One Pot Creamy Vegetable Pasta

This easy creamy vegetable pasta is made in just one pot in less than 25 minutes! Use any veggies you like (fresh or frozen) to make this healthy, filling pasta.

472 CAL 56g CARBS 17g FAT 17g PROTEIN

This creamy vegetable pasta dish is everything I want to eat right now. It's warm, comforting, and couldn't be easier to make. Plus it is packed with nutrition from all the vegetables and tomatoes. If you have twenty minutes, some pasta, and any fresh or frozen vegetables - you can make this. 

During a virtual happy hour with a friend last week, we were brainstorming about ways to use up some of the vegetables we had hanging out in the fridge. Although I always try to minimize food waste, I am more conscious about this than ever and want to take advantage of using everything. 

Additionally, there have been lots of reader requests for ways to incorporate more frozen vegetables into meals instead of just making them the side dish. This recipe does both of those things. Tons of veggies loaded into a tasty, creamy, pasta dish that the whole family will love.

Ingredients for vegetable pasta including zucchini, carrots, corn, peppers, garlic, onion, and tomato sauce.

What Vegetables to Use for Vegetable Pasta

This one pot pasta is purposefully built to use whatever vegetables you happen to have in your fridge or freezer. I like to think about it as a clean out your vegetable drawer type of recipe and almost always make it when towards the end of the week when my veggies are starting to turn.

Additionally, it works great with frozen veggies. Here is what I specifically used in my pasta, but you can use anything:

  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 chopped zucchini
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 cup frozen roasted corn

Here are all the other veggies I would think about using: summer squash, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, kale, regular or mini bell peppers, cabbage, frozen peas and carrots, frozen green beans, frozen mixed vegetables, frozen or canned corn, frozen butternut squash pieces, drained canned artichokes, and frozen or canned peas. Hopefully, this illustrates that anything goes here - use what you have. 

Recipe Ideas and Swaps

  • Add beans: If you want to stretch this meal further as well as add some protein and fiber, consider adding in a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans, chickpeas, or other mild beans. 
  • Add protein: If you want some meat in your pasta, you can start add some sliced chicken or turkey sausage. If it is precooked, just quickly brown it in some olive oil before adding the veggie. If it is raw, cook it completely before adding the vegetables. The same goes for any type of ground meat. Just brown it first. 
  • Cook rotisserie chicken: Another option for adding meat is rotisserie chicken. Stir it in during the last couple of minutes of cooking so that it will bee warm. 
  • Canned crushed tomatoes: If you don't have canned crushed tomatoes, you can use canned diced tomatoes instead, it will just be a chunkier sauce. Do not drain them.  You can also use 25 ounces of jarred pasta sauce, just look for a no sugar added option and add an extra 1/4 cup of broth.
  • Make it vegan: For a vegan option, leave out the cream cheese (or use a vegan option) and add nutritional yeast in place of the Parmesan. 
  • Cream cheese: If you don't have cream cheese, you have a few options. You can leave it out. You could also substitute ricotta cheese, whole milk plain Greek yogurt, or add a touch of half and half or heavy cream. 
  • Parmesan cheese: If you don't have Parmesan cheese or prefer a melted topping, just add some shredded mozzarella cheese on top and cover for 1-2 minutes so it melts. 
  • Garlic: If you don't have fresh garlic, just add some garlic powder along with the Italian spice blend. You could also substitute minced garlic in oil or dehydrated garlic. Same for the onion, just add some onion powder or dehydrated onion instead. If you don't have onion or garlic, consider using Italian style canned tomatoes, which normally have onion and garlic.
  • Italian seasoning: If you don't have Italian seasoning, just use dried basil and oregano instead.
  • Vegetable broth: If you don't have vegetable broth, you can use chicken broth. If you don't have either, just use water and bump up the seasoning as needed.

Vegetable pasta with tomato sauce, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and corn in a bowl with shredded cheese.

How to avoid mushy pasta?

The number one complaint about one pot pasta dishes is that the pasta turns out mushy. There are a few ways to ensure that doesn't happen. First and most important - do not overcook the pasta. As soon as it is cooked to your liking or even about a minute before, get it out of the pot and into a separate dish to stop the cooking. Secondly, serve it right away. 

If you can't do those things, then undercook the pasta slightly so that when it continues to cook as it sets, it doesn't overcook. 

Additionally, try to stick to smaller pasta shapes. They tend to cook more evenly in dishes like this and I find it comes out better. Larger pasta shapes, like spaghetti or linguini, sometimes sticks to the pan or out of the water and doesn't cook evenly.

Looking for more easy pasta recipes?

The Recipe
One pot creamy vegetable pasta with tomato sauce in bowl with mozzarella cheese.

One Pot Creamy Vegetable Pasta

472 CAL 56g CARBS 17g FAT 17g PROTEIN
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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 6 cups vegetables (any mix you like, fresh or frozen)
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes (or jarred spaghetti sauce)
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 8 oz pasta (a short pasta like penne or ziti)
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

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Heat the oil over medium high in a large pot or Dutch oven with a lid. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes (if using), and Italian seasoning. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.


Add all your vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes. Don't overcook or they will be mushy in the final dish. Quick note, make sure to cut starchier vegetables like fresh carrots into small pieces so they are fully cooked when the pasta is ready.


Add the crushed tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and turn the heat down to medium. Cover and cook for 8 minutes.


Open the pot carefully and stir the pasta and vegetables. Continue cooking with the lid open until the pasta is just tender and the liquid is mostly absorbed, 2-6 minutes depending on the pasta. If the liquid looks low, add a touch more.


Stir in the cream cheese and parmesan cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Immediately remove from the stove when the pasta is perfectly cooked to avoid over-cooking as it sits. Usually, I move it into another dish to ensure it doesn't continue to cook.


Melty mozzarella topping: Consider topping with some mozzarella cheese as well. Add 1-2 cups of shredded on top of the pasta and then close the lid for 1-2 minutes so it can melt!

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 472
Calories from Fat 151
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 13mg
Sodium 803mg
Total Carbohydrate 56g
Dietary Fiber 23g
Sugars 13g
Protein 17g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On One Pot Creamy Vegetable Pasta
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March 31, 2020 - 14:07
I love your baked penne pasta with spinach and tomatoes - it is basically a one pot dish as well. I don't think it really needs to be baked; I'll add more veggies to that! lower in points, no cream cheese and really doesn't need much cheese. Thanks!
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April 1, 2020 - 07:02
Glad to hear you enjoy that dish! And I agree - you could definitely get away without baking it, I just love that baked pasta top layer. Here is a link to the recipe for anyone curious -
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Amy Dianne Harpster
March 31, 2020 - 14:03
462g of Carbs? Is that Correct?
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April 1, 2020 - 07:10
No! Fixed it :) Thank you for point that out.
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