It was a Friday evening and I was enjoying some late night comedy sketch on TV when my younger sister and her friends arrived to our humble kitchen.  Her boyfriend and his friend had just finished their lacrosse game, and they were desperately hungry.  The only issue was there was no money for pizza! I mentioned that I had some leftover pasta from earlier and without hesitation, they took everything that was left and inhaled it in seconds. They were even eager to tell me how much they enjoyed it. So, when I explained to them it was vegan, they were SHOCKED.  If I can convince a bunch of high school seniors to love a vegan pasta dish, I'm quite confident that you will love it too-- as well as anyone you decide to share this recipe with!

Classic Marinara Vegan Pasta Dish

  • Prep Time:15 mins
  • Cook Time:20 mins
  • Total Time:35 mins
  • Servings:6
  • Medium


  • 4 quarts water or enough water to simply cover the pasta
  • 1/2 a box penne pasta or any pasta you enjoy!
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 jar marinara sauce
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • A pinch paprika
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4/5 basil leaves chopped up
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • nutritional yeast -- the amount you use will vary to taste. I prefer to add around 2 tbsp into the cooking mixture.
  • spinach is optional
spaghetti, vegetable, sauce, penne, pasta, carb
Caroline Ingalls
  • Step 1

    Start by prepping your vegetables. Chop the basil leaves up and place to the side. Then wash your mushroom and onion. Slice the mushroom to desired thickness and finely chop the onion into small cubes. Mince your garlic into fine, small pieces.

    Kamila Gabitova
  • Step 2

    Pour pasta into a pot and cover with water until there is about an inch of space between the pasta and the water line. Cook pasta to box instructions-- (usually about 7-9 minutes.)

    Parsa Lotfi
  • Step 3

    While the pasta is cooking, grab a pan and add about a tbsp of water. Allow the water to steam and then add the chopped onion. Wait until the onion has become transparent, and then add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to sauté the vegetables for about 3 minutes. After 3 minutes have passed, add the garlic and continue to stir until the vegetables are fragrant. Remove from heat, but keep the pan on the stove to keep the vegetables warm.

    meat, vegetable, saute
    Alex Frank
  • Step 4

    While the pasta is cooking, mix together the can of tomatoes, the marinara sauce, the spices and the apple cider vinegar into a large mixing bowl. Mix until well combined.

    tomato sauce, homemade, pasta, dorm, Easy
    Tess Citron
  • Step 5

    Once the pasta is done cooking, drain it and then rinse the pasta with cold water. Pour the pasta back into the pot and then pour in the tomato sauce. Mix the pasta and sauce together, and then add the vegetables you sautéed earlier. Mix everything together, and then place the pot on medium heat to reheat the pasta and vegetables.

    spaghetti, vegetable, sauce, penne, pasta, carb
    Caroline Ingalls
  • Step 6

    Add the basil to the dish and then add the nutritional yeast. Mix, then let sit for about 3 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

    pasta, sauce, spaghetti, basil, tomato
    Hannah Daly

The key to successful vegan cooking is not being afraid of spices! Spices are what can make or break a recipe, and they are sure to delight anyone who tries this dish-- vegan or not.  Feel free to eat as it is, or if you're looking to add more greens, place a handful of spinach on your plate and then top it with the pasta mixture.