Pasta Primavera Recipe

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Pasta primavera is a fresh, bright and lemony, veggie-packed pasta dish.  This pasta primavera recipe is versatile and is ready in under 30 minutes making it an easy and healthy weeknight meal.

photo of pasta primavera in a pan with serving spoons


When I need a healthy and hearty meal in a hurry, I turn to this pasta primavera recipe! It’s a fresh, bright and lemony, vegetable-packed pasta dish that everyone loves. 

This pasta primavera recipe is versatile and is ready in under 30 minutes making it an easy and healthy weeknight meal. I enjoy primavera pasta in the summer months when our garden is full of fresh veggies, but I also love to make it in the cooler seasons of the year as an empty-out-the-fridge meal. 

pasta primavera in a bowl with a fork taking a bite

Pasta Primavera Ingredients & Substitutions

Let’s discuss the ingredients in this pasta primavera recipe, as well as possible substitutions. 

overhead view of the labeled ingredients in this Pasta Primavera Recipe
  • Olive oil. avocado oil and canola oil are good substitues.
  • Red onion. Any onion variety works well: yellow, sweet, etc. 
  • Vegetables. This pasta primavera recipe calls for 5 cups of vegetables. You can substitute your favorites for any of those listed in the recipe. 
  • Salted Butter. Unsalted butter works well in this recipe. 
  • Lemon Juice/zest. You can use bottled lemon juice or freshly squeezed. You will need the juice of 3-4 fresh lemons to equal ½ cup. 
  • Grated Parmesan cheese. Go for high-quality parmesan for the best results. It can be grated or shredded. 
  • Fresh basil. I’ve made this primavera pasta without it in the winter months, but always prefer when it is included. 

Pasta Suggestions (besides Penne)

  • Shaped pasta (my preference): I prefer using shaped pasta because it soaks in the lemon sauce in every nook and cranny and tastes amazing. some suggestions other than penne are: bow ties (aka Farfalle) , rigatoni, fusilli, wheels (rotelle), etc. 
  • Spaghetti noodles: bucatini is my favorite. But angel hair,  tagiatelle, linguine, etc. 
  • Chickpea pasta is a great gluten-free option! 
overhead view of a bowl of Pasta Primavera

How to Make Pasta Primavera

Let’s walk through how to make pasta primavera step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video. 

The first step in this recipe is to cook the pasta. Be sure to use heavily salted water for the best flavor. Reserve ½ cup of the water for later. 

two photos showing penne pasta cooking to make Pasta Primavera

While the pasta is cooking, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice in a small bowl. Then, set it aside to use later. 

how to make Pasta Primavera Recipe

While the pasta is cooking, cook the onion, carrot, garlic and olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it just becomes tender (about 3 minutes).

Then, add the broccoli, red pepper and zucchini and cook for an additional 3 minutes. 

two overhead photos showing How to Make Pasta Primavera Recipe

Finally, add tomatoes, corn, peas, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and butter and cook until the butter is melted.

two overhead photos showing How to Make Pasta Primavera Recipe

Next, add the pasta to the cooked vegetables and stir to combine. Add the lemon/olive oil mixture, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil and stir until evenly distributed.

Cook until the sauce thickens and coats the veggies and pasta, about 3-5 minutes.  If the sauce dries out too much, it might be necessary to add up to ½ cup of the pasta water to the mixture to moisten. 

two overhead photos showing How to Make Pasta Primavera

Serve the Pasta Primavera

Once the pasta primavera is finished cooking, serve it warm with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts. Don’t forget to make this authentic Italian tiramisu for dessert! Or serve it with more of our favorite Italian recipes.

Pasta Primavera Recipe in a pan topped with parmesan cheese

Store

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat it in the microwave. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe. 

a bowl of Pasta Primavera topped with pine nuts

Pasta Primavera Recipe FAQs

What is primavera sauce made of?

This pasta primavera sauce is made of butter, lemon juice, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and lemon zest.

What are primavera vegetables?

“Primavera” means fresh! So in this recipe we use lots of fresh veggies – zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, onions, etc.

What is the difference between marinara and primavera sauce?

Marinara sauce is a tomato-based sauce, while primavera sauce is a butter/oil based sauce.

Which pasta should I use to make pasta primavera? 

You can use almost any pasta variety to make this pasta primavera recipe. Here are some suggestions: 
Shaped pasta (my preference): I prefer using shaped pasta because it soaks in the lemon sauce in every nook and cranny and tastes amazing. some suggestions other than penne are: bow ties (aka Farfalle) , rigatoni, fusilli, wheels (rotelle), etc. 
Spaghetti noodles: bucatini is my favorite. But angel hair,  tagiatelle, linguine, etc. 
Chickpea pasta is a great gluten-free option! 

a fork taking a bite from a bowl of Pasta Primavera

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Pasta Primavera Recipe

Laura
Pasta primavera is a fresh, bright and lemony, veggie-packed pasta dish. This pasta primavera recipe is versatile and is ready in under 30 minutes making it an easy and healthy weeknight meal.
5 from 2 votes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 281
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • Cook pasta in salted water, reserve ½ cup pasta water for later.
  • Cook onion, carrot, garlic and olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until tender (about 3-4 minutes)
  • Add the broccoli, red pepper and zucchini and cook until tender (about 3-4 minutes)
  • Add tomatoes, corn, peas, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and butter. Cook until butter is melted.
  • Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice in a small bowl.
  • Drain cooked pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
  • Add pasta to the cooked vegetables, stir to combine.
  • Add lemon/olive oil mixture, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil and stir until combined.
  • Cook until the sauce thickens and coats the veggies and pasta, about 3-5 minutes.
  • If necessary, add up to ½ cup of the pasta water to the mixture to moisten. (May not be necessary),
  • Serve warm with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Video

Notes

Pasta Primavera Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Penne Pasta. Choose your favorite pasta variety if you don’t have penne on hand. I  give a list below of possible suggestions. 
  • Olive oil. The flavor of a high-quality olive oil will really shine in this recipe. Another neutral oil like avocado oil or canola oil can also be used. 
  • Red onion. Any onion variety works well: yellow, sweet, etc. 
  • Vegetables. This pasta primavera recipe calls for 5 cups of vegetables. You can substitute your favorites for any of those listed in the recipe. 
  • Grape tomatoes. Choose a sweet variety for the best flavor. 
  • Minced Garlic. Also great in this recipe would be fresh roasted garlic, or a small amount of garlic powder if you have pickier eaters. 
  • Salted Butter. Unsalted butter works well in this recipe. 
  • Lemon Juice/zest. You can use bottled lemon juice or freshly squeezed. You will need the juice of 3-4 fresh lemons to equal ½ cup. 
  • Grated Parmesan cheese. Go for high-quality parmesan for the best results. It can be grated or shredded. 
  • Fresh basil. I’ve made this primavera pasta without it in the winter months, but always prefer when it is included. 
Which pasta should I use to make pasta primavera? 
You can use almost any pasta variety to make this pasta primavera recipe. Here are some suggestions: 
  • Shaped pasta (my preference): I prefer using shaped pasta because it soaks in the lemon sauce in every nook and cranny and tastes amazing. some suggestions other than penne are: bow ties (aka Farfalle) , rigatoni, fusilli, wheels (rotelle), etc. 
  • Spaghetti noodles: bucatini is my favorite. But angel hair,  tagiatelle, linguine, etc. 
  • Chickpea pasta is a great gluten-free option! 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 361mg | Potassium: 352mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2824IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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