Creamy Vegetarian Pasta
Most of my clients are constantly busy and want to get back to quick and easy cooking. That usually means getting more streamlined with meal planning, grocery shopping, prepping, and batch-cooking healthy dinners. My clients almost always use dinner leftovers for lunch, so making enough is absolutely critical. Enter this beautiful one-pot enchilada Creamy Vegetarian Pasta recipe. It’s plant-forward, packed with protein, and can be made in under 20 minutes. If you’re searching for one-pot meals vegetarian dinners perfect for leftovers, this one’s for you.
Benefits of “dump and go” meals like this Creamy Vegetarian Pasta
If you’re after one pot vegetarian meals you’re in the right place. There are so many opportunities for one pot meals. You’ll also see them referred to as ‘dump and go’ meaning- literally, dump all the ingredients in and walk away. It’s so very simple. I love these types of recipes for beginner cooks, for people with chronic health conditions or pain that make it hard to stand or prep for periods of time, for very busy people, or anyone who likes an easy meal. If you think that meal prep takes a long time…think again!
Health benefits of beans
Did you know that all types of beans are healthy? They’re high in fiber, contain plant-based protein, absolutely no fat at all, and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Colors in foods often indicate the presence of anti-inflammatory antioxidants; beans are no different, all the colors have their own benefits, so feel free to mix and match. Whether you choose black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, white beans, or black eyed peas, you can’t go wrong with using beans for your protein in a dish like this.
Personally, I buy them canned and rinse them before use to cut down on the salt. You’re welcome to make your own from scratch but it does add to the time it takes them to be ready to eat. Instant pots and pressure cookers can really speed up the process but keep in mind that canned beans are very nutritious, affordable, and heart healthy.
Health benefits of pasta
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: pasta can be part of a healthy, balanced diet! Yes, it’s a carb but we need carbs to fuel the body and mind. Whole grain carbohydrates contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are critical for your health. Please don’t fear carbs, embrace them! You can get even more health benefits if you choose whole wheat or a bean/lentil pasta. These options contain more fiber and more protein than traditional pasta and that’s what I use in this one-pot Creamy Vegetarian Pasta recipe.
Making the one pot enchilada Creamy Vegetarian Pasta
This type of dump and go meal is absolutely effortless – quick, easy and perfect for a busy weeknight. If you need some help in the kitchen, you’re leaning into meal prep or if you’ve got a partner with low cooking skills or even a tween or teen at home, this is a recipe that they can make on their own. You’ll use on-hand ingredients (you probably have all of these right now!) that can be opened and tossed in together to create a perfect dish. This is how you do it (with pics!)
Combine all ingredients
The first step really is the only prep step! You literally combine the first 8 ingredients and that’s it. You want to use a really big soup pot or very large, deep skillet. I have one that I use for soups and stews and large quantities and that’s exactly what you’re looking for here. Choose a very big pot.
Pasta: I love to use whole wheat, lentil or bean pasta because it’s higher in fiber and nutrition than typical white pasta. This recipe is written with penne but feel free to use any other type of past you want to or have on-hand. Macaroni or shells would be great.
Broth: I use low-sodium veggie broth for this recipe but you’re welcome to use a non-vegetarian broth or stock or use a regular-sodium variety instead. This is really up to your preference and what you have in the pantry when you start.
Beans: I wrote above about how much I love canned beans so while black is what I used, feel free to sub pinto beans or white beans for a different look and texture. I do like to wash the beans before I use them to cut down on salt. If you want to boost the protein, consider using two cans.
Hands off cooking
The other night, I was making this while finishing up some work in the evening and my husband wanted to jump on the Peloton bike. I knew that we didn’t have time to cook an in-depth meal and that we’d both be hungry within 30 minutes or so. I popped everything into the pot, brought it to a boil, then turned it down, set the timer for 15 minutes, and got back to finishing my work. This is such a hands-off way to cook. Please be sure to keep an eye on your stove, though, for safety.
Serving and storing the Creamy Vegetarian Pasta
Once it’s done, you can serve this one pot enchilada Creamy Vegetarian Pasta dish immediately. It’s so delicious hot with a little extra shredded regular or vegan cheese and some fresh avocado. The cilantro really brightens up the flavors, too. If you want to, you can add a squeeze of lime or some hot sauce for a little more zest. You could also add some dairy or non-dairy sour cream or a little guacamole on top. Feel free to make this your own. Every time I whip it up, it’s slightly different and I love that about the recipe.
If you want more super simple meals or one pot vegetarian dinners, try these Ginger Hultin Nutrition favorites:
Please be sure to rate and comment when you make this recipe! Let me know what worked for you 🙂
Creamy Vegetarian Pasta
- 4 cups uncooked whole wheat or bean/lentil pasta
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (not drained)
- 2 medium bell peppers, chopped
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 10 oz can enchilada sauce (either green or red)
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1/2 cup shredded regular or vegan cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 small avocado, chopped
- In a large skillet or pot, combine the pasta, broth, black beans, tomatoes, peppers, corn, enchilada sauce, and taco seasoning.
- Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente (slightly firm yet cooked through) and the sauce has thickened, 14-15 minutes.
- Add the cheddar cheese and stir until it's melted and incorporated. Feel free to use vegan cheese for a totally vegan/dairy-free dish.
- Serve hot with any additional cheese desired, fresh cilantro, and avocado as a garnish.
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll ﬁnd cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.