This Vegetable Pasta is bursting with fresh vegetables and tender pasta that has been tossed in a light lemon sauce and parmesan cheese.
Inspired by Pasta Primavera, this veggie pasta is made without cream to create a light, flavorful, healthy 30-minute dinner recipe. Pair this pasta with a Strawberry Spinach Salad for a meal that is bursting with nutrients.
While I love pasta primavera, it is a dish that is classically made with cream and is not known to be light or low in calories.
This recipe for Vegetable Pasta has flavors reminiscent of classic pasta primavera, in fact, I often refer to it as Healthy Pasta Primavera.
Just like Pasta Primavera, this pasta features tender pasta tossed with crisp-tender veggies. But instead of being made with butter, oil, AND cream, this version of pasta primavera features a light, yet irresistibly flavorful sauce made with just enough oil, dry white wine, and lemon juice. Finished with parmesan cheese, this vegetable pasta tastes outrageously rich and luscious, yet it is secretly healthy.
why you will love this veggie pasta
- 30-Minute Dinner Recipe. This simple pasta dinner comes together in under 30 minutes, making it perfect for any night of the week.
- Kid-Friendly. The vegetables are cooked until just crisp-tender, so they retain some crunch, which makes this veggie pasta much more appealing to kids.
- Good For You. This vegetarian pasta is filled with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Not to mention it is made with significantly less fat and calories than classic pasta primavera recipes.
Notes on Key Ingredients
- Pasta: Rotini, penne, bowtie, or linguine work best for this pasta recipe. Feel free to use whole wheat, regular, or gluten-free noodles.
- Shallots: A shallot gives this dish a more delicate onion flavor, but feel free to use a minced red onion in place of the shallot.
- Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated parmesan cheese is best, as the flavor is superior to that of pre-grated parmesan cheese. Omit the cheese for a dairy-free pasta primavera.
- Broth: To help create a sauce to coat the vegetables and pasta, this recipe calls for using broth rather than heavy cream. Use low-sodium store-bought or homemade vegetable broth or chicken stock.
- Wine: A dry white wine, such as Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio really adds a lot of flavor to this simple veggie pasta. If you don't drink wine or prefer to keep the alcohol out, use additional vegetable broth.
- Lemon: A fresh lemon is ESSENTIAL for the Pasta Primavera Sauce. The zest and juice of the lemon give this dish a bright, fresh finish.
- Vegetables: You can use any mixture of fresh vegetables you have on hand, that are in season, or that your family likes. I recommend a combination of asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli florets, zucchini, sugar snap peas, and grape or cherry tomatoes. You may also like to add mushrooms, peas, carrots, or green beans.
- Seasoning: Because the lemon juice, wine, and vegetables add incredible flavor to this vegetable pasta, the only other additions you only need to add are Italian Seasoning and minced garlic.
How to Make Vegetable Pasta
Step One: Cook Pasta
In order for this recipe to come together in under 30 minutes, the first thing you want to do is bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. While the water is coming to a boil, use that time to chop your vegetables.
- Bring water to a rapid boil in a large stock pan. Once boiling, add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt to the water, along with the pasta.
- Cook the pasta for one minute LESS than the cooking time suggests, stirring often, to keep the pasta from sticking together.
- Once the pasta is just shy of being al dente, drain the pasta and be sure to reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water to make the sauce.
Step Two: Saute Veggies
After you drop the pasta into the boiling water, begin to saute the vegetables. This will ensure that the pasta and vegetables finish cooking at the same time.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is heated, add in shallots, peppers, asparagus, broccoli, sugar snap peas, zucchini, and Italian Seasoning.
- Saute for 4-5 minutes, or until vegetables are beginning to become tender, but still crisp
Step Three: Make the Pan Sauce
Once the veggies it is time to create the light primavera sauce and toss everything together.
- Add the wine and garlic to the skillet and allow the wine to cook off for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Once the wine has reduced, add the broth and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Season with pepper.
- Add the pasta to the skillet and toss together, adding in the additional ¼ cup of reserved pasta cooking liquid if the sauce appears dry.
Step Four: Finish and Serve
To take the flavor of this healthy vegetable pasta over the top, I add a few ingredients to make the flavors pop.
- Turn off the heat, and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.
- Toss to coat and then taste the pasta and season with additional salt if needed.
- Dish the pasta out and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and additional parmesan cheese.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
Leftover vegetable pasta can be stored in a sealed airtight container for 3 days in the refrigerator. Due to the fresh vegetable, this is one pasta recipe that does not freeze well.
Because pasta absorbs liquid as it sits, you will want to add additional liquid, be it broth or water, to the pasta before reheating it to prevent your leftover vegetable pasta from tasting dried out. Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of broth or water per serving of pasta before reheating in the microwave for 1-2 minute intervals or in a skillet over medium-low heat. Taste add season with additional salt and olive oil prior to serving.
- Dairy-Free/Vegan-Friendly: Omit the parmesan cheese. The lemon, wine, and garlic will still leave you with a pasta dish full of flavor.
- Gluten-Free: Use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
- Vegetarian: Be sure to use vegetable broth NOT chicken stock if serving this pasta to vegetarians.
More Favorite Pasta Recipes
I hope you enjoy this simple vegetable pasta recipe! Be sure to leave a comment below with how much your family enjoys it--I love to hear from you!
- 1 pound penne or bow-tie pasta
- 2 tablespoons salt for pasta water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 small shallot diced
- 1 small zucchini cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 large yellow pepper thinly sliced
- 1 cup asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets chopped
- 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 clove garlic minced about ½ teaspoon
- ¼ cup dry white wine or additional vegetable broth
- ¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken stock
- ¼-1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- pepper to taste
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- ½ cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- Bring water to a rapid boil in a large 6 quart pan.
- Once the water is boiling, add pasta and 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Stir the pasta often to keep it from sticking together and cook for 1 minute LESS than the package indicates.
- Once the pasta is just shy of being al dente, drain off the cooking water, being sure to reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid for the sauce.
Prepare Vegetable Pasta
- While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add in shallots, peppers, asparagus, broccoli, sugar snap peas, zucchini, and Italian Seasoning. Saute for 4-5 minutes, or until vegetables are just crisp-tender.
- Add in the garlic and white wine and allow the wine to cook off for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the broth and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Season with pepper.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and vegetables and toss to coat. Add in the additional ¼ cup of reserved pasta cooking liquid if the sauce appears dry. Continue to heat on medium heat until warmed through, just a minute or two.
- Turn off the heat and add in the tomatoes, lemon juice, zest, and Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve.
This post was originally published in 2018 but has been updated in 2020 with a new video and pictures.