Vegan Pasta Primavera

This vegan pasta primavera is so full of flavor! It features spaghetti with spring vegetables like asparagus, peas, spinach, and zesty lemon.

Vegan pasta primavera

Ready for a veggie-filled pasta that tastes incredible with no need for cheese? Meet this vegan pasta primavera. Pasta primavera is all about fresh, green spring veggies and a delicate, light flavor. It’s everything that a heavy mac and cheese or lasagna are not. So once the first sprouts of green start to come in the spring: we start to crave pasta primavera. Turns out the concept is pretty loose, so here’s our spin on the classic: full of flavor and fully plant based.

What is pasta primavera, anyway?

Great question. From the name, you might guess pasta primavera is a time-honored Italian recipe dating back hundreds of years. Italian grandmother fare, right? Couldn’t be further from the truth. Pasta primavera was born in the 1970’s in New York! It was a dish at a New York City restaurant called Le Cirque, made with spaghetti, lots of fresh spring vegetables, and a lemon cream sauce. So much for hundreds of years of tradition. (We came to learn the same is true of broccolini and Saint Germaine. Who knew!)

Vegan pasta primavera

Ingredients in this vegan pasta primavera

Is this vegan pasta primavera a classic pasta primavera? Well, turns out it’s one of those things that can be made in many different ways. There’s no real “recipe”: aside from using pasta and the freshest of seasonal vegetables. Plus, it usually has Parmesan cheese and this is a vegan version! So it’s a loose interpretation of the general concept.

Primavera means spring in Italian, we wanted to highlight all our favorite spring vegetables. Here are the good-for-you vegetables in this vegan pasta primavera:

Vegan pasta primavera

Variations on this recipe: other veggie & sauce ideas!

Since there’s a lot of variation in what vegetables are featured in pasta primavera, you could add really any vegetables you like to this recipe. Some we’d recommend are:

  • Sliced ripe cherry tomatoes: Tomatoes are more summery than spring, but they add great color. Whatever you do, make sure they are ripe (some hydroponic grocery tomatoes can be ok off season). Throw in 1 handful with the garlic at the end.
  • Thinly sliced carrot: Carrots also add nice color. Slice them into matchsticks and add them with the asparagus.
  • Zucchini: Many pasta primavera recipes include zucchini; you could throw sliced zucchini in with the asparagus as well.
  • Creamy sauce: Want it creamy instead? Try it with our Vegan Alfredo Sauce (nix the seasonings at the end).
Pasta primavera

The noodles! Use long or short cuts

Long spaghetti noodles feature in our vegan pasta primavera because we like the elegant look of the long noodles. But this dish works with short types of pasta too! Here are a few types we’d recommend trying:

  • Long noodles: It would be great with bucatini, linguine, and fettuccine.
  • Short noodles: It works well with penne, rigatoni, cavatappi, gemelli, or farfalle.

For gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free pasta, or try some of the legume or lentil pastas on the market.

How to cook pasta to al dente

The key to a good pasta dish is always this: cook the pasta to al dente. You’ll want to make sure it’s perfect for this pasta primavera. What’s al dente? In Italian it means “to the bite.” It refers to pasta that is still firm on the inside when cooked. The ideal al dente texture is a tender exterior balanced by a firm bite with a fleck of white at its core. Here’s how to cook pasta to al dente:

  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
  • While cooking, check pasta continually for doneness.
  • As soon as the pasta has a tender exterior but a fleck of white at its core, drain it! Even a few seconds can be the difference between al dente and limp noodles.
Vegan pasta

More vegan pasta recipes

Do you love making vegan pasta? We’ve got lots of great recipes that might be up your alley. Here are our favorites:

  • Vegan Pasta Alfredo Decadent, creamy, and full of healthy plant based ingredients. An easy dinner in under 30 minutes!
  • Favorite Vegan Lasagna About to become your new favorite: guaranteed. Full of flavor, it’s a winner with everyone!
  • Roasted Eggplant Pasta Flavor-packed with roasted eggplant & zesty marinara sauce! An impressive plant based dinner.
  • Vegan Pesto Pasta This killer vegan pesto pasta gets big flavor from emerald green basil pesto, ripe cherry tomatoes, and a drizzle of olive oil.

This vegan pasta primavera recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free or legume pasta.

Print
Vegan pasta primavera

Vegan Pasta Primavera


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (13 votes, average: 4.54 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan pasta primavera is so full of flavor! It features spaghetti with spring vegetables like asparagus, peas, spinach, and zesty lemon. 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 portabella mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound (1/2 bunch) asparagus
  • 1 bunch broccolini (or 2 cups broccoli florets, with stems kept as long as possible)
  • 3 cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped (or 3 ounces baby spinach)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups frozen peas (10 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus lemon zest to garnish

Or, mix it up: Try it with our Vegan Alfredo Sauce instead (nix the final 4 ingredients).


Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside). Then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  2. Chop the vegetables: Meanwhile, thinly slice the portobello mushroom caps (remove the stems). Chop off the tough end of the asparagus. Slice in half lengthwise so that each stalk forms 2 long thin stalks (doesn’t have to be perfect). Then slice them in half crosswise. Slice off the thick ends of the broccolini and keep the large florets (if using broccoli, cut the broccoli into medium small florets, keeping the stem as long as possible). Wash and roughly chop the spinach, removing any long stems (skip this if using packaged baby spinach). Mince the garlic.
  3. Cook the vegetables: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the broccolini and asparagus and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly until wilted. Add the frozen peas and saute for 1 minute. Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. (You could also consider adding a pinch of red pepper flakes at this point!)
  4. Add olive oil to pasta: Once the pasta is cooked and drained, drizzle it with olive oil.
  5. Add final flavorings and serve: In a small bowl stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the onion powder, dried oregano, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. After the vegetables are done, stir in the pasta and toss so the vegetables are evenly distributed, then pour the olive oil and spice mixture on the pasta and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt if necessary (or serve with salt). Serve immediately garnished with lemon zest.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Vegan Pasta Primavera

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

6 Comments

  • Reply
    Katie F
    March 30, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    Loved this so much! I love simple, healthy meals and this was perfect. Easy to change up the veggies. This is something I will make often.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 30, 2020 at 11:08 pm

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  • Reply
    Barbara Nathanson
    April 15, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Loved the umami depth that the soy sauce added to the sauce! I wouldn’t have guessed that soy sauce would enhance a classic recipe like this. So many fresh veggies included and I also loved the versatility to add whatever happens to be in the fridge. It will be a definite make again recipe in our house!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    April 17, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    I cooked this for my dads birthday dinner and it was delicious. (Although i left out the dijon mustard and traded onion powder for garlic powder.) I loved this dish

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      April 18, 2020 at 8:16 pm

      Glad you enjoyed!

  • Reply
    Daniele
    May 30, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    So good and easy! I loved the soy sauce mushrooms! And no zucchini! Very yummy, we’ll be making this often!

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