Pasta Primavera is a classic dish packed with spring flavors of fresh vegetables and a light red sauce (Pasta Primavera Sauce) of sautéed tomatoes, garlic, and Italian seasonings. This Pasta Primavera Recipe is simple and light yet serves well as a meal with some toasted bread. Vegan Pasta Primavera (without cheese or cream) uses spring and summer vegetables; zucchini, squash, asparagus, and pees all culminating in bright, sun-filled flavors overlaid with a rich red sauce. We’re going to show you how to make this classic dish and also talk briefly about What is Pasta Primavera and where it originates so you have some context.
Ever since I (Kyle) was a kid, I loved cooking. My favorite thing to make as a young boy was red sauce. I was addicted to it, addicted to garlic crushed, minced, sautéed in olive oil which (to a child) looks like liquid gold. If I had eaten all the noodles in our cupboard, I would dip crackers or bread in my red sauce recipe. This was my first experience making something and having it turn out delicious. That’s why this dish, with it’s simple Pasta Primavera Sauce brings back good memories. Making this dish as a Vegan Pasta Primavera is no far stretch since we only omit any cheese or cream. When done right, the tomatoes should emit their juice and a red sauce (Pasta Primavera Sauce) should be visible; the tomatoes should appear soft like stewed tomatoes and the vegetables should remain slightly crisp, almost salad-like.
Pasta Primavera Recipe
- Yellow squash
- Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped, seeds removed
- Cherry tomatoes
- Italian seasoning
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh basil
- Fresh parsley
How to Make Pasta Primavera
- Cook pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and cook pasta according to instructions on the package.
- Sauté garlic and onions. Heat 1/4 cup garlic oil (or olive oil and 3-4 crushed garlic cloves) in a skillet over medium-high, add onions and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Squash. Add zucchini and yellow squash, cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Asparagus and pees. Add asparagus and pees, cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until fork-tender then remove from heat.
- Tomatoes. In a medium-sized sauce pot, add 1/4 cup of garlic oil (or olive oil and 3-4 garlic cloves) and heat over medium-high; add cherry and Roma tomatoes, Italian seasoning, dill, a pinch of salt, red pepper flakes, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until tomatoes are broken down into a chunky sauce
- Combine. Add sauce, vegetables and noodles to a large serving bowl and mix to combine.
- Garnish. Serve garnished with fresh basil and parsley.
How to Make Garlic Oil
For this recipe you’ll be using 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, 10 large cloves of garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy, store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The order in which you add your vegetable during the cooking process in this Pasta Primavera Recipe is important; some vegetables cook quicker than others. Both asparagus and pees should be added to the vegetable mixture for cooking last and only briefly. Asparagus should remain slightly crisp and pees should also hold a firmer texture.
What is Pasta Primavera?
Let’s start with the name; primavera means “spring” in Italy. The origins of this dish begin in 1976 just before the opening of the famous French restaurant Le Cirque in New York. Chef-partners of the restaurant Jean Vergnes and Sirio Maccioni came together with famous French Chef Jacques Pepin and artist/cook Ed Giobbi to find new recipes for their restaurant. Ed presented a pasta recipe of his grandmother’s which was essentially a salad of raw tomatoes or early spring vegetables.
While Pasta Primavera has been made in a variety of versions, Jacques Pepin (in his book The Short-Cut Cook) avers that Ed Giobbi, when making this dish at home, prefers using only fresh tomatoes, sautéing them with olive oil, basil, onion, and garlic. This may give us a clue as to what the heart of this dish is about: raw ingredients used simply and elegantly to create delightful flavors that speak not only to the palate but also of seasonality. Jacques Pepin reminds us that this dish “does bring to mind a fresh spring day.”
What to Serve with Pasta Primavera
Vegan Pasta Primavera is filling so it can stand alone as a meal. However, here are some ideas for sides.
- An Italian soup like Ribollita Soup (Tuscan Bread Soup Ribollita)
- A spring salad
- Garlic bread
What Type of Pasta to Use
There is no correct answer here. So, feel free to choose according to taste. We enjoy shorter noodles because they are of similar size to the vegetables they are served with so texturally they are less imposing. However, here are a sampling of the varieties of pasta you can choose from.
- Angel hair
How to Cook Pasta
While it’s always safest to adhere to the directions provide on the package of pasta you purchased, here are some brief instructions.
- Bring 6 quarts of water to boil over high heat and sprinkle in a pinch of salt.
- Add pasta to boiling water, push it below the water surface, and stir briefly to separate any pasta clumped together.
- Cook for roughly 5 to 8 minutes depending on your preference of noodle-texture.
What Types of Vegetables Should be Used in Vegan Pasta Primavera?
This dish was created with spring flavors in mind so it’s best to keep your selection seasonally specific to spring and summer vegetables. Here are some great options.
- Summer squash
Is This Pasta Primavera Recipe Healthy?
- Asparagus is high in antioxidants which may lower blood pressure and inflammation (1).
- Peas are high in fiber which is beneficial for digestion (2).
- Zucchini is rich in vitamin c and beta carotene which are beneficial for eye-health (3).
If you enjoyed this Vegan Plate recipe, here are some other Vegan Italian Food recipes you will love!
Vegan Italian Food
- Vegan Pizza
- Garlic Oil
- Homemade Marinara Sauce
- Ribollita Soup
- Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce
- Beans in Tomato Sauce
- Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Lemon Pasta
Pasta Primavera is a classic dish packed with spring flavors of fresh vegetables and a light red sauce (Pasta Primavera Sauce) of sautéed tomatoes, garlic, and Italian seasonings. This Pasta Primavera Recipe is simple and light yet serves well as a meal with some toasted bread.
For the Garlic Oil
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 10 large cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Primavera
- 1 pound of Penne pasta
- 1 Yellow onion, diced small
- 1/2 cup garlic olive oil
- 1 Yellow squash, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 Zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 6 Asparagus spears, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup of pees
- 6 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped, seeds removed
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 Teaspoon dill
- 1 Teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/8 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Fresh basil
- Fresh parsley
- 1 pinch of salt
For the Garlic Oil
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
For the Pasta Primavera
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and cook pasta according to instructions on the package.
- Heat 1/4 of garlic oil (or olive oil and 3 large cloves of garlic) in a large (deep) skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add zucchini and yellow squash and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until veggies begin to soften.
- Add asparagus and pees and sauté (stirring frequently) for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until fork-tender.
- In a medium-sized sauce pot, add 1/4 cup of garlic oil (or olive oil and 3 large garlic cloves) and heat over medium-high heat. Add in Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, Italian seasoning, dill, a pinch of salt, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until tomatoes are broken down into a chunky sauce
- In a large serving bowl, add the vegetables, sauce, and noodles, stir to combine.
- Serve immediately garnished with fresh basil and parsley.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 496Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 164mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g
The Vegan Plate attempts to provide accurate information. However, this nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The nutritional information provided comes from online sources and calculations.
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