This Vegan Pasta Primavera Recipe is perfect for a quick and easy, healthy dinner. You can make this delicious vegan pasta primavera, loaded with fresh vegetables, in under 30 minutes. The colorful mix of sauteed veggies in a light tahini lemon sauce, mixed with your favorite pasta, is sure to become a year round favorite.
This healthy pasta primavera recipe isn’t just for spring and summer. It’s a super delicious way to add more of your favorite fresh veggies into the rotation….no matter what season it is.
Traditional pasta primavera has a lemon cream sauce…this dairy-free version is light and lemony and uses white wine and tahini for the perfect vegan primavera sauce that the whole family will adore.
If you’re looking for an easy and healthy plant-based dinner that tastes incredible and you can make in under 30 minutes, look no further.
Why you’ll love this
- Light…and also filling. You will adore this dairy-free light lemony sauce.
- Nutrient dense: A super tasty way to get in more veggies that are packed with nutrients.
- Vegan Comfort Food: Super satisfying…the pasta you’re craving balanced out with veggies and delicious vegan sauce. If healthy vegan pasta dishes are your jam, you’ll also want to try this vegan pesto pasta, or my delicious sesame noodles with veggies.
- Plant based meal….so good even omnivores will love it.
- Bursting with flavor in every bite.
- Gorgeous and colorful….because we eat with our eyes first!
Vegan Primavera Sauce Ingredients
- Tahini: Tahini makes a great base for no oil pasta sauces. It contains antioxidants and has calcium, plus helps to lower inflammation. Tahini is a whole foods ingredient that creates a dairy-free creamy base for sauces and dressing.
- Lemon: You can use both the lemon zest and the juice for super citrus flavor. Lemon juice helps keep the primavera sauce light and refreshing.
- S+P: If you’re trying to cut back on sodium, skip the salt and opt instead for a no salt seasoning. Always start with less salt and you can add at the end if it’s needed. Crushed red pepper gives this dish a little zing that I love, you can substitute freshly cracked black pepper if you prefer.
- Nutritional Yeast: I like to sprinkle the nutritional yeast on top of the finished product for a vegan cheesy flavor. You can also add some into the sauce as you’re whisking the other ingredients together.
- Fresh Herbs: I love the fresh taste of parsley in this dish. You can also chop up fresh basil, oregano or thyme to sprinkle on top.
How to make Vegan Pasta Primavera
Get everything ready before you begin. Prep the veggies as described. They will only require a quick saute for al dente perfection, so it’s important they are cut before you begin.
Tips for cutting Fresh Veggies
Focus on buying fresh vegetables that are in season. You can find spring or summer vegetables at local farmers markets or at your local grocery store. Try to cut veggies into similar sizes so they will become tender at the same time. Pay attention to the thickness of the cut as it will affect cooking time.
You’ll want a total of 5 cups (minimum) of fresh, chopped vegetables for this recipe.
- Red onion: Cut in half and then peel off outer layers. Next, place onion cut side down for stability and then into thin strips.
- Asparagus spears: Cut or break off woody ends before trimming spears into 1″ pieces.
- Carrots: Peel and trim off ends. Use a vegetable peeler to make long thin strips. If you prefer to cut into ¼″ discs, keep in mind they will take a bit longer to cook.
- Fresh broccoli: If stalks are long, slice them into thin discs and put those into the pan near the beginning. Use a sharp knife to cut the crowns into florets of similar sizes.
- Red Bell Pepper: You can use any color bell pepper you have, or even multiple colors. Cut a thin sliver off the top and bottom, then slice the sides into strips.
- Zucchini or Yellow squash: Look for summer squash that it long and thin. The rounder varieties have more seeds inside and tend to be more bitter. Cut a thin slice off both ends, slice in half lengthwise and then proceed to cut into ¼″ half moons.
After the veggies are prepped and set aside, it’s time to put the pasta on to cook. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Pour in the pasta and cook according to the package instructions, but with one change. Set the timer for 2 minutes LESS THAN directed. This is especially true for gluten-free pasta. We are going for al dente pasta so it doesn’t get gummy and stick together.
What type of pasta to use for pasta primavera?
I used Jovial Gluten-free Brown Rice Penne in this recipe. Sometimes I use linguine or even pad thai noodles. Fusilli is also good because more sauce will cling into the crevices. Yum!
You can use whatever shape you prefer and also a variety that works for you. Just remember we are going for al dente pasta in this recipe so start testing for doneness 2 minutes before the package directions suggest.
How to make Vegan Primavera Sauce:
- Start by whisking together tahini with lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper.
- Grab a cup of pasta cooking water with a pyrex glass measuring cup and slowly whisk in ½ cup to thin out the tahini mixture. Add more pasta water 1 Tablespoon at a time, as needed. Save the remaining, you still may need it.
- Whisk in half the nutritional yeast now. Save the rest for garnish along with the chopped fresh parsley.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in 1 Tablespoon olive oil, veggie broth or pasta water to start the veggie saute. Add veggies one at a time, beginning with those that will take the longest.
In this line up, follow in order: broccoli stalk spheres, asparagus (if they’re thick), then the broccoli florets. Allow one minute to cook, then stir in the red onions. If pan becomes dry, add in 1-2 Tablespoons white wine, vegetable stock or pasta water.
Next, add in the zucchini half moons and red peppers, and toss to mix thoroughly. Again, add 1 Tablespoon additional liquid, if needed. The alcohol in the white wine will burn off, and I like the flavor it imparts, but if you prefer, use vegetable broth.
Last, you’ll incorporate the carrot ribbons into the vegetable mixture, along with 1 teaspoon italian seasoning.
When veggies are bright and tender (but not mushy), pour on half the sauce and stir well.
If pan is large enough, add in the drained pasta and mix well. Here’s how to freeze cooked pasta if you made too much. Otherwise, use the pot you boiled the pasta in and transfer the vegetable mixture into the pasta.
Sprinkle on additional nutritional yeast, fresh chopped herbs and a squeeze of fresh lemon if desired. Serve warm and pass the extra crushed red pepper.
MEAL PREP AND STORAGE
- SERVE: This recipe will serve 4 as a vegan main dish or 4 as a healthy side dish. Add even more veggies or small white beans to stretch it even further. This recipe tastes best served warm.
- PREP AHEAD: Cut veggies and store in airtight container in the fridge until ready to prep. Make the primavera sauce up to 3 days in advance (use veggie broth rather than pasta water) and stored in a lidded glass jar in the fridge until ready to make the rest. Add a bit of pasta water to warm it up before adding to the tender veggies.
- STORE: Store finished pasta primavera in the fridge for up to 5 days. Gently reheat on the stove in a heavy skillet with a bit of white wine, lemon juice or veggie broth.
- FREEZE: This dish doesn’t freeze well. It’s best enjoyed freshly made.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Does Gluten-free Pasta Primavera taste good? ABSOLUTELY! Yes, go for the gluten-free pasta in this recipe, just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get mushy. Set your timer for 2 minutes LESS than the package directions say.
- Add vegetables to the pan in order of cooking time. Thinner pieces will take less time to cook. For example, if your asparagus spears are thicker, you’ll add them first. Super thin asparagus can be added at the very end for tender, al dente perfection. Thin ribbons of carrots can be added at the end, but ¼″ carrot rounds will take longer to become tender and should be added near the beginning.
- 5 cups of assorted veggies gives you plenty of wiggle room to use what you have.
- If you need to stretch this recipe to feed more people, double up on the sauce and the veggies.
- Extra sauce can be passed around for those that prefer more. Additional sauce can be kept in the fridge and used for reheating primavera on the stove.
Pasta Primavera FAQs
Primavera is the Italian word for spring. Traditional Pasta Primavera is made with spring vegetables. Although Pasta Primavera is thought of as an Italian dish, it was actually created by an american chef
Traditional pasta primavera sauce is made with chicken broth, parmesan cheese, cream and fresh herbs. This Vegan Pasta Primavera Recipe is made with tahini and lemon juice for a light yet creamy, dairy free version.
Although pasta primavera tastes better when served warm, it can be served cold as well. If you plan on serving pasta primavera cold, make extra sauce and toss it onto the pasta mixture to loosen things up.
Did you know commenting and rating recipes is one of the best ways to support your favorite food bloggers? If you made this recipe, please consider a five star rating below and leave a comment. Also, please share your photos on instagram by tagging me @dkhealthcoach and using the hashtag #debraklein
Vegan Pasta Primavera
- 1 lb. gluten-free pasta*
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium red onion sliced thin
- 1 red bell pepper cut into thin strips
- 2 broccoli crowns cut into florets
- 1 medium zucchini cut into half moons
- 1 large carrot peeled into long, thin strips
- 1 bunch asparagus cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2-3 Tablespoons white wine
Pasta Primavera Sauce
- ¼ cup tahini
- 1 lemon juiced
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ cup pasta water
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- PREP THE VEGGIES: Cut red onion in half and then thin strips. Stem and seed the red bell pepper and then chop into strips. Thinly slice stalk of fresh broccoli and then separate the top into florets. Trim ends off zucchini, slice in half lengthwise and then cut into ½" half moons. Trim and peel carrot, then use vegetable peeler to create long thin strips. Cut asparagus into 1" pieces.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook. This easy pasta primavera tastes best when the pasta is cooked al dente. Generally, that will be 2 minutes LESS cooking time than the package instructions. Stir once or twice during cooking to prevent pasta from clumping together.
- MAKE THE PRIMAVERA SAUCE: Whisk together tahini, lemon juice, coarse sea salt and red pepper flakes. Use a pyrex glass measuring cup to grab 1 cup pasta water. Pour ½ cup water into the creamy sauce and whisk well. If sauce is too thick, add a bit more pasta water, until cream sauce is pourable. Set aside.
- Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in a little olive oil or pasta water. Start with just one Tablespoon. Add fresh vegetables in order one at a time: Broccoli, asparagus, red onion, zucchini, red pepper, carrots. Toss with large tongs in between, letting each cook for a minute before moving on. If pan becomes too dry during this process, add1-2 Tablespoons white wine or vegetable broth. Sprinkle on the Italian seasoning and continue to toss and cook until veggies are bright and still crisp.
- Pour on half the sauce and stir well. If your pan is large enough, add the cooked pasta and mix well. Otherwise, drain the pasta and put it back into the pot it was cooked in and pour the veggie mixture onto the tender pasta. Mix well. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, fresh parsley and taste for seasonings. Sprinkle on some sliced green onions or an extra squeeze of lemon juice to taste.