16 vegan side dishes for pasta with persimmon salad, kale salad, bean and broccoli rabe meatballs, and caponata

The 16 Best Vegan Side Dishes for Pasta

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These 16 best vegan side dishes for pasta can help you make a complete lunch or dinner. Meal planning can feel different at first when adapting to a plant-based diet. These ideas for salads, high-protein sides, veggies, and bread will help you round out a pasta meal. Whether you’re having penne with marinara, linguini with arugula pesto or shells with olive oil, garlic, and broccoli, these side dishes are all great options. There are lots of options for vegan side dishes for pasta, from salads, to high protein options, cooked vegetable recipes, and bread.

Vegetable Salads

Salads are great to pair with pasta dishes for the contrast in temperature, texture, and flavor. It is easy to throw together a garden salad and homemade vinaigrette dressing, but here are 5 more easy and creative ideas to try:

Balsamic Tomato Basil Salad
Made with garden-fresh tomatoes, spicy red onions, delicious sweet basil, and an easy three ingredient balsamic dressing, this Tomato Basil Salad takes just 10 minutes to prepare.
Balsamic Tomato Basil Salad
Balsamic Tomato Basil Salad

In case you were wondering how to make a vegan Caesar dressing, try this recipe from Shruthi at Urban Farmer with some secret ingredients!

Vegan Caesar Salad (with Shaved Brussels Sprouts)
Easy vegan, nut-free Caesar salad with shaved Brussels sprouts and crispy chickpeas and a creamy dressing full of umami! Great for make ahead!
Vegan Caesar Salad (with Shaved Brussels Sprouts)
Vegan Caesar Salad (with Shaved Brussels Sprouts)

Fennel will add authentic Italian flavor with the fresh taste of orange, from MaryAnne at Gastronotherapy

Citrus Fennel Salad
A crunchy and bright citrus fennel salad that brightens up any plate – it’s the perfect side dish! And prep time is just 10 minutes!
Citrus Fennel Salad
Citrus Fennel Salad

Kale is such a versatile veggie. It is paired with apples and raisins in this delightful salad from Sandi at Fearless Dining:

The Best Kale Salad with Apples
Kid-friendly healthy salad recipe! Sweet apples and a tangy lemon vinaigrette make this great!
The Best Kale Salad with Apples
The Best Kale Salad with Apples

Check our Deepti’s roasted pumpkin salad with crunchy peanuts from vegbuffet.com:

Roasted Pumpkin Spinach Salad
Roasted Pumpkin Spinach Salad is a gluten-free vegan salad recipe to make a delicious salad with richness of sesame, spinach, bell pepper.
Roasted Pumpkin Spinach Salad
Roasted Pumpkin Spinach Salad

Vegetable Side Dishes

There are tons of options for vegetable-based vegan side dishes for pasta. These are a great way to add fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to your meal too. Some are sauteed in a little oil, and some are baked or made in an air fryer with less fat and calories.

Try this easy asparagus recipe by Toby Amidor RD:

Lemon Roasted Asparagus
Lemon Roasted Asparagus with olive oil
Lemon Roasted Asparagus
Lemon Roasted Asparagus

This is an easy baked option from Jeanette RD at Radiant Root:

Roasted Artichokes Hearts and Spinach with Garlic and Ginger
Italian-style easy baked recipe
Roasted Artichokes Hearts and Spinach with Garlic and Ginger
Roasted Artichokes Hearts and Spinach with Garlic and Ginger

Continuing with this Italian theme we next have roasted tomatoes from Sarah at Champagne Tastes:

Easy Baked Tomatoes
These vegan baked tomatoes (tomatoes provençal) are made with flavor-packed summer tomatoes and fresh herbs for an easy side dish!
Easy Baked Tomatoes
Easy Baked Tomatoes

Have you tried using an air fryer yet? Here is a quick recipe for summer squash from Alison at Keeping the Peas :

Air Fryer Zucchini and Yellow Squash
This recipe is made with zucchini and yellow squash lightly seasoned and tossed in garlic to create a golden brown side dish in minutes!
Air Fryer Zucchini and Yellow Squash
Air Fryer Zucchini and Yellow Squash

Here is an simple way to make crispy eggplant, without frying it (my most popular recipe):

Crispy Baked Eggplant

Slices of crispy baked eggplant with fork on white plate with pink flower

Have you ever tried persimmons? Here they are in a warm vegetable dish from Cindy Chou RD:

Roasted Fuyu Persimmon, Pear, Brussels Sprouts, and Radish
A super colorful and delicious fall dish with roasted persimmon, Asian pear, brussels sprouts, and purple daikon.
Roasted fuyu persimmon, pear, brussels sprouts, and radish
Roasted Fuyu Persimmon, Pear, Brussels Sprouts, and Radish

I really like this recipe for green beans from Jasmin at veeatcookbake.com because she uses several ingredients for delicious flavors, like shallots and Dijon mustard:

Vegan Green Beans – (gluten free, no oil)
For this oil-free green bean side dish you only need a few ingredients to create a tasty side dish that goes great with dinner.
Vegan Green Beans
Vegan Green Beans - (gluten free, no oil)

Sara from Dinneratthezoo.com has created this eggplant and vegetable caponata sid dish, which would be a unique addition to your meal:

Caponata
This caponata recipe is a sweet and savory blend of eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and olives, simmered together to create a great appetizer.
Caponata
Caponata

High Protein Vegan Side Dishes for Pasta

Pair a higher protein side dish with a pasta dish for a more filling meal. If you’re not having chicken, meatballs, seafood, or cheese sauce, try some of these vegan options for a flavorful high protein side:

Meatballs are a favorite with pasta, so try these vegan ones made with beans and broccoli rabe from Alissa at connoisseurusveg:

Cannellini Bean & Broccoli Rabe Meatballs
These vegan cannellini bean and broccoli rabe meatballs are packed with savory, garlicky flavor and are perfect drenched in marinara sauce over spaghetti!
Cannellini Bean & Broccoli Rabe Meatballs
Cannellini Bean & Broccoli Rabe Meatballs

How about this salad from Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD?

Vegan Mediterranean Chick Pea Salad with Tahini Dressing
Got a bumper crop of tomatoes? I’ve got you covered. This salad combines all the goodies of a Mediterranean diet in one bowl. The salad is vegan, but can be modified with the addition of cheese, gr…
Vegan Mediterranean Chick Pea Salad with Tahini Dressing
Vegan Mediterranean Chick Pea Salad with Tahini Dressing

Bread

Fresh bread is delightful with pasta. But have you ever felt like having it, but not felt like taking the time to knead it? Try this method for a no-knead bread from Melissa at veganhuggs.com:

No-Knead Artisan Bread
With just 4 simple ingredients, you can make this No Knead Artisan Bread Recipe. It’s so easy to make, too. Just make the dough and let it rest, then bake!
No-Knead Artisan Bread
No-Knead Artisan Bread

Tips for Healthy Pasta Dishes

While some “regular” pasta is OK in moderation, look for whole wheat or whole grain pasta for more fiber. While some nutrients that are lost with processing are replaced in white flour, some like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and fiber aren’t. Other healthy options include lentil and chickpea pasta – plus I like that they contain more protein. These are often gluten-free also (check the label to be sure).

Pasta Recipes to Enjoy with these Vegan Side Dishes

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Have you tried any of these vegan side dishes for pasta? Please leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @melissatraubrd.

4 thoughts on “The 16 Best Vegan Side Dishes for Pasta”

  1. I am always looking for sides to go with pasta that are not salad or garlic bread. Some really great suggestions here!

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