Today’s vegan balsamic pasta is one of the simplest yet one of the most flavorful pasta dishes I’ve ever made. Loaded with roasted vegetables and a simple balsamic vinegar-based sauce, this pasta recipe has become one of our family’s favorite healthy vegan pasta recipes. Give it a try, and you’ll see why!
I’ve been wanting to share more recipes here on the blog, but lately I’ve been struggling to find time (and often inspiration) for developing new recipes. When you’ve got an active 7 month-old baby on your hands, you often resort to quick, tried-and-true recipes when making dinner.
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This recipe was born accidentally when I was trying to cook up a lot of veggies in the fridge one day, but didn’t want to fuss with making a complicated pasta sauce.
I’m rarely in the mood for pasta with the classic red tomato sauce, and other pasta sauces are usually quite involved. Voila – this delicious and wholesome vegan pasta recipe was born!
Recently I wondered why I haven’t shared my balsamic pasta recipe here yet because honestly, it’s soooo delicious and quite easy to make! Even when a tiny 7 month-old human demands your attention all the time 🙂
The simple balsamic dressing does wonders for this vegan pasta dish, creating a flavor that’s bright enough to excite your palate, yet not too overbearing that it would cover the flavors of all the delicious veggies in this recipe.
How do I make vegan balsamic pasta sauce?
To make balsamic pasta sauce, you’ll need to mix balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and maple syrup in a small bowl. Whisk the mixture until everything is dissolved.
Start pouring olive oil slowly into the vinegar mixture while you continue whisking it. Once the sauce looks homogeneous, stir in nutritional yeast.
Pour in about a half cup of water that the pasta was cooking in. Just before adding the sauce to the pasta and vegetables, whisk it again a few more times.
For ingredient amounts, see recipe card below.
Note on olive oil: If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I mostly post oil-free recipes here.
In the beginning of my plant-based/vegan journey I steered clear of oil for the most part, following health recommendations of various plant-based diet masterminds. Since then my ways have changed – not that I don’t care about my health anymore 🙂 but I’m just not as rigid.
It’s entirely possible that this recipe would still work if you omit the oil and replace it with extra pasta water, but I haven’t tried that.
How do I cook the vegetables for balsamic pasta?
My favorite way to cook all the veggies in my balsamic pasta is in a wok. The classic wok shape allows plenty of room for the veggies to steam in their own moisture, plus mixing in the pasta and the sauce is easy. If you have a large heavy-bottomed pan, things will work out just as well.
Roasting the vegetables will work just as well. If you decide to roast them, preheat the oven to 425 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread sliced vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, shallots, zucchini, carrots, etc.
Make sure not to crowd the pan, or the veggies will steam instead of roasting. If you have too much veggies, use two pans.
Roast the vegetables for 15 minutes, stir, and roast for about 10 minutes more, or until the desired level of doneness is achieved. If some veggie pieces start looking charred, take them off the tray, and continue roasting the rest.
Mix roasted veggies with cooked pasta and sauce as per the rest of the recipe.
What vegetables are used in vegan balsamic pasta?
I use a pretty standard variety of vegetables in this Balsamic Pasta: broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, shallots, zucchini, carrots, peas. I also like adding olives (black or kalamata) and artichoke hearts for extra zing.
It’s not mandatory to use all of these veggies – you can totally use your own judgement and preferences, omitting or adding a few things.
I’ve used arugula and broccolini instead of broccoli (my husband’s preferred substitution), skipped sundried tomatoes, olives or artichokes if I didn’t have any.
You can also skip the vegan sausage if you’re trying to eat less processed food.
Can this balsamic pasta be made gluten free?
Absolutely! For gluten-free substitutions, use gluten-free pasta and omit the Field Roast Italian vegan sausage. If sausage is a must, try adding sliced Beyond Meat Hot Italian sausages that happen to be gluten-free.
The balsamic sauce ingredients are naturally gluten-free.
Can I serve this vegan balsamic pasta cold?
Yes! This Balsamic Pasta can be served cold as a yummy pasta salad! Make it as is with penne pasta, or use a different pasta shape (bow ties, elbows, etc.) and wow everyone at your next summertime gathering.
More Italian-inspired vegan recipes from the blog:
If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Give it a star rating below, pin it to Pinterest, tag @vegan_runner_eats on Instagram, or leave a comment.
- 1/2 box pasta*
- 1 vegan sausage** (my favorite is Field Roast Italian, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4" thick half-moons
- Olive oil OR veggie broth/water, as needed to saute the veggies
- 1 large head broccoli, divided into florets
- 1 shallot, halved and sliced
- 2 medium carrots, julienned or sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped into 1/4" thick sticks
- 5-6 crimini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4" thick half-moons
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
Optional vegetables (use at least one):
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, whole or halved
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts
- Any fresh herbs you may have - basil, parsley, oregano, etc., to taste
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water (save some before draining the pasta)
- Cook pasta till al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set pasta aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, prep all the veggies and make the sauce.
- Heat a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat (I like using a wok for this). Brown the sliced sausage if using. Take the sausage out of the pan and set aside.
- Heat 1 tsp of oil OR 2-3 Tbsp of veggie broth/water in the same pan. Add broccoli florets and a pinch of salt. Cover with a lid and let the broccoli steam for 4-5 min, stirring occasionally, until it's bright green and crispy (doesn't have to be fully cooked at this point). Take the broccoli out and set aside.
- Heat 1 tsp of oil OR 2-3 Tbsp of veggie broth/water in the same pan. Add shallots and saute them until lightly browned. Then add carrots, mushrooms and peppers, close the lid and saute for 3-4 min, stirring once or twice, until the veggies soften. Add zucchini, peas and sundried tomatoes. Close the lid and saute for 2 min.
- Open the lid, push the vegetables to the side of the pan, clearing a small part of the bottom of the pan. Add minced garlic, pour 1 tsp of oil (this has to be oil, not veggie broth), and saute it for a minute or so, until the garlic starts turning golden and releases its aroma. Mix the garlic into the rest of the veggies. Mix in the broccoli, sausage (if using), olives and artichokes.
- Mix in the cooked pasta and the balsamic sauce. Give everything a good stir to coat the veggies and the pasta in the sauce. Heat the sauce through for a minute or two, and take the pan off the heat. Mix in any fresh herbs you have - basil and parsley work best. Enjoy!
To Make the Balsamic Sauce:
- In a small bowl, stir together balsamic vinegar, mustard and maple syrup. Slowly pour in olive oil while whisking the mixture with a fork or a small whisk until the mixture becomes homogenous, about a minute. Stir in nutritional yeast. Once the pasta is cooked, pour in the 1/2 cup pasta water. Set the sauce aside until ready to add to the vegetables and pasta. Just before adding the sauce to the pot, stir it well one more time.
*Use penne, rotini, bow ties, etc.
**Omit Field Roast vegan sausage and use gluten-free pasta to make this recipe gluten-free.
Serving Size:1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 511Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 36mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 12gSugar: 15gProtein: 21g
Please note that the provided nutritional information data is approximate.
Question for you: What’s your favorite vegan pasta recipe? Bonus points if it’s vegan, of course 🙂
Trying to make being vegan easier both for yourself and your family? Check out my favorite vegan finds on Amazon, from useful cookbooks and vegan pantry staples to kitchen tools, products for vegan kids, etc.!
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