 2 more cups of broth as needed to finish cooking the fregola. Stir often.
    hand cooking vegetables and fregula in a skillet
  • Turn the heat off, then add ½ cup grated parmesan (or non-dairy cheese) and 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or basil.
    Fregola with vegetables and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese
  • Taste and adjust for salt before serving. Optionally, add a grating of lemon zest and crumbled feta or non-dairy feta.
    Fregola pasta with vegetables and crumbled feta

Notes

Nutritional information is an estimate for 1 serving of  fregola out of 4 servings with parmesan cheese.
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Nutrition

Serving: 1 of 4, Calories: 548kcal, Carbohydrates: 90g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 829mg, Potassium: 1059mg, Dietary Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 1148IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 58mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 58µg, Calcium: 190mg, Folate: 109µg, Iron: 3mg, Manganese: 2mg, Magnesium: 108mg, Zinc: 3mg
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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.

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Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Ottima. Fatta e mangiata subito. Al posto dei piselli ho aggiunto dei cannelloni ed è risultata molto cremosa.

  2. 5 stars
    Such an easy and delicious recipe. My husband loved the creaminess and the texture of the fregola and I really loved how easy it was to make. It’s also incredibly fulfilling, we didn’t even eat dessert

    Thank you for sharing your recipes!