9 Delicious Slimming-friendly Vegetarian Pasta Recipes You Need to Try

9 Vegetarian Pasta Recipe Ideas - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

When you’re trying to eat less meat or following a vegetarian diet full-time, there’s no reason to miss out on your fix of one of life’s tastiest pleasures: a delicious bowl of pasta! Brimming with flavour and nutritious goodness, vegetarian pasta recipes will always give your meal plan a budget-friendly upgrade.

Even if you’d normally order a meaty pasta option at a restaurant, we’d recommend giving vegetarian pasta recipes a whirl. They’re the perfect opportunity to try fun, fresh flavour combinations you might not have given a chance before.

We’ve got 9 different vegetarian pasta recipes to help you get started, and if you love them…there’s plenty more for you to twirl around your fork in our website’s ‘pasta’ collection.

From tomatoey linguine to mac and cheese, there’s something to suit everybody’s taste buds on this list.

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Green Veg Pasta

Get ready to be obsessed with our Green Veg Pasta! A nutritious, lean green pasta dish, you won’t find any heavy creams or full-fat cheese here. Instead, we’ve made the gorgeous, eye-catching, bright green sauce by blitzing together leek, broccoli, spinach and reduced-fat cream cheese.

A blender like this one from Amazon makes it so much easier to rustle up homemade sauces in a pinch, and they’re always far better for you and your budget than shop-bought versions.

Since it’s so jam-packed with yummy greens, this vegetarian pasta recipe will get you well on your way to 5-a-day, and leave you full and satisfied for longer. 

For the full recipe, turn to pages 40-41 in the ‘Quick Cook’ chapter of our latest cookbook, Pinch of Nom: Express!

Pinch of Nom's Green Veg Pasta is served in a white pasta bowl on a wooden surface.

Express is all about saving you time, with a collection of slimming-friendly recipes that’ll make putting together a healthy, family-friendly meal plan so much easier. You can find out more about Express by clicking here.

A banner image of Pinch of Nom's latest cookbook, Pinch of Nom: Express. The book is to the left with a large circular 'out now!' shout out. There are large bold letters to the right saying OUT NOW. The image is bordered with a red and white, race track inspired chequered flag pattern.

Sneaky Mac and Cheese

This Sneaky Mac and Cheese gets its name from the surprising ingredient we’ve used to make our oh-so-creamy white sauce: blended cauliflower! 

Once the cauli-based pasta sauce is cooked and blended until smooth, it’s ready to combine with the sautéd courgettes and macaroni. The results are so delightfully cheesy, no one at the table will ever guess they’re getting their veggies in (ideal if you’re cooking for fussy eaters!).

We like to make this one even more special by sprinkling a layer of reduced-fat Cheddar cheese over the cooked macaroni mixture, and popping it under the grill. 

You’ll only have to wait an extra 5 minutes before it’s bubbling, golden brown and ready to serve with a flourish of chopped spring onions on top.

Two servings of Pinch of Nom's Sneaky Mac and Cheese served in individual-sized oven proof dishes, on a table laid with red and white napkins, a side of pickles and cutlery.

Creamy Tomato Pasta

No matter how many times we make this Creamy Tomato Pasta, it never gets boring. While you might expect a dish with ‘creamy’ in the title to have lashings of full-fat cream, this slimming-friendly vegetarian pasta recipe has a couple of nifty lower-calorie swaps up its sleeve instead.

A large saucepan is best for this one, so that there’s plenty of room to stir your pasta and vegetables together; you want them to be nice and evenly coated in the silky and rich homemade tomato sauce.

Since it’s great for soaking up sauces, classic penne pasta is on our ingredients list, but there’s nothing to stop you raiding your store cupboard to swap in dried fusilli or spaghetti.

Pinch of Nom's Creamy Tomato Pasta is served in one large family-sized bowl, with 3 smaller, individual portions to the side. The pasta is garnished with basil leaves.

Creamy Tomato Vodka Pasta

We’ve taken things up a boozy notch with our Creamy Tomato and Vodka Pasta. This vegetarian pasta dish oozes luxury and it’s ready in 15 minutes, making it perfect for impressing dinner guests without a fuss.

If you’ve still got some Christmas vodka lurking at the back of a cupboard, now’s the time to give it a new lease of life. You’ll only need to add a small glug to the homemade sauce, leaving plenty leftover for a cheeky sip of our Raspberry Vodka Fizz.

Reduced-fat cream cheese is the game changer for this recipe. It makes our sauce thick and velvety, without piling on the calories. The trick is to stir it in towards the end, while your sauce is off the heat – if it’s too hot, it won’t blend in smoothly.

Pinch of Nom's Creamy Tomato Vodka Pasta is plated up with a fork waiting to tuck in, garnished with basil leaves. Extra basil leaves rest on a side plate waiting to be sprinkled over.

Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne

If you prefer your pasta layered up, covered in cheese and baked until crispy in the oven, this Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne is for you. To replace the mince you’d normally find in a lasagne, we’ve made a nutritious, vegetable alternative using chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, oregano and a dash of Henderson’s relish.

It’s no secret that shop-bought béchamel sauce can be quite heavy so, to keep things lighter, we’ve stirred together ricotta, egg, milk and Parmesan to make our very own lower-calorie white sauce.

Build up your layers of tomatoey mushrooms, wilted spinach, pasta sheets and make-shift béchamel until you’re left with an oven dish of pure, Italian-inspired lasagne heaven.

Pinch of Nom's Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne is served at the centre of a table in a large ovenproof dish. Two portions of lasagne have been dished out onto plates, with a side of fresh salad.

Roasted Red Pepper and Cherry Tomato Pasta

You’ll absolutely love twirling your fork around our Roasted Red Pepper and Cherry Tomato Pasta. Our top tip? The roasted red pepper sauce for this recipe is so delicious, it’s well worth saving leftovers in a jar for a rainy day (you can thank us later!).

You can use any kind of pasta you’d like for this recipe (we’d recommend capellini or spaghetti), as long as you remember a hugely important step…save your pasta water! Pouring pasta water into your sauce helps it thin to just the right consistency, and the starch helps sauce soak into spaghetti strands like a dream.

Pinch of Nom's Roasted Red Pepper and Cherry Tomato Pasta on a large serving plate, waiting to be dished out onto a plate. It's garnished with basil leaves and there is a small side bowl of black pepper waiting to be scattered on top.

This recipe is rich and full of flavour all on its own, but if you are putting on a restaurant-style spread, why not serve a side of Cheesy Garlic Bread to help you wipe the bowl clean?

Four pieces of Pinch of Nom's Cheesy Garlic Bread served on a blue tabletop sprinkled with extra tomato chunks, cheese and chopped parsley.

Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs

If one of your goals for the year is to eat plant-based food more often, try scribbling our Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs into your meal plan. This slimming-friendly vegetarian pasta dish doesn’t scrimp on flavour, even without a single ounce of meat or dairy in sight.

You’ll use beans, mushrooms, oats and trusty staple seasonings to create the batch of vegan-friendly meatballs that goes into this dish. They’re every bit as juicy as meat-based versions!

Pinch of Nom's Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs is served on a large plate while tongs are reaching to grab one of the meatballs to serve onto a nearby plate. The whole portion is garnished with basil leaves.

Drizzling virgin olive oil on top of pasta right before serving can go a long way to boost the flavours, but it’s not the most slimming friendly way. We’ve found olive oil sprays do the job just as well, for only 2 calories or so per spritz.

For more vegan cooking inspiration to help you stick to Veganuary all year long, take a scroll through our blog.

Mushroom Carbonara

You might have noticed there’s a fair bit of love for mushrooms on this list so far, and our Mushroom Carbonara is no exception. Nutritious, filling and great for soaking up sauces, mushrooms are perfect for rustling up slimming-friendly vegetarian pasta recipes.

Rather than tossing bacon or ham into our spaghetti, we’ve used satisfying chunks of chestnut mushroom.

To lower the calories without compromising on creaminess, you’ll stir fat-free Greek yoghurt together with eggs and intensely flavourful Parmesan to make the scrummy, carbonara-style sauce.

Not all kinds of Parmesan are vegetarian, so you’ll need to double-check the back of your packet or buy a vegetarian hard cheese instead.

Three portions of Pinch of Nom's Mushroom Carbonara is plated up on a grey tabletop, with salt and pepper shakers at the centre. A portion of garlic bread is served to the side.

When you serve this one, don’t forget the golden rule…sprinkle cheese and black pepper on top!

Spinach and Parmesan Orzo

Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta that gives dishes a risotto-like texture, for a fraction of the effort. That’s why a comforting bowl of our Spinach and Parmesan Orzo is ready in just 16 minutes for only 257 calories per portion.

The trick with orzo is to cook it until it’s tender with a nice bite to it (follow the instructions on the packet, if you’re unsure). 

As well as soaking our orzo in a velvety, reduced-fat cream cheese sauce, we’ve added a pop of colour with vibrant, fresh spinach leaves.

This one hits the spot served all on its own, but it is light enough to tuck into as a side dish, if you’re feeling hungry enough to add some extra protein.

Pinch of Nom's Spinach and Parmesan Orzo is served in two white pasta bowls, on a pink and white chequered serving mat with a fork waiting to tuck in. There is a side bowl of black pepper waiting to be sprinkled on top.

If you’ve already got pasta at home and you’re not sure how to get started, read through our guide on different types of pasta and what to cook with them next.

Which vegetarian pasta recipe are you making first?

We absolutely love, love, love seeing your photos! Next time you’re cooking up a vegetarian pasta recipe, don’t forget to tag us in your story on Instagram (@pinchofnom) or share snaps of your creations in our friendly Facebook group (there’s almost 1 million community members waiting to encourage you, or answer any questions you might have).

Visiting our Gallery is a great way to find out the pasta dishes everyone else is cooking at the minute. You’ll want to sign up to a free website account to upload and share your photos (it’s really easy – we’ve got a step-by-step guide you can follow here).

If you liked this article, there’s more where that came from. Explore our blog to browse for recipe ideas, kitchen equipment recommendations, money-saving tips and more.



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