August 17, 2022

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Easy Pasta Primavera Recipe – NatashasKitchen.com

4 min read
A bowl of pasta primavera served with parmesan and fresh parsley

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An easy Pasta Primavera is a light pasta recipe loaded with vegetables and tossed in a fresh lemon and garlic sauce. This vegetarian pasta dish is a great way to incorporate seasonal spring and summer veggies and it’s so satisfying.

You’ll love how it feels like more veggies than pasta and it’s so colorful and pretty like our Baked Feta Pasta and Italian Pasta Salad.

Pasta primavera in a white skillet topped with fresh greens.

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What is Pasta Primavera?

Because of its naming, many people think Pasta Primavera is an Italian dish when in fact it is a popular American pasta dish that was invented in the 1970s. It is made with pasta and lightly cooked fresh vegetables. Rather than using a creamy sauce, it’s tossed in light garlic and lemon sauce. The pasta is often called summer or spring pasta, it’s such a light dish and does truly feel like summer.

Ingredients for pasta primavera with penne pasta and vegetables

How to Make Pasta Primavera

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and cover to keep warm.
  2. Sautee vegetables in a large skillet or dutch oven until crisp-tender. Season to taste.
  3. Make it saucy – Add butter and garlic to the veggies and cook until fragrant.
  4. Combine – Add cooked pasta, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese to your veggie skillet and toss to combine.
Step by step collage of how to make homemade pasta primavera.

Variations

  • Protein – You can add meat to the pasta; shrimp and chicken would work great.
  • Vegetables – you can change up the veggies depending on what is seasonal or what you have on hand. Broccoli, French green beans, snap peas, scallions or asparagus would all be great substitutes or add-ins.
  • Pasta – you could change up the pasta for a different bite-sized pasta shape such as Cavatappi, ziti, fusilli, or your favorite variety.
  • Sauce – If you are looking for a richer sauce, add Homemade Pesto or Alfredo Sauce to the dish.
Pasta primavera with a variety of vegetables topped with greens.

Tips for the Best Pasta Primavera

  • Cut the vegetables to even thickness so they have a uniform look and cook at the same rate (note: if using root vegetables such as carrots, cut those to finer julienne slices since they take longer to cook).
  • Generously salt the water for cooking pasta. For 4 quarts, I add about 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp of fine sea salt.
  • Cook pasta to al dente which means tender but slightly firm to the bite. The package instructions will usually result in perfectly cooked al-dente pasta.
  • Cook veggies until crisp-tender. They will retain more flavor and will look more colorful and vibrant in the finished dish.

Serve pasta with

This pasta recipe is a meal in itself and doesn’t really need anything else as a vegetarian dinner. However, if you like a good side, here are some great options: 

A bowl of pasta primavera served with parmesan and fresh parsley

Make-Ahead

  • Storing Leftovers – Keep leftover pasta refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Reheating – To reheat, add to a skillet with a dash of olive oil and cook until warmed through.
  • Freezing – We do not recommend freezing this dish because the veggies get mushy and dull when thawed.

More Pasta Recipes

Easy Pasta Primavera Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Pasta Primavera is an easy pasta recipe loaded with vegetables and tossed with light butter and lemon sauce. It’s the perfect vegetarian pasta dish for spring and summer.

Author: Valentina Ablaev

Skill Level:

Easy

Cost to Make:

$12-$16

Keyword:

pasta primavera

Cuisine:

American

Course:

Main Course

Calories: 437

Servings: 4 servings

  • 2
    Tbsp
    olive oil
  • 8
    oz
    penne pasta
  • 1
    bell pepper, any color, sliced into strips
  • 1
    medium zucchini, sliced into rings
  • 6
    oz
    brown or white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2
    medium red onion, sliced
  • ¾
    tsp
    fine sea salt, or to taste, plus more for boiling pasta
  • ¼
    tsp
    ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 3
    Tbsp
    unsalted butter
  • 3
    garlic cloves, minced
  • 2
    Tbsp
    lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2
    cup
    freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
  • 2
    Tbsp
    chopped fresh parsley, to serve
  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions until al’dente or to your desired doneness, drain water and cover to keep warm.

  2. While the pasta cooks, cook the vegetables: place a large deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add oil. Add bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and red onion and saute tossing and stirring frequently until vegetables are crisp-tender, 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.

  3. Reduce heat to medium and add the butter and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

  4. Add the pasta, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese to the skillet. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once pasta is heated through, remove from heat.

  5. Garnish with more freshly grated parmesan if desired and sprinkle on parsley.

Nutrition Facts

Easy Pasta Primavera Recipe

Amount Per Serving

Calories 437
Calories from Fat 180

% Daily Value*

Fat 20g31%

Saturated Fat 9g56%

Trans Fat 1g

Polyunsaturated Fat 2g

Monounsaturated Fat 8g

Cholesterol 33mg11%

Sodium 669mg29%

Potassium 528mg15%

Carbohydrates 51g17%

Fiber 4g17%

Sugar 6g7%

Protein 14g28%

Vitamin A 1570IU31%

Vitamin C 55mg67%

Calcium 147mg15%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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