For me, the thing about pasta is that it’s a quick, delicious meal and if you do it right it can be healthy. When I feel like there’s nothing special in my fridge and I don’t know know what to make but I don’t want basic Indian food, this Spaghetti Aglio Olio with vegetables is what I make. It’s almost impossible to ruin it.
If I’m cooking pasta myself, it’s always whole wheat. It’s very easy to get whole wheat pasta these days – it’s available at every large grocery store and several varieties that too. I save the refined flour, creamy, cheesy versions for when I eat at a good Italian restaurant and deserve a treat. For everyday purposes, it’s usually a vegan pasta with no cream, cheese or butter. You can swap in and out whatever vegetables you like but I would recommend adding at least 2-3 veggies.
The ingredients for this Spaghetti Aglio Olio with vegetables are very simple – pasta, olive oil, garlic, veggies, spices, that’s it. You don’t need anything special (the basil just makes it pretty, it is not required at all). Still, it tastes as authentic as a pasta in Italy minus all the cream and cheese and butter that’s reserved for once in a while. If you have a nice bottle of extra virgin olive oil at home, drizzle a little on top just before serving for extra flavor.
Try this vegan recipe out and let me know what you think! It makes just enough for two. I usually eat this with a salad and some crumbled spiced tofu (specifically, the tofu from my tofu and vegetable tacos recipe) to make it a balanced, filling meal. For more healthy pasta ideas, check out my tips and tricks + a recipe for red pepper pesto pasta, my classic tomato-based pasta arrabbiata recipe and this easy spinach and seared garlic pasta that’s similar to this one but focusing on just spinach.
- 60g or ~2/3oz dry whole wheat spaghetti
- 120g or ½ cup spinach, washed and finely chopped
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 30g or approx. quarter of a yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
- 30g or approx. quarter of a red bell pepper, sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
- 50g or ⅔ cup mushroom, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Crushed red pepper, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook the spaghetti in salted water for the time specified on the packet. Reserve the water.
- Separately, cook the sliced mushrooms in a pan till most of the water is evaporated.
- In a pan on medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté for a few minutes till fragrant.
- Add the red and yellow peppers, mushroom and sauté for a minute or two.
- Add the chopped spinach and lemon juice. Sauté for just a minute then add the pasta and 2-3 tbsp of the cooking water.
- Add salt and pepper and combine. Serve immediately.
- Be careful not to overheat or overcook the spinach to prevent it from darkening and oxidizing.