6 Family-Friendly Plant-Based Pasta Recipes

6 Family-Friendly Plant-Based Pasta Recipes

Looking for some new family-friendly plant-based pasta recipes?! You are sure to find at least one dish to expand your family’s dinner repertoire here…plus make some awesome choices for the planet, the animals, and your health!

These top 6 kid-friendly vegan pasta meals are from some my favorite recipe creators. And ALL of them have also been enjoyed by our omnivorous friends and family as well.

I know there are some suuuuuper picky eaters out there, so while I can’t make any promises, these specific recipes are definitely worth a try (worst case, leftovers for you!). I have included some picky eater tips below each recipe as well.

Enjoy these 6 family-friendly, plant-based pasta recipes. Bon Appetit!

Family-Friendly Plant-Based Pasta Recipes

Vegan Stuffed Shells

family-friendly vegan stuffed shells

This decadent and colorful dish makes it a great option for holidays and entertaining. In fact, my son has requested it to be part of our Christmas dinner more than once, and I couldn’t have been happier to oblige.

The highlight is my rich & creamy homemade ricotta, made primarily of cashews and tofu: IT. IS. LIFE-CHANGING. In fact, we make the ricotta often, to use not only in shells, but in the next two pasta dishes below!

Base Ingredients:

Method:

  • Simply follow package instructions to cook shells.
  • Make ricotta cheese if making homemade.
  • Prepare dish: add a layer of your tomato sauce to a baking dish.
  • Stuff cooked shells with ricotta cheese and line in baking dish over the sauce.
  • Top shells with remaining sauce.
  • Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Picky eater tips: 1- Stuff a few of the shells primarily with tomato sauce and just a little bit of the cheese to ease them in slowly. 2- Have an anti-green eater? Omit spinach and herbs, the cheese is just as tasty! 3- Super picky eater? Just stuff his/her shells with the sauce.

A yummy side dish to serve for these stuffed shells is Garlicky Roasted Cauliflower.

Vegan Pink Sauce Pasta

vegan piny creamy spaghetti
creamy spaghetti
vegan creamy pasta
creamy pasta

For an even easier family-friendly vegan meal idea, simply take that aforementioned ricotta and mix with your favorite tomato sauce for the perfect vegan pink cream sauce!

Base Ingredients:

Method:

  • Simply follow package instructions to cook pasta.
  • Meanwhile make ricotta cheese.
  • Simply add ricotta to tomato sauce and warm. Start with 1/2 cup of ricotta and add to taste. (My preferred proportions are about 1-1/2 cups of ricotta to 28 ounces sauce).

We like to top with fresh black pepper and vegan parmesan.

Vegan Lasagna

vegan lasagna
lasagna (kids side: cheese; adult side: vegan sausage and greens)

Who doesn’t like lasagna?! I have to admit, it took many years to master vegan lasagna. But we finally did! Of course, the secret ingredient is that decadent and easy vegan ricotta cheese per above. That, along with the right proportion of sauce (almost 2 jars!) are key.

Generally, we make 1 large lasagna, divided into the adult side and the kids side. They look something list this:

Kid Lasagna layers starting at bottom:

  • tomato sauce
  • lasagna noodle
  • ricotta cheese (trick: before you place noodle in pan, spoon a dollop of ricotta and spread evenly)
  • shredded mozzarella
  • (repeat 4 steps above 4 times, adding sauce above the ricotta in the top layer before mozzarella*)

Adult Lasagna layers starting at bottom:

  • tomato sauce
  • lasagna noodle
  • ricotta cheese (trick: before you place noodle in pan, spoon a dollop of ricotta and spread evenly)
  • shredded mozzarella optional (sometimes we skip it in the layers for the adult side)
  • sautéed vegan sausage, mushrooms, and kale
  • (repeat 5 steps above 3 times, then do one more layer with noodle->sauce>mozzarella* only)

*Consider Miyoko’s liquid mozzarella for the top layer only! It melts more easily…but you will need to add it later in the baking process and increase the temperature for those last 10 minutes or so; follow liquid cheese instructions.

Lasagna Soup (Instant Pot)

lasagna soup

Vegan Richa’s Instant Pot Lasagna Soup is one of our go-to family-friendly, plant-based meals for casual entertaining. Packed with nutritious ingredients like red lentils and veggies, this is not only healthy and hearty, it is also quite customizable. First, you can choose any combo of veggie. Plus, you can get creative with toppings to suit anyone’s palate…and impress your guests! Our favorite toppings are homemade ricotta, pesto, homemade parmesan, and shredded mozzarella for the kids. And of course garlic bread for dipping.

Note: I have noticed variations in cooking times; I often double or triple the recipe and need to cook it longer than the 3 minutes (sometimes up to 10 minutes plus time for natural release). So allow time to add more time if necessary:)

Picky eater tips: 1- Pick out ingredients that the picky eater likes (e.g. pasta and sauce) and hide a few of the other items in the bowl. 2- Top with cheese of choice and bread to dip.

Vegan Alfredo

vegan alfredo
Alfredo with sautéed mushrooms
vegan alfredo
Vegan Alfredo with roasted asparagus

For a gourmet meal (really, we eat this for holiday dinners regularly!), look no further than this scrumptious The Best Vegan Garlic Alfredo Sauce by Vegan 8. The cashew-based sauce is velvety and creamy with a healthy dose of black pepper and lemon (and I always add more!).

Serve alone, or with roasted veggies (broccoli and asparagus are some of our favorites) or sauteed mushrooms. Or else, serve alone and pair with Garlicky Roasted Cauliflower.

Picky eater tips: 1. Of course, don’t top with veggies;). 2. If adding more lemon and pepper, portion out kids servings first. 3. Consider using lowering the sauce to pasta ratio. 4. Serve with fresh bread or garlic bread.

Vegan Mac and Cheese (Instant Pot or stovetop)

mac and cheese, one of the best family-friendly plant-based pasta recipes

How could I leave out mac and cheese from the family-friendly list?

We have tried and enjoyed many vegan mac and cheese styles. From cheese sauces made from cashews, potatoes, carrots, and nooch to sauces made primarily from vegan cheese and plant-based milk, and everything in between, there are dozens of awesome combinations to try:

  • Chef Chloe’s Mac & Cheese (shown above) is rich and indulgent, made with a cashew cream base.
  • For a recipe similar to the kid-friendly dairy version in taste and texture, Indulgent Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese by Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen is a good choice. Mild, smooth, and creamy, it is one of my kiddos’ favorites! I use pre-shredded for the cheese (these are my favorite vegan brands). I include all of the optional ingredients, and usually add hot sauce to the adult servings.
  • Nora Cooks has a wonderful recipe too, combining both cashews and plant-based cheese.

Picky eater tips: Consider omitting some of the optional ingredients, or else adding them in after serving your picky eater. I would specifically consider omitting nutritional yeast from sensitive palates at first, as it a distinct flavor (although 2 tbsp is not very much, less sensitive palates may not notice).

I hope you enjoy one or more of these family-friendly, plant-based dinner recipes soon, and when you do, please let me know what you think by commenting below!

For more kid-friendly ideas, check out:

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