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

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Easy Pasta Primavera Recipe

4.99 from 92 votes
Author: Valentina Ablaev
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.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 4 servings
  • 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

  • Cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions until al'dente or to your desired doneness, drain water and cover to keep warm.
  • 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.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add the butter and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • 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.
  • Garnish with more freshly grated parmesan if desired and sprinkle on parsley.

Nutrition Per Serving

437kcal Calories51g Carbs14g Protein20g Fat9g Saturated Fat2g Polyunsaturated Fat8g Monounsaturated Fat1g Trans Fat33mg Cholesterol669mg Sodium528mg Potassium4g Fiber6g Sugar1570IU Vitamin A55mg Vitamin C147mg Calcium2mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Easy Pasta Primavera Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
437
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
20
g
31
%
Saturated Fat
 
9
g
56
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
8
g
Cholesterol
 
33
mg
11
%
Sodium
 
669
mg
29
%
Potassium
 
528
mg
15
%
Carbohydrates
 
51
g
17
%
Fiber
 
4
g
17
%
Sugar
 
6
g
7
%
Protein
 
14
g
28
%
Vitamin A
 
1570
IU
31
%
Vitamin C
 
55
mg
67
%
Calcium
 
147
mg
15
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pasta primavera
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 437

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

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Stewball
    August 4, 2023

    Why do I have to walk a mile to get to the recipe? It drives me bonkers but the recipe looks luscious. I look forward to making it. 🫠

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 4, 2023

      Hi Stewball! At the top of the page, there is a shortcut button. Click on “jump to recipe” and it will take you directly to the recipe card. I also recommend reading the blog post completely before attempting the recipe because I go in depth to provide other information and helpful tips.

      Reply

  • Aeil
    June 28, 2023

    Hi
    Your sweet potato recipe
    Is awesome delicious easy
    Thanks for sharing your awesome
    Recipes there easy superbly
    Delicious
    Five stars two thumbs up

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 28, 2023

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Aeil!

      Reply

  • Jo
    May 21, 2023

    I’d like to make this for the family of my friend who is ill. How well would it transport and not become dry and all stuck together? Would it reheat okay? Maybe tossed with some olive oil? Appreciate any suggestions. Even–Try another recipe!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 21, 2023

      Hi Jo! Yes, this reheats well. See my “make-ahead” notes above.

      Reply

  • Bren
    May 18, 2023

    We love this recipe! We add Italian sausage and always make extra for leftovers! So delicious!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 18, 2023

      That’s great, Bren! So glad you love it.

      Reply

  • Dan
    May 7, 2023

    Loved this dish! I used the entire red onion. I waste if I don’t use the whole one. It was amazing, easy to make and looks great too. I’ll make this for mom on Mother’s Day. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 8, 2023

      That’s a great idea! I hope it becomes a hit, thanks for the review too!

      Reply

  • Barbara
    April 25, 2023

    Made this recipe for the first time tonight with shrimp and it was a hit. My daughter doesn’t like mushrooms so we used cauliflower and added. We did zest the lemon for that extra lemon flavor that we love. will do this again

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 25, 2023

      That’s wonderful, Barbara! It sounds delicious. So glad you enjoyed the recipe. 🙂

      Reply

  • Zacha Ortiz
    April 2, 2023

    Just made this for dinner & added grilled chicken. It was delicious. Thank you.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 2, 2023

      I’m so glad you loved it! Thank you.

      Reply

  • Monica
    March 29, 2023

    Instant favorite! I now always double the recipe as everyone in my family goes back for seconds and thirds. The ingredients are simple, and yet this dish is so flavorful. I love this delicious, warm, vegetarian option – no one misses the meat with this dish. Thank you, Natasha!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 29, 2023

      That’s wonderful, Monica! So glad it’s a hit. 🙂

      Reply

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