This is an easy vegan southwest pasta dish that's perfect for a weeknight meal. Sometimes we just need a satisfying, filling, and super quick dinner idea so, I came up with this vegan one-pot pasta meal that only takes 20 minutes.
It’s a fuss-free dinner made with mainly pantry-stable items, plus frozen spinach and red bell pepper (gotta get those veggies in). It’s quick, easy cleanup, and most of the items can be bought well in advance. Just slice one red bell pepper, dump everything in a pot, simmer, and dinner is made!
- Any type of bean can be substituted for black beans.
- Use white or whole wheat dry pasta.
- You can use fresh spinach instead of frozen, substitute with a couple of big handfuls of fresh spinach. If you use frozen spinach use loose leaf, not the frozen block of spinach.
- Try using canned corn instead of frozen, one can does not equal one cup of frozen corn but instead of having part of a can leftover, just use all of it.
- The nutritional yeast is what makes the one-pot pasta creamy, it can probably be substituted with vegan shredded cheese. I didn’t test that, but it should work fine. Just get a cheese you like.
- If your vegetable broth has a very strong flavor, you can substitute 1 cup of vegetable broth with 1 cup of water. I don't normally have this problem with store-bought broths, just sometimes with a homemade version.
- Spinach can be substituted with frozen kale or fresh. Destem fresh kale and tear it into bite-size pieces.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that gives a nutty, cheesy-like flavor. It’s used in vegan meals to sometimes add a cheesy savory flavor. Although it's a yeast, it cannot be substituted with baker’s yeast (which is used as a leavening agent in baking bread).
If you're new to nutritional yeast, try cutting the suggested amount in half at first. You can always add more if you like it. I personally wasn't a fan at first but grew to love it (which I hear is quite common).
How to Make Southwest Pasta
- All you do is add everything to a large pot except the nutritional yeast and fresh spinach. If you’re using frozen spinach add it to the pot with the rest of the ingredients in this step at the beginning of the cooking process.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for about 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente and most of the water is gone.
3. First, check the pasta to see if it’s done at the time it recommends on the instructions on the packaged pasta. If it’s not done, give it a couple more minutes.
4. When the pasta is done, there should be some liquid left to create a creamy sauce by adding nutritional yeast. Finally, stir in the fresh spinach (if used instead of frozen) and nutritional yeast. The residual heat will wilt the spinach.
Tips for Vegan One-Pot Pasta
- The predominant flavors in the vegan one-pot pasta will come from salsa and chili powder. I recommend using brands that you know you’ll enjoy. I usually make a homemade version of chili powder, because well, I think it tastes better. This is my favorite homemade chili powder. If you prefer less heat, decrease the cayenne pepper in the chili powder recipe.
- Use loose-leaf frozen spinach vs the frozen block.
- Use a short style pasta ex. penne or rotini
- Make sure it comes to a boil then lower to a simmer, cook covered.
- Stir occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Break up large frozen spinach chunks when you stir the pasta.
- I use my homemade vegetable broth, which is salt-free. If your vegetable broth is not salt-free, you may want to adjust the salt.
I hope you enjoy this one-pot vegetarian pasta!
FOR MORE EASY MEALS
- Vegan Taco Bowl
- Burrito Bowl
- Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowl
- Roasted Sweet Potato bowl
- Chickpea Vegetable Rice Bowl
Originally published on April 14, 2020, updated on July 20, 2021.Print
This is an easy vegan Southwest pasta dish for a fuss-free dinner made with mainly pantry-stable items, plus frozen spinach and red bell pepper.
- 8 ounces (227 g) whole-wheat dried pasta (short like penne or rotini)
- 1 can ((15 ounces) 425 g)) black beans or pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 cup frozen corn (135 g), no need to thaw (or 1 can corn drained)
- 1 ½ cups chunky mild salsa
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth
- ¼ cup (15 g) nutritional yeast
- 1 cup (90 g) frozen spinach (no need to thaw or a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach)
- Add everything except nutritional yeast and spinach (unless using frozen) to a large pot. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cook covered for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- First, check the pasta at the stated time on the packaged instructions. If it’s not done, give it a couple more minutes.
- When the pasta is done there should be some liquid left to create a creamy sauce with the nutritional yeast.
- Stir in the nutritional yeast and fresh spinach (if using instead of frozen) until the spinach is wilted.
- It will thicken up as it cools.
Cooking times will vary depending on the type of pasta you are using.
I use my homemade vegetable broth, which is salt-free. If your vegetable broth is not salt-free, you may want to adjust the salt.
I use this homemade salt-free chili powder, if your chili powder has salt you want to adjust the salt in the dish. You can taste the pasta once it’s done, and you can always add more if it needs it.
If your vegetable broth has a very strong flavor, you can substitute 1 cup of vegetable broth with 1 cup of water.
If using frozen spinach, use loose leaf not a block of frozen spinach. If block frozen spinach is all you have, try thawing it first, squeezing out most of the liquid so it doesn’t throw off the liquid to pasta ratio, and portion out the needed amount for the recipe.
I only tested with white and whole wheat pasta, not gluten-free pasta.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: One pot pasta, vegetarian southwest pasta, vegan southwest pasta, southwest pasta