15 Minute Pasta Dinners

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For a fast, easy, meatless meal, start with a box of pasta, then pick one of these sauce options to get dinner on the table quicker than delivery. 


Start with a large pot of water and a 1lb box pasta. Or grab a bag of frozen, filled pasta from the store. Choose whatever you’re in the mood for.
(Tip: Egg noodles cook the fastest among dry pastas.)

Boil the water and cook the pasta according to package instructions. 

While that’s happening, make one of the options below: 


Caprese: In a small bowl, mix together 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Set aside. Mash 3-4 cloves of roasted garlic. Seed and dice 1 large tomato. Chop 4-6 oz of fresh mozzarella* into small cubes (think the size of a sugar cube). Toss the olive oil mixture, garlic, and tomato with the drained, hot pasta. Let cool for a couple of minutes before folding in the mozzarella. 

Pesto: Add 1 cup frozen peas to the pasta for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. (If using frozen pasta, add the peas in with the pasta right away.) Toss the drained, hot pasta and peas with a container of store-bought pesto. 

Brown Butter: Roughly chop ⅓ cup walnuts and toast in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. (Stir them frequently so they don’t burn.) Remove walnuts from skillet and set aside. Return skillet to heat. Add ¼ cup butter to the skillet. Melt, then continue to cook – stirring constantly – until butter begins to brown. Remove from heat. Stir in ½ tsp lemon juice and 1-2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage.** Toss immediately with drained, hot pasta and the toasted walnuts. 

Brown Butter


Regardless of which option you chose, top your pasta dish with a generous amount of freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. 

The caprese and pesto versions are great topped with thinly sliced, fresh basil – if you have it on hand. 

*Do not swap this for shredded mozzarella cheese from a bag. Check your store’s deli section for fresh mozzarella. 

**If you don’t have fresh sage, just skip it. Dry doesn’t work well here.

Image of 3 different 15 minute pasta dinners

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