There are plenty of pasta dishes that take a long list of ingredients, like a from-scratch bolognese or an intricately layered lasagna. They can also require an extra trip or two to the store to get fresh meat, special cheeses, produce, or specific pasta shapes.
If you didn't spend time planning ahead and need a meal in a hurry, you can enjoy a delicious, carb-fueled night with just a few pantry staples. All of the following recipes use ingredients you probably have lying around while still tasting great.
01 of 11
This pantry pasta is warm, hearty, and full of French onion soup flavor. The onions are lightly caramelized, then tossed with al dente pasta, buttery breadcrumbs, and of course nutty gruyere cheese—all items that are readily found in a well-stocked kitchen.
The beauty of this pantry pasta is that the variations are endless-- try adding chicken or chickpeas for more protein, or mushrooms, spinach or any other fresh vegetables you might have on hand.
02 of 11
Pull out a few jars from the back of your cabinet or fridge to make this flavorful and quick pasta. Bright and bursting with flavors, sun-dried tomatoes pack a punch along with black olives and artichoke hearts. If you don't have bowtie pasta, use another shape like penne or rotini, and leave off the fresh basil if there isn't any handy. Artichoke and sun-dried tomato pasta is ready in under 30 minutes start to finish, making it great for busy weeknights.
03 of 11
This elegant pasta dish uses a creamy, bean-based sauce instead of the traditional tomato or alfredo. It's a high-protein alternative that's also vegan. All you need is angel hair or spaghetti, a can of chickpeas, a few dried spices, and a squeeze of lemon if you have it (bottled lemon juice will work in a pinch). Chickpea pasta is hearty and satisfying without the need for lots of fresh ingredients.
04 of 11
All you need to make this simply delicious easy pesto pasta is a jar of pesto, penne, and some parmesan cheese. When it comes down to it, the parmesan is optional, making it essentially a two-ingredient dish. It's easy to build onto, adding cooked chicken, shrimp, spinach, or other veggies. Or serve as-is for a tasty meal that couldn't be easier.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11
Rich and vibrant, creamy pasta and tomato sauce only takes a few ingredients and a few minutes to make. The combination of al dente pasta, jarred tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, and cream cheese is a winning one, and is sure to be a hit with the whole family. You can skip the sautéed onion if you don't have any on hand or want to save a few minutes.
06 of 11
This vegan pasta puttanesca gets tons of flavor from olives, capers, and even a little olive brine. There's no need for cheese when a dish is the delicious all on its own. Replace the fresh basil with a few pinches of dried basil if you don't have fresh herbs available. The dash of red pepper flakes adds a little heat without making it too spicy.
07 of 11
Utilizing canned goods like beans, corn, and pimentos, this simple pasta dish is perfect when you can't make a trip to the store. Tossed with store-bought Italian dressing, it has plenty of flavor without any fresh ingredients needed. Make a big batch since leftover pasta and bean salad makes a nice, easy lunch.
08 of 11
Whether you follow a vegan diet or you've run out of cheese, nutritional yeast is a healthy, tasty alternative that's shelf-stable. The flakes may look like fish food, but they taste nice and cheesy, especially when added to creamy sauces like this one. The texture and flavor of nutrition yeast pasta is similar to an alfredo dish without the need for fresh cream or cheese.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11
A little canned pumpkin purée, nondairy milk, onion, and garlic makes a creamy, vegan, gluten-free sauce that only takes a few minutes to throw together. Toss with your favorite pasta for a change of pace. If you have them, top vegan pumpkin pasta with chopped walnuts or pine nuts for some crunch.
10 of 11
Sometimes simple is best, and few things are more satisfying than al dente pasta tossed with fresh garlic and salty cheese. The fresh parsley is optional, and you can always dress this recipe up with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or a little lemon zest. Make pasta with garlic and cheese a one dish meal by topping with chicken, grilled veggies, shrimp, or mushrooms.
11 of 11
Tahini is a sesame seed paste that's frequently used in dishes like hummus and has a long shelf life. It's nutty, rich, and creamy, making it a tasty base for a pasta sauce. Soy sauce, lemon juice, and honey add dimension to this simple tahini sauce that can be tossed with fettuccine, linguine, spaghetti, or Asian noodles like soba.