These garlic noodles (aka pasta Aglio e olio with an Asian fusion) are salty, savory, garlicky, umami-rich, and ready in about 20 minutes! Garlic spaghetti not only requires just a few simple ingredients, but this version is naturally vegan and can be made gluten-free – for a hearty, comforting weeknight meal you’ll want to make time and time again!
Addictive and Flavorful Quick Garlic Noodles
This garlic noodles recipe was inspired by my garlic butter pasta (which was, in turn, inspired by Italian Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, with a creamy twist). However, this time, I’m enjoying this garlic spaghetti with a Hawaiian/Asian fusion!
Traditionally, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (meaning spaghetti with garlic and oil) is very simple and often served with Parmesan, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Meanwhile, Asian garlic noodles combine garlic with butter and a few Asian ingredients like oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sometimes fish sauce (plus sugar!) to pack in rich umami flavor. This garlic and oil pasta version lies somewhere in-between for a truly flavor-packed, cozy, comforting meal that fills you up without weighing you down.
Not only does it contain just a few simple (and inexpensive) ingredients, but this garlic pasta makes for a fabulous weeknight meal when you want something tasty in no time at all. I can’t decide if it’s insulting or just 100% accurate to describe these garlic noodles as the addictive ‘grown-up’ version of eating instant ramen as a student. I.e., they’re so quick, simple, and tasty you’ll want them multiple times a week!
Just the smell alone of the sizzling garlic in oil is enough to make you feel warm and cozy. Combine that with a few specially selected umami-rich ingredients and some veggies like mushrooms and peppers, and you have yourself an addictive fried spaghetti dish. With 8 cloves of garlic, you might want to skip this one on date night, though! (or adjust it to taste).
If you’re not as much of a fan of garlic as I am, you might enjoy these other simple vegan pasta/noodle dishes like easy lemon pasta, Asian stir-fry noodles, roasted red pepper pasta, and spicy sriracha noodles!
The Ingredients for Pasta Aglio e Olio
- Dry Noodles: Use the noodles of your choice, e.g., Asian, Italian, thin spaghetti, etc. Use gluten-free noodles if necessary. If preferred, you could also use other types of pasta shapes, though thin noodles work best for pasta Aglio e Olio.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil pasta is the traditional Italian version (Spaghetti Aglio e Olio), though adding a drop or two of toasted sesame oil can help to enhance flavor.
- Garlic: And lots of it! Adjust the amount to taste. I mince mine, though you could thinly slice it in larger pieces.
- Vegetables: I used a simple combination of sliced mushrooms and bell pepper. However, use what you like; zucchini, snow peas, spinach, tomatoes, etc.
- Soy sauce: Dark soy will provide the most flavor, but you can use reduced sodium. For a gluten-free option, I recommend tamari or coconut aminos.
- Vegetable umami: I used Yondu. Alternatively, vegan Worcestershire sauce would work or ‘vegetarian oyster sauce’ (which is labeled that way, but most often vegan).
- Spices: This garlic noodles recipe contains a simple combination of black pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, and turmeric.
- To garnish: scallions and vegan Parmesan cheese make for a delicious garlic pasta garnish.
Optional add-ins and recipe variations:
- Vegan Butter: You can either substitute the oil or use a combination of oil and butter for a richer sauce. Vegan margarine would also work.
- Parsley: Instead of (or alongside) the scallions, parsley is an excellent ‘garnish’ for this simple pan-fried noodles dish.
- White wine: Just a splash (or two) or vegan white wine can help de-glaze the pan and cook down to add an extra dimension to the garlic spaghetti.
- Lemon: Add a little lemon zest directly to the pasta, or serve with a lemon wedge to brighten the flavor.
- Noodle alternative: Instead of regular pasta, this dish would also work well with spaghetti squash or spiralized vegetable noodles like zucchini (low-carb) or butternut squash.
Read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Garlic Noodles aka Spaghetti Aglio e Olio?
- First, cook your noodles or pasta of choice according to the package directions. I used thin spaghetti and cooked for a minute less than directed for al dente results.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the minced garlic. Shallow fry for a minute, frequently stirring, before adding the thinly sliced mushrooms and bell pepper.
- Sauté the vegetables over medium-low for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in the soy sauce, vegetable umami, all the spices, and scallions.
- Allow the mixture to simmer for a further minute before adding the cooked noodles and stirring to combine well. Taste the pasta and adjust the amount of the spices/seasonings to taste.
- Finally, transfer the mushroom garlic pasta to dishes and garnish with some vegan Parmesan cheese – and enjoy the pasta Aglio e Olio with an Asian twist!
How to Store
Store: Transfer the garlic pasta to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can enjoy the leftovers cold or reheat.
Because of the speed and simplicity of this recipe, I don’t recommend freezing it. Though you may be able to (I’ve never tried).
Reheat: Reheat the garlic spaghetti gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, until heated through. Optionally, with a splash of broth or water, so they don’t dry out too much.
How to Serve Garlic Pasta?
Enjoy this garlic Parmesan pasta alone or with a side, including:
- With a crusty loaf or even garlic naan (if you really love garlic!)
- With a side salad
- Serve along with vegetable sides like steamed or roasted vegetables
- Pair with a protein like marinated tofu/tempeh
You can also turn it into an Italian date night with tiramisu for dessert!
Recipe Notes and FAQs
- Adjust the amount of garlic and chili flakes: Garlic preference is entirely subjective – so feel free to increase or decrease the amount. Likewise, with the chili based on how much heat you like food to have.
- If you prefer a slightly ‘saucier’ dish: You can save a few spoonfuls of the starchy pasta water to mix into the garlic spaghetti. It will help to make more of a sauce and allow that sauce to cling to the noodles better.
- Save the remaining pasta water: Did you know there’s no need to discard the extra pasta water? In fact, you can use it for other stocks/broths/soups/stews. Store in the fridge for 1-2 days, or the freezer for longer.
- Experiment with vegetables: Based on the season and what you have available, this garlic spaghetti is particularly versatile when it comes to flavorful veggie add-ins; spinach, kale, summer squash/zucchini, eggplant, peas, corn, asparagus, etc. Most veggies pair well with the simple, savory garlic sauce.
- Don’t overcook the pasta: Not only is it preferable when al dente, in general, but the firmer noodles are also easier to crisp up slightly in the skillet (if that’s what you’d like).
- Cook the garlic to personal preference: The less you cook it, the more robust the flavor will be, and vice versa, the more you cook it, the milder the flavor. Pay attention to not burn it!
More Vegan Pasta/Noodle Recipes
- Spinach Pasta Sauce
- Creamy Kale Avocado Pasta
- Pumpkin Pasta Bake
- Vegan Lasagna Roll-Ups
- Easy Pasta Bake
- Vegan Lasagna Soup
You might also enjoy browsing through this list of 16 vegan pasta recipes.
If you try this simple recipe for garlic noodles, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan #elavegan – I love seeing them.
- 8 oz (225 g) dry noodles e.g. spaghetti (GF if needed)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6-8 fresh garlic cloves minced (I used 8)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms sliced
- 1 medium bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp vegetable umami or use vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 pinch of turmeric
- 2 scallions green part only (chopped)
- 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.Cook noodles/pasta of choice as per package directions. I prefer to cook them 1 minute shorter (al dente).
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. Fry for 1 minute, stirring frequently, then add the mushrooms and bell pepper.
- Cook over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then stir in the soy sauce, vegetable umami (I used Yondu), all spices, and scallions.
- Let simmer for 1 further minute, then finally add the cooked noodles and stir to combine. Taste it and add more spices and/or soy sauce if desired.
- Serve in bowls, garnished with vegan Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- Noodles: Use your favorite noodles/pasta, e.g. Italian, or Asian noodles, regular or gluten-free.
- Veggies: If you aren't a fan of peppers (or mushrooms), use other veggies of choice, e.g. zucchini, snow peas, etc.
- If you prefer a slightly ‘saucier’ dish: You can save a few spoonfuls of the starchy pasta water to mix into the pan. It will help to make more of a sauce and allow that sauce to cling to the noodles better.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically