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5 Ingredient Penne Pasta

Looking for easy pasta recipes to cook up after a long day? My 5-Ingredient Penne Pasta dish is not only delicious but it also vegetarian and vegan.

This dish is great for busy weeknights and anyone who is looking for meatless Monday recipe inspiration.

My penne pasta recipe is good for the whole family, especially the picky toddlers!

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5-Ingredient Penne Pasta
Toss the spinach in fresh and mix it to combine.

5-Ingredient Penne Pasta is a delicious dish!

And yes you heard right, this easy dinner only takes 5-ingredients. You will need:

  • A box of penne pasta of your choice. For this I use gluten free penne from Barilla. You can also use regular pasta if you like.
  • Portobello mushrooms. These mushrooms are juicy and definitely take on a meaty texture when cooked. This is the star ingredient to this dish!
  • Baby spinach leaves. I like spinach because not only is it packed with nutrients, it’s mild enough not to over power the other flavors in this delicious meal.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil. You can find this at Trader Joe’s or even regular supermarkets. I chose sun-dried tomatoes because they have so much flavor and work well with the mushrooms.
  • Italian seasoning. I’m kind of a seasoning snob and I really do love the Italian seasoning from Flavor God. I think it is that he uses paprika in his blend. So to me that is game changing and paprika really adds a nice zest to the Italian seasoning. You can always substitute with what you have on hand.
5-ingredient penne pasta
Red chili flakes finishes this dish off with perfection.

Why you should make it for dinner tonight

This is a healthy pasta dish using simple ingredients.

Easy pasta dishes like this are good foundations to build on. When you learn to make a tasty cooked pasta dish using short ingredient lists , it will help bring out your creative side in the kitchen when you’re ready to create new recipes. Olive oil and salt are generally a pantry staple which is an added bonus.

What’s wonderful about penne pasta recipes is that they are so interchangeable. This recipe is also great for the entire family or if you have a dual diet household with one person who eats meat and the other doesn’t. You can easily add italian sausage , chicken sausage, rotisserie chicken or a piece of salmon.

More ways to enjoy 5-Ingredient Penne Pasta

Here are some suggestions on how to ingredient swap while making this.

  • You can replace the portobello mushrooms with leftover chicken and add a creamy white sauce and a dash of black pepper to make this a chicken penne pasta.
  • Ground beef can be used and throw in some cherry tomatoes. Let the cherry tomatoes cook down and when they burst open, it will make a simple sauce.
  • Switch out spinach for bell peppers
  • Use an Alfredo sauce or spaghetti sauce.
  • Add another kind of pasta sauce or if seasonally available, a pumpkin sauce.
  • For a little heat, you can add red pepper flakes or sprinkle pepper jack cheese on top.
  • Add a little bit of parmesan cheese on top with fresh parsley.
  • Toss in fresh basil.
  • If you don’t have dried seasonings, use fresh garlic.
5-ingredient penne pasta
close up picture of portobello mushrooms and red chili flakes on top of penne
Portobello mushrooms are so juicy and flavorful.

Why this is one of my favorites recipes

I enjoy meatless dishes that are flavorful and fast to make because that gives me more free time to work on other things or enjoy time with my family. Portobello mushrooms are one of my favorite “meaty” additions to vegetarian cooking and they work well in this simple recipe. This penne pasta tastes good the next day and can be made into a whole other dish by following the ingredient swap list above.

What can I serve as a side dish for this 5-Ingredient Penne Pasta

A refreshing green salad or warm garlic bread sticks would be a great accmpimient to this dish. Also a crisp glass of white wine will pair well.

Here is a couple of tips on Portobello Mushrooms:

  • You will want to remove the stems.
  • Spray them with water to get any excess dirt off of them and then lay them on baking sheet to dry.
  • Store Portobello’s whole versus slicing them. They will stay fresher longer if you keep them whole.

Looking for more easy dinner ideas? Be sure to check out these recipes!

Let’s Cook!

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5-ingredient penne pasta

5 Ingredient Penne Pasta

A healthy and gluten free Vegetarian dinner that will be on your dinner table in under 30 minutes!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Italian, Vegetarian
Servings 4
Calories 394 kcal



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
  • 12 ounces gluten free penne or penne of your choice
  • 3 portobello mushrooms rinsed, stems removed and patted dry
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • kosher salt as needed


  • In a large pot of salted water, start by cooking the penne according to the package directions. While the pasta cooks, start on the mushrooms.
  • Preheat the grill pan, over medium-low heat then add the olive oil. Season the portobello mushrooms on both sides with a touch of salt and Italian seasoning. Then add them to the pan, flipping every 5 minutes. Total cook time for the mushrooms should be about 17-18 minutes. The mushrooms will be done when you press on the center with the tongs and it is juicy and more soft.
    Remove from pan and set aside. Slice or cube when adding to the pasta.
  • When the penne is al dente, drain the pasta water and then add it back to the pan.
  • Add the spinach leaves and sun-dried tomatoes to the hot pasta. Then add the portobello mushrooms. Gently toss to combine. Season with additional salt if needed.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


Please Note: Optional garnishes are crushed red chili flakes or parmesan cheese. 
Barilla makes delicious gluten free penne. You can substitute with any gluten shape noodle you like.
You can also substitutes with other vegetables such as red bell pepper, green peppers, zucchini, or regular mushrooms.
You can make this lower in carbs if you use less pasta per serving and add additional vegetables. 
You can bake the portobellos if you don’t have a grill pan. Roast them for about 17 minutes at 400 degrees.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.


Calories: 394kcalCarbohydrates: 70gProtein: 14gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.003gSodium: 59mgPotassium: 724mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1592IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Gluten Free, Penne Pasta, Vegetarian Penne Pasta
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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