The best vegetarian rasta pasta recipe! Roasting the vegetables makes all the difference, adding so much rich flavor with little effort required. Rasta pasta is a delicious fusion meal bringing Jamaican flavors to a creamy comforting pasta, and makes for a hearty meatless meal.
Introducing my best vegetarian rasta pasta recipe
I tried making Rasta Pasta sooo many different ways before arriving at this recipe, and the bottom line is this: roasting your veggies is a game changer!
For those who aren’t familiar with Rasta Pasta… the basic idea is a creamy alfredo style pasta is combined with Jamaican jerk seasonings and tri-colored peppers. The “rasta” element of the name is in reference to the colors of the peppers matching the Rastafarian flag.
It’s hard to trace the origins of Rasta Pasta – like many fusion dishes, it pops up all over the world with different stories and lots of different iterations on offer. It’s often made on the stovetop, by sauteéing the peppers, but my recipe asks you to take the extra time to roast them … (and to roast some tomatoes and mushrooms while you’re at it.)
Why go to the effort of roasting all the vegetables?
Peppers are at the heart of this dish and they are one of those veggies that really benefit from roasting. The combination of sweet, melt in the mouth peppers and tomatoes + the deep smoky spices + cream and cheese? It’s irresistible.
This recipe takes a little time to come together, but the method is pretty simple…
- roast the vegetables in individual pans
- combine them into one dish with the seasonings, cream and cheese to form a rich sauce
- mix the pasta in
Admittedly, this method does compromise on the aesthetics of rasta pasta – with the peppers melting into the sauce like they do, you don’t see the different colors contrasting as you would with sturdier pieces of pepper mixed into a sauce made separately. But it’s just so tasty like this! I couldn’t do it any other way.
Top Tips & Ingredient Notes
- My recipe calls for ready made jerk seasoning, and uses 3 tablespoons. I have to stress that my seasoning blend is MILD, and 3 tablespoons leaves this dish flavorful with a little kick but not hot. If you have hotter seasoning, definitely cut this down to 2 tablespoons.
- Ideally, you’re best off with a parmesan, pecorino or other strong hard Italian cheese rather than something like cheddar. (If you’re vegetarian, parmesan can be a problematic ingredient due to the use of animal rennet, but something like a generic Italian hard cheese will slot in perfectly.)
- I add some cilantro (fresh coriander) but if it’s not a flavor you love, you can use any fresh green herb you wish. Basil, chives or parsley could all be good here.
- Keep this cheap! Don’t feel like you need to source high end ingredients for this recipe – there is so much going on here, so much flavor being added, it’s going to turn out just fine even with the lowest tier ingredients.
- Getting all of your vegetables roasted at the same time is a little tricky. It will depend on your oven size and performance, but I find that three pans roasting in one oven can throw off the temperature and create heat spots. So just bear in mind that your veggies may not necessarily cook in the timeframe I give, one thing might be ready before the others, etc. This is all fine! Just keep an eye on things and remove pans that seem done before the others.
More Dinner Recipes with Peppers
Roasted Veggie Rasta Pasta
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 3 bell peppers (red, green and yellow), sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 10 oz (250 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 7 oz (200 g) mushrooms, sliced
- 3 tbsp jerk seasoning
- ½ cup (50 g) cheese, parmesan, pecorino or other hard strong cheeses work best
- ⅔ cup (160 ml) double (heavy) cream
- 9 oz (250 g) farfalle or other short pasta shape
- 1 handful cilantro (fresh coriander), chopped
- 1 lime , for squeezing
- olive oil, for cooking
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F.
- Toss the peppers and onions with a light coating of olive oil, salt and pepper and then scatter them on a baking sheet. Place on the top shelf of the oven (don't wait for the other vegetables to be prepped – put these in first because they tend to take the longest to be ready!)1 red onion, 3 bell peppers (red, green and yellow), olive oil
- In a large casserole dish, add your cherry tomatoes, half of the garlic and enough olive oil to cover the base of the pan. (A 9×13 dish is ideal for this – we will add the other veggies to this dish after they are roasted so we need more space than the tomatoes alone require). Place in the oven on the middle shelf.4 cloves garlic, 10 oz cherry tomatoes, olive oil
- Finally, toss the mushrooms and the remaining garlic in a light coating of olive oil. Scatter in a small baking dish and place in the oven on the lower shelf.7 oz mushrooms, olive oil, 4 cloves garlic
- Cook for 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are all roasted. The peppers and onions should be soft and browned, the tomatoes burst and jammy, and the mushrooms reduced and browned. If one thing is ready before the others, remove it early and let it sit out covered until everything else is ready too.
- Once your vegetables are nearly ready, get your pasta boiling so that it will be ready shortly after the vegetables.9 oz farfalle or other short pasta shape
- Once all of the vegetables are ready, pour the peppers, onions and mushrooms into the same dish as the tomatoes.
- Add the jerk seasoning mix and mix through to coat all of the vegetables. The residual heat in the pan should allow the seasoning to bloom and release its fragrance. Once it stops sizzling, add the juice of half of the lime. (If your pan isn't hot enough for the seasoning to bloom and sizzle, just put it back into the hot oven for a few moments to achieve this)3 tbsp jerk seasoning, 1 lime
- Add the cheese and cream and mix through the pan. The cheese should melt and a creamy sauce should form. (If there's not enough residual heat in the pan for the cheese to melt, just place it back in the oven for a few moments and then try mixing again.)1/2 cup cheese, 2/3 cup double (heavy) cream
- When the pasta is ready, drain it and then mix it into the dish. Add the cilantro, a final squeeze of lime juice and serve immediately.1 handful cilantro (fresh coriander), 1 lime