Ready in just 15 minutes! Pasta with frozen vegetables is an easy & affordable dinner. Using a one-pot cooking method makes the pasta extra-flavorful.
Pasta with frozen vegetables is a recipe that's perfect for the busiest nights of the week, when you're short on groceries and short on time. It's ready in just 15 minutes with just 4 ingredients (plus grated cheese!)
Why this recipe works
- Only 4 ingredients
- No prep-work
- Ready in 15 minutes
- The one-pot pasta method adds extra flavor
- It's easy to always keep frozen veggies and pasta on hand, so you can make this meal without running to the grocery store
Pasta: Short pasta shapes that cook in 9 to 12 minutes work best with this recipe. Try penne, cavatappi, small shells, fusilli or macaroni.
Broth or Water: Using vegetable or chicken broth gives this pasta more flavor. Just make sure to use broth that you really like, because the flavor of the broth will affect how the noodles taste. Instead of broth you can also just use salted water.
Garlic: Fresh garlic, finely chopped, is best. I guess garlic is optional, but it adds great flavor to this simple pasta!
Cheese: Completely optional, but I always put grated parmesan on the table so everyone can add their own. You can also grate cheese into the pot of noodles after the pasta is cooked and let the cheese melt for a few minutes before serving.
Frozen vegetables: Read below for the best frozen veggies to use
The best frozen vegetables for pasta
Peas and green beans: Frozen peas and green beans work great with this recipe
Mixed frozen vegetables: Frozen mixed vegetables also work really well. I often use a blend of carrots, corn, lima beans, peas and green beans.
Spinach and Kale: Frozen kale and spinach easily blend into this pasta. Keep in mind that most of the noodles will be coated in bits of spinach and kids won't be able to pick around it (I'll let you and your kids decide if this is a good or bad thing!)
Broccoli or Cauliflower: Florets of frozen broccoli or cauliflower are great too
A one-pot pasta method is the best way to cook pasta with frozen vegetables because it adds the most flavor. The pasta absorbs all of the water that it cooks in, creating a flavorful, starchy "sauce" that clings to the noodles.
STEP 1: Bring 2 ¼ cups broth or salted water to a boil.
STEP 2: Add 8 ounces short pasta. Add the garlic. Reduce heat to a rapid simmer and cook the pasta for 5 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally, making sure the pasta doesn't stick to the pot.
STEP 3: Add the frozen vegetables. Mix well. Continue to simmer for 5 more minutes. The pasta will start absorbing all of the liquid and you'll notice the texture of water/broth getting thicker and starchier. Stir frequently to make sure the pasta doesn't stick to the pot.
STEP 4: After a total cooking time of 10 minutes, turn off the heat and taste the pasta. It should have absorbed most of the liquid and have an al dente (firm but tender) texture. The frozen veggies will be defrosted. Add salt if needed and grated parmesan if desired. Put a lid on the pot and let it sit for a few minutes before serving if the pasta isn't soft enough for your liking.
FAQs about pasta with frozen vegetables
Short noodles that cook in 9 to 12 minutes work best for this recipe because they easily fit into a pot.
If you'd like to use longer noodles, you'll need to use a wide, straight-sided skillet. You'll also need to turn the long noodles frequently with tongs so that the pasta doesn't stick together. For specific instructions, check out this recipe for One Pot Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Kale.
The words "pasta" and "noodles" are often used interchangeably. If you want to get technical, there are slight differences. Mostly, it comes down to the type of flour that is used.
Traditionally, pasta is made from durum wheat that is ground into semolina flour. Semolina flour has a yellow color that gives pasta a yellowish hue. Durum wheat is high in gluten, which helps pasta hold its shape and have an al dente texture. Some types of pasta have egg in the dough, others just have flour and water.
Noodles often have a softer and more slippery texture than pasta. They are often long in shape, but noodles can also be short (like egg noodles). Noodles differ from pasta in that they can be made from different types of flour: semolina flour, all purpose flour, rice flour, bean flour and other flours. The color ranges from yellow to tan or a pale white. The texture can be al dente, or softer. A good example is rice flour (or pad thai) noodles.
Sure! When the pasta is completely cooked, drizzle in whole cream or half & half. Add a little bit at a time until the pasta is creamy enough. You can also stir in creme fraiche or full-fat Greek yogurt for a tangier flavor. Make sure to also add more salt if needed.
Absolutely. My family usually grates parmesan over the top, but you can use your favorite cheese. Grated cheddar or other softer cheeses (like Monterey Jack) can be added just when the pasta has finished cooking so that the cheese melts into the pasta.
Yes. Whole wheat pasta works well with the same amount of liquid and same cooking time.
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