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Mediterranean Pasta

This light Mediterranean Pasta is inspired by Mediterranean flavors of garlic, olives, lemon, basil and tomatoes. It’s a great weeknight vegetarian meal in under 30 minutes.

I’m trying to eat less meat and poultry these days. This is one of my go to’s because it’s so versatile and I can get dinner on the table in 20-30 minutes. I rummage through my fridge and use this recipe as a guide, substituting what I have on hand.  Exact amounts are not necessary. Just taste and adjust.

Mediterranean pasta in bowl f

The salty, tangy olives deepen the flavors and the veggies make it a healthy meal in a bowl. I use black Kalamata olives, but so many others would work well too.  Here’s a great beginners guide to olives by Serious Eats. A final drizzle of good quality olive oil to finish the dish is a big plus if you have some in your cupboard.

For hungry non vegetarian eaters, you can top the pasta with roasted shrimp or grilled chicken. To roast shrimp, toss uncooked shelled and deveined shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast them at 425F for 5-6 minutes.  For grilled chicken, try our Mediterranean Chicken recipe and skip the marinating if you’re short on time.

So… start with the basics and create your own version with the suggestions below or wherever your imagination takes you. The recipe serves 3 (or two big eaters like my husband).

Tailor To Your Taste

  • Vary the vegetables with asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms.
  • I use a thin spaghetti type pasta, but short pastas like penne and zitti will work fine too.
  • Replace the Parmesan with feta cheese.
  • Use cherry tomatoes cuts in half instead of a whole chopped tomato. You can also use a small can of whole tomatoes, well drained. Squeeze out some of the seeds and juice.

Shortcuts

  • Buy pitted olives
  • Buy pre-grated Parmesan cheese
  • Use fresh baby spinach (pre-washed) and don’t bother roughly chopping it
  • Use bottled lemon juice and frozen garlic cubes (or pureed garlic in a jar)

Make Ahead 

  • I love leftovers of this pasta the next day for lunch because the flavors have time to blend. I just heat the pasta in the microwave and dig in right out of the container I refrigerate it in.

Other vegetarian pasta recipes to check out

How to make Mediterranean pasta

pasta, tomatoes, green onions, spinach, basil, olive oil salt, garlic, chili flakes parmesan on a cutting board (olives missing)
Ingredients: pasta, tomatoes, green onions, spinach, basil, olive oil salt, garlic, chili flakes parmesan on a cutting board (olives missing)
tomatoes, green onions, spinach, basil, olive oil salt, garlic, chili flakes, olives in saute pan
Saute veggies, seasoning and tomatoes in a pan or wok.
tomatoes, green onions, spinach, basil, olive oil salt, garlic, chili flakes, olives in saute pan with fresh chopped spinach and basil added
Cook until sauce breaks down. Add spinach and basil. Cook 1 minute until spinach wilts.
Mediterranean Pasta in pan
Stir in cooked pasta.
Mediterranean Pasta in serving bowl on table with bread
Serve in bowls topped with Parmesan cheese if you like.

Mediterranean pasta in pan p5

 

Mediterranean pasta in bowl f
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Mediterranean Pasta

This light Mediterranean Pasta is inspired by Mediterranean flavors of garlic, olives, lemon, basil and tomatoes. It's a great weeknight vegetarian meal in under 30 minutes. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time22 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 3
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 6 ounce pasta, about 190g (I use capellini, vermacelli or spaghettini)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pepper, seeded and chopped red, yellow or orange
  • 1/2 cup olives, pitted and chopped (I use black olives)
  • 1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 large tomato, chopped)
  • 3 green onions, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch chili flakes (I use 1/4-1/2 tsp)
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (or more) for garnish- optional

Instructions

  • COOK PASTA: Add pasta to boiling salted water and cook until desired consistency according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta liquid. Put pasta back in pot and cover to keep warm.
  • MAKE SAUCE: While pasta is cooking, In a medium skillet or sauce pan, heat oil to medium high, add red pepper and green onions. Saute for 2 minutes. Add olives, basil, tomatoes, garlic, salt, chili flakes and lemon juice - saute for 4-5 more minutes. If tomatoes are very watery, cook an extra 1-2 minutes. Add spinach and basil, stirring just until wilted.
  • COMBINE PASTA AND SAUCE: Add pasta to sauce and mix well, incorporating a bit of pasta liquid at a time to moisten if needed (i.e. if pasta is too dry). Taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle Parmesan on the pasta or serve separately as garnish. Alternatively, add roasted shrimp or grilled chicken pieces if desired.

Notes

Make Ahead: This pasta is actually excellent the next day, so sure, go ahead and make it the day before. Store in a sealed container. To reheat, add a tablespoon or two of water, then heat in the microwave on  high for a couple of minutes, stirring half way through. 
 
Nutrition value estimates do not include optional Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 591mg | Potassium: 641mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 5671IU | Vitamin C: 82mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 3mg
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