This Vegan Instant Pot Italian Pasta is so incredibly easy and fast to make, requiring only 8 simple ingredients. A 1 pot meal that is oil-free, dairy-free and is topped with a delicious vegan parmesan cheese and fresh basil!
You all already know how much I am all about the simple, but incredibly delicious, easy vegan recipes. That is so important to me. Well, the instant pot just further enhances how easy and quick you can prepare a delicious plant-based meal. This Vegan Instant Pot Italian Pasta is so delicious, full of flavor and extremely fast and easy.
I topped it with black olives, fresh basil and my Vegan Lemon Parmesan Cheese. Totally optional, but just an extra yummy boost of flavor. Plus, the parmesan only takes 5 minutes to make.
I received an instant pot for my birthday last month and have been using it nearly on a daily basis. I’ve been testing many different types of recipes, just getting a feel for it overall. Of course, my love of pasta should come as no surprise that it would be the first type of vegan instant pot recipe I would share.
(Only 8 main ingredients needed. Full details and measurements on the recipe card below.)
- Red onion
- Garlic powder
- Italian seasoning: Store-bought or my homemade blend. Just make sure that if you use store-bought, it has no added salt or red pepper flakes.
- Tomato sauce
- Rotini pasta: I used a regular gluten (not whole wheat though) rotini pasta. If you use gluten-free, please research adjusted times for gluten-free pasta in the instant pot.
- Pure maple syrup: Balances out the acidity, you don’t want to leave it out. It really adds dimension to the the flavor.
- Dark balsamic vinegar: Adds depth of flavor to this sauce. This is not the white balsamic, but the dark aged balsamic. I use either the Alessi or Pompeian brands.
- Fresh basil: Using fresh herbs in simple meals like this really do make a difference to the overall flavor, so don’t leave it out!
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN INSTANT POT PASTA
Step 1: Cook the onions on the saute setting until they become tender and caramelized (browned). Add water as needed to prevent sticking and burning.
Add the spices and stir for about 30 seconds to toast them and release their aroma. It will absorb any residual moisture.
Step 2: Add the remaining ingredients, except the basil and optional ingredients. Stir the mixture really, really well so it is mixed thoroughly.
Step 3: Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes and then naturally pressure release for 5 minutes only. Set the timer. Do a manual quick release of any remaining pressure, using a pot cover to protect your hand. Make sure to never stand too close to the pot or near the steam vent.
Step 4: Open the lid and it will look quite soupy, this is normal. Stir the pasta around for 1 minute or 2 and it will absorb the remaining liquid perfectly, making it nice and saucy.
Step 5: Stir in the basil and add to serving bowls. Garnish with sliced olives and my Lemon Parmesan cheese if desired.
The key to this tomato pasta sauce is the balance of flavors. Tomatoes are very acidic and a bit one note, so to bring that alive, we are using these 3 ingredients that add a touch of sweetness to create a really delicious and balanced tomato sauce:
- Pure maple syrup: Just enough to make the overall sauce balanced and taste so delicious.
- Red onion: We are cooking the red onion until soft and caramelized, to where they are browned and sweet and add delicious flavor.
- Dark balsamic vinegar: This exact vinegar adds a mild sweetness and great punch of balance to the overall flavor. It brings the sauce alive!
NO INSTANT POT?
I specifically created this recipe for instant pot users. But, if you don’t have an instant pot, no worries, I have another amazing tomato and pasta recipe that is similar and full of flavor. Try this Easy Tomato Garlic Pasta instead!
MORE VEGAN PASTA RECIPES
- Best Vegan Garlic Alfredo
- 1 Pot Vegan Creamy Cajun Pasta
- Vegan Walnut Basil Pasta
- 20 Minute Vegan Alfredo
- Vegan Pimento Cream Sauce
- Creamy Chili Sauce with Pasta
- Easy Vegan Meatballs and Spaghetti
- Vegan Lemon Florentine Pasta
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Vegan Instant Pot Italian Pasta
- 1/2 packed cup (80g) finely diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder (yes, tablespoons, lots of flavor!)
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (I use my homemade blend, but store-bought is fine, just make sure it is unsalted)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 cups (720g) tomato sauce (or called passata)
- 3 cups (720g) water
- 1 tablespoon (15g) dark balsamic vinegar (really brings the sauce alive, don't omit) This is not the clear balsamic, but the dark aged balsamic. I use either the Alessi or Pompeian brands.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (30g) pure maple syrup or agave (really enhances the overall sauce flavor and balances the acidity, so don't omit)
- 4 cups (360g) rotini pasta (please note that if you use GF, the time may change in the IP, I only use wheat)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- Optional: sliced black olives
- Optional: My Lemon Parmesan (so good on top and only takes 5 mins)
- I use this scale.
- Have all ingredients measured and ready to go, this is a quick meal! Add the onion and a few tablespoons of water to the instant pot and turn to normal saute setting. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring often until the onions are tender and caramelize (turn warm brown). Add only tiny amounts of water as needed to keep the onion from sticking/burning. Turn off the saute mode.
- Add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning and salt/pepper and stir around for 30 seconds until fragrant. If it's too dry to stir, add a tiny splash of water. Then add the tomato sauce, water, vinegar, syrup and pasta and stir the mixture really, really well so it is mixed thoroughly.
- Cook on high pressure by selecting either manual or pressure cook and set the time to 5 minutes. Please note that it takes about 10 minutes before the IP will come to pressure and start the 5 minutes cooking. After the 5 minutes is up, allow the instant pot to naturally pressure release for 5 minutes only. Set the timer. You don't want to let it sit longer than that or it can make the pasta mushy. TIP: What I basically like to do is as soon as the instant pot has reached pressure and it begins the 5 minutes cooking, I set a timer for 10 minutes (for the 5 mins cooking and 5 mins to sit). Do a manual quick release of any remaining pressure, using a pot cover to protect your hand. Make sure to never stand too close to the pot or near the steam vent.
- Open the lid and it will look quite soupy, this is normal. Stir the pasta around for 1 minute or 2 and it will absorb the remaining liquid perfectly, making it nice and saucy, as pictured. Turn off the IP.
- Stir in the basil and add to serving bowls. Garnish with sliced olives and my Lemon Parmesan cheese if desired.