This Pour-Over Veggie Pasta makes dinner simple! The pasta (and hot water) is poured over raw chopped vegetables which gently cooks them, making this one of the quickest pasta recipes ever.
One of my favorite ways to get dinner on the table quickly is with this Pour-Over Veggie Pasta technique. The pasta ends up mixed up with gently cooked fresh veggies and warm garlicky olive oil (which is perfect for dipping bread, too). It’s rare that we have leftovers of this quick and delicious pasta recipe.
What Is Pour-Over Pasta?
Pour-Over Pasta is made by pouring the cooked pasta and hot pasta water over raw chopped vegetables that are sitting in the colander used to drain the pasta. The hot water and pasta distribute enough heat to cook the vegetables, cutting down on the dinner’s cooking time. It works with fully-cooked proteins, too, like rotisserie or grilled chicken cut into bite-sized pieces, or rinsed and drained canned beans.
All of the prep work can be done while the pasta is cooking, or can be done ahead of time and set aside until you’re ready to cook. Even the garlic-infused olive oil which becomes the pasta sauce can be cooked while the pasta is on the stove, saving you time in the kitchen.
How To Make Pour-Over Pasta With Veggies
To make the Pour-Over Pasta, cook the spaghetti according to package directions, which will take about 8 to 10 minutes for al-dente, or about 12 minutes if you like a softer pasta.
While the pasta water is coming up to a boil and then while the spaghetti is cooking, make the sauce by adding the olive oil, finely chopped onions and garlic, oregano (fresh sprigs or dried), and salt in a small skillet or saucepan. This only needs to be warmed so that the flavors infuse the oil, so keep the pan on low heat, and the moment you see the oil bubble like it’s simmering, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside. Shallots can be used in place of the onion, too, if you prefer that flavor.
Place the chopped tomato and zucchini (or whatever veggies you’re using, see below) in the bottom of a colander that is large enough to drain the pasta. You’ll use this colander to drain the pasta, and the hot pasta and water will cook the zucchini and tomatoes.
When the pasta is ready, pour the pot of pasta and water into the colander to drain as usual, but you’re pouring it over the chopped raw veggies. The hot water will drain through the veggies and the pasta will be sitting above them. Let it all sit there undisturbed for about a minute. Then, transfer the pasta and vegetables to a serving bowl or platter. Finally pour the warm, garlicky olive oil mixture over pasta, and toss to coat.
I like to top this with freshly cracked black pepper, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and lots of fresh herbs before serving.
How To Make Pour-Over Pasta Step-By-Step Short Video:
Variations On This Pasta Recipe
The “pour-over” technique works with so many vegetables and combinations, too. The key is to chop the vegetables into ¼-inch, bite-sized pieces so that they can soften from their brief time in the heat. Leafy greens don’t necessarily have to be chopped unless they’re gigantic. Tougher greens, like collards or full-sized kale, aren’t recommended, but all of the soft, tender greens work perfectly.
Here are some of my favorite veggie combinations to add to the colander:
- Baby arugula and chopped roasted red peppers
- Fresh broccoli florets chopped into bite-sized pieces
- White beans and baby kale
- Swiss chard and grilled, chopped chicken
- Baby spinach and sun-dried tomatoes (the kind that are packed in oil, not dry hard ones)
If you’re not up for an olive oil-based sauce, toss the pasta in your favorite tomato sauce, fresh pesto, or store-bought or homemade alfredo sauce. I can’t wait to hear all about your favorite combinations. Enjoy! -Christine xoPrint
Try topping your pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and fresh herbs.
More great veggie combinations to use with this method are listed above.
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this pasta, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:
- 1 lb. dry spaghetti
- 10 oz. cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 large zucchini, finely diced
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ½ small onion, minced
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 4 sprigs fresh oregano (or ½ tsp. dried)
- ½ tsp. salt
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook spaghetti according to package directions, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet add olive oil, onion, garlic, oregano, and salt. Warm over low heat. Remove from heat when oil begins to bubble and simmer, about 3 minutes.
- In the bottom of a colander large enough to drain pasta, add the tomatoes and zucchini. Place colander in clean sink.
- When pasta is cooked to your liking, pour it and the hot cooking water into colander over the veggies. Allow the water to drain over and past the veggies, and out of the colander, and then down the drain. The hot pasta will remain above the veggies. Let stand 1 minute.
- Transfer pasta and vegetables to serving bowl or platter. Pour olive oil mixture over pasta, toss to coat. Serve warm.