A delicious vegetarian dinner recipe, ready to eat in less than 20 minutes! Pasta with peas is a cheesy, creamy, and flavorful dish, perfect for dinner or to be served as a side, and it’s kid friendly too!
This Italian Pasta with Peas (or Pasta e Piselli) recipe actually reminds me a lot of one of my favorite British dishes, mushy peas! Just like that creamy green side dish, this pasta dish uses sweet green peas to create a creamy texture that is irresistible.
Pasta with peas involves a simple sauce created with frozen peas, pasta water, butter, onions, and parmesan cheese, tossed with your favorite pasta shape. Traditionally, the peas are not blended with the sauce but I found that blending it gives you a vibrant, creamy, and smooth sauce that you will love. So here’s my take on pasta e piselli.
The fun color and slight sweetness of the dish makes it perfect for kids, even those kids who don’t usually like peas. Get them to try pasta with peas, and they’ll be hooked!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Fast and Easy. This dish will be ready whenever your pasta is done boiling. The sauce comes together in less than 10 minutes.
- Simple Ingredients. This is a dish that you can make with ingredients that you probably already have at home. Need to go grocery shopping tomorrow? You can probably make this for dinner tonight.
- Vegetarian or Vegan. This dish is naturally vegetarian, and easily made vegan with a couple of simple ingredient swaps.
- Main Dish or Side. For me this dish is hearty enough as it is to be a whole meal, but you can easily serve it as a side dish with something like Garlic Butter Chicken Tenders, Lemon Butter Baked Fish, or a Caprese Salad.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this pasta:
- Pasta: Any shape of pasta will work here, but I like to use one with some texture so that the sauce will stick well. Here I’m using fusilli. Penne, rotini, or shells are also good options. Gluten free pasta will work too!
- Olive Oil and Butter: We will saute the onion and garlic to create a flavorful, fragrant sauce. A combination of both olive oil and butter makes pasta dishes so good.
- Onion and Garlic: These aromatic vegetables are a must for a delicious pasta sauce, and complement the sweetness of the peas.
- Peas: Use frozen peas in this recipe. You don’t even need to thaw them because they are so small.
- Mint Leaves: this fresh herb gives tons of flavor to the dish. It’s not overly minty, but has a bright, warm flavor.
- Salt and Pepper: Make sure to season your pea pasta well!
- Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated parmesan gives a nutty, salty flavor and adds creaminess to the sauce. I use vegetarian parmesan.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
Vegan Pasta With Peas
To make this recipe vegan, use a vegan buttery spread in place of the butter, and use a vegan parmesan product in place of the cheese.
How to Make Pasta With Peas
You’re just a few steps away from a delicious pasta dish!
- Cook Pasta: Cook pasta in salted water according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve two cups of the pasta water.
- Heat Pan: Using the same saucepan, after you’ve removed the pasta and the water, add olive oil and melt butter over medium heat.
- Saute: Saute the onion until it’s soft and translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
- Finish Sauce: Add the frozen peas and cook for 2 minutes. They don’t take long to warm through. Add the reserved pasta water, and mint leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute to heat through.
- Blend: Using a blender, blend the peas until you get a smooth sauce, then combine the sauce with the pasta.
- Serve: Garnish your pasta plates with more peas and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
A handheld immersion blender makes quick work of turning peas into pasta sauce!
Recipe Success Tips
Make sure not to overcook your pasta. A true al-dente pasta will still have a little bit of a bite to it, and that’s what you want for this dish.
Only cook the garlic for 30 seconds. Minced garlic really doesn’t need to be cooked for very long, and if overcooked will take on a burnt flavor. Toss in the garlic, give it a stir, and then add the peas.
Don’t forget the pasta water! Before draining your pasta, use a measuring cup or a ladle to pull out 2 cups of the cooking water so that you don’t accidentally pour it down the drain. The pasta water adds starch to the sauce, thinning it out, but also helping it to stick to the pasta.
Add some spice. If you like your pasta spicy, garnish with a bit of crushed red pepper. It’s delicious!
What to Serve with Pasta with Peas
This tasty pasta dish is the perfect side dish. Try it with one of these easy meals:
Frequently Asked Questions
I love the addition of mint, as peas and mint together just give me fuzzy springtime feels, but it’s ok if you don’t want it or don’t have any. Simply leave it out, or substitute with another fresh green herb. Parsley or basil would both be lovely.
It’s not necessary, but you certainly could. As written, this is a vegetarian recipe, but if you want to add meat, try adding cooked chicken, bacon, or italian sausage to your pasta with peas to make it a protein packed meal. Add the meat into the blended sauce to heat it through, and then add the pasta and finish the recipe.
If you like pasta with peas, you will also like my Creamy Tuna Pasta Casserole. I toss frozen peas into all sorts of dishes, even salads and soups. I always keep a couple of bags in my freezer.
Modern food freezing methods make frozen vegetables just as nutritious as fresh. I find fresh peas hard to find in grocery stores, so frozen peas are the next best thing. Peas are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and protein, making them a healthy option any time.
I know you’re going to love this super simple, healthy, and delicious meal! Don’t forget to Pin it while you’re here, so you can make it later, or share with others!
- 3 qt saucepan
- 8 ounces (225g) dried pasta any shape, Note 1
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 10 ounces (280g) frozen peas no need to thaw, plus extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves Note 3
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated, I use vegetarian parmesan
- Cook pasta in salted water according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of pasta cooking water.
- In the same saucepan after you have removed the pasta and the water, add olive oil and melt the butter over medium heat.
- Saute the onion for 4 minutes stirring constantly until it’s soft and translucent, add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
- Add the frozen peas, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the reserved pasta water, mint leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute until the pasta water has been warmed.
- Blend the peas until you get a smooth sauce, then combine with the pasta. Note 5
- Serve pasta with extra peas, and freshly grated parmesan.
- Any pasta shape works here (fusilli, penne, rotini, shells), but avoid super small pasta shapes.
- The key to this pasta is to cook it until just al dente. Do not overcook it as it will become mushy.
- If you don’t like mint or don’t have it, you can skip it or substitute it with basil or parsley.
- To make this pasta vegan, use a vegan butter spread and vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast.
- You can choose not to blend the sauce, and it will still be delicious but won’t have this lovely green color if peas are left whole.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen