This rice cooker pasta and veggies recipe is a tasty vegan and gluten free version of American Goulash made with minimal effort and simple ingredients.
Sometimes you just want to get dinner on the table. I rely on this Rice Cooker Pasta and Veggies recipe when my schedule is overloaded. It’s a tasty meal you can make with minimal effort and it’s easy to keep the ingredients on hand.
My Version of American Goulash
American Goulash is one of the first meals I learned to prepare as a young adult. You brown some ground beef, add pasta sauce, cooked pasta and mixed veggies – stir it all together and voila – you have a meal!
Naturally I gravitated to making a plant-based version of American Goulash when I began experimenting with rice cooker pasta.
Why a rice cooker? Because you can toss in the ingredients and practically forget about them!
This recipe features just a few basic ingredients:
- Pasta sauce
- Frozen veggies
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese
I find this simple combination just as satisfying as the original meat laden version. However, if you really have a yen for a meaty texture you could try adding some cooked lentils to the dish. I’ve been known to add left over lentil taco “meat.” Apparently I have no respect for the ethnic boundaries of cuisine. I say all is fair in the pursuit of a quick and tasty meal.
Rice Cooker Pasta and Veggies
- 48 oz pasta sauce (I use 2 24 oz. jars of Barilla Tomato and Basil)
- 16 oz gluten-free pasta (I use Tinkyáda)
- 16-20 oz frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 cup frozen cut leaf spinach
- 3 cups water
- vegan Parmesan cheese to taste - see recipe.
- Thaw frozen veggies ahead of time or microwave 4-6 minutes on high until no longer frozen. (Stir at least once during microwaving.)
- Add pasta sauce, pasta, thawed veggies and water to rice cooker and stir to mix.
- Close rice cooker and cook on white rice setting.
- Midway through cooking (after about 20 minutes) carefully open rice cooker and stir pasta. Close cooker and allow cooking to continue.
- When cooking is complete stir pasta to mix, then spoon into pasta bowls.
- Sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese and serve.
I don't have a rice cooker so can I just add the ingredients to a nonstick pot and simmer on low until pasta is done and water is absorbed?
Good question Linda. The water ratio is specifically for cooking in the rice cooker. If you don't have a rice cooker what I would recommend you do instead is simply cook the veggies in the pasta water with the pasta and then drain (the way you would normally cook the pasta). Warm the sauce separately and then combine them. I often cook veggies with my pasta in the same water. The overall consistency of the sauce will be a little different than the rice cooker version and you don't have the benefit of "fixing and forgetting" it - but it's still tasty. Or you could try combining everything and simmering it like you suggested. If you go that route, I'd be interested to hear how it turns out. 🙂
I would probably just do that. Toss everything with little water, low heat, check every 5 mins if it needs more water/time, keep track and next time you know your amount of water and time 🙂
Have you tried making this in a slow cooker? If not, what do you suspect? Would it work, or require some adjustment
Hi Robert - I have not tried making it in a slow cooker - not sure how it would work... You would probably need to reduce the amount of water because the steam would not be able to escape - I'm also not sure how the pasta would hold up with the long cooking time. If you don't have a rice cooker, see my response to Linda about how you could make this recipe on the stove top. The only drawback with that approach is you can't fix it and forget it like you can with a rice cooker. I find I use my rice cooker more than my slow cooker. I don't have a big kitchen - but I think it's one of those appliances that's worth the storage space. 🙂 You can't beat it when it comes to making polenta! They aren't expensive either.
This looks so delicious! Love how easy the recipe is! 🙂
Thanks Sina! It's definitely a quick and easy weeknight meal. One of my favorites. 🙂
Brooke of Passport Couture
Yummy! Not only am I glad this recipe is vegan, but I am also happy it's something that's quick and easy.
Quick and easy is the way to go! 🙂
Great recipe and strategies for utilizing the rice cooker on this one, Margaret. If my rice cooker shuts off when I open it, would you recommend just flipping it back on? I wonder if it would take time to heat back up, or if I could turn it back on right away...
Thanks Jade. I'm guessing flipping your rice cooker back on immediately after it turns off should work okay. I don't think it would have time to cool - you're just giving the ingredients a quick stir. Let me know how you make out!
Hi Margaret! This looks delicious and easy! Can I ask how big your rice cooker is? I have a 6 cup rice cooker, but it looks smaller than yours and I'm not sure the whole recipe would fit.
You might be right Sarah. I have a 20 cup rice cooker. Thanks for asking - I should mention that in the recipe...
I wonder if I could put this all in a soup pot with the lid on and cook it in the oven? Maybe at 375 for 40 minutes...just a guess. Would that be worth a try?
Hmmm... Not sure about the oven. I think it could work on the stove-top - as I believe I mentioned in a conversation above... Let me know how it goes if you try it.
Do you have to use gulten free pasta
No - any kind of pasta should work - although you may need to experiment with the quantity of liquid to get the right texture...
The cup used for measuring water for this recipe is the standard measuring cup or is it the cup that comes with the rice cooker - thanks
I am referring to a standard liquid measuring cup. Thanks for asking!
You don’t mention if we add dry or cooked pasta to the rice cooker!
Hi Bernadette - the pasta should be dry - uncooked. Thanks for asking!
Hi. How would I convert this recipe for a 6 cup rice cooker?
Hi Sara - you could try reducing the ingredients to 1/3 the amount specified.
Instead of mixed frozen veggies, could you add fresh or canned (drained) or maybe a type of bean? Just wondering!
Hi Jennifer - canned veggies would probably get mushy because they would end up being overcooked. You can certainly experiment with adding fresh veggies or canned beans. I've only made the recipe with frozen veggies - so that's all I can vouch for. 🙂