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Easy Pasta Primavera Recipe

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

5 from 22 votes
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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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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Valentina Ablaev

I am Valentina, the creator behind the food blog Valentina’s Corner where I share our family’s favorite recipes. When I am not in the kitchen, I enjoy spending quality time with my husband and 5 children. We invite you to join us on our blogging journey!

Read more posts by Valentina

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Erin McIntyre
    May 12, 2022

    This looks good, I like leftovers for lunch. Should I double all ingredients for 1lb of pasta?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 12, 2022

      Hi Erin! I hope you love this recipe! I recommend clicking “Jump to recipe” at the top of the post, it will take you to our printable recipe where you’ll have the option to change the number of servings. Hover over the number of servings highlighted in red and slide it to how many servings you would like to make. I hope that helps!

      Reply

  • Irene Matthews
    May 12, 2022

    I wonder if everyone knows how much difference fresh lemon juice and fresh Parm make. Lemon juice out of a bottle just isn’t the same.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 12, 2022

      Fresh is always best! But the bottled one is a get alternative if you don’t have the option of fresh.

      Reply

  • Shelly
    April 20, 2022

    I make it with spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Sometimes add ground chicken to the mix and it is great!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 20, 2022

      Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing.

      Reply

  • Pam Burnside
    April 19, 2022

    So delicious! My husband loved this dish and after he had seconds he said he didn’t want to stop eating it! I loved it too! Didn’t have bell pepper, used broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas and zucchini with the red onion. Also added a few chicken tenderloins sautéd in olive oil on the side. We try to eat clean and healthy and this recipe fills the bill! Thank you! I will be making it again and again!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 19, 2022

      That’s so great! It sounds like you have a new favorite, Pam!

      Reply

  • Jennifer
    April 13, 2022

    I just loved this recipe!! It was so good & so easy! Can’t wait to make again!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 14, 2022

      Glad you enjoyed it, Jennifer!

      Reply

  • shannon
    April 12, 2022

    this pasta is colorful and super tasty! This is one of my favorite dishes for the spring!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 12, 2022

      Thanks for the good comments and feedback, Shannon. Good to hear that you liked it!

      Reply

  • Jessica
    April 12, 2022

    This turned out absolutely PERFECT! I followed it exactly and now I think it’s my new go-to!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 12, 2022

      Love it! I’m happy to hear that, thank you for the review.

      Reply

  • Edward
    April 12, 2022

    Hi Natasha, this new pasta recipe looks so fancy. It’s very cool how you like put different varieties of vegetables in it to make it healthy. I love to eat penne pastas with marinara sauce and cheese.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 12, 2022

      I hope this becomes your new favorite!

      Reply

  • Edward
    April 12, 2022

    Hi Natasha, this new pasta recipe looks so fancy. It’s very cool how you like put different varieties of vegetables in it to make it healthy. I love penne pastas with marinara sauce and cheese.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 12, 2022

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me! I hope you try this recipe soon!

      Reply

  • Edward
    April 12, 2022

    Hi Natasha, this is a fancy new pasta recipe. I love how there are different varieties of vegetables you put in there. They truly make them healthy. I love cheesy penne pasta with marinara sauce.

    Reply

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