This super creamy and light Vegan Pasta Primavera is absolutely packed with fresh vegetables and tons of flavor. This dish makes it easy to enjoy a variety of fresh vegetables without sacrificing time or taste.
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Hey Internet, I think it’s high time we had another pasta dish on the blog because, well, I just think we do. I mean… it’s really just because I’m obsessed with pasta, hah (big surprise). Who isn’t? I mean maybe there are some people who aren’t but… we don’t need that kind of negativity in our lives.
So I just think it’s kind of funny that everyone thinks pasta primavera is an Italian dish, but it’s actually American and was invented in the 1970’s. Who would have thought?
Anyway, let’s talk about this vegan pasta primavera because it is SO DANG GOOD. It got RAVE reviews by the hubby. It makes a TON of food and let’s just say we polished off the whole pot in one night (and he ate the majority, hah) each time we tested the recipe!
It’s so easy too. While the pasta water is cooking you can chop your veggies, then while the veggies are cooking and the pasta is cooking you can blend your sauce. Whole deal takes about a half hour and you have enough to feed a small army (or large appetite-having husband) or have lots of great leftovers.
The best part is that you can use any veggies you like or even veggies that are about to go off in the fridge will be great in this meal. We used some summer squash here too since it’s the beginning of July as I write this, but it’d be great year round with whatever vegetables are in season.
And the sauce? My goodness, the sauce is just the best. My husband closed his eyes and mumbled incoherently when he tried this sauce for the first time. That’s a pretty good indication in my book that I did something right!
What You’ll Need
- Pasta: Use any kind of pasta you like! I find shorter pasta easier to toss with the veggies and the sauce though. I used penne here and it worked great. Use gluten-free pasta if needed. A bean pasta (like Banza chickpea pasta) would be great here for extra protein.
- Fresh veggies: You can use some frozen veggies if you’d like (we used frozen petite peas), but fresh veggies really shine in this recipe. We used fresh broccoli, red onion, zucchini, yellow squash, red/orange/yellow bell peppers, grape tomatoes.
- Fresh herbs: Not a necessity but they add flavor and brightness. We used basil and parsley.
- Sunflower seeds: These guys serve as the base for our creamy sauce. Definitely try to use raw sunflower seeds instead of roasted, as these will be the most creamy and neutral in flavor. Raw cashews will work just as well. If you’d like to make this dish lower fat, use silken tofu (and less or no non-dairy milk) or white beans as the base.
- Unsweetened non-dairy milk: Any is fine but you’ll need some to blend. My go-to is soy milk for sauce recipes, but oat milk, almond milk, hemp milk, or cashew milk are also great. Just make sure you don’t accidentally get vanilla flavor or anything. Ask me how I know, lol.
- Lemon juice: A lot of (preferably fresh squeezed for best flavor) lemon juice is perfect in my vegan pasta primavera. SO good. Add a bit at a time if you’re not an acid lover like me. That came out wrong. LEMON JUICE, I LOVE LEMON JUICE OKAY?
- Nutritional yeast: This gives the sauce a lot of flavor. To keep the color light I used non-fortified nutritional yeast but either will work fine. If you hate the taste of the nutritional yeast, give the non-fortified version a try, it’s less intense. Omit if you really don’t want to eat it and the sauce will still be good.
- Garlic: In this recipe I highly recommend using as many peeled garlic cloves as you like. I used 4, but I really like garlic. Go ahead and use less if you prefer, but we can’t be friends. Just kidding. You can also substitute 1-2 teaspoons of garlic powder but personally I think fresh is better in this recipe. Plus, you don’t have to mince the garlic cloves or anything. Just crush them with the side of your knife, peel off the papery skin, and throw them in the blender.
- Salt and pepper: Kinda self explanatory. I highly recommend getting a pepper grinder and grinding your own fresh peppercorns. Not much effort for a HUGE return on flavor. I resisted for so long and now that I know how much better it is I can’t go back!
How to Make Vegan Pasta Primavera
- To make this in about 30 minutes we’ll need to multitask. Now, I can’t account for everyone’s vegetable chopping speed and knife skills. You might think I have great knife skills since I have a food blog, but due to a disability in one of my hands I actually don’t cut veggies that fast. So while the 30 minutes is a rough estimate, I think that this in most cases can absolutely be done in 30-35 minutes.
- So first, start the pasta water boiling in a large pot. Salt the water if you’d like.
- Cut your veggies. No need to be super fancy, just cut them all into bite-sized pieces. They will shrink slightly when cooked. Cut the harder veggies (like onion and broccoli) first, as they’ll be the first to go in the pot.
- Once the pasta water is to a boil, add the pasta, stir, and turn the heat down to medium. Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking. Drain when cooked, but don’t rinse.
- While the pasta is cooking, you can start your veggies. Using a large nonstick pot, add the onions and the broccoli. If you like to cook with oil, add a little neutral oil first, like grapeseed oil. If not, just splash about a tablespoon or two of water into the pot every so often, like if the veggies start to cook or are browning too quickly.
- Cook the onions and broccoli for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the squash. If you like your bell peppers softer, add them now too, but I’m a person who likes her bell peppers a bit crunchier so I add them near the end. Cook for about 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While these cook, add all the sauce ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. Adjust flavors to your preference (more lemon, more garlic, more pepper, etc.).
- Now add the peas and cook for another minute.
- Finally, add the tomatoes (and the bell peppers if you like them crunchier) and cook for about 1 more minute. Then turn off the heat and season the vegetables with a little salt and pepper.
- Toss the pasta and veggies in a large enough bowl, then add the sauce and mix well.
- Finally, stir in some of the herbs and use the rest as garnish. Add a little vegan parmesan if you’d like and enjoy!
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 4-5 days. Reheat with a tablespoon of water to keep the pasta from drying out, and mix well.
More Quick Vegan Pasta Dinners
Quick vegan dinners is the name of my game. 20-30 minute recipes are fantastic for my family because I’m the cook and when I come home from work I’m exhausted, and 20-30 minutes is all I can give to put dinner on the table. That’s probably why I just wrote a new e-book, 30-in-30: Quick Vegan Meals which is available now!
But if you want some quick vegan recipes from the blog, check out some of these:
- Cashew Pesto (with pasta)
- Vegan Cajun Pasta
- Vegan Ragu
- Chickpea Florentine (one pot)
- Vegan Ricotta Pasta with Tomatoes
- Vegan Baked Feta Pasta
- Savory Coconut Pasta
- Vegan Vodka Sauce
- Tahini Pasta with Broccolini
- Vegan Hamburger Helper
- Vegan Manicotti
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too. He gave me very high praise each time I made it… and that makes me so happy. :)
This vegan pasta primavera is:
- Light yet cozy
- A little cheesy
- And perfect for a quick and satisfying family dinner, but impressive enough to serve guests!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!