Smoky Paprika Pasta

Paprika Pasta
This Smoky Paprika Pasta comes together in 30 minutes or less. Smoked paprika and liquid smoke give it a unique and nuanced flavor.

This pasta dish is unique.

Just about all the flavor comes from paprika.

Paprika Pasta

Smoky Paprika Pasta Sauce

Paprika and smoked paprika are both used in this homemade sauce.

The other major flavor contributor is liquid smoke.

Liquid smoke is basically smoky grill flavor in liquid form.  Just a little bit of liquid smoke can transform a dish.  It adds notes of smokiness to this sauce that, as you probably guessed, perfectly complement the smoked paprika.

Paprika Pasta

A Quick Meal

The other great thing about this Smoky Paprika Pasta is that it comes together in 30 minutes or less.

You’ll notice in the recipe instructions that the pasta is cooked only 3/4 of the way before we add the sauce and 1 cup of reserved pasta water.

Cooking the pasta for its remaining few minutes in the sauce helps infuse the pasta with more flavor.  It also enriches the sauce with gluten from the pasta.  This makes the sauce creamier and thicker.

Make Smoky Paprika Pasta!

Make this Smoky Paprika Pasta for a flavorful, quick, and easy weeknight meal.

With the added spinach and peas, you can even feel good about having seconds.

Paprika Pasta

A Few Things!

Here’s my favorite liquid smoke [aff. link].  You can’t go wrong with the Mesquite or Hickory Smoked flavors.  I rotate between the two.  They’re both delicious.

Here’s my favorite paprika and smoked paprika from Simply Organic [aff. links].

You can also find all three of these ingredients in my Amazon store here.

Paprika Pasta
5 from 6 votes

Smoky Paprika Pasta

This Smoky Paprika Pasta comes together in 30 minutes or less.  Smoked paprika and liquid smoke give it a unique and nuanced flavor.
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Servings: 4
Print Recipe


For the sauce:

  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan, plus more for serving, if desired
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, optional, but highly recommended
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp water

Everything else:

  • ¾ pound pasta, I like to use fettuccini, linguine, or spaghetti with this sauce
  • 1 cup pasta water, reserved
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced, plus more for serving, if desired


Start cooking the pasta

  • Begin cooking the pasta according to the instructions on the package.

Make the sauce

  • While the pasta cooks, make the Smoky Paprika sauce.
  • To the bowl of your food processor, add the pine nuts, garlic cloves, sea salt, paprika, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, Parmesan, and nutritional yeast (if using).
  • Pulse a few times to get things going, then process until everything comes together and becomes small flecks.
  • Now add the olive oil, liquid smoke and 2 Tbsp of water. Process until everything comes together and a sauce forms. It will still have some texture from the pine nuts, and that's ok.

Finish the sauce

  • At this point the pasta should be ¾ of the way cooked. Don't forget to reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta.
  • Put the drained pasta back into the pot you cooked it in. Now quickly take ½ cup of the reserved pasta water, and add it to the Smoky Paprika sauce in the food processor. Process until the pasta water is completely incorporated into the other sauce ingredients. Sauce is done.

Bring it all together

  • Quickly add ½ of the sauce to the drained pasta, and turn the heat to medium-low under the pot. With tongs or a large spoon and fork, continuously stir the sauce and the pasta together for the remaining quarter of cooking time. (For most pasta, this will be about 3 minutes.)
  • Once the first half of the sauce is completely incorporated into the pasta, add the remaining ½ cup of reserved pasta water, and the remaining half of the sauce.
  • Fold the water and sauce into the pasta with your tongs a few times, then add the peas, spinach, and parsley. The heat from the pasta will cook the peas through, and wilt the spinach.
  • At this point, the pasta has probably finished cooking. Taste, and turn the heat off if the pasta is cooked to al dente perfection. If it's not there yet, keep the heat on, and continue cooking and stirring for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

  • Serve this Smoky Paprika Pasta alone, or with a side of fried chickpeas, baked tofu, or your favorite meat substitute. Garnish each serving with additional parsley and Parmesan, if desired.


This dish is vegetarian.
This dish is gluten free if you use gluten-free pasta.
Serve this pasta with fried chickpeas, baked tofu, or your favorite meat substitute.
© Copyright 2024 Vanguard of Hollywood

7 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    So easy yet packed with flavour! I am not sure if authentic Italian recipes often use smoked notes in pasta, but I personally do love and often add them :) You also beautifully plated the pasta (I always struggle with long and thin pasta!)

  2. 5 stars
    What a fun idea to use liquid smoke and smoked paprika in a pasta recipe – I can’t believe I’ve never tried that! I do love smoke flavor, and I’m certain this wouldn’t last long in our house. (Also, I’m with Ben – your pasta presentation is gorgeous!!)

  3. 5 stars
    This was my first time making pasta sauce, and cooking the pasta in the sauce. It turned out amazing! My family loved it too. This is a repeat, thanks!

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