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Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe

Simple. Tasty. Classically vegan? Italians have been enjoying spaghetti aglio e olio for generations and with just 5 key ingredients, all of them plant-based, you too can enjoy this Italian pasta classic. Check out this aglio e olio recipe now! 


Classic Italian pasta dishes have always been one of my favorite things to cook. Why? Because they are always easy and always delicious. This spaghetti aglio e olio recipe is no exception…

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Think traditional Italian food can’t be vegan? Think again. Spaghetti aglio e olio is a classic Italian recipe that has been a central pillar of Italian cuisine for generations. And, containing just a few plant-based ingredients, this spaghetti dish is not only 100% vegan but also proves how easy it is to showcase delicious plant-based flavor. 

No faffing around with substitutes, fake meats, or over-complicated recipes. When it comes to cooking a hearty dinner, this aglio e olio is about as easy as it gets - and it’s a breath of fresh air for any vegan chef. 

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Light yet luxurious, this aglio e olio recipe is my go-to for a simple dinner that still gets your mouth watering - and it is easy to make out of the leftovers you have in the cupboard! It’s the kind of recipe that makes you wonder: why bother cooking anything else? 

Learn how to make this aglio e olio for yourself and see what I am raving about…

What Is Aglio e Olio? 

Spaghetti aglio e olio… aglio e what-io? Don’t worry, this Italian dish may sound elaborate, but its name literally translates to garlic and olive oil, which also happen to be the two key ingredients in this dish. 


Originating from Naples, aglio e olio is an inexpensive spaghetti dish that can be whipped up with just a few ingredients that are almost always in our kitchens. Garlic, olive oil, spaghetti, chili flakes and (if you want) a sprinkling of parsley are all you need to enjoy this classic Italian dish. Yes, it really is as simple as that! 


Simplicity is the key to this classic recipe, and, being a traditional Italian, I don’t like to mess with it! I recommend leaving this recipe as it is, or, if you do want to add something else, keep it simple. Why not add one of the following? 

how to make

  • Capers (fry these up with the garlic)
  • Roasted tomatoes (these can be added at the end with the pasta)
  • Vegan parmesan (sprinkle this on your plate just before serving) 

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe

  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Servings: 4

Here’s what you need:

Main Ingredients
  • 12oz spaghetti (traditional spaghetti is best for this recipe, but linguine would also work well too)
  • ½ cup olive oil (the higher quality the better, I use Oleamea’s Private Select Organic Olive Oil)
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp pepper flakes
  • A handful of chopped parsley


  • Peel and finely slice the garlic cloves as thin as you can get them (the thinner the better).
  • Bring a medium-sized pan of water to the boil and salt well (around 1 tbsp should do). Add the pasta and cook for the time recommended on the packet (for spaghetti this should be approximately 10 minutes, but this time may be longer for linguine).
  • While the pasta is cooking, fry the chopped garlic in a pan with the olive oil and pepper flakes. Cook on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic begins to golden (but not brown).
  • When the garlic is cooked, transfer 1 cup of pasta water from the boiling spaghetti to the garlic. Bring to simmer and then add the cooked spaghetti (this should be cooked by now) and the chopped parsley. Toss until the pasta is evenly coated in the sauce. Add more pasta water if the mix is dry.
  • Allow to rest for 1-2 minutes and serve!

Top Tips

  • Want to get this aglio e olio recipe bang on? Here are my words of wisdom…

    • This spaghetti aglio e olio recipe is quick and simple, but for the best results, precision is everything. Make sure that the pasta isn't cooked for too long (overcooked pasta will become mushy and ruin this dish). Same with the garlic - no one wants burnt garlic, especially when it is the star of this recipe. 
    • Don’t forget to add the pasta water and be generous! Pasta water is the secret to transforming this spaghetti aglio e olio from oily pasta into a creamy yet light garlic delight. So, whatever you do, don’t skip this step!
    • Remember the name of this dish? Aglio e olio. Garlic and olive oil are the keys to this dish, so make sure that these flavors shine. Use high-quality olive oil if you can (trust me, you can taste the difference), and don’t scrimp on the garlic if you know what's good for you!

To Wrap It All Up...

If like me, you find yourself cooking pasta at least 3 times a week, once you learn how to make this spaghetti aglio e olio recipe, you will be enjoying this dish at least 1 out of those 3 times.

5 ingredients, 5 steps, and ready in just 20 minutes, this traditional Italian pasta recipe is a life hack and a vital weapon in your vegan meal artillery. I love whipping this up as a quick lunch for one, or as a no-nonsense dinner party staple. Whether it’s mid-week or mid-weekend, this recipe is a go-to! 

Frequently Asked Questions

This aglio e olio recipe is vegan pasta at its finest, and, like all great Italian pasta dishes, it stands alone - there’s no need for extras. But, if you do fancy a side, why not serve it with a fresh salad and balsamic dressing? Alternatively, carb it up with a chunk of fresh white bread or double up the garlic with some moist garlic bread. The options are endless and the choice is yours!
Didn’t finish your spaghetti aglio e olio in one sitting? No problem. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within 3 days and it will be just as delicious. I personally don’t recommend freezing this sauce. I don’t think it tastes as good when it is reheated and also, it is so quick and easy to make you might as well do it fresh!
To reheat this dish after it has been in the fridge, you have two options. Either pop this spaghetti in the microwave for around 2 minutes or add a little extra oil to a pan and cook the spaghetti on the hob on a low heat until it is all warmed up.

If you love this recipe…

If you love this vegan pasta recipe, why not try more simple and classically delicious recipes available on PlantX? Here are some of my favorites…

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