Easy Vegan Instant Pot Pasta

by Alena

Make this easy Italian vegan Instant Pot pasta within just 20 minutes for a healthy, family-friendly dinner! It’s a great way to eat more veggies, tastes really flavorful and is loved by kids and adults alike.

Are you a pasta lover? From white sauce pasta to hummus pasta, mac and cheese or pesto pasta, we enjoy this delicious Italian goodness at least once per week.

This vegan Instant Pot pasta recipe features colorful summer vegetables, spinach, mushrooms and tomato paste and takes only 10 minutes of hands-on time to make!

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It’s a wonderful kid-friendly meal if you own an Instant Pot — but even if you don’t, you need to try this one-pot pasta on the stove! Find exact instructions below.

We love it as a lazy emergency dinner and it’s great for using up any veggies we have in our fridge!

Make this nutritious and budget-friendly vegan Instant Pot pasta for the whole family.

electric pressure cooker Instant Pot on table with a wooden spoon and vegetablespin it

What is an Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that allows you to speed up your cooking time and, most importantly, enables hands-off cooking that won’t result in any overcooking, burning or spilling.

Back when we started using it, we usually cooked beans or whole grains from scratch in about 20-60 minutes (depending on the food).

At some point, we started taking things to the next level and experimented with preparing whole meals with just the Instant Pot — this is how this pasta recipe was born!

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Recipe overview

  • Easy & convenient dinner
  • Secretly healthy & veggie-rich
  • Only 10 minutes of hands-on time
  • Budget-friendly & customizable
  • Kid-approved & family-friendly
  • Great for meal prepping
  • Only one pot to clean

Oh, and did we mention that the pasta doesn’t need to be cooked and drained separately?

Yep, all the ingredients just go directly into the Instant Pot and after a quick sauté, you just set the timer and let the pressure cooker do its thing!

wooden chopping board with chopped vegetables, onions, tomatoes and dry pastapin it

Ingredients needed

  • Short pasta – we used whole grain penne but any short pasta works.
  • Fresh veggies – the recipe calls for eggplant, tomatoes, spinach, bell pepper and mushrooms.
  • Spices – balsamic vinegar, Italian herbs, paprika and some salt and pepper build the basis for the flavor!
  • Tomato paste – for the Marinara-style sauce.
  • Veggie broth and water – that’s where the pasta and vegetables will be cooked in.

Most of these accessible ingredients are probably already in your kitchen! Find the exact amounts as well as ingredient swap ideas below.

We’ll also share some Instant Pot cooking tips with you!

hand sprinkling dry spices into an Instant Pot filled with veggies and pastapin it
hand using manual pressure release through the valve on the Instant Potpin it

How to make vegan Instant Pot pasta

  1. Press the “saute” function on your Instant Pot and let it heat up.
  2. Add onion, garlic and a splash of vegetable broth or olive oil.
  3. Sauté for 30 seconds, stirring occasionally, then add mushrooms, eggplant and Italian herbs.
  4. Sauté for another 30 seconds, adding more vegetable broth to prevent sticking.
  5. Hit the cancel button and add the remaining ingredients: vegetables, spices, water, vinegar, pasta, and the rest of the vegetable broth
  6. Stir until well combined and the tomato pasta is fully dissolved. Push the pasta down as much as possible to cover it with liquid!
  7. Put on the lid and lock it in place. Check to make sure the valve is sealed!
  8. Press the Manual button and use + or – to adjust the time to 7 minutes. Let the Instant Pot build up pressure and then cook your pasta!
  9. Once the time has elapsed and you hear a beeping sound, do a “quick release”.
  10. Move the valve all the way to one side, keeping hands and face away as the steam comes out! Use a towel to cover the valves if it sprays.
  11. Open the lid, stir the pasta and adjust it to your taste preferences, then serve warm!
top view of freshly cooked pasta marinara in the Instant Potpin it

Storage & serving

Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

Thaw your frozen pasta overnight in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or on the stove at your convenience.

Serve topped with vegan feta or parmesan on its own or choose from different side dishes, such as freshly baked bread, veggie soup or green salad with balsamic dressing.

Tips & FAQs

New to the Instant Pot?

If you’re new to cooking with the Instant Pot, we totally get that this can seem a bit intimidating.

You can test drive this device by just steaming some rice or potatoes first (find out how to do so in our free Instant Pot guide) and then moving on to a whole one-pot dish.

Saving time

Reduce the amount of veggies and be sure to chop them really finely, then just dump all ingredients into your Instant Pot and let it cook for 7 minutes. This means you could skip the sautéing part!

However, sautéing some of the veggies before pressure cooking lets the Instant Pot heat up and reduces the time it takes to start cooking.

bowl of vegan pasta with veggies and tomato sauce in white bowl on a table next to a towelpin it

How much water do I need to cook pasta in the Instant Pot?

Using water or broth is best when making Instant Pot pasta — Heavy sauces make it hard for the dry pasta to get cooked!

You don’t want to end up with pasta soup or half-cooked pasta, so following the exact ratio of water to dry pasta is important.

Our recipe calls for 12 oz dry pasta and 3 cups of water — but we also use a whole bunch of veggies which add extra volume.

How long to cook pasta al dente in the Instant Pot?

The cooking time for any pasta can be calculated with the following formula by Pressure Cooking Today: “Take the time listed on the box, cut it in half, then subtract an additional minute.”

Usually, pasta cooked in the Instant Pot is definitely on the softer side. You’ll probably need to make the same recipe a few times to figure out exactly how many minutes you need to cook it to achieve your preferred texture.

You’ll also get a feel for how much liquid you need, which vegetables release more water than others and what type of pasta gives you the preferred taste and texture.

white speckled bowl with cooked penne and veggies in marinara saucepin it

Quick-release tips

The thing about using too much liquid for this recipe is that during the quick release it can spill hot liquid out of the valve — but since pasta is a “quick cook food,” it does need a quick release.

If you notice that some foam or large water droplets are escaping from the valve, flip it back to the sealed position and wait for 20 seconds, then release again.

For a safer release, place a towel over the valve to avoid spraying your kitchen!

Which pasta to use?

As a rule of thumb, shorter varieties like penne, farfalle, rotini or shells are better compared to longer ones like spaghetti or linguine — they are harder to submerge and also tend to clump together.

If you do want to use spaghetti, break them into halves and stir them for a bit before cooking to minimize clumping.

Delicate pasta like alphabet pasta will overcook easily, and stuffed or homemade pasta can fall apart. These varieties can be added to the veggies and sauce once they are done, and just let the mixture simmer for a few extra minutes to cook the pasta!

If you want to use gluten-free pasta, the cooking time will increase; on the other hand, white pasta needs less cooking time compared to our recipe.

stove with a pot of hot water into which is hand is placing uncooked soba noodlespin it

Stovetop instructions

  1. Place a large pot over medium heat. Sautéing the onion, garlic, eggplant and mushrooms in some veggie broth or olive oil, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the rest of the liquid and spices, stir in the tomato paste and then add the dry pasta.
  3. Make sure it’s completely submerged in the liquid, then top with the bell pepper and tomatoes.
  4. Use 4 cups of liquid total (water + vegetable broth) and cook for around 40 minutes.
  5. Stir occasionally and add the fresh spinach around 5 minutes before your pasta is al-dente!

Replacement ideas

Reduce the amount of vegetables in this recipe and use more pasta instead! You can also add finely chopped zucchini, cauliflower or carrots.

Chopped olives, sundried or fire-roasted tomatoes also taste great in this dish!

More easy vegan dinners

Let us know in the comments how you made your Instant Pot pasta and rate our recipe! Did you make our pasta recipe and like it? Share with us below, leave a rating and Pin this recipe here !

white speckled bowl with cooked penne and veggies in marinara sauce

Easy Vegan Instant Pot Pasta

Yield: 3 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Make this easy Italian vegan Instant Pot pasta within just 20 minutes for a healthy family-friendly dinner! It's a great way to eat more veggies, tastes really flavorful and is loved by kids and adults alike.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz whole-grain pasta, dry (340 g)
  • 2.5 cups water (590 ml)
  • ½ cup vegetable broth (120 ml)
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small eggplant, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped (350 g)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach (60 g)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups button mushrooms (150 g), sliced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • Few dashes black pepper
  • 2 oz tomato paste (56 g)
  • 1 tbsp Italian herbs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Optional toppings

  • Fresh basil to garnish
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Tofu feta

Instructions

  1. Start by pressing the “saute” function on the Instant Pot and let it heat up. Then add the onion, garlic and a splash of vegetable broth or olive oil.
  2. Sauté for 30 seconds, stirring occasionally, then add mushrooms, eggplant and Italian herbs.
  3. Sauté for another 30 seconds, adding more vegetable broth to prevent sticking.
  4. Hit the cancel button and add all of the other ingredients to the Instant Pot: the vegetables, spices, water, vinegar, pasta, and the rest of the vegetable broth.
  5. Mix until well combined and make sure the tomato paste dissolves. Push the dry pasta down as much into the sauce as possible!
  6. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock it in place. Check to make sure the valve is sealed.
  7. Press the Manual button and use + or – to adjust the time to 7 minutes. The Instant Pot will now start building up pressure, which usually takes a couple of minutes. It then cooks the pasta for you, counting down the minutes on the screen to zero. 
  8. When the 7 minutes are up, you will hear the Instant Pot beeping. Carefully quick release the pressure by moving the valve to one side, keeping face and hands away. You can use a towel to do so, and can even place it over the valve to catch the steam and any liquid that might spray out. 
  9. Once the pressure is released, open the lid and stir the pasta. Adjust to taste preferences, by adding more seasonings if needed.
  10. Divide between serving bowls and garnish with fresh basil and vegan cheese!

Notes

  • You can use any vegetables you like in this recipe.
  • For a gluten-free version, simply swap the whole grain pasta for a gluten-free variety.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1263mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 16gSugar: 18gProtein: 19g

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Alena sitting in a cafe with a bowl of fresh plant-based food and a glass of coffee in front of her

About Alena Handwritten FontAlena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.

30 thoughts on “Easy Vegan Instant Pot Pasta”

  1. Delicious. However, mine came out more like a minestrone. I’ll try cut the water and broth to 2 cups imstad of a combined 4 cups.

    Reply
    • thanks so much for the valuable feedback, I made the recipe again a couple of times and decided on 3 cups liquid total :) Have you tried making it with 2 cups?

      Reply
  2. This was exactly what I was looking for, and it only took my 15 minutes! I did it on my lunch break and it turned out so good. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. YUM! I didn’t get any complaints from the family, which is a rarity. I modified mine a bit by adding different veggies and it turned out great!! I added the spinach after I opened the instant pot, since it really doesn’t need long to cook. 10/10 will make again.

    Reply
  4. Made this last night. The flavors are wonderful but there is way too much liquid! Sprayed tomato steam all over my counter and ceiling. Would make again but with way less water!

    Reply
    • Hey Laura,
      thanks so much for the feedback! You know what, I’ll go ahead and make this myself again this week. Might be possible I wrote down the wrong quantities – which would be a bummer. Thanks for letting me know and sorry it didn’t turn out so great… Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with!
      Best wishes,
      Alena

      Reply
  5. Loved it, added different veggies, served with marinaria sauce and parmesan cheese.
    Too much water, will cut back to 2 cups net time ,I did not add the paste. ! I made it on the stovetop in a soup pan.

    Reply
    • Hey Barb,
      thanks for the feedback – I made the pasta again these days and ended up using 3 cups of liquid in total as well as 7 minutes of cooking time which turned out perfectly! It does work a bit differently with the IP, so it’s possible that the stovetop version needs more or less water.
      Best wishes,
      Alena

      Reply
  6. Hi,
    Absolutely love my Instant Pot. I had never had home cooked beans before the instant pot. You’re right, the taste difference is night and day. This is a great recipe. It’s winter here in Wisconsin , USA, no fresh tomatoes, eggplant, etc. I improvised and made this with frozen broccoli, canned fire roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. It turned out very good but I am looking forward to summer when I can make it as written with my own garden vegetables. Thanks for another great recipe and for all you do to help new and old vegans.

    Reply
    • happy you love your Instant Pot so much as well! Awww sorry to hear about the produce but as you found out this so easy to modify :) thanks for the kind words and sharing all of this!

      Reply
  7. Hi Alena! Happy New Year! What size instant pot did you use for this recipe? I only have a 3qt because it’s just me. Do you think this recipe is doable with my mini instant pot?

    Reply
    • Hey Pam,
      yes I assume a 3qt would work for the recipe as mine is usually around half full. You can add fewer veggies so the volume is decreased if you’re worried. Let me know how it turns out :)
      Warmly,
      Alena

      Reply
  8. I notice some people have had trouble with the quantity of liquid in this recipe. I’m going to try it tonight and wondered if the recipe had been tailored to take those issues into consideration. Any advice? I’m excited to try it!

    Reply
    • Hey Sarah,
      I just made the recipe again and reduced the liquid to 3 cups total as well as the pressure cooking time to 7 minutes which prevents the pasta from going a bit too mushy. I now updated the recipe!
      The feedback was really mixed, for some it was too liquid and too mushy, for others it came out perfect.
      Best wishes,
      Alena

      Reply
  9. How does your pasta not get overcook through this method? I tried it two times and altough the flavors are great it turns out very mushy. I have the same 6qt instapot

    Reply
    • Hey Flavini,
      I just made the recipe again and tried pressure cooking the pasta for only 7 minutes which improved the consistency in my opinion! Also reduced the liquid to 3 cups total (see updated recipe).
      Hope that helps! The feedback was really mixed, for some it was too liquid and too mushy, for others it came out perfect.
      Best wishes,
      Alena

      Reply
    • Hey Jeffrey,
      I suggest you use half a cup more liquid for 16 oz of pasta as well as a bit more tomato paste. Since the amount of salt and other spices in recipes comes down to taste preferences, you can just adjust these once the pasta is cooked! The added liquid is important to ensure the dry pasta is covered and gets cooked.
      Let us know how it turns out!
      Best,
      Alena

      Reply
  10. Have you tried the above recipe with the low pressure setting on your instant pot? That would help to release the pressure at the end of cooking time a bit easier — less messy!

    Reply
  11. To start,
    first time making pasta in IP I checked many recipes and I liked yours. Made it with few variations added some more veggies, chicken and some marinara sauce. Water was little off but I sautéed it and it was perfect.
    It was a great hit tonight at dinner table.
    Thanks for sharing amazing recipe ????

    Reply
  12. Just tried it and loved it! I used whole wheat penne pasta and the texture was perfectly al dente. I almost thought I had too much food for my 3 qt Instant Pot, but carefully stirred, pushing everything down, and it was right up to the line. I used eggplant, green pepper, mushrooms, 2 kinds of tomatoes, red onion cut into thin slices, pre-cut mushrooms, garlic, and all the recommended spices. My vegetables were chunkier than yours, but worked fine. Loved the way the spinach cooked down, no need to chop. Very healthy, especially since the sautéing is done in vegetable broth, not oil. Next time I may try all vegetable broth instead of water. Great recipe! Thanks!

    Reply

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