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.
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:
In case you were wondering how to make a vegan Caesar dressing, try this recipe from Shruthi at Urban Farmer with some secret ingredients!
Fennel will add authentic Italian flavor with the fresh taste of orange, from MaryAnne at Gastronotherapy
Kale is such a versatile veggie. It is paired with apples and raisins in this delightful salad from Sandi at Fearless Dining:
Check our Deepti’s roasted pumpkin salad with crunchy peanuts from vegbuffet.com:
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:
This is an easy baked option from Jeanette RD at Radiant Root:
Continuing with this Italian theme we next have roasted tomatoes from Sarah at Champagne Tastes:
Have you tried using an air fryer yet? Here is a quick recipe for summer squash from Alison at Keeping the Peas :
Here is an simple way to make crispy eggplant, without frying it (my most popular recipe):
Have you ever tried persimmons? Here they are in a warm vegetable dish from Cindy Chou RD:
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:
Sara from Dinneratthezoo.com has created this eggplant and vegetable caponata sid dish, which would be a unique addition to your meal:
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:
How about this salad from Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD?
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:
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
- Here is my recipe for lentil pasta with tempeh and spinach – a quick high-protein dish.
- Mediterranean-style Eggplant Pasta uses whole wheat spaghetti and is easily made in an Instant Pot for a quick meal.
- Try vegan stuffed shells with kale and sun-dried tomatoes for a special meal.
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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.