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vegetable spaghetti on white plate with wine behind plate.
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4.95 from 19 votes

Easy Vegetable Spaghetti in 30 Minutes

Whip up a nutritious and flavorful vegetable spaghetti with your favorite veggies, capers, lemon, and garlic. This is an easy meatless meal made with simple ingredients, ready in 30 minutes and perfect for any season.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings (change as needed): 4 (or 3 larger portions)
Author: Cheryl


  • 8 ounces spaghetti or other pasta, Note 1 assumes moderate 2 oz per person
  • 1/4 cup Optional garnishes: chopped parsley, fresh chopped basil, grated Parmesan cheese

Vegetable Sauce

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 cups vegetables, diced 1-2 inches/2.5-5 cm, Note 2
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 tsp)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped, Note 3 (or 1 can 375 ml diced tomatoes, drained - about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup olives, chopped or 3 tablespoons olive tepanade (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 lemon (2 tsp zest, juice from 1/2 lemon)
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  • BEGIN SAUCE: Heat a large saucepan to medium high heat. Add olive oil. Add chopped vegetables and sauté about 8 minutes until tender. Reduce heat to medium heat. Add garlic, olives (if using), capers, lemon juice, tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3-5 minutes.
  • COOK SPAGHETTI: While sauteing vegetables, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions Drain, RESERVING 1 cup/250 ml of the pasta liquid. Put spaghetti back in the warm pot.  Add 1/4 cup/59 ml of the liquid and cover to keep warm. Set aside. 
  • FINISH PASTA: Add spinach to vegetable mixture. Stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Add lemon zest. Add cooked pasta to vegetable mixture and stir to combine well. Add pasta water a little at a time to get the consistency you like. Taste and adjust seasonings including salt and pepper if needed. 
  • SERVE: Transfer to a serving platter or serve straight from the pan. Add a drizzle of olive oil if desired as well as the garnishes you like. Pass extra Parmesan. 


  1. Spaghetti options: Use any type of spaghetti you have - regular, spaghettini, capellini, vermicelli - or any other type of pasta. Whole wheat spaghetti or gluten-free pasta will work great too.
  2. Vegetable options:
    • zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, green beans, snap peas and/or asparagus
    • **If using vegetables that cook very quickly such as asparagus, zucchini or snow peas, add them toward the end of sautéing the vegetables to avoid overcooking.
  3. Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes in summer - heirloom, beefsteak, field or cherry tomatoes - are all great choices. If not in season, use a small can of diced tomatoes, drained.
  4. Variations:
      • Frozen spinach: Use frozen chopped spinach instead of fresh. Add 1-2 cups to the boiling pasta in the last 3 minutes. Drain with pasta.
      • Add-ins: Before serving, pile some grilled or roasted shrimp on top, grilled chicken or tofu.
  5. Make ahead:
      • You can make the vegetable 'sauce' ahead, but I suggest you only add the chopped fresh spinach when you reheat it to serve so that it stays vibrant green. Cook the pasta just before serving and add to the vegetables.
      • Alternatively, make the whole thing and just rewarm it on the stove with some extra pasta water or plane water. I absolutely love leftovers of this dish too!
      • Store leftovers in a covered container for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Values are estimates and do not contain garnishes like Parmesan cheese. 
Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 461mg | Potassium: 1004mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 15274IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 4mg