Pasta Primavera

October 20, 2018

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Pasta Primavera isn’t just for spring and summer, this is a veggie packed pasta dish that’s perfect year round! It has such a satisfying flavor and it’s versatile recipe so you can add different kinds of vegetables you might already have on hand.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Barilla®. All opinions and text are mine.

Pasta Primavera

What is Pasta Primavera?

Pasta primavera is a simple dish made with pasta and fresh vegetables. Many people think it’s an Italian dish but it’s actually an American dish which was created by chef Sirio Maccioni and two assisting chefs (the original used cream cheese).

It was first served at a restaurant in New York City then a recipe was published a few years later in New York Times helping bring the dish to fame.

Things you’ll love about this Pasta Primavera:

  • It’s a great way to add a lot of veggies into your meal.
  • It’s a smart way to use up all those veggies in the fridge about to go bad.
  • This is very filling and has such a satisfying flavor.
  • It’s a good way to get kids to eat vegetables.
  • There is great visual appeal going on, doesn’t food taste better when it looks enticing and colorful?
  • And it makes a nice main dish for dinner or works well as a side dish for parties too (in which you’ll get more servings).

Pasta Primavera Video

And of course, it’s super tasty! I love that garlic, parmigiano and lemon flavor you get over every single bite.

Have you heard of the Mediterranean diet? And did you know pasta is part of this healthy way of eating inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of the Mediterranean region?

It incorporates a variety of quality food groups that should be eaten often in reasonable quantities, including pasta.

Pasta Primavera ingredients shown here penne olive oil red onion carrots broccoli bell pepper squash zucchini garlic tomatoes parmesan lemon italian seasoning

What Ingredients do I Need for Pasta Primavera?

  • Penne pasta
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh veggies including red onion, carrot, broccoli, bell pepper, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes and garlic
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmigiano, divided

How to Make Pasta Primavera

This recipe is actually really easy to make. It’s a bit of chopping so the prep takes some time but it cooks quickly. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Boil the Pasta

First you’ll bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt, then cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.

Pasta primavera vegetables shown here in skillet

Step 2: Sauté Vegetables

While the pasta is boiling cook the veggies so they will finish at the same time as the pasta.

To do so, heat olive oil in a 12-inch (and deep) skillet over medium-high heat. Add red onion and carrot and sauté 2 minutes.

Add broccoli and bell pepper then sauté 2 minutes. Add squash and zucchini then sauté 2 – 3 minutes or until veggies have nearly softened.

Add garlic tomatoes, and Italian seasoning and sauté 2 minutes longer.

Pasta Primavera shown here in a serving bowl sitting on a marble surface

Step 3: Toss Pasta and Veggies Together with Seasonings

Pour veggies into now empty pasta pot or a serving bowl, add drained pasta, drizzle in lemon juice, season with a little more salt as needed and toss while adding in pasta water to loosen as desired.

Toss in 1/4 cup parmigiano and parsley then serve with remaining parmesan on top.

Can I Use Other Vegetables?

This is a versatile recipe and you can use different kinds of veggies based on what you have on hand.

Shelled peas, asparagus, eggplant, cauliflower, spinach, or green beans are other good choices. I’m thinking I’d also love an autumn version with different fall veggies.

Pasta Primavera with colorful vegetables in a serving bowl

What’s the Best Type of Pasta to Use?

I usually use Penne pasta because I almost always have some on hand but any medium pasta will work. Here’s a list of great options:

  • Farfelle (bowties)
  • Fusili
  • Ziti
  • Mastacoli
  • Gemelli
  • Penne

Can I Add Chicken or Shrimp to This Recipe?

Yes. If you are looking to add a protein to this recipe, grilled chicken breasts or rotisserie chicken, or sautéed shrimp are great options.

Pasta Primavera

Tips for the Best Pasta Primavera

  • Careful not to over-cook pasta, always a key to any pasta dish.
  • Season pasta cooking water with salt, its one of the only ways to boost flavor to pasta while it cooks.
  • Cook vegetables to a tender faintly crisp texture, not soft and mushy.
  • Don’t leave out the bell pepper and onion, they both add great flavor here.
  • Add plenty of parmesan! You don’t need to stop at 1/2 cup, I’d say that’s just the minimal amount.

More Delicious Recipes to Try

Pasta Primavera
5 from 60 votes

Pasta Primavera

A hearty, veggie packed pasta dish that's perfect for serving year round! It has so much fresh flavor, it's a great way to use up those vegetables in the fridge, plus it's a bright and colorful dish so it helps get the kids to eat their vegetables.
Servings: 5
Prep19 minutes
Cook11 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes


  • 10 oz. dry Barilla Penne Pasta
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced into quarter portions
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into quarter portions
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (heaping) grape tomatoes, halved through the length
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan,* divided
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook penne pasta in salted water according to package directions, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
  • Meanwhile heat olive oil in a 12-inch (and deep) skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add red onion and carrot and saute 2 minutes.
  • Add broccoli and bell pepper then saute 2 minutes.
  • Add squash and zucchini then saute 2 - 3 minutes or until veggies have nearly softened. 
  • Add garlic, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning and saute 2 minutes longer.
  • Pour veggies into now empty pasta pot or a serving bowl, add drained pasta, drizzle in lemon juice, season with a little more salt as needed and toss while adding in pasta water to loosen as desired.
  • Toss in 1/4 cup parmesan and parsley then serve with remaining parmesan on top.


  • *If you want it cheesier use 1 cup parmesan.
Nutrition Facts
Pasta Primavera
Amount Per Serving
Calories 415 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 6mg2%
Sodium 198mg9%
Potassium 844mg24%
Carbohydrates 57g19%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 4600IU92%
Vitamin C 112.2mg136%
Calcium 197mg20%
Iron 2.3mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.


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  • Mark D

    This was delicious. There is a lot of chopping but it was fun and I separated them out as prescribed. I put the garlic in earlier so it would cook, I like mine slightly browned. I took some boneless chicken breasts and cut it in cubes, then rolled them in breadcrumbs. I cooked that on the side 15 minutes then added it to the veggi mix. My wife commented that it was dry and maybe I needed to add a bit more of the pasta water, or she suggested perhaps adding some chicken broth or plain yogurt, what do you think?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I would add more pasta water, chicken broth and/or oil if it’s on the dry side. Glad you thought it to be delicious though. :)

  • Kathy Mc

    I seldom leave comments . . . However, we so enjoyed this pasta. Cooked the stages a bit longer along the way, but that was probably due to the heat level of our gas burner. Would definitely recommend when you have a fridge full of veggies that need using!

  • Traci

    Absolutely wonderful! I added fresh spinach and mushrooms and it was great. The whole family ate till they were stuffed. I’ll definitely keep this one in the meal rotation.

  • Lori Haines

    This was easy and full of flavor. I made it with linguini because I didn’t have penne. Loved it!

  • Michael Mean

    You had me up until lemon juice. Red wine vinegar if you please 😁

  • Chris norton

    I added celery fresh, yellow beans, fresh basil, garlic, Italian seasoning. kielbasa and a jar of pasta sauce
    Oh I was out of penne so I used veggie rainbow twirls.

  • Jana Allain

    OMG! This is delicious! I’m not a big cheese fan, especially Parm. However, I have been wanting to eat more veggies and healthier meals, so I gave this recipe a go. It was awesome…even the cheese! I’m diabetic so I needed to be mindful of the pasta, but I just added more veggies and some grilled chicken on the side. It will definitely be in my monthly menu rotation.

  • B

    Love this! So flavorful and delicious!!! One of my favorite go to recipes!