Quick Veggie Pasta

Use up your leftover odds and ends in the kitchen because “anything goes” with this Quick Veggie Pasta! Make it vegetarian or vegan!

The post Quick Veggie Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Here’s your weekly reminder that not all meals need to be a huge production. Sometimes when you just toss what you have on hand into a pot or a skillet, you get really great results. I usually follow a rough template for these types of meals, but I love to experiment with what ingredients get plugged into the template. This Quick Veggie Pasta is my recent favorite “whatever goes” recipe, and you can easily add meat or make it vegan with one ingredient swap, so it’s very flexible!

Overhead view of quick veggie pasta in a skillet with tongs

Why I Love This Vegetable Pasta

This is my favorite type of fast, easy, satisfying meal. It’s so flexible that you really don’t even need to measure. You can use any type of pasta, any type of vegetable, and you can even play around with the seasonings. It’s simple, it’s good, and it doesn’t take a lot of mental energy to make. :)

Pasta Options

You can literally use any type of pasta for this recipe and in any amount. Long pasta, short pasta, even tiny pasta like couscous or orzo. This is great because I rarely use a full box of pasta at once, so I always have small amounts of random pasta hanging out in my pantry that needs to be used.

And while this next tip will make purists clutch their pearls, I suggest breaking long pasta in half before cooking. This makes it easier to stir chunky objects (like vegetables) into the pasta. You’ll actually be able to mix them together in instead of the vegetables getting all pushed to the outside of the skillet with a clump of pasta in the center.

Side view of quick veggie pasta in a bowl twirled around a fork

Vegatble Options

Just as with the type of pasta, you can use virtually any vegetable here! I’ve even made this with frozen mixed vegetables and enjoyed it quite a bit. And not only is the type of vegetable flexible, but the amount is as well. Use more, less, or however much you want. The vegetables I used today are grape tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach, but here are some other great options:

  • kale
  • peas
  • corn
  • avocado (will give the pasta a nice creamy effect)
  • edamame
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • zucchini
  • bell pepper
  • green beans
  • onion (red, yellow, green)

The trick to swapping out the vegetables is to add them to the skillet in order of hardest to softest. A hard vegetable, like carrot, that will take longer to soften should go in the skillet first so it has time to cook, whereas a soft vegetable, like spinach, should be added last so it doesn’t overcook.

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is commonly used as a nutrient-dense seasoning for food. It has a yellow color has a light, flakey texture that mixes well into sauces, and a savory almost cheesy flavor. The nutritional yeast is the star of the show for this pasta dish because it really adds depth to the flavor and tons of umami.

You can usually find nutritional yeast in the grocery store near other non-refrigerated health foods. Some common brands that you’re likely to find in major grocery stores are Bragg’s and Bob’s Red Mill, but I’ve seen several stores selling it under their own name brand as well, like Trader Joes’ and Kroger.

Want to see some other ways to use nutritional yeast? Check out our nutritional yeast archives.

Overhead view of a bowl full of quick veggie pasta

Love fast pasta dishes? Check out the rest of our Quick Pasta Recipes!

Side view of quick veggie pasta in a bowl twirled around a fork

Quick Veggie Pasta

Use up your leftover odds and ends in the kitchen because "anything goes" with this Quick Veggie Pasta! Make it vegetarian or vegan!
Total Cost $3.61 rcipe / $0.90 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 301kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. linguine $0.50
  • 4 oz. mushrooms $0.75
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes $1.25
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach $0.50
  • 1 Tbsp butter* $0.09
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast $0.42
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Reserve a 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta in a colander.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, slice the mushrooms and cut the tomatoes in half.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt to the skillet and sauté until they have released all of their moisture and water is no longer pooling on the bottom of the skillet (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Add the tomatoes and sauté for about two minutes more, or just until they're heated through (they'll continue to cook more after other ingredients are added). Add the spinach and sauté just until wilted.
  • Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet along with the butter. Toss until everything is coated in melted butter. Turn the heat off.
  • Season with garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper, then toss to coat. Give the pasta a taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. If the pasta gets too dry as you're tossing with the seasoning, just add a splash of the reserved pasta water. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Notes

*Swap with a vegan butter to make this recipe vegan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 200mg | Fiber: 4g
Side view of pasta in the skillet being picked up by tongs

How to Make Quick Veggie Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Uncooked linguine in a pot

Start with your pasta first because the rest of the dish will probably be done cooking by the time the pasta boils and drains. I used a ½ lb. linguine for this recipe, but you can use whatever type you’d like. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the pasta, and continue to boil until tender (about 7 minutes). Reserve about a 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain in a colander.

Sliced mushrooms and tomatoes on a cutting board

While waiting for the pasta water to boil, slice or dice up any vegetables you may be using. I’m using up my leftover mushrooms and tomatoes, so I had 4oz. mushrooms to slice and about one cup of grape tomatoes to slice in half.

Sautéed mushrooms in a skillet

Heat a tablespoon of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the mushrooms have released all their moisture and water is no longer pooling on the bottom of the skillet (5-7 minutes).

Tomatoes added to the skillet with mushrooms

Add the tomatoes and sauté just for a couple of minutes more. They’ll continue cooking as you add more ingredients, so they don’t need to be cooked down too far here.

spinach added to the skillet with tomatoes and mushrooms

Finally, add the fresh spinach and sauté for a minute or so more, or just until it wilts.

pasta and butter added to the skillet

Add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet along with 1 Tbsp butter. Toss until the butter melts and everything is coated in butter.

nutritional yeast and seasoning added to the noodles

Turn the heat off, then season the veggie pasta with 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, ¼ tsp garlic powder, about ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Toss until the seasoning is evenly coating everything. If the pasta gets dry, just add a splash of the reserved pasta water.

finished quick veggie pasta in the skillet

Make sure to give the veggie pasta one final taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. You can even try adding other herbs and spices! Crushed red pepper is another favorite add-in of mine.

Overhead view of a plate full of quick veggie pasta

The post Quick Veggie Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Frittata Recipe

Here’s the best egg frittata recipe: perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner! This basic filling is fast and tasty, or…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Here’s the best egg frittata recipe: perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner! This basic filling is fast and tasty, or any veggies you like.

Frittata

Got eggs and need a meal? Enter, The Frittata! A frittata is an Italian dish that’s best described as a crustless egg pie. It’s often served for breakfast or brunch, but it works for dinner too. You can eat it at any temperature and it saves well: and it’s great for using up odds and ends in your veggie drawer. In fact, we think it’s one of the essential non-recipes every home cook should know!

How to make a frittata: basic formula

Everyone has their own method for making a frittata, and to be honest: there are some duds out there. Many frittata recipes we’ve tried are tasteless, rubbery, or too thin. A good frittata should have lots of flavor and a nice moist texture that’s not too eggy. Here are a few tips on how to achieve this (or skip to the recipe below);

  • Use 8 eggs and a 10-inch skillet. This gives just the right thickness of frittata.
  • Use whole or 2% milk. The dairy fat helps to achieve the desired texture.
  • Use cheese. The combination of feta and Parmesan adds just the right savory nuance to the flavor.
Frittata recipe
The thickness is deliciously substantial

Why this frittata recipe is the best

Why is this frittata recipe better than others on the internet? Well, we’re a little biased (obviously). But this is the best one we’ve tasted. Here’s why:

  • It’s got just the right thickness and texture. Many recipes come out very thin or rubbery. This one has just the right texture.
  • The spinach feta filling is perfectly salted, savory and delicious. You can make it with lots of different fillings, but try the one in the recipe below. It’s a knock out!

Frittata filling ideas

The filling in this frittata recipe is spinach and feta: our ideal filling that we make again and again! Why? It’s easy, and only requires 2 to 3 minutes of sautéing the spinach before assembling the frittata. But if you want to get fancy, there are so many different combinations! Here’s what to know about filling:

  • Chop and sauté the vegetables first. The veggies will not cook inside the frittata: so make sure to give them a good sauté before assembling. Make sure the pieces are bite sized and not too large.
  • Herbs can be used fresh. A nice sprinkling of chopped basil, oregano, thyme, or dill doesn’t need any heat.

Some creative filling combinations to get you started:

How to make a frittata

Find the right frittata pan

The only equipment you’ll need to make a frittata recipe? The right pan. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 10-inch seasoned cast-iron skillet. Make sure that it’s well-seasoned to break it in before making this recipe (otherwise it will stick).
  • Or, a 10-inch oven-safe skillet. You’ll cook on the stovetop first, then place it in the oven to finish cooking. Speaking of…

Start on the stovetop, finish in the oven

The key to a frittata recipe is watching it closely during the cooking! You’ll cook it in two parts: first the stovetop, then the oven. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Cook on the stovetop until the top is set and the bottom is lightly browned. Don’t overcook, or it will get too browned in the oven! We like to use a spatula to pull back the sides and check to see if it’s firming up.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the top solidifies. You’ll want it to just harden into a solid texture on the top.
Frittata recipe

What to serve with a frittata

Let’s say you’re making this frittata recipe for dinner. What to serve with it? It’s easy to think about breakfast or brunch side dishes (hash browns, biscuits, etc). But what about dinner sides? Here’s what we like to pair:

More tasty egg recipes

More to do with eggs? We’re egg-sperts (sorry!) with using this ingredient to whip up meals. Here are some favorite egg recipes for dinner…and for eggs for breakfast:

This frittata recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

Print
Frittata

Easy Frittata Recipe


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to make a frittata recipe: an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner! This basic filling idea is fast and tasty, or any veggies you have on hand.


Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk (whole or 2%)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup feta crumbles, plus more for sprinkling*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces (about 6 cups) packed spinach leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Optional: fresh basil leaves, for the garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oregano, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Whisk in the Parmesan and feta cheese.

  3. In a 10-inch oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the spinach leaves, stirring until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes, spreading it around as you cook so that you spread oil up the sides of the pan. Add the garlic powder and 2 pinches kosher salt and sauté for another minute.

  4. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. If necessary, use a fork to rearrange the spinach in an even layer so you can see if on the top. Sprinkle the top with a little more feta cheese. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat until the bottom is set and lightly browned, checking for doneness by pulling back the side with a spatula.

  5. Place the skillet in the oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes until the top is puffed, set, and slightly browned. Let rest for 10 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve warm, with sour cream or crème fraiche if desired. Leftovers save well: refrigerate for up to 5 days and serve them cold, room temperature, or warmed.

Notes

*Or use goat cheese crumbles or mozzarella cheese and add one more pinch of salt. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Frittata, Frittata recipe, How to make a frittata

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Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach

I bought a little jar of pesto recently and have been having fun finding ways to add it to everyday recipes. Yesterday I noticed a half bag of macaroni that had been sitting in my pantry for a few months and I just knew it was begging for the pesto treatment. So, I whipped up a quick […]

The post Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I bought a little jar of pesto recently and have been having fun finding ways to add it to everyday recipes. Yesterday I noticed a half bag of macaroni that had been sitting in my pantry for a few months and I just knew it was begging for the pesto treatment. So, I whipped up a quick béchamel sauce, stirred in some grated Parmesan, and a good dollop of pesto. I poured the luxurious sauce over my cooked macaroni then aded couple handfuls of thawed frozen spinach (because I’m all about balance), and had myself the most delicious and creamy pesto mac and cheese.

Originally posted 3-8-2016, updated 4-26-2021.

Close up overhead view of a bowl of creamy pesto mac with spinach, fork in the center

What Kind of Pesto is Best?

I used a simple basil pesto, but the wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is very flexible. You could do a homemade Kale Pesto, you could do a sun-dried tomato pesto, or practically any flavor pesto that you’d like. 

How to Use Leftover Pesto

Pesto is definitely an expensive ingredient, but it’s so potent that you really don’t need a lot to add big flavor to your recipes. The little jar I bought contains about 3/4 cup pesto and costs $3.99. I usually only use about ¼ cup at a time in a recipe, so there is always some leftover. Here are some other recipes that use pesto:

If you can’t find uses for your leftovers immediately, pesto can be frozen. A lot of people like to spoon it into ice cube trays so they can grab a couple tablespoons at a time to toss into recipes like pasta, salad dressings, and other sauces.

What Else Can I Add to Pesto Mac and Cheese?

You can really take this recipe so many different directions! Try adding a handful of sun dried tomatoes, or maybe some chopped up rotisserie chicken. Or try topping it with some crumbled feta, bacon bits, or some buttered breadcrumbs!

Close up of a spoonful of creamy pesto mac with the pot in the background

Close up side view of a bowl of creamy pesto mac with spinach

Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Spinach

A simple creamy sauce infused with basil pesto makes this Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with spinach the ultimate comfort food WITH a dose of vegetables!
Total Cost $4.05 reicpe / $0.68 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 (1 cup each)
Calories 333.58kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni $0.50
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.22
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.60
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan $0.53
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto $1.33
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • Freshly cracked pepper $0.03
  • 1/2 lb. frozen spinach $0.80

Instructions

  • Thaw the spinach at room temperature or in the microwave. Squeeze out the excess water. Set the spinach aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the macaroni. Boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the macaroni in a colander.
  • While the pasta is boiling, prepare the sauce. Add the butter and flour to a small sauce pot. Heat and stir the butter and flour over medium heat until it forms a creamy paste and begins to bubble. Continue to stir and cook for about one minute more.
  • Whisk the milk into the butter and flour, then allow it to come up to a simmer, while whisking. When it reaches a simmer, the sauce will thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  • Whisk the Parmesan and pesto into the sauce until smooth. This will further thicken the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Make sure the sauce is well seasoned as the flavors will be less concentrated once the pasta and spinach are stirred in.
  • Return the cooked and drained pasta to the large pot (heat turned off) and add the thawed spinach. Pour the sauce over top, then stir until everything is combined and coated in sauce. Serve immediately.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 333.58kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.75g | Protein: 12.33g | Fat: 14.08g | Sodium: 665.92mg | Fiber: 2.75g

Close up side view of a bowl of creamy pesto mac with spinach

How to Make Pesto Mac and Cheese – Step by Step Photos

Macaroni being poured into a pot of boiling water

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the macaroni. Once boiling, add two cups of macaroni and continue to boil until tender but not mushy. Drain the pasta in a colander.

Thawed spinach in a bowl

While the macaroni is boiling, thaw 1/2 lb. spinach and then squeeze out some of the excess water. It doesn’t have to be bone-dry, just make sure it’s not sopping wet.

Butter and flour being whisked in a sauce pot

Place 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp flour into a small sauce pot. Heat them over a medium flame while whisking. Once bubbling, continue to stir and cook for about a minute. This mixture is called a roux (this is a blonde roux, in particular) and is used to thicken the sauce. Cooking it for a minute or so slightly toasts the flour so that you don’t have that raw paste-like flavor to your sauce.

Milk being poured into the sauce pot with the roux

Whisk in two cups of whole milk. Let the mixture come to a simmer, whisking occasionally to make sure the milk doesn’t scorch on the bottom.

Thickened white sauce on the back of a spoon

Once the milk starts simmering, that’s when the roux magic happens. The milk will thicken slightly. It won’t be as thick as a cheese sauce at this point, but it should have noticeably more body. Turn the heat off.

Grated Parmesan being added to the sauce pot

Whisk in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. The cheese will help thicken the sauce even more. 

A measuring cup full of basil pesto held over the sauce pot

Then whisk in 1/4 cup basil pesto.

Salt and pepper added to the creamy pesto sauce

Finally, season the sauce with salt and freshly cracked pepper. You want the sauce to be pretty heavily seasoned because it will taste less concentrated once the pasta and spinach are stirred in. I used 1/2 tsp salt and about 5-10 cranks of a pepper mill.

Creamy pesto sauce and spinach added to the pot with the cooked macaroni

Return the cooked and drained pasta to the large pot it was cooked in, add the thawed and squeezed spinach, then pour the creamy sauce over top.

Finished creamy pesto mac in a pot with a large spoon

Then stir all that creamy pesto goodness together. Oh my.

Overhead view of a bowl full of creamy pesto mac with spinach, a fork in the center

I’ll just say it one more time, then leave it there… Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Spinach–OH MY.

Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach - BudgetBytes.com

The post Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Spinach Dip

Easy Spinach Dip
This creamy spinach dip comes together in minutes and is perfect for serving in a bread bowl, with vegetables, or with a variety of crackers. This easy dip is an absolute crowd pleaser!
READ: Easy Spinach Dip

A white platter on a blue counter with a bread bowl of spinach dip in the middle and vegetables around the sides.

Easy Spinach Dip

This creamy spinach dip comes together in minutes and is perfect for serving in a bread bowl, with vegetables, or with a variety of crackers. This easy dip is an absolute crowd pleaser!

READ: Easy Spinach Dip