This vegan hamburger helper pasta is my take on the classic hamburger helper! With the help of some fresh broccoli, toasted breadcrumbs and a glass of wine (totally optional!), we’re taking this otherwise NOT fancy pasta to date night acceptable. It’s only 13 ingredients, the easiest vegan one pot pasta dish, and comes together in just about 30 minutes. Let’s dive in!
I don’t know about you, but I grew up eating a ton of hamburger helper. I know it is not considered a health food or a fancy food, but I personally loved it!
It was cheesy, hearty, comforting, and cheap! All the best things a dinner should be.
Of course the original boxed version is NOT vegan friendly so making our own is the next step.
I have actually been making this recipe for about a year now, but I never shared it on the blog because it felt too easy and simple. But sometimes we could all use a recipe that’s just too easy and simple. And this vegan one pot pasta fits the bill.
I think this winter I’m really going to have to post a few more one pot pasta recipes because they really are the most convenient thing when you need something quick!
And cooking them this fall in my 5 Qt. Staub Cast Iron Pumpkin makes it all the more fun.
Vegan Ground Beef Alternatives
As you likely know, the boxed version of hamburger helper calls for ground beef. Lucky for us vegans, it is getting easier and easier to buy store-bought vegan alternatives.
If you wanted to make this recipe a lot healthier, you could definitely use green lentils or even crumbled tofu in place of the vegan beef alternatives, but I wanted to use the vegan beef alternatives to make this recipe as authentic tasting and texture wise as possible!
Finding your favorite ground beef alternative will take some trial and error, but I personally really like the Beyond Meat burger patties for this recipe or the Beyond Meat Ground Beef. I will usually opt for the burger patties just because they are a bit cheaper, but the Ground Beef is very authentic in look and taste in my opinion!
Lightlife Foods is another vegan brand that sells vegan beef crumbles and vegan ground beef!
What Makes This Pasta Cheesy?
Instead of dairy cheese and dairy cheese flavorings, this recipe calls for two vegan “cheese” products.
- Vegan Cream Cheese
- Nutritional Yeast
I tested this recipe with vegan cheese shreds and found that the vegan cream cheese provided a more authentic cheese taste.
Although we have made wide strides in terms of the amount of vegan cheese available in grocery stores, vegan cheese falls flat when it comes to authentic, aged cheese flavor. It lacks that sharp, tangy flavor that most dairy cheeses have.
Vegan cream cheese, however, is cultured to give it that tangy aged flavor and I find it works a lot better here.
Vegan cream cheese also melts a lot better than vegan cheese shreds and helps us make this a thick, creamy, dreamy pasta!
I love nutritional yeast because it’s flavor is very subtle, nutty, and a bit salty. If you can find it at your local grocery store, I highly recommend it!
Step by Step Instructions
Throwing this pasta together couldn’t be easier!
First, sauté the diced onion and diced tomato. Add the spices. Sauté your ground beef substitute of choice. Add your liquids and pasta. Then simmer the pasta, throw in your broccoli, continue simmering until your pasta is al dente and then lastly mix in your vegan cheese alternatives!
Easy as can be!
I also love to top mine with golden, toasted bread crumbs and enjoy it with a glass of wine! Takes this otherwise simple, not fancy pasta to a whole new level!
I hope you guys love this recipe! It’s really the best of both worlds – simple yet DELICIOUS.
More 30 Minute Vegan Meals
- 30 Minute Vegan Peanut Noodles
- 30 Minute Lemongrass and Coconut Yellow Curry
- 30 Minute Vegan Fajitas
- Sticky Vegan Orange Chicken
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Vegan Hamburger Helper
- 2 tablespoons oil for sauteing (can substitute water)
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 roma tomatoes diced
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 3 cups vegan beef broth can substitute vegetable broth
- 3 cups pasta shells uncooked
- 1 ½ cups coconut milk not from a can
- 8 ounces vegan ground beef (I used 2 Beyond Meat hamburger patties- see notes for more options)
- 8 ounces vegan cream cheese
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a large 5 qt. pot over medium heat, sauté the diced onion and tomato in oil until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add the paprika, chili powder and garlic powder and stir to combine.
- Next, push the sautéed onion and diced tomato to one side of the pot and add the vegan ground beef to the other side to brown, about 6-8 minutes. You want it to be touching the bottom of the pot. If you put the vegan ground beef on top of diced onion it will just steam and not have crispy bits.
- After the vegan ground beef has cooked and is crispy and brown, break it up with your spatula into bite sized pieces.
- Add the uncooked pasta, vegan beef broth, and coconut milk. Stir well to fully combine. Allow mixture to come to a light boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat slightly, add lid and allow pasta to cook for 6 minutes. While the pasta cooks, prepare the toasted breadcrumbs, if desired. Simply add the breadcrumb ingredients to a skillet over medium heat and toast until breadcrumbs turn a deep brown. Once deep brown, remove from heat and set aside for serving.
- After 6 minutes, add broccoli florets, stir well to combine, add the lid and simmer again for another 4-6 minutes or until pasta is al dente and broccoli is cooked through.
- Finally, mix in ½ cup nutritional yeast, 8 ounces of cream cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Heat until cream cheese is warmed through and fully melted into pasta, about 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately with toasted breadcrumbs, if desired.
- Vegan Ground Beef Alternatives: Beyond Meat Ground Beef, Lightlife Smart Ground Crumbles, or Beyond Meat Burger Patties.
- Vegan Beef Broth works really well for this recipe but you can also use Vegan Chicken Broth or just Vegetable Broth. I always use the Better than Bouillon Paste and just add water.