Simple Ricotta Pasta with artichokes, roasted red peppers, and capers, is a healthy, fast, and easy recipe that will become your savior on busy weeknights.
Trust me I’ve been there.
You have a lovely gourmet dinner planned (ahem, Red Wine Braised Short Ribs), the ingredients are purchased, and you’re looking forward to a fun night in the kitchen, but then life happens.
When you get home and the dog got into the garbage, your kids need help with their homework, the laundry didn’t run, and your partner calls to say they’re stuck at work.
You need a plan B or else it’s takeout for the third time this week.
Cue the 20-minute ricotta pasta! Makes weeknight meals a breeze!
5 Star Review
“This recipe was SO good! My husband couldn’t get enough of it. We will definitely be making this again!”— Katie —
This healthy ricotta pasta is on regular rotation in our house because:
- This dreamboat of a dish is quick, easy, and comes together in a single pot (like these other One Pot Meals).
- Like Penne Alla Vodka, it combines ingredients that require little-to-no prep work and you can keep stocked in your freezer or pantry for emergency last-minute dinners.
- Vegetarian ricotta pasta is healthy—low in fat and calories, but high in fiber, plant-based protein, and other nutrients.
It doesn’t get better than this (for another creamy pasta delight, check out Chicken Alfredo Bake).
How to Make Ricotta Pasta
One pot, a tub of ricotta, and veggies are all you need to get this healthy, simple, creamy ricotta pasta with whole wheat penne on your table in under 30 minutes.
- Pasta. Whole wheat pasta lends a subtle nuttiness to the pasta, along with extra fiber and whole grain goodness.
- Frozen Artichokes. While canned or marinated artichoke hearts are great for recipes like this Mediterranean Shrimp or Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese, I love using frozen artichokes in this simple recipe because it lets their natural flavors really shine. If you can’t find them, canned artichokes work too (see FAQs for tips).
- Ricotta. I always reach for part-ski ricotta when making this recipe. However, you could opt for low fat or whole milk ricotta if you prefer. Just don’t use fat free. It lacks the flavor and richness this creamy ricotta pasta demands.
- White Wine Vinegar. Lends a little acidity to balance the creamy ricotta.
- Roasted Red Peppers. Pair perfectly with the artichokes and make this dish taste like it’s straight from the Mediterranean (like this Italian Farro Salad).
- Capers. For a touch of salty, briny Italian flavor (as in this Italian Tuna Salad).
- Garlic + Dion Mustard. Gives this dish just the right amount of zip.
- Red Pepper Flakes. Adds a little spark of heat.
- Parsley. For freshness and color. *Could use fresh basil leaves as well.
- Parmesan. To finish this easy pasta dish with a final flourish of cheese because more cheese is always good when it involves pasta (e.g. Italian Mac and Cheese). Parmigiano-Reggiano is pretty popular for freshly grated Parmesan but you can also use Pecorino Romano.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta and frozen artichokes until tender.
- Drain and return the pasta and artichokes to the pot.
- Stir or whisk together the ricotta mixture.
- Add the ricotta to the pasta.
- Toss in the remaining ingredients. Stir and serve with Parmesan. ENJOY!
- Lemon Ricotta Pasta. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to the ricotta mixture. Swap the vinegar for lemon juice. Squeeze lemon juice over the top if desired.
- Ricotta Pasta with Arugula. For another veggie boost, stir a few handfuls of arugula in with the red peppers, allowing the heat of the pasta to wilt the arugula. Combine with the above method for a Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Arugula.
- Tomato Ricotta Pasta. Stir in 1/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes.
- Ricotta Pasta with Shrimp. Saute 1 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp with olive oil and garlic. Stir into the pasta at the end, or serve along side (or, for a crispy version, serve with Air Fryer Shrimp).
- Ricotta Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli. Stir in 1 cup cooked shredded rotisserie chicken and 1 cup cooked broccoli.
To pair with the artichokes and creamy ricotta cheese, I suggest trying a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Chablis.
- To Store. This healthy ricotta pasta may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze. Leftover ricotta pasta may be frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating.
- To Reheat. Warm leftovers on the stovetop over medium heat, in a covered pot with a lid, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Alternatively, you may also microwave until steaming.
If you are preparing this recipe with plans to freeze it, I recommend undercooking the pasta slightly. This will help the pasta not become mushy or overcooked once thawed and reheated.
What to Serve with Ricotta Pasta
Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
Easy Sauteed Zucchini Recipe
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Large Pot. This one-pot meal is PACKED with healthy ingredients, thus, it requires one BIG pot to hold all of its yummy goodness.
- Colander. For draining the artichokes and al dente penne pasta.
- Mixing Bowl. For whipping up the perfectly seasoned herbed ricotta sauce.
With dinner salvaged, the laundry done, and algebra remastered you can now sit back, relax, and be happy that at least your dinner plans for tomorrow are covered.
And if life happens again at least there’s always Homemade Hamburger Helper.
Frequently Asked Questions
I find mine at Trader Joe’s but you can typically find them at most grocery stores in the frozen vegetables aisle. In a pinch, you could swap for canned or jarred artichoke hearts (packed in water NOT oil). If you make this swap, add them at the end with the roasted red peppers rather than with the boiling pasta.
Certainly. I love that this is a vegetarian ricotta pasta, but if you (or someone at your table) has to have meat with every meal, you could add Grilled Chicken Breast, Baked Salmon in Foil, or Baked Turkey Meatballs.
No. Similar to Grill Halloumi or queso blanco, ricotta doesn’t fully melt when warmed. However, its fat and liquid content keep the cheese moist and creamy when added to pasta to give a nice creamy texture.
No. Sometimes when making pasta you will see that a recipe calls for reserved pasta water. This helps keep your pasta moist and creamy. No need to keep the starchy pasta water for this recipe the ricotta does all of the work for you.
- 1 package whole wheat penne pasta (12 ounces)
- 2 package frozen artichoke hearts (9 ounce packages) thawed
- 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese (OK to substitute low fat or even whole milk ricotta, but do not use fat free)
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar white balsamic vinegar, or champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 jar roasted red bell peppers (12 ounces) drained and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. With 2 minutes remaining in the pasta cook time, add artichoke hearts.
- Drain, then return the artichokes and pasta to the pot.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, basil, mustard, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Pour the ricotta cheese mixture over pasta.
- Add sliced red peppers, capers, and parsley. Stir pasta gently to coat. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.
- TO STORE: This healthy ricotta pasta may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- TO FREEZE: Leftover ricotta pasta may be frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating.
- TO REHEAT: Warm on the stovetop over medium heat, in a covered pot with a lid, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Alternatively, you may also microwave until steaming.
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Try one of these other healthy, vegetarian pasta recipes perfect for busy weeknights.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen frozen artichoke hearts…huh! Must find because this is a must make! :)
Hey Nicole! I buy mine at Trader Joe’s, but I see them called for in a variety of recipes, so I think they are fairly available. Maybe just keep an eye out in the freezer section?
This recipe was SO good! My husband couldn’t get enough of it and his Italian roots were going crazy for the ricotta. We added a side of chicken because the hubby HAS to have meat at all meals, and it was delicious. We will definitely be making this again!
Katie, I’m so, so excited to hear that you and your husband enjoyed this recipe! Appealing to someone’s Italian roots is just about the best compliment I could wish for :) Thanks for taking time to share your review, and again I’m so thrilled you liked it!
Dear Erin, This looks like such a wonderful meal. Pinning! xo, Catherine
As always your recipes are spot on! Loved this a lot, I ended up adding more garlic but that’s just me. This is the third recipe of yours I’ve made and can’t wait to try the rest!
This makes my day! I’m so glad you are enjoying my recipes so far, and I hope you love the next one too. Thank you!
This looks absolutely delicious, and I am lucky to have some ricotta cheese in the fridge leftover from making a lasagna a couple days ago – YAY! Unfortunately I don’t have any vinegar. Do you think I could omit it? Or are there any substitutions that might work for this dish?
Hi Cindy! I’m so glad you like the look of this recipe. The idea of the vinegar is to give the dish some acidity. I think a great substitution it would be fresh squeezed lemon juice. I hope that helps and that you enjoy it!
The saving grace of Saturday night dinner! Today was honestly option (a) procrastination, but I still made a healthy meal thanks to your recipe. I had all the ingredients on hand (canned instead of frozen artichokes, dried instead of fresh parsley, spirals instead of penne pasta). My boyfriend and I enjoyed it very much. I always trust your spices, and he particularly liked the crushed red pepper flakes.
Amy, I’m always so happy to know that you enjoy my recipes. Thanks for trying this one and reporting back!
Excited to try this one! Have you ever made it with any meat protein added? Trying to decide what to accompany it with… grilled chicken maybe?
Hi Courtney, I think a side of grilled chicken would be delicious!
I love this recipe! I used gluten free penne and portioned it out for 5 lunches over the course of a week. The ricotta and artichoke combo is soooo creamy and feels indulgent while being nutritious and filling. Definitely making this again!
Hi Whitney! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Fantastic, quick, easy, and most definitely yummy! Full disclosure, I couldn’t stop trying tastes of the ricotta cheese mixture while I waited for the pasta to cook 😍 I could not find frozen artichokes so I used about 6oz of frozen chopped kale, came out yummy! Next time I’ll try for the artichokes.
Hi Kirsty! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
i liked the idea of a relatively low fat healthy pasta but found this to be grainy and bland. Not a keeper for us.
I’m sorry this recipe wasn’t to your tastes, Charrington. I (and many other readers) have truly enjoyed it, so I wish you would’ve too!
I just loved this recipe! I’m excited to try different variations – adding chicken or even salmon would be great and I think the sun dried tomatoes would be on point!
Hi Heide! So glad you enjoyed the pasta! Thank you for this kind review!