Pasta Primavera

This pasta primavera recipe is light, fresh, and simple to make. Packed with colorful veggies, it's the perfect easy dinner for spring or summer night.

Pasta primavera

I love to make this pasta primavera recipe after a trip to the farmers market in early summer. I come home with bags full of produce. Some contain spring veggies like asparagus and peas that will only be available for a few more weeks. Others hold summer finds like zucchini, squash, and cherry tomatoes whose season is just starting. The moment when all these spring and summer vegetables collide is so brief that I feel like I have to celebrate it. So, I cook a pot of pasta, sauté the veggies, and toss them together to make this pasta primavera recipe.

Pasta primavera recipe ingredients

Pasta Primavera Recipe Ingredients

While pasta primavera means “spring pasta” in Italian, the dish itself is actually American. The story goes that it originated at the New York restaurant Le Cirque in the 1970s, and in the years following, it started popping up on Italian restaurant menus all over the US. The original version featured spaghetti and a rich butter and cream sauce, but these days, the name “pasta primavera” is given to all sorts of veggie pastas.

Here’s what I use in my take:

  • Pasta, of course! I like to use penne pasta because the noodles are a similar size to the chopped vegetables. It makes it easy to get a little of everything in each bite!
  • Garlic and red onion – For savory depth of flavor.
  • Yellow squash and zucchini – Feel free to use just one or the other if you can’t find both!
  • Asparagus – For complexity and crunch.
  • Cherry tomatoes – They become soft and bursty, lightly coating the pasta in their juices.
  • Peas – I often use thawed frozen peas, though if you happen to have fresh shell peas, you could totally blanch them and toss them in.
  • Pecorino cheese – It makes the pasta lightly creamy. Parmesan cheese would be great here too!
  • Fresh lemon juice – I love its bright flavor with all the fresh vegetables.
  • Red pepper flakes – They add a little heat.
  • Fresh basil and tarragon – They bring so much flavor to this simple pasta dish. Technically, the tarragon is optional, but if you can find it, I highly recommend using it. It really takes this recipe over the top!
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Hands using wooden spatula to stir vegetables in large skillet

How to Make Pasta Primavera

This pasta primavera has to be one of the simplest dinner recipes on Love & Lemons. It’s so easy to make! Here’s how it goes:

First, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain it when it’s just al dente. It’ll cook a little more with the veggies on the stove, so you want to be careful not to overcook it now. Toss the pasta with a drizzle of oil to prevent sticking.

Sautéed spring and summer vegetables in large skillet with wooden spatula

Next, sauté the veggies. I LOVE that all the vegetables cook in one pan in this recipe! Heat a glug of olive oil in a large skillet, and toss in the garlic, onion, zucchini, squash, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes. It only takes a few minutes for the vegetables to soften.

Hand using wooden spatula to stir pasta primavera in large skillet

Then, add the pasta, peas, cheese, and lemon juice. Toss until the cheese melts down and coats the pasta in a lightly creamy sauce. Stir in the fresh herbs, and season to taste.

Finally, garnish with more basil, and serve!

Pasta primavera recipe in large skillet with cheese sprinkled on top

Pasta Primavera Serving Suggestions

This pasta primavera makes a fantastic meal on its own, though if you like, you could certainly pair it with a side dish or two. We love it with buttery slices of garlic bread and a side salad. Try serving it with any of these salad recipes:


Pasta primavera recipe

More Favorite Pasta Recipes

If you love this pasta primavera recipe, try one of these fresh pasta recipes next:

Pasta Primavera

rate this recipe:
4.98 from 47 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Serves 4
Packed with seasonal veggies, this pasta primavera is a simple, fresh spring or summer dinner. I list the tarragon as optional, but I highly recommend using it to take this recipe over the top!


  • 10 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced into thin half moons
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into thin half moons
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ¾ cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup fresh tarragon, optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions, cooking until al dente. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, squash, zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, onion, salt, and several grinds of pepper and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Add the pasta, peas, cheese, lemon juice, and a pinch of red pepper flakes and toss to combine. Stir in the basil and tarragon, if using.
  • Season to taste, garnish with more basil, and serve.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Julie

    Made this for dinner tonight. Absolutely loved it. Adding the red pepper flakes added a good pop at the end. I didn’t add any more salt at the end as the pecorino is salty enough on it’s own. Definitely a keeper.

  2. Adrienne Lee

    5 stars
    This recipe was really easy to throw together. I had leftover grilled squash from the weekend; I cut them and added with the pasta. I also had finely diced red onion leftover and threw that into the saute (rather than cutting another onion). Using leftover ingredients made the dish even easier.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Great idea to use leftovers! So glad you loved the pasta.

  3. Alison Peterson

    5 stars
    Delicious! So fresh and healthy!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Alison, I’m so glad you loved it!

  4. Laurie

    I love that this pasta primavera is packed with fresh veggies! I used whole wheat pasta and doubled the zucchini, as I couldn’t find any summer squash. So flavorful! Since there are just two of us, we had leftovers, which we took for lunch the next day – perfect!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Kara

    5 stars
    Did I have to buy a small basil plant because the store was out of the bulk basil? Yes. Do I regret it? No. This recipe was a better than my normal desk lunch (and looking forward to the leftovers). I cooked the red onion and zucchini longer because that’s what I do! Still delicious. Enjoy! I did.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I hope you find many many uses for your fresh basil!

  6. Mik O

    It was very easy to follow the recipe and the zucchini sealed the deal. Effortlessly delicious and healthy. Absolute spring favourite. Thanks for sharing 😊

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Bridget Cassun

    5 stars
    Delicious!! Perfect Spring dish; fresh, flavorful and so easy! Definite keeper!!

  8. Jan Tam

    5 stars
    This recipe is so easy to follow. Most important, it is a healthilicious dish. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  9. Celia Studt

    4 stars
    Yum, this was easy to make and tasted delicious!

  10. Jen Goodrich

    Fresh vibrant flavors which were enhanced by the fresh basil and tarragon. Loved the greater proportion of veggies to pasta. Will definitely make this again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Stevie Smith

    5 stars
    Delicious! Made with vegan parmesan, this dish is so easy and so flavorful! Great way to eat veggies!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  12. Daphne Fillebrown

    5 stars
    My husband and I LOVED this dish. It’s easy and flavorful!

    Daphne Fillebrown
    Boise ID

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad to hear!

  13. Connie Schrider

    5 stars
    The Pasta Primavera was easy, refreshing and delicious. Looking forward to taking to cookouts. Thank you!

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.