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Pasta Primavera

This Pasta Primavera is everything a spring or summer dinner needs: it’s light on calories, big on flavor, and bursting with colorful seasonal vegetables.

A fork twirling Pasta Primavera with fresh vegetables and a garnish of basil on a wooden table.
Pasta Primavera is the perfect fresh veggie pasta dish for the whole family.

What Is Primavera?

The word “primavera” means spring in Italian or a mixture of fresh vegetables. This dish is a popular choice during the warm season as it celebrates fresh and light ingredients.

To prepare a primavera-style meal, all you need are seasonal spring vegetables. The most traditional way of serving it is by combining it with pasta, which we will do in this recipe.

Why This Recipe Stands Out

This Pasta Primavera recipe delivers big on nutrition and flavor:

  • Quick and Easy: This recipe can be made in just 35 minutes, making it an ideal meal for busy weeknights.
  • Get Your Family to Eat Veggies: The combination of fresh seasonal vegetables and and olive oil (no heavy cream or butter) makes this a healthy-delicious meal.
  • Affordable Ingredients: This recipe uses simple and fresh ingredients that you can easily find at your local market. It’s one of our favorite Easter and Spring recipes.
  • Meal in One: Although pasta primavera is generally meatless, you can easily customize it by adding your favorite protein like chicken or even shrimp as in our Shrimp Scampi Pasta.

Key Recipe Ingredients

Spaghetti Noodles Cooking in a pot of water.
  • Dry Pasta – We use spaghetti for this recipe, but fettuccine or linguine also work.
  • Onion and Garlic – Use freshly chopped onion and garlic for the aromatics.
  • Seasonal Vegetables – Broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers, yellow squash or zucchini, grape tomatoes, and mushrooms add color and nutrition.
  • Italian Seasonings – A blend of dried Italian seasonings further enhances the flavors of the vegetables and pasta.
  • Chicken or Vegetable Broth – This is used to make a light sauce that coats the vegetables and pasta.
  • Optional Garnish – Freshly grated parmesan cheese and basil leaves add a final touch of flavor to the dish.

Substitutions And Variations

This Pasta Primavera recipe is as flexible as it is delicious. Here are a few of our favorite ideas to make this recipe your own:

  • Add Meat: While we love this recipe as a vegetarian option, you can easily add your favorite protein. Grilled chicken or even tofu would be a great addition. You can also add our 10-Minute Garlic Shrimp on top before serving.
  • Different Pasta: We’ve used spaghetti, but feel free to use any type of pasta you prefer. You can also try using gluten-free pasta or even zucchini noodles for a low-carbohydrate option.
  • Vegetables: This recipe is all about seasonal vegetables, so don’t hesitate to swap in your favorites. Asparagus, snap peas, or even artichoke hearts are all great options.
  • Spices: Italian seasoning is a classic choice, but feel free to get creative with your spices.

Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions

garlic and onions being cooked in a pan.
  1. Boil pasta to al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drizzle pasta with oil to prevent sticking and cover to keep warm.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Sauté onions and garlic until softened. Add broccoli and carrots, then bell pepper. Finally, add squash, tomatoes, and mushrooms and cook until all veggies are softened.
  3. Add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Dissolve cornstarch in broth and add to the veggie mixture. Bring to a boil until thickened.
  4. Pour veggie mixture over cooked pasta. Add some of the reserved pasta water if needed. Garnish with parmesan and basil. Serve immediately.

For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.

How To Prep Ahead

Pasta Primavera is a delicious and versatile dish that we love to make ahead of time. Take a look at our favorite prep-ahead tips for this recipe:

  • Prep the Vegetables: You can chop all your vegetables in advance and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Entirely Make Ahead: To prepare your pasta primavera dinner in advance, follow the recipe as written, but keep the cooked veggies and cooked pasta separate until ready to serve. Be sure to toss cooked pasta with enough olive oil to keep it from sticking.
Overhead closeup shot of primavera veggies in a skillet with a wooden spoon.
This Perfect Pasta Primavera is everything a spring or summer dinner needs.

What To Serve With Pasta Primavera

Bread

Protein

  • Grilled Chicken Breast or Garlic Shrimp can be served on the side or added to the pasta for a heartier meal.
  • Thinly sliced grilled steak is great for those who enjoy pasta with steak.

Sides

Commonly Asked Questions

Is there protein in pasta primavera?

Though pasta primavera is generally meatless and well suited for vegetarians, dry pasta itself and any added cheeses contain protein for a satisfying meal.

What is pasta primavera sauce made of?

Many pasta primavera sauces contain heavy cream, but this lightened-up version makes smart use of broth and seasonings for all the flavor with the additional fat.

What is the best type of pasta to use for pasta primavera?

The best type of pasta to use for pasta primavera is a long, thin pasta such as spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccini. These types of pasta allow the vegetables and sauce to cling to them, giving you a perfect bite every time.

What if I accidentally threw out the reserved pasta water?

Use a broth of your choice in place of the reserved pasta water, as needed.

How long does pasta primavera keep?

Pasta primavera can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container to maintain its freshness and flavor.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

Perfect Pasta Primavera

5 from 9 ratings
This Pasta Primavera is everything a spring or summer dinner needs. It's light on calories, big on flavor, and bursting with all the colorful seasonal vegetables.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

  • 16 oz dry pasta, such as spaghetti
  • 4 TB extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups matchstick carrots
  • 1 large red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, or zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ TB dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 TB cornstarch
  • 2 cups regular strength chicken broth , or vegetable broth, if keeping vegetarian
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional garnish, or freshly sliced basil leaves

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions, just to al dente; do not overcook. When pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set it aside. Return drained pasta to pot and drizzle cooked/drained with enough oil to prevent sticking; cover to keep warm.
  • While pasta is cooking: heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir 2-3 min. or until softened. Add garlic, stirring 1 minute. Add broccoli and carrots, stirring 2-3 min. Add bell pepper and cook another 2 min. Add the squash/zucchini, tomatoes, and mushrooms, stirring 2-3 minutes or just until all veggies are softened to your preference.
  • Add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the veggie mixture, stirring to combine well. Dissolve 1 TB cornstarch in 2 cups broth; when fully dissolved, add to the veggie mixture and bring to a boil until thickened.
  • Pour veggie mixture over cooked pasta in pot. Gently toss to combine; add some of the reserved pasta water if needed. Add additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I add about 1/4 tsp here.) Serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan and fresh basil.

Notes

  • Generously salting the water for cooking pasta helps prevent pasta from sticking, as well as provides flavor. 
  • Take care not to overcook the pasta; it should be cooked just to al dente, meaning it is still slightly firm when bitten. This will give your pasta primavera the perfect texture.
  • When making pasta primavera, feel free to use any fresh, in-season vegetables for the best flavor and texture.
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese and freshly sliced basil leaves aren’t just for show—they add a burst of fresh flavor that takes your pasta primavera to the next level.
  • Pasta primavera is a dish that tastes even better the next day, so don’t be afraid to make a little extra. However, it may need to be “thinned out” with additional broth upon reheating.
  • Serve this alongside some Rosemary Garlic Bread or Olive Garden Breadsticks for soaking up the delicious veggie and pasta juices.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating. We ❤️ hearing from you! 
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Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 728mg | Potassium: 725mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 8463IU | Vitamin C: 76mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dinner, Main
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Low Lactose
Method: Stovetop

More To Cook And Eat

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Recipe Rating




22 comments

    • Rani Thapar

    why the cornstarch? Can we not add it?

      • Amy Dong

      The cornstarch helps thicken a bit – you can omit it if you prefer. Enjoy! 🙂

    • Chenée
    • 5 stars

    This pasta has all the fresh spring flavors I love! Thanks for this amazing recipe!

      • Amy Dong

      You’re so welcome!

    • Jenny
    • 5 stars

    This pasta primavera is lovely! Your recipe is easy and fuss-free, a great substitute for my usual red sauce recipe. Thanks so much; we will definitely make it.

      • Amy Dong

      You’ll love it!

    • Lauren Michael Harris
    • 5 stars

    This pasta primavera is such a great way to get in more veggies in a way that tastes amazing! We will be making this more often for sure!

      • Amy Dong

      So glad you guys enjoyed this dish!

    • Dennis
    • 5 stars

    When you say perfect pasta primavera you weren’t kidding! My family loved sitting down to this delicious pasta dish!!

      • Amy Dong

      That’s awesome!

    • Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer
    • 5 stars

    I am crushing HARD on this recipe! It’s so light and crazy easy to make! Definitely a family favorite!

      • Amy Dong

      Thank you!

    • Megan
    • 5 stars

    I just love this recipe. It is so easy to make and tasty on its own as well as with any protein I choose to toss in too. Thanks for a 5 star recipe.

      • Amy Dong

      Aww, so glad you loved it!

    • Amanda Mason
    • 5 stars

    My son and I devoured this dish! So good and really flavorful! I love that it has so many healthy vegetables. And I used fettuccine noodles instead of spaghetti. So unbelievable good!!

      • Amy Dong

      So happy you guys enjoyed this!

    • Bernice
    • 5 stars

    What a stunning pasta dish! It checks all the boxes for me. Easy to make, delicious, and full of veggies! This recipe is a keeper.

      • Amy Dong

      Yay, Bernice!

    • Devan
    • 5 stars

    Although I disagree with the use of cornstarch in this pasta, the recipe was otherwise phenomenal and perfect for the hot summer weather. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous too. Thanks for sharing this and for your hard work!

      • Amy Dong

      Thanks, Devan!

    • Patti Lynn Hernandez

    Looks yummy

      • chewoutloud

      Thanks, Patti! 🙂

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