Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is a classic Italian recipe consisting of spaghetti tossed in a garlic infused olive oil pasta sauce, sometimes with red pepper flakes for a pinch of spicy. This veggie-loaded version is easy to make and full of healthy vegetables like broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes. This classically vegan and vegetarian dish comes together in under 30 minutes and is the perfect recipe for date night or a dinner party. This post is sponsored by our friends at Botticelli Foods!
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When I was younger, my parents used to take my four brothers and me to this little, local Italian restaurant for spaghetti and meatballs.
The owner would always come out to chat with us, and one week he overheard me say “I’m tired of the same old spaghetti and meatballs.” He asked me if I liked garlic, and, of course, I said yes, (I’ve always LOVED garlic!).
He responded, “Then you’re going to love this! It’s my personal favorite. Spaghetti aglio e olio.” And then he closed his eyes, breathed in deeply, and smiled. I understood spaghetti, but my ten-year-old self had no idea what else he was saying.
He brought out the dish himself to explain that aglio e olio meant “garlic and oil”, and you could add almost anything else to it. I was hooked the minute I smelled it. That heavy aroma of garlic just filled the air as it rose with the steam. With the first bite, it became my personal favorite too. And I think it might just become yours as well.
FAQ: Is spaghetti aglio olio vegetarian?
The traditional recipe for spaghetti aglio e olio is vegetarian. It only really requires minced garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Some people will add parmesan, which is easily omitted or just use a vegan version!
Aglio Olio Ingredients
Most traditional aglio e olio recipes call for 3-6 simple ingredients, like:
- Spaghetti – Linguine or other pasta can also be used. Gluten-free pasta should work too, depending on the brand.
- Botticelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Don’t skimp here; get the GOOD stuff! We recommend Botticelli…more on that below!
- Garlic cloves – Minced or thinly sliced (many traditional recipes call for thinly sliced)
- Red pepper flakes – Optional but awesome to add spiciness!
- Salt + Pepper
Our veggie-loaded version uses all of the above + the following add-ins:
- Broccoli rabe – Chopped. This dish is PERFECT with broccoli rabe, but broccoli florets and broccolini will also work.
- Roasted red peppers – Sliced
- Sun dried tomatoes – We use dehydrated sun dried tomatoes, rehydrate them in some hot water, and reserve about 3 Tbsp of it to use in the sauce.
- Black olives – Sliced
The Best Olive Oil for Aglio e Olio
The brand of olive oil you use in Aglio e Olio is a crucial choice. We love the Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Botticelli Foods because it’s made from the highest quality olives from exclusive regions in the Mediterranean. It adds some seriously BIG flavor to this dish which makes the whole experience simply decadent – like you’re eating at a restaurant in your own home!
Aside from the unmatched quality of their products (And side note: They also make a Vegan Bolognese which is downright spectacular!), Botticelli Foods prides itself on bringing you the highest quality and most authentic Italian flavors which is EXACTLY what you need for a soul-warming bowl of Aglio e Olio like this.
FAQ: Can I use cooking oil for aglio olio? As discussed above, you want to ensure you’re using a good, quality olive oil like Botticelli when making this pasta dish. The weight of the flavor is really carried by the olive oil, so I would not suggest using vegetable oil or canola oil when making spaghetti aglio e olio.
How to Make Vegetarian Aglio e Olio
This Vegetarian Aglio e Olio recipe is so easy to make in 5 simple steps and under 30 minutes. (Make sure you have your veggies chopped ahead of time because once the process begins, it goes fast!)
Step 1: First, cook the pasta according to package directions but do not rinse. If you’re using a removable colander, leave the pasta water and use it to blanch the broccoli rabe next.
Step 2: Next, bring a large pot of salted water (about 6-8 cups) to a boil, and blanch the chopped broccoli rabe for 1-1½ minutes. Drain and tamp dry with a paper towel.
Step 3: Then, combine the Botticelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a large saute pan and turn heat to medium-low. Let the garlic toast/brown slightly in the oil for about 5-7 minutes as the spices and flavors infuse the oil.
Step 4: Turn the heat to low, add broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, and sun dried tomatoes as well as 3 tablespoons of the sun dried tomato liquid to the saute pan, toss to coat, and let cook in the pan for about 3-5 minutes.
Step 5: Finally, transfer pasta to a large bowl. Pour the contents of the saute pan over the pasta and fold gently to incorporate.
Why is my aglio olio too oily? One reason your pasta may seem too oily is because you’re rinsing it with water after straining it. Don’t do this. The oil in the dish will separate the pasta when you fold in the ingredients. The unrinsed, starchier pasta will also absorb more of the oil, whereas it will just run off rinsed pasta (because oil and water don’t mix) and collect at the bottom of the serving bowl.
Why is my aglio olio tasteless? Other than the obvious “You didn’t add enough spices” a common reason aglio e olio might be tasteless is because you’re heating the olive oil before adding the garlic, etc, or cooking at too high a temperature. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, etc to the olive oil BEFORE turning the heat to a low temperature so the flavors have a chance to develop throughout the oil before the garlic starts to brown.
What to Serve with Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
Serve this Aglio e Olio hot for the perfect pasta dinner. This recipe makes about 4-5 large servings, so it’s perfect for date night + leftovers or a small dinner party!
FAQ: What do you eat with aglio olio? I just love serving the spaghetti aglio e olio with some good garlic bread made with our Vegan Cheese Seasoning. It may seem like garlic overload, but trust me, it’s not. If you prefer a lighter side, try our Easy Vegan Caesar Salad. For a plant-based protein option, we love our Balsamic Tomato Tofu Cutlets or just toss in some drained and rinsed chickpeas.
Aglio Olio + Wine Pairing
A crisp Italian Pinot Grigio is the perfect wine pairing for this Veggie-Loaded Aglio e Olio. Nothing goes better with garlic, and the acidity will be a refreshing intermission between bites of the rich olive oil sauce. If you’re looking for a great organic + vegan-friendly option, check out Ziobaffa.
How to Store Leftover Vegan Aglio Olio
Leftover Aglio e Olio stores well in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. The flavor actually amps up over time, so it is a great option to make the day before. However, we’ve found once you hit day 4, the broccoli rabe can get a bit wonky.
To reheat, simply microwave or heat on the stove in a saute pan on low until warmed through, stirring often. If you’re heating it up on the stove, adding 2 Tbsp of water can help steam the pasta and heat everything faster and more evenly.
We do not recommend freezing leftover Aglio e Olio.
If you try this Vegetable Aglio e Olio recipe, let us know how it goes!
We’d love for you to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps more people find it!
More Vegan Italian Recipes:
- 1 lb (dry weight) spaghetti
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped
- 3/4 cup Botticelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 8-10 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, sliced
- 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced and rehydrated (reserve the liquid)
- 1/3 cup black olives, sliced
- COOK THE PASTA: Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, do not rinse, and set aside. If you’re using a removable colander, leave the pasta water and use it to blanch the broccoli rabe next.
- BLANCH THE BROCCOLI RABE: Bring a large pot of salted water (about 6-8 cups) to a boil, and blanch the chopped broccoli rabe for 1-1 ½ minutes. Drain and tamp dry with a paper towel.
- TOAST THE GARLIC: Combine the Botticelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a large saute pan and turn heat to medium-low. Let the garlic toast/brown slightly in the oil for about 5-7 minutes as the spices and flavors infuse the oil.
- COOK THE VEGGIES: Turn the heat to low, add broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, and sun dried tomatoes as well as 3 tablespoons of the sun dried tomato liquid to the saute pan, toss to coat, and let cook in the pan for about 3-5 minutes.
- TOSS IT TOGETHER: Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Pour the contents of the saute pan over the pasta and fold gently to incorporate. Serve hot and enjoy!
Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 256mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.