This Pasta with Peas is fast, simple, and so yummy. And with just a few ingredients, you can make a satisfying vegetarian meal to share with the kids.

pasta with peas in bowl.

Pasta with Peas

We rely on pasta to make easy vegetarian meals and this version with peas in the mix is one of our staples. It’s rich in vegetarian protein, it’s very fast, and it’s easy for little kids to eat—and for grownups to enjoy, too.

I keep frozen peas in the freezer and pasta in the pantry so I can make this whenever it’s on our menu. You can of course add chicken, diced steak, or shrimp on the side—or another protein. It’s super versatile.

This is an easy family dinner and it can also be packed as a hot lunch in a thermos for kids for daycare, preschool, or school.

(You may also like Pesto Pasta with Peas, Orzotto with Peas, and my Vegetable Sauces for Pasta.)

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Ingredients You Need

Below is a look at the ingredients you need to make this pasta recipe for kids for the kids, or to share with the kids.

ingredients to make quick pasta with peas.
  • Pasta: You can use any type of pasta in this Pasta with Peas recipe, though I prefer to use a small shape such as small shells, ditalini, or elbows so the pasta is a similar size as the peas and it’s easy to eat with a spoon.
  • Frozen peas: I prefer the sweetness and lower starch content in petite frozen peas, so that’s what I’m using here. You can also use regular frozen peas if you prefer.
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter in my kitchen so I can control the salt. If you only have salted butter or simply prefer it, that is also fine.
  • Parmesan cheese: Grated Parmesan cheese adds creaminess and flavor to this recipe.
  • Heavy cream: You have the option to add a splash of heavy cream to add a little more richness and creaminess.
  • Salt, pepper, freshly grated lemon zest, minced fresh basil: Feel free to top with any additional flavors that your family prefers.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s an overview of how to make this recipe so you know what to expect from the process. Scroll down for the full recipe, including the amounts and the timing.

pasta and peas in colander.
  1. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Add the peas to a colander set in the sink.
  2. When the pasta is cooked, drain in the colander right over the peas.
  3. Return the pasta and the peas to the pot. Stir in the butter, Parmesan, and cream, if using.
  4. Serve warm with any optional toppings as desired.

To make a version of this recipe with a blended sauce, try my Pasta with Pea sauce.

pasta with peas in pot on counter.

How to Store

Add leftover pasta, once cooled, to an airtight storage container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Warm through in 15-30 second increments in the microwave to serve.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve this as a vegetarian main dish, or pair it with the following recipes for a perfect weeknight dinner:

pasta with peas in bowl with hands.

Best Tips for Success

  • I prefer using small shaped pasta here, such as small shells, rings, ditalini, or orrechiette since they are easiest to eat with the peas.
  • Top with salt, cracked black pepper, freshly grated lemon zest, minced fresh herbs such as basil or parsley, or crushed red pepper as you like.
  • The cream adds creaminess, but it’s optional.
  • I prefer “petite” frozen peas as they are less starchy, but regular peas work, too.
  • Dairy-free: Skip the Parmesan and use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter.
  • Add crisp-cooked bacon or pancetta to make this extra yum.
  • Try my Mac and Cheese with Peas and my Spinach Pasta Sauce, too.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe, so please comment and rate it below.

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pasta with peas in bowl.

Quick Pasta with Peas

With just a few ingredients, you can make a satisfying vegetarian meal to share with the kids. This Pasta with Peas is fast, simple, and so yummy
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 278kcal
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta (I prefer small shapes here but any type works)
  • 2 cups frozen petite peas
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (or half-and-half, optional)
  • salt, pepper, freshly grated lemon zest, minced fresh basil (optional as desired)
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Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the package directions. (I prefer using small shaped pasta here, such as small shells, rings, ditalini, or orrechiette since they are easiest to eat with the peas.)
  • Add the peas to a colander set in the sink.
  • When the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain in the colander right over the peas.
  • Return the pasta and the peas to the pot. Stir in the butter, Parmesan, and cream, if using.
  • Serve warm with any optional toppings as desired.

Notes

    • Add leftovers, once cooled, to an airtight storage container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Warm through in 15-30 second increments in the microwave to serve.
    • I prefer using small shaped pasta here, such as small shells, rings, ditalini, or orrechiette since they are easiest to eat with the peas.
    • Top with salt, cracked black pepper, freshly grated lemon zest, minced fresh herbs such as basil or parsley, or crushed red pepper as you like.
    • The cream adds creaminess, but it’s optional.
    • I prefer “petite” frozen peas as they are less starchy, but regular peas work, too.

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 82mg, Potassium: 221mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 392IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Another winning dish in our household from Amy! So easy to make and great for the spring/summer. My toddler, husband and I all loved it!

  2. Looks delicious. I’m an adult and I would definitely eat this. If you want more veggies, you can just add some on the side. I bet small tomatoes, carrots or cucumber is a delicious side to this.

    1. You can freeze it but know that the pasta will be softer after it’s frozen, thawed, and warmed through. 1 pound of pasta is 16 ounces.

  3. I think I’m going to sub the heavy cream for some blended cottage cheese to add creaminess and little extra protein! Looks delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    Toddler & the fam all enjoyed this one! Added some grilled sausage. Super easy weeknight dinner. Thank you! 🙂

  5. Could you sub coconut cream (and dairy free butter) to make this dairy free? If not, any other suggestions?

    1. Yes to dairy free butter and I would do a little chicken or vegetable broth, or other non-dairy type whipping cream. I am not sure the coconut flavor would be best, so if there’s a more neutral option, that would be my preference.

    2. You can also use a little bit of hommus (yes the chickpea spread kind). It gives pasta a little bit of a hommus taste but works great as a creamer in dishes like this.

      Also if you are not fully dairy free (just lactose free) both cream and butter has a very low amount of lactose. And since it is heated up most people with lactose intolerance should be fine. It is of course something entirely else if the can’t have dairy.