Vegetable Pasta with Bell Peppers and Asparagus in a Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce, with basil and crushed red pepper. Meatless pasta that will make you fall in love with veggies!
This Italian-style vegetable pasta is easy to make, full of flavor and just pure comfort food. Perfect for busy weeknights. What I personally love about this dish is that it's a great way to use asparagus differently than just as a good old side dish.
In this recipe, asparagus and bell peppers are seared in the skillet and then mixed in with the creamy sauce, spices, and pasta. The vegetables taste so good with all the spices, pasta, and the flavorful creamy sauce in this dish! This meatless pasta is a winner!
- To make the creamy sauce, I usually buy a block of Parmesan cheese and then shred it myself at home. You can also use store-bought pre-shredded Parmesan cheese or shredded Mozzarella cheese.
- You can easily make this vegetable pasta gluten free. Use brown rice gluten free penne pasta to replace the regular pasta.
- Add a little bit more of crushed red pepper flakes, if you like, after you taste the cream sauce. This recipe only wins if you add an extra kick!
- Season with enough salt. There is nothing worse than bland veggie pasta. Salt does help bring all the flavors together.
- If you use sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar), make sure to drain the sun-dried tomatoes from oil. Also, do reserve 2 tablespoons of this drained oil from sun-dried tomatoes for sautéing the vegetables.
- Reserve some cooked pasta water. You will use it to dilute the cream sauce if it gets too thick.
- If using gluten free pasta, rinse it with cold water after cooking - this will prevent it from getting mushy.
Other meatless pasta recipes
- Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Caramelized Onions
- Garlic Mushroom Pasta with Butter and Parmesan
- Homemade Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti
Vegetable Pasta with Bell Peppers and Asparagus in a Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained of oil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar
- 0.5 lb asparagus
- 1 red bell pepper , cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper , cleaned and thinly sliced
- 8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free, use gluten free brown rice pasta)
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese , shredded
- 1 tablespoon dry basil
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes , at least, add more to taste
- ½ cup reserved cooked pasta water or more
- salt to taste
- Note: if using sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this drained oil for sauteing as described below:
- In a large pan, on high heat, sautee garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil) in 2 tablespoons of oil (reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar - see note above) for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. Add the rest of vegetables (asparagus, each sprig cut into 3 slices, and thinly sliced bell peppers), sprinkle with a small amount of salt, and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until they soften just a little (you still want them to have a bit of crunch).
- Bring a large pan with water to boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water (to stop cooking).
- Add half and half to the skillet with vegetables and bring to a gentle boil. Then, add shredded Parmesan cheese, mix it with half and half as it is boiling for only 30 seconds until it melts, then reduce heat immediately. Simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms. If the sauce is too thick - don't worry - you'll be adding some cooked pasta water soon. Add 1 tablespoon of basil, and at least ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
- Add cooked pasta to the skillet with the creamy sauce, and stir to combine.
- Add about ½ cup reserved cooked pasta water because the creamy sauce will be too thick (do not add all water at once - you might need less or more of it). This will water down the thickness of the cheese sauce and make it creamier. Immediately, season the pasta with salt and more red pepper flakes, to taste, if needed. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.
- Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Loved this recipe! Family loved as well… pasta water came in handy to loosen up sauce!
We really enjoyed this recipe! It was very colorful and full of flavor. Not sure if I was supposed to cut up the sun-dried tomatoes so I will next time. Loved that this dish was meatless.
Ginny, I am glad you gave this recipe a try and enjoyed it! Thank you for taking the time to write such a positive comment! 🙂
Is there a way to make this ahead for a dinner party and still have it fresh?
Elaine, because this recipe features a creamy sauce with cheese, it doesn't really reheat well. So, I don't recommend making this recipe ahead.
Loved it! It was the first time I made it, so it wasn't picture pretty; but next time I make it, I'll share! Delicious!
Mary, thank you for stopping by and sharing such a wonderful comment! Glad you've enjoyed this recipe!
Really delicious recipe, however, it was difficult getting a creamy enough texture for the sauce. It seemed a little too thin. Maybe less 1/2 & 1/2 & water next time. Would also be good with other veggies in it too.
Use reserved cooked pasta water only if the sauce is too thick. If your sauce was too thin - I would use heavy cream next time instead of half-and-half. I am glad you gave this recipe a try and enjoyed it - thank you for the comment!!!
Excellent! Being newly gluten-free, I used brown rice penne pasta (highly recommend Tinkyada brand). The sauce was delicious, and even though I only had jar-grated parmesan, it melted into a scrumptious basil sauce. And definitely didn't skimp on the red pepper flakes! Delicious! Will make again.
Renee, I am so glad this recipe was a success for you! Thank you for stopping by and sharing such helpful feedback. I love the Tinkyada brand and tried it in my recipes - it's delicious!
I’m not a big pasta fan but this recipe is absolutely delicious.
Everyone at the table loved it.
I loved the taste but had a hard time getting the creamy texture. I’ll make it again with a few adjustments!
Loved this I roasted the veggies and added carrots, scallions and broccoli! So very yummy! Thanks for the recipe!
Really delicious recipe. I'll have to try adding in some mushrooms next time. Thank you for the recipe!