Pasta Primavera

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This vegetable Pasta Primavera is packed with fresh broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and cherry tomatoes tossed in a creamy lemon garlic sauce,. Ready in just 20 minutes.

391 CAL 59g CARBS 12g FAT 16g PROTEIN
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Made with a delicious combination of vegetables in a light and flavorful sauce, Pasta Primavera is the perfect easy vegetarian dinner. Serve it alongside a side salad and toasted bread for a mouthwatering meal that guarantees to please.

For those of you who have been following along for a while, you know I love a good pasta dish. From restaurant-inspired dishes like my Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta to dreamy vegetarian dishes like my Baked Roasted Vegetable Ziti, I’ve done a whole lot of experimenting in my kitchen.

Through all of my experimenting, I have discovered that pasta is easily one of the most versatile foods on the planet. It’s no wonder why we all love it so darn much! When I’m trying to find a fun way to incorporate veggies into my kids’ meals, pasta is one of my favorite go-to choices. This dish is the perfect example of that.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy dinner recipe, this delectable Pasta Primavera is a perfect choice. Between the flavorful vegetables, creamy sauce, and fresh basil, this dish seriously knocks it out of the park. The best part? It can be on the dinner table in under 20 minutes.

Not only is this vegetable pasta dish beyond easy to make and absolutely delicious, but it’s incredibly versatile. This dish is the perfect way to use up all those veggies in the fridge that you had no idea how to use. I can’t tell you how many times this recipe has gotten me out of a jam when I had a fridge full of veggies that were on their way out.

This dish is the ideal healthy main course for any occasion, from weeknight meals with the family to dinner parties with friends. I like to serve it with a simple side salad and crusty bread for a complete meal, but you can serve this tasty pasta dish with any sides you like. It’s quick, easy, wholesome, and child-approved. You’re going to love it!

Fresh penne pasta primavera with broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and tomatoes in a bowl with Parmesan cheese.

Key Ingredients and Easy swaps

To make this healthy pasta recipe, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Penne pasta: You can use any pasta shape you like, but my favorite shape to use in this dish is penne.
  • Vegetables: This recipe calls for shallots, carrots, broccoli, red bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and garlic. You can swap in other veggies you have on hand, just look for things that cook in a similar amount of time.
  • Lemon: Both the juice and zest of a lemon are used here to add brightness and acidity that enhances all the flavors of our dish.
  • Italian seasoning: You can use a store-bought spice blend or make your own with oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary.
  • Parmesan cheese: When mixed with pasta water, this forms a light and creamy sauce that is absolutely delicious.

Recipe Variations and Ideas for Pasta Primavera

There are plenty of ways to adapt this recipe to suit your needs, whatever they may be. Here are some of my top recommendations for variations of this tasty dish:

  • Add some protein.:If you’re looking to beef up this dish (no pun intended), try adding a healthy protein source like chicken, shrimp, or a lean cut of steak.
  • Spice it up: Hoping for a little heat? Feel free to add finely chopped red chilies to the vegetable mixture or top the dish with some crushed red pepper just before serving.
  • Switch up the vegetables: You can use any kind of veggies you like in this dish, so feel free to change up the combination depending on what you have at home. Great options include asparagus, peas, green beans, summer squash, and spinach.
  • Use a different pasta shape: No penne? No problem. You can use any pasta shape; short, long, skinny, wide, depending on what you like best. Some of my favorite choices include spaghetti, bowtie, and casarecce.
  • Make it vegan: This vegetarian dish can easily be made vegan by swapping out the parmesan cheese for a dairy-free alternative.

What to Serve With This Dish

While this delicious dish can easily stand on its own, I like to round it out with simple dishes like a refreshing salad or some toasted garlic bread. If you’re in need of some ideas, here are some of my favorite side dishes to serve with pasta primavera:

How to Store Cooked Pasta

If you wind up making too much of this dish, don’t fret. Pasta primavera keeps incredibly well in the fridge and, in my opinion, tastes even better the next day! To store this dish, you will first need to wait for it to cool down to room temperature before transferring the pasta to an airtight storage container. Once properly stored, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. Because of the high water content in both the vegetables and the sauce, I don’t recommend freezing this dish.

Primavera pasta with fresh tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, and zucchini in a bowl with Parmesan, basil, and lemon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this dish:

What is pasta primavera?

Translated from Italian, pasta primavera literally means “springtime pasta.” It’s a pasta dish made with fresh, seasonal vegetables in a light sauce made with lemon juice and parmesan cheese. The vegetables used can vary based on preference and what’s in season. In this recipe, we use garlic, shallots, carrots, broccoli, red bell peppers, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes.

Is this dish healthy?

Yes! Unlike many pasta dishes that are loaded with butter and cream, this lighter dish is made simply with fresh vegetables and a sauce made from pasta water, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. When consumed in moderation, it’s a perfectly healthy meal.

Is pasta primavera vegan?

Pasta primavera is typically made with parmesan cheese, making it vegetarian, but not vegan. However, you can make it vegan-friendly by using a dairy-free cheese alternative or leaving out the cheese altogether.

Fresh vegetable primavera with penne pasta in a bowl with sliced lemon and basil.

More Healthy Pasta Recipes

Like this recipe? Try these next:

The Recipe
Pasta primavera in a bowl with zucchini, broccoli, carrots, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil.

Pasta Primavera

391 CAL 59g CARBS 12g FAT 16g PROTEIN
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  • 8 oz. penne pasta (or whole wheat, chickpea, etc)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1 carrot, sliced thin
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, cut small
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (more to taste)
  • 1/2 lemon, zest
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

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Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain the pasta and set it aside. Save about 1/2 cup of pasta cooking liquid for the sauce.

Penne pasta being added to a pot of boiling water.

While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the shallots, carrots, broccoli, and red bell pepper. Cook for about 5-6 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the zucchini and cook for 3-4 more minutes. The vegetables should be just tender-crisp.

Vegetables cooking for primavera in a pan.

Add the cherry tomatoes, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cook for 2 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.

Oregano being added to a pan with vegetables and garlic.

Add the vegetables to the cooked pasta. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and about ¼ cup of pasta cooking liquid. Stir to form a creamy sauce. If needed, add more pasta cooking liquid to the sauce, up to about 1/2 cup.

Pasta primavera being stirred in a large pot.

Top with fresh basil and additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Parmesan cheese being shredded on to fresh vegetable pasta primavera.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 391
Calories from Fat 109
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 10mg
Sodium 268mg
Total Carbohydrate 59g
Dietary Fiber 7g
Sugars 10g
Protein 16g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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