Pasta Primavera

This pasta primavera recipe is bursting with fresh veggies and a creamy Parmesan sauce! It’s a veggie-packed dinner that pleases…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This pasta primavera recipe is bursting with fresh veggies and a creamy Parmesan sauce! It’s a veggie-packed dinner that pleases everyone.

Pasta Primavera

Looking for a vegetarian pasta to impress? Try Pasta Primavera, the Italian-sounding American dish from the 1970’s that’s here to liven up your mealtimes! There are many ways to make a primavera, so here’s our spin. Tender pasta is mixed with spring vegetables like asparagus, broccolini, peas and carrots, then tossed with a creamy, luxurious Parmesan sauce. You won’t want the bowl to end!

The story behind pasta primavera

Pasta Primavera is an American pasta dish featuring fresh vegetables invented in the 1970’s. The dish was created by a New York chef named Sirio Maccioni at the home of an Italian businessman in Nova Scotia of all places. The dish mixed butter, cream, cheese, pasta and fresh vegetables, and went on to become popular all over the world. While it doesn’t sound like a revolutionary combination to our modern ears, it was the first of its kind.

Pasta Primavera

What’s in this pasta primavera recipe?

Since then, Pasta Primavera has popped up on restaurant menus across the globe, popularly at Italian American chains like Olive Garden. There’s really no “correct” way to make this dish: no specifications on the exact sauce or the type of vegetables. Primavera means spring in Italian, so often you’ll see it with spring vegetables like asparagus and carrot. But just as many spins use summer vegetables like zucchini and tomatoes: so there’s a lot of variation!

In our opinion, a good Pasta Primavera should feature spring vegetables just like the title indicates, so that’s what we’ve used here. The veggies are accessorized with a creamy Parmesan sauce that makes everything taste irresistible. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Pasta: any shape! we like tortelli (shown), but any short or long shape works
  • Olive oil
  • Baby bella mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Leek: leek is a uniquely tasty spring vegetable; substitute shallot if you can’t find it
  • Broccolini: we love the elegant shape of broccolini here! You can substitute broccoli
  • Peas
  • Carrot
  • For the sauce: butter, garlic, flour, milk and Parmesan cheese

The basic idea? Cook the pasta, saute the veggies, make a quick cream sauce and mix it all together. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve warm.

Tips for cooking pasta to al dente

When it comes to any pasta dish, here’s the key: cook the pasta to the perfect al dente. Al dente means “to the bite” in Italian: pasta that’s tender with a firm center. Overcooked pasta turns out rubbery and unappetizing. Interestingly, it also has less nutrients and makes you less full. Here are some tips on how to cook pasta to al dente:

  • Set your timer a few minutes before the package instructions indicate. The timing on many pasta packages makes for overcooked pasta. Start taste testing the pasta a few minutes before the package says to.
  • Taste test and look for small white fleck at the core. You want to catch it right when there’s a small white fleck at the core, or just when it disappears.
Pasta Primavera

Making the pasta primavera sauce

A few tips on the pasta primavera sauce: the sauce is a quick Parmesan sauce made with a roux. A “roux” is flour and butter cooked together (usually equal parts) that’s sed to thicken sauces. The cooking does go quickly, so you’ll want to understand the basic idea before you start.

  • Measure out the ingredients first, and don’t leave the stove. The cooking process goes so fast, you’ll want to have everything measured in advance.
  • Melt butter and saute the grated garlic 30 seconds. Be careful not to overcook: you don’t want it to brown!
  • Add flour and whisk constantly. Whisk constantly and cook just until it’s a golden color; be careful not to overcook.
  • Whisk in the milk gradually. Add a splash of milk and whisk constantly, then keep adding a few splashes at a time until the sauce is smooth. Simmer for several minutes, and the roux will thicken the sauce! It may feel like it won’t thicken, but just wait: it will come together in about 5 minutes.

Serving pasta primavera

This pasta primavera recipe takes a little over 30 minutes to make, but it’s pretty hands on: you don’t have a lot of waiting time to prep other items. So to make it into a meal, you’ll want some quick and simple sides. You can also add cooked protein to make the dish more filling. Here are a few ideas:

Pasta Primavera

More pasta recipes

Love pasta at mealtime? Here are a few that will make dinnertime delicious:

This pasta primavera recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan and plant-based, substitute 1 ½ cups Vegan Alfredo Sauce for the sauce ingredients. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

Print
Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

This pasta primavera recipe is bursting with fresh veggies and a creamy Parmesan sauce! It’s a veggie-packed dinner that pleases everyone.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces pasta (tortelli is shown)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch (1 pound) asparagus, tough ends removed, sliced in half and cut into small pieces
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced into half moons and washed (or 1 large shallot, thinly sliced)
  • 1 bunch broccolini (or 1 crown broccoli), cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed under warm water
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 small garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups 2% milk
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente (taste testing a minute or two before the package instructions indicate). Drain and toss the pasta with a bit of olive oil.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the vegetables as noted above. In a dutch oven or large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Cook mushrooms for 4 minutes, until starting to brown. Add asparagus, leeks, broccolini, carrots and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and cook additional 4 to 5 minutes until asparagus is tender and bright green. Add peas and continue cooking until peas are bright green, about 1 minute.
  3. In a small or medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the grated garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant but not browned. Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute to 90 seconds, until bubbly and golden. Add a splash of milk and whisk it in: the sauce will instantly turn chunky. Constantly whisking, continue to add splashes of milk and whisk them in until the entire quantity is incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Reduce the heat and whisk until the sauce thickens and no longer tastes like raw flour, about 5 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon kosher salt and the Parmesan cheese.
  4. Drain the pasta, then add it to the skillet with the veggies and stir in the sauce. Taste and add the additional ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Serve warm, garnished with additional Parmesan cheese. Leftovers store well refrigerated.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Pasta
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Pasta primavera, pasta primavera recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Sauteed Broccolini

Sauteed broccolini It is one of the fastest, tastiest side dishes there is! Cook it up in 5 minutes with…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Sauteed broccolini It is one of the fastest, tastiest side dishes there is! Cook it up in 5 minutes with garlic and lemon.

Sauteed broccolini

When it comes to quick and impressive side dishes, this one might be tops: Sauteed Broccolini! The elegantly long stems of this green veggie make it look fancy, but here’s a secret. You can cook it up in just 5 minutes in a hot skillet. Add a bit of garlic and lemon, and you won’t be able to stop eating these irresistibly large spears. Here’s how to make it in a flash: and a bit more about this unique vegetable.

What is broccolini?

Broccolini might look like baby broccoli: and in fact, it’s sometimes labeled that way in the produce aisle! But technically, it’s not an immature version of the real thing. Broccolini is a cross between standard broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has the long stems of Chinese broccoli and the florets of broccoli. Why we like it? Broccolini has a milder, sweeter flavor than standard broccoli. The long stems also give it a lovely elegant look on the plate.

Interestingly, broccolini was invented in 1993: so there’s a reason that it’s new to the scene! It’s becoming easier to find at standard grocery stores: usually right next to the standard broccoli. Look for small bunches of broccoli with long stems.

Sauteed broccolini

How to make sauteed broccolini: some tips

Sauteed broccolini is quick and simple: the cooking goes fast! Once you’ve tried it once, you won’t need to follow a recipe. But for the first time, here are some tips for cooking and seasoning it to perfection:

  • Chop off the tough lower portions of the stems. Slice any very large florets in half lengthwise, which makes them easier to eat.
  • Sauté the broccolini 3 to 4 minutes in olive oil. Stir occasionally and cook until just starting to brown at the edges. At this point, the pan will be starting to get dry.
  • Add a bit of water, salt and garlic powder and cook 2 to 3 minutes. This last part of cooking gently steams the broccolini (it’s a technique we use for broccoli as well). It cooks it the rest of the way so that it’s bright green and tender.
  • Add any remaining seasonings. We like to add lemon juice at the end for a little brightness, but it’s not required!
Sauteed broccolini

Ways to serve sauteed broccolini

Sautéed broccolini is the ideal quick side dish for fast meals! We love to pair it with easy main dishes to make for a quick weeknight meals. But of course it’s also great for entertaining because it comes together so easily. It’s especially nice to pair with main dishes you make in the oven, since the stovetop is free. Here’s how we’d pair it:

More broccolini recipes

Love broccolini? This unique vegetable is ideal for cooking in many different ways!

This sauteed broccolini recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Sauteed broccolini

Sauteed Broccolini


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

Sauteed broccolini It is one of the fastest, tastiest side dishes there is! Cook it up in 5 minutes with garlic and lemon.


Ingredients

  • 2 bunches (14 ounces) broccolini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut off tough lower portions of the stems, leaving about 3 to 4 inches attached. Slice large pieces in half lengthwise through the entire stem.  
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the broccolini and cook, stirring occasionally until bright green and starting to brown at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the kosher salt and garlic powder and add ¼ cup water to the pan. Continue cooking until the stems are bright green and just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice and black pepper. Add salt if desired and serve hot. 
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Sauteed
  • Cuisine: Vegetables
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Sauteed broccolini

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Broccolini Salad

This broccolini salad is packed with flavor! It pairs the unique vegetable with mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. If you’re a broccolini lover, hold onto your hats. Here’s the recipe for you! Meet this epic broccolini salad. It stars those sweet, tender elegant florets that look so much fancier than regular old broccoli. Pair that with baby bella mushrooms, red onion, and the punch of fresh dill, and cover it all in a tangy vinaigrette dressing. Wow, is this good! It’s so unique and a total crowd pleaser. It’s lightly based on a salad we had in Spain a few moons ago…and we’re truly over the moon for it. Here’s what to know about this salad! What is broccolini, exactly? Before we start, let’s talk about broccolini. It looks like a baby version of broccoli, but this veggie is not quite that. And it’s got a history that might surprise you! Here’s what to know about broccolini: Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has both the long stems of Chinese broccoli and the florets of broccoli, and has a milder flavor than broccoli. Broccolini was invented in 1993! Wait, what? We would have guessed it […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This broccolini salad is packed with flavor! It pairs the unique vegetable with mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing.

Broccolini salad

If you’re a broccolini lover, hold onto your hats. Here’s the recipe for you! Meet this epic broccolini salad. It stars those sweet, tender elegant florets that look so much fancier than regular old broccoli. Pair that with baby bella mushrooms, red onion, and the punch of fresh dill, and cover it all in a tangy vinaigrette dressing. Wow, is this good! It’s so unique and a total crowd pleaser. It’s lightly based on a salad we had in Spain a few moons ago…and we’re truly over the moon for it. Here’s what to know about this salad!

What is broccolini, exactly?

Before we start, let’s talk about broccolini. It looks like a baby version of broccoli, but this veggie is not quite that. And it’s got a history that might surprise you! Here’s what to know about broccolini:

  • Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has both the long stems of Chinese broccoli and the florets of broccoli, and has a milder flavor than broccoli.
  • Broccolini was invented in 1993! Wait, what? We would have guessed it was an ingredient Italian grandmothers cook with. Nope, it’s not even 20 years old.
  • How to find it: It’s not available at all grocery stores, but it’s becoming easier to find. Look for the small bunches of broccoli with long stems.
Broccolini salad

Ingredients in broccolini salad

This easy broccolini salad tastes like more than the sum of its parts. It’s got just a few fresh ingredients, and the rest you can probably dig out of your pantry. Here’s what you need:

  • Broccolini: 3 bunches, to be exact. Bunches can vary in size, but they’re typically quite small (about 8 ounces each)
  • Red onion
  • Baby bella mushrooms: the mushrooms are raw in this salad, which brings a delightful texture contrast to the crunchy broccolini
  • Fresh dill: you can substitute another herb like oregano in a pinch, but dill adds just the right flavor (or see these other dill substitutes)
  • Parmesan cheese: you can omit for vegan, but it adds a great savory note
  • White wine vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup or sugar: either works, use maple for a naturally sweet dressing
  • Olive oil & salt
Broccolini

Tastes best fresh!

This healthy broccolini salad has the best flavor when it’s freshly made. However, you can store leftovers refrigerated. Unlike this broccoli salad, the flavors don’t intensify over time: they actually dull a bit. So if you do have leftovers, revive them by adding a pinch of salt or a splash of white wine vinegar.

Summer salads

More great salads to pair

There’s nothing better than a few salads to make a summer salad dinner! We served this broccolini salad with a sampling of other salads with the best produce summer has to offer. If you do make it a meal, we recommend incorporating a protein element with a bean salad or black eyed pea salad. Try some of these zesty recipes:

How to make broccolini salad

This broccolini salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, omit the Parmesan cheese.

Print
Broccolini salad

Simple Broccolini Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 18 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This broccolini salad is packed with flavor! It pairs the unique vegetable with mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. 


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds or 3 bunches broccolini
  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced into slivers
  • 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large sprigs fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan shavings
  • Lemon zest, optional

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Chop the broccolini into florets, keeping the stems long. 
  2. When the water is boiling, add the broccolini and cook it for 2 minutes. Remove it from the water with tongs and place it in an ice bath for a minute or so until cool. Pat the florets dry. 
  3. Meanwhile, thinly slice the red onion into slivers (you may want to rinse or let it soak in water ot remove some of the bite, then shake it dry). Thinly slice the mushrooms.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup or sugar, and kosher salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time. 
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the broccolini, red onion, raw mushrooms, dill sprigs, Parmesan shavings, and vinaigrette dressing. If desired, garnish with lemon zest. Serve immediately. The flavor is best fresh, but you can store leftovers refrigerated. (You may need to add a bit of salt or a splash of white wine vinegar to revive the flavors after refrigerating.)

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Broccolini salad

More broccolini and broccoli recipes

Here’s another broccolini recipe, plus a few more broccoli recipes to enjoy this healthy family of vegetables:

  • Perfect Roasted Broccolini A hot oven is the best way to cook this veggie: it comes out even more delicious than its cousin broccoli.
  • Broccoli Slaw This creamy broccoli slaw is irresistibly tasty! It’s easy to make using fresh broccoli or the packaged mix you can find in most grocery stores.
  • Creamy Broccoli Potato Soup Intensely creamy, satisfying, and 100% plant based! It’s an easy healthy soup that everyone loves.
  • Roasted Broccoli and Carrots Mix up your side dish routine by a pairing that’s full of contrasts.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Roasted Broccolini

Roasted broccolini is impressive with little effort! A hot oven is the best way to cook this veggie: it comes out even more delicious than its cousin broccoli. Here’s our new very favorite easy side dish around here: roasted broccolini! Alex and I avoided broccolini for a while because honestly: it seemed like it was trying a little too hard. Hi, I’m broccolini: broccoli’s much cooler and more sophisticated cousin. But guess what? After trying it roasted, we’re solidly on the broccoli train. It’s even more delicious than roasted broccoli (if that’s possible!), with a sweet flavor and tender crunch. Even better: it looks fancier and takes less time to cook. Here’s how to cook broccolini into the very best side dish. What is broccolini, exactly? It might look like baby broccoli, but it’s actually not: though it’s sometimes labeled that way in the grocery store. Here’s what to know about broccolini: Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has both the long stems of Chinese broccoli and the florets of broccoli, and has a milder flavor than broccoli. Broccolini was invented in 1993! Doesn’t it seem like an Italian ingredient with hundreds of years of history? […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Roasted broccolini is impressive with little effort! A hot oven is the best way to cook this veggie: it comes out even more delicious than its cousin broccoli.

Roasted broccolini

Here’s our new very favorite easy side dish around here: roasted broccolini! Alex and I avoided broccolini for a while because honestly: it seemed like it was trying a little too hard. Hi, I’m broccolini: broccoli’s much cooler and more sophisticated cousin. But guess what? After trying it roasted, we’re solidly on the broccoli train. It’s even more delicious than roasted broccoli (if that’s possible!), with a sweet flavor and tender crunch. Even better: it looks fancier and takes less time to cook. Here’s how to cook broccolini into the very best side dish.

What is broccolini, exactly?

It might look like baby broccoli, but it’s actually not: though it’s sometimes labeled that way in the grocery store. Here’s what to know about broccolini:

  • Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has both the long stems of Chinese broccoli and the florets of broccoli, and has a milder flavor than broccoli.
  • Broccolini was invented in 1993! Doesn’t it seem like an Italian ingredient with hundreds of years of history? Nope, it’s not even 20 years old.
  • How to find it: It’s not available at all grocery stores, but it’s becoming more widely carried. It’s usually by the broccoli, so look for the small bunches of broccoli with long stems.
Broccolini

The keys to roasted broccolini

Making roasted broccolini is quick and easy, but it looks like a fancy side dish! It’s so irresistible that we ended up eating most of it right off of the roasting pan. This is SO good, I kept exclaiming. Something about the sweet flavor makes it hard to stop eating. It doesn’t have that slight bitter taste like broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts).

There are only a few things to know about making roasted broccolini: it’s so simple! Here’s what to do:

  • Chop off about 2 inches of the ends of the broccolini. The ends can be tough, so chop them off before roasting. Then mix with olive oil and salt, and lay the stalks in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  • Roast at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. All you need is 15 minutes for broccolini, vs 20 to 25 minutes for standard broccoli. Roasting in a very hot oven makes it crispy and browned at the edges.
  • Spritz with lemon and add grated garlic. Our favorite way to flavor broccoli: just fresh lemon juice and a little fresh garlic. It takes it from good to life changing!
Roasted broccolini

How to cook broccolini

There are of course other ways to cook broccolini: but none as delicious as roasting, in our minds! Here are the basic ways to cook it:

Roasted broccolini with lemon

Ways to serve roasted broccolini

Roasted broccolini pairs with all sorts of main dishes! It’s especially perfect for entertaining, and makes any dinner party entree seem that much fancier. Here are some ideas on how to serve it:

Roasted broccolini

This roasted broccolini recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Roasted broccolini

Easy Roasted Broccolini


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Roasted broccolini is impressive with little effort! A hot oven is the best way to cook this veggie: it comes out even more delicious than its cousin broccoli.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds or 3 bunches broccolini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Chop off about 2 inches of the ends of the broccolini. In a medium bowl, mix it with with the olive oil and kosher salt.
  3. Place the broccolini on the pan in a single layer. Roast for about 15 minutes, until tender and slightly browned (no need to stir!).
  4. Remove the pan from the oven. Grate the garlic onto the pan, and squeeze on the lemon juice. Use a spoon to gently toss it all together (separating any grated garlic that clumps together). Serve immediately.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Roasted Broccolini Recipe, How to Cook Broccolini, Baby Broccoli

More roasted vegetables!

Roasting is our very favorite way to cook vegetables! Here are some more of our favorite easy and healthy side dish recipes:

  • Favorite Roasted Cauliflower Roasting it makes this veggie irresistibly good, you can’t stop eating it.
  • Roasted Kale Baked until tender and crispy at the edges! It’s a unique and delicious way to eat kale.
  • Roasted Carrots Bake these carrots until tender with lemon wedges and fresh thyme…they turn out amazing.
  • Perfect Roasted Eggplant Baking eggplant until it’s tender makes for unreal flavor.
  • Roasted Asparagus Bake it for 10 minutes then spritz with lemon: the perfect side dish!
  • Roasted Radishes A unique easy side dish, roasted radishes come out vibrant and juicy, with a sweet, mild flavor.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Vegan Pasta Primavera

This vegan pasta primavera is so full of flavor! It features spaghetti with spring vegetables like asparagus, peas, spinach, and zesty lemon. Ready for a veggie-filled pasta that tastes incredible with no need for cheese? Meet this vegan pasta primavera. Pasta primavera is all about fresh, green spring veggies and a delicate, light flavor. It’s everything that a heavy mac and cheese or lasagna are not. So once the first sprouts of green start to come in the spring: we start to crave pasta primavera. Turns out the concept is pretty loose, so here’s our spin on the classic: full of flavor and fully plant based. What is pasta primavera, anyway? Great question. From the name, you might guess pasta primavera is a time-honored Italian recipe dating back hundreds of years. Italian grandmother fare, right? Couldn’t be further from the truth. Pasta primavera was born in the 1970’s in New York! It was a dish at a New York City restaurant called Le Cirque, made with spaghetti, lots of fresh spring vegetables, and a lemon cream sauce. So much for hundreds of years of tradition. (We came to learn the same is true of broccolini and Saint Germaine. Who knew!) […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This vegan pasta primavera is so full of flavor! It features spaghetti with spring vegetables like asparagus, peas, spinach, and zesty lemon.

Vegan pasta primavera

Ready for a veggie-filled pasta that tastes incredible with no need for cheese? Meet this vegan pasta primavera. Pasta primavera is all about fresh, green spring veggies and a delicate, light flavor. It’s everything that a heavy mac and cheese or lasagna are not. So once the first sprouts of green start to come in the spring: we start to crave pasta primavera. Turns out the concept is pretty loose, so here’s our spin on the classic: full of flavor and fully plant based.

What is pasta primavera, anyway?

Great question. From the name, you might guess pasta primavera is a time-honored Italian recipe dating back hundreds of years. Italian grandmother fare, right? Couldn’t be further from the truth. Pasta primavera was born in the 1970’s in New York! It was a dish at a New York City restaurant called Le Cirque, made with spaghetti, lots of fresh spring vegetables, and a lemon cream sauce. So much for hundreds of years of tradition. (We came to learn the same is true of broccolini and Saint Germaine. Who knew!)

Vegan pasta primavera

Ingredients in this vegan pasta primavera

Is this vegan pasta primavera a classic pasta primavera? Well, turns out it’s one of those things that can be made in many different ways. There’s no real “recipe”: aside from using pasta and the freshest of seasonal vegetables. Plus, it usually has Parmesan cheese and this is a vegan version! So it’s a loose interpretation of the general concept.

Primavera means spring in Italian, we wanted to highlight all our favorite spring vegetables. Here are the good-for-you vegetables in this vegan pasta primavera:

Vegan pasta primavera

Variations on this recipe: other veggie & sauce ideas!

Since there’s a lot of variation in what vegetables are featured in pasta primavera, you could add really any vegetables you like to this recipe. Some we’d recommend are:

  • Sliced ripe cherry tomatoes: Tomatoes are more summery than spring, but they add great color. Whatever you do, make sure they are ripe (some hydroponic grocery tomatoes can be ok off season). Throw in 1 handful with the garlic at the end.
  • Thinly sliced carrot: Carrots also add nice color. Slice them into matchsticks and add them with the asparagus.
  • Zucchini: Many pasta primavera recipes include zucchini; you could throw sliced zucchini in with the asparagus as well.
  • Creamy sauce: Want it creamy instead? Try it with our Vegan Alfredo Sauce (nix the seasonings at the end).
Pasta primavera

The noodles! Use long or short cuts

Long spaghetti noodles feature in our vegan pasta primavera because we like the elegant look of the long noodles. But this dish works with short types of pasta too! Here are a few types we’d recommend trying:

  • Long noodles: It would be great with bucatini, linguine, and fettuccine.
  • Short noodles: It works well with penne, rigatoni, cavatappi, gemelli, or farfalle.

For gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free pasta, or try some of the legume or lentil pastas on the market.

How to cook pasta to al dente

The key to a good pasta dish is always this: cook the pasta to al dente. You’ll want to make sure it’s perfect for this pasta primavera. What’s al dente? In Italian it means “to the bite.” It refers to pasta that is still firm on the inside when cooked. The ideal al dente texture is a tender exterior balanced by a firm bite with a fleck of white at its core. Here’s how to cook pasta to al dente:

  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
  • While cooking, check pasta continually for doneness.
  • As soon as the pasta has a tender exterior but a fleck of white at its core, drain it! Even a few seconds can be the difference between al dente and limp noodles.
Vegan pasta

More vegan pasta recipes

Do you love making vegan pasta? We’ve got lots of great recipes that might be up your alley. Here are our favorites:

  • Vegan Pasta Alfredo Decadent, creamy, and full of healthy plant based ingredients. An easy dinner in under 30 minutes!
  • Favorite Vegan Lasagna About to become your new favorite: guaranteed. Full of flavor, it’s a winner with everyone!
  • Roasted Eggplant Pasta Flavor-packed with roasted eggplant & zesty marinara sauce! An impressive plant based dinner.
  • Vegan Pesto Pasta This killer vegan pesto pasta gets big flavor from emerald green basil pesto, ripe cherry tomatoes, and a drizzle of olive oil.

This vegan pasta primavera recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free or legume pasta.

Print
Vegan pasta primavera

Vegan Pasta Primavera


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan pasta primavera is so full of flavor! It features spaghetti with spring vegetables like asparagus, peas, spinach, and zesty lemon. 


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 portabella mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound (1/2 bunch) asparagus
  • 1 bunch broccolini (or 2 cups broccoli florets, with stems kept as long as possible)
  • 3 cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped (or 3 ounces baby spinach)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups frozen peas (10 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus lemon zest to garnish

Or, mix it up: Try it with our Vegan Alfredo Sauce instead (nix the final 4 ingredients).


Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside). Then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  2. Chop the vegetables: Meanwhile, thinly slice the portobello mushroom caps (remove the stems). Chop off the tough end of the asparagus. Slice in half lengthwise so that each stalk forms 2 long thin stalks (doesn’t have to be perfect). Then slice them in half crosswise. Slice off the thick ends of the broccolini and keep the large florets (if using broccoli, cut the broccoli into medium small florets, keeping the stem as long as possible). Wash and roughly chop the spinach, removing any long stems (skip this if using packaged baby spinach). Mince the garlic.
  3. Cook the vegetables: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the broccolini and asparagus and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly until wilted. Add the frozen peas and saute for 1 minute. Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. (You could also consider adding a pinch of red pepper flakes at this point!)
  4. Add olive oil to pasta: Once the pasta is cooked and drained, drizzle it with olive oil.
  5. Add final flavorings and serve: In a small bowl stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the onion powder, dried oregano, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. After the vegetables are done, stir in the pasta and toss so the vegetables are evenly distributed, then pour the olive oil and spice mixture on the pasta and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt if necessary (or serve with salt). Serve immediately garnished with lemon zest.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Vegan Pasta Primavera

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes