This delicious and easy Mediterranean Pasta is packed with colorful, nutritious ingredients and will leave you feeling satisfied without weighing you down. Made with simple pantry ingredients in under 30 minutes, it's the perfect quick weeknight meal that the whole family will love!
If you're looking for a healthy and flavorful vegetarian dinner recipe, look no further than this simple, delicious Mediterranean pasta. Made with colorful vegetables, hearty whole grains, and flavorful herbs, it's the perfect quick dinner recipe for busy weeknights.
Once you try it, you'll want to add this Mediterranean pasta to your arsenal of delicious and easy dinner recipes!
Simple Pasta Recipe with Olive Oil
Sometimes the simplest dishes are the most satisfying. That's certainly the case with this simple and classic Mediterranean pasta made with olive oil. With just a handful of ingredients, the sauce for this pasta dish can be made in a skillet on the stove while the pasta is cooking. That means you can have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes!
This is one of my favorite pasta dishes and is made with classic Mediterranean ingredients. There are no heavy sauces in this recipe. The base of the light, lemony sauce is olive oil. Paired with fresh lemon juice and some pasta water, the olive oil forms a rich and flavorful base that coats the strands of pasta perfectly.
To complement the lemony pasta, I toss in colorful, juicy tomatoes, garlic, artichoke hearts, and salty capers. Then I finish this Mediterranean pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and basil.
This vegetarian recipe is simple, delicious, and oh-so-satisfying. It's a light pasta dish packed with Mediterranean flavors that fill you up and satisfy you without weighing you down.
This Mediterranean spaghetti is packed with nutrient-dense ingredients. Fresh tomatoes, artichoke hearts, whole grains, and olive oil are all staples of a Mediterranean diet.
The combination of ingredients makes this dish a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Plus, it's low in saturated fat and high in plant-based protein, making it an excellent main dish option for vegetarians.
Artichoke hearts are packed with antioxidants, vitamins (especially vitamin C, vitamin K and folate), minerals, and fiber. Fresh artichokes are in season in the spring but typically take a good amount of time to prep. Fortunately, you can save yourself lots of time by buying artichoke hearts frozen or canned.
Why You'll Love This Dish
- Quick and easy- make this Mediterranean pasta in under 30 minutes
- Simple ingredients- made with many pantry staples
- Healthy- packed with nutrient-dense, Mediterranean ingredients like artichokes, tomatoes, and whole grain pasta
- Vegetarian- an excellent hearty and satisfying vegetarian pasta dish that can easily be made vegan if you use my vegan parmesan cheese
- Family-friendly- both kids and adults will love this dish
How To Cook Grape Tomatoes For Pasta
Cooking grape tomatoes for pasta is a quick and easy way to add bright, fresh flavor to your dishes. I especially love using grape tomatoes in my pasta dishes in the summertime when they're in season.
This grape tomato pasta sauce is so easy to make and is a delicious and light alternative to heavier pasta sauces. To make it, slowly heat olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes (if desired) in a skillet and then add the halved grape tomatoes. Cook them for a few minutes until they start to soften but not until they completely break down.
Then add your pasta and whatever additional ingredients (like veggies or meat) you desire. Toss it all together along with some of the pasta cooking water until a smooth sauce forms, coating the pasta.
Finish it off some fresh herbs and grated cheese, and dinner is served!
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Ingredient notes and substitutions. See recipe card below for full ingredient list.
- Spaghetti- I use whole wheat spaghetti to incorporate healthy whole grains into this dish; you can substitute thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
- Olive oil- use good quality olive oil since it forms the base of the sauce
- Grape tomatoes- you can use cherry tomatoes; I like to use a medley of colorful tomatoes when I can find them at the grocery store
- Artichoke hearts- you can use canned or frozen artichoke hearts, both of which are available all year round
- Capers- add a nice salty bite; you can substitute black or green olives if you prefer or just leave them out
- Lemon- I use both the juice and the zest for extra flavor; you can substitute a dry white wine or use some wine in addition to the lemon
- Parmesan cheese- you can substitute feta cheese or try my 4-ingredient dairy-free parmesan cheese
- Herbs- I use fresh basil in this dish but you can also use fresh parsley; you can also use dried herbs like basil, parsley, Italian seasoning or oregano. If using dried herbs, add them to the pan along with the tomatoes rather than at the end.
How To Make Mediterranean Pasta Step-By-Step
See recipe card below for full recipe details.
- Step 1- Cook pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Be sure to reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. As the pasta cooks, make the sauce. Slowly heat the olive oil with the garlic and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot and the garlic is fragrant, add the halved tomatoes. Cook 4-5 minutes until tomatoes start to soften.
- Step 2- Add the quartered artichoke hearts, capers, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the pan and toss to combine. Cook a minute or two until the ingredients are heated through.
- Step 3- Add the hot spaghetti to the pan and toss to combine. I use a good pair of kitchen tongs to toss the pasta.
- Step 4- Add the grated cheese and about ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Continue to cook the pasta for another 1-2 minutes. Add more pasta water as needed until a smooth sauce is formed, coating all of the pasta.
Garnish this Mediterranean pasta with desired toppings like fresh basil or fresh parsley, grated parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Make sure you mise en place (prep and have all of your ingredients ready) when making this dish. Once you start cooking, the dish comes together very quickly.
- Heat the olive oil slowly in the skillet with the garlic and chili flakes to gently infuse it with flavor. Do not raise the heat too high and allow the garlic to brown or burn, otherwise it will taint the flavor.
- Once the spaghetti is cooked, add it to the skillet with the sauce and cook another minute or two to allow the flavors to meld.
- Be sure to reserve about a cup of the pasta water to use when you're making the sauce. Add enough pasta water to create a smooth sauce that coats the spaghetti.
Variations and Substitutions
This recipe is easily adaptable! You can try a variety of different ingredients depending on your preference and what you have available in your pantry. Here are some ideas:
- I love using briny capers in this Mediterranean pasta dish but you can substitute green olives or black olives like kalamata olives
- You can stir in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach or fresh arugula to add some leafy greens to the dish
- For an extra boost of protein, add some canned tuna, shrimp, or chicken breast
- If you don't want to use fresh grape tomatoes, you can use sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers instead
- Add a splash of dry white wine to the sauce for depth of flavor
- Top the pasta with crumbled feta or goat cheese instead of parmesan or try my 4 ingredient dairy-free parmesan to keep this dish vegan
- Top this Mediterranean pasta with some toasted pine nuts or walnuts for a delightful crunch
Ever wonder how to choose the right shaped pasta for your dishes? Read my post on Ziti vs. Penne vs. Rigatoni Pasta- What's The Difference?
What To Serve With This Dish
You can serve this hearty pasta dish with some crusty bread on the side like my pan con tomate (Spanish tomato bread) or cheesy cauliflower bread.
You can also serve it with a fresh salad or a vegetable like my air fryer zucchini, air fryer asparagus or roasted asparagus and grape tomatoes.
Store leftovers in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in a covered bowl in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. Drizzle the pasta with a little olive oil when heating it up the following day to moisten it as needed.
The Mediterranean diet encourages increasing your intake of vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seafood, and extra-virgin olive oil. So yes, pasta, especially whole grain pasta (like the whole wheat spaghetti in this dish), can be part of a Mediterranean diet.
More Mediterranean Recipes
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Mediterranean Pasta (Easy & Healthy)
- 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅛ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
- 1 pint (2 cups) grape tomatoes, halved
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can (9 ounces) artichoke hearts (or 1 package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted), drained and cut into quarters
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 ounce freshly grated parmesan or vegan parmesan cheese* (about ½ cup freshly grated or ¼ cup pre-grated cheese)
- Fresh basil or parsley, freshly grated parmesan cheese, olive oil for drizzling
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook according to package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Slowly heat the olive oil with the garlic and chili flakes in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot and the garlic is fragrant, add the halved tomatoes. Cook 4-5 minutes until tomatoes start to soften and break down. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper.
- Add the quartered artichoke hearts, capers, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the pan and toss to combine. Cook a minute or two until the ingredients are heated through.
- Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan along with the grated cheese and about ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Continue to cook the pasta for another 1-2 minutes. Add more pasta water as needed until a smooth sauce is formed, coating all of the pasta. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.
- Before serving, garnish pasta with desired toppings like fresh basil or parsley, grated parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.
- If you want to keep this recipe vegan, try my 4-ingredient dairy-free parmesan cheese instead of regular cheese.
Elizabeth @ Enjoy Every Bite says
This looks amazing! I'm always up for trying new pasta dishes that branch out of the typical red sauce. Your photos are beautiful, as always!
Thanks so much Elizabeth! I hear ya, I love a traditional tomato sauce, but it's also fun to mix things up a bit 🙂
Hey there Sonali , how did I miss this recipe, so glad I stopped my your fb page tonight. Just wish I had time to visit everyone's blogs too! hope you are well xoxo
Thanks so much Beverley! I totally know what you mean!
Do you cut the chicken into bite size pieces before or after you cook it?
I cut it into pieces before cooking but you could do it either way. Thanks for stopping by!
D Stew says
Gee squizzy, this looks mighty tasty. Pasta yums for my tums!
Glad you like it!
Selection Of Mens Dress Shirts says
Pasta is my favorite. I like to follow this. This pasta’s looks also delicious. I sure that makes different taste experience for me.
Thanks for your comment!
Carrie's Experimental Kitchen says
This sounds wonderful Sonali and I made the switch to Barilla Plus a while ago myself. It was the easiest way to get my kids to eat a healthier version of pasta since they refused to eat "brown" pasta.
Thanks Carrie, I'm glad I discovered it!