This easy, fresh, healthy pasta with vegetables is the perfect family meal! Whether you’re trying to use up those veggies, make a last minute meal, or keep it simple yet delicious, let the veggies do the work and try this Vegan Italian Dish!
This recipe was originally published on 10/8/2011
How many of you have gone to an Italian restaurant and ordered Pasta Primavera? If you’re anything like me, then you typically crave something with a little more sauce over the fresh veggie-based dishes.
I love veggies in my pasta, but for some reason, restaurants just aren’t able to make a tasty simple pasta with vegetables!
The key to making the perfect pasta primavera, is these three things:
- Perfectly cooked pasta
- Perfectly cooked vegetables
- Simple but flavorful seasoning
How To Cook The Perfect Pasta
I have a HUGE issue when people serve over cooked pasta.
Pasta should be cooked al dente! That way it doesn’t taste like mush or blend into the rest of your pasta dish. Here are a few tips:
- Make sure you have enough boiling water to cover all the pasta while cooking
- Add salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and let the pasta water come to a boil before adding uncooked pasta
- Depending on the shape of pasta you choose and composition (wheat vs. brown rice vs. lentil), cook times will vary
- Use the cooking time indicated on the pasta package as a guide.
- Always stir and taste test your cooked pasta before indicated time to avoid overcooking
- Once the pasta is done, drain and run under cold water.
- Toss cooked pasta with little olive oil to avoid sticking (very helpful if boiling pasta ahead of time)
It’s really simple, yet can make a world of a difference when making pasta dishes.
How To Avoid Mushy Vegetables
My biggest complaint with Pasta Primavera recipes is the vegetables.
They’re either steamed (which I’ve never been a big fan of) or overcooked. The key to a good saute is cooking uncovered on medium-high heat and tossing frequently.
Here are a few tips to make the perfectly cooked vegetables for this Pasta Primavera recipe:
- Chop all the veggies around the same size.
- Heat a large pan with a little olive oil on medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add ALL the veggies (except tomatoes) at once into the pan and stir to coat with oil.
- Continue to saute uncovered on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the veggies are cooked and slightly tender, so they still have that crunch!
- All the water released from cooking the veggies will have evaporated.
Tomatoes release a lot of water, so I like to save them until after the veggies are cooked. No need for several pans, no need for a lot of oil, no need to cook veggies separately…and no more mushy vegetables!
Simple, Yet Flavorful Seasoning
In my opinion, the whole point of a Pasta Primavera recipe is to allow the flavors of the vegetables to come together and season the pasta!
The added seasoning comes from a little balsamic vinegar and lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. That’s it! Let the cooked veggies & tomatoes do the rest of the work.
What Veggies Go With Pasta?
Since vegetables make up most of the flavor in this pasta dish, the more the variety, the better the dish will taste.
You can easily mix it up and omit/add any additional ones based on your preference or what you can find your fridge. But there are a few vegetables I highly recommend keeping in for that perfect veggie-based flavor:
- Onions & Garlic – Adds flavor to the sauce
- Bell Peppers – Using a mixture of green/red/orange/yellow adds sweetness.
- Tomatoes – keeps the pasta from being too dry, especially since the recipe doesn’t call for a lot of oil.
The rest is up to you. I love adding broccoli and asparagus because both absorb the flavor and sauce really well.
Why This Pasta With Vegetables Is The Perfect Family Dinner
When I try to think of the perfect family dinner, it usually revolves around making sure the meal has:
- Healthy Fats
…and is Quick and Easy!
Either all in one dish, or pieced together. If you use a lentil, chickpea, or quinoa based pasta mentioned in the notes below, you’ll have all three listed above in one meal! It’s kid-friendly, vegan, gluten-free, healthy, can be cooked all at once, and is made even easier with the use of my favorite chopper for all the veggies!
How To Make The Perfect Pasta With Vegetables – Step By Step
Boil the pasta al dente.
Chop and saute all the veggies, leaving the tomatoes for last.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauteed veggies.
Add the fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt, fresh black pepper, vegan parmesan, and pine nuts.
Toss and serve warm with a side of garlic bread!
For more family-friendly weeknight vegan dinner ideas, check out this post!
This Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Pasta will please the whole family. With sweet roasted bell peppers, onion, and zucchini this pasta dish is healthy comfort food!
The veggies are drizzled with olive oil, then placed in the oven to bake, making them sweeter and more intense. Everything is added to pasta with a simple sauce, for a dinner that is packed with flavor and so easy to make!
Serve it on its own as an easy vegetarian dinner, or as a side for grilled chicken, shrimp or steak!
When veg is roasted it becomes sweeter and more intense. So this Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Pasta is bright and beautiful and packed with flavor. This makes it great for the whole family as the bright colors and sweeter flavor encourage children to try the vegetables.
You can roast any vegetable! In fact, I am convinced that roasting vegetables is the best way to eat them. So much so that I have a collection of roasted vegetable dishes here on Sprinkles and Sprouts!
I think my favorites have to be Garlic Roasted Mushrooms and Roasted Fennel oh and my Roast Carrot Salad with Mozzarella and Red Onion (THE BEST!).
How to Roast Vegetables
To roast the veg all you need is some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
The veg is chopped into chunks and then drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted in a hot oven (425ºF/220ºC) for 30 minutes.
You want to use a high temperature so the vegetables start to caramelize on the outside. If the oven temperature is too low, the vegetables will sweat rather than roast and you risk them being overcooked and soggy rather than roasted.
What pan to use for roasted vegetables
A large heavy roasting pan or baking pan is perfect for roasting your veggies in, but you could also use a shallow casserole dish too. Roasting veg creates some wonderful caramelized flavors and colors, so to make washing up easier I like to line my roasting pan with foil or cooking paper. Just be sure it comes up over the edge so the oil doesn’t leak underneath it.
Which oil to use for roasted vegetables
You want to use a nice olive oil for roasting veg. It will stop the vegetables drying out and also add flavor to the end result.
You could use a flavored oil as well, something like garlic, chili or basil oil would also be lovely here.
Which veg to use for this Mediterranean Pasta?
For the true Mediterranean vibe, I like to use zucchini, bell peppers (red and yellow), and onion (either white/brown or red).
But the choice of veg is totally up to you, some eggplant would be great here (although I find the color puts the kids off), fennel adds a wonderful flavor or try adding some cherry tomatoes towards the end of the roasting time.
A little less Mediterranean but still delicious would be some green beans or some asparagus. Both add great nutrition, but they do lose their bright color when roasted.
Whichever veg you use, make sure you cut it all into similar sizes, this will ensure that it cooks evenly.
Why does the recipe say to reserve the pasta cooking water?
This is a clever trick that helps to create a pasta sauce without needing to add extra oil or cream.
The water you have cooked the pasta in is well seasoned and also as the pasta cooks some of the starch is released into the water. This starch is valuable for making a delicious easy pasta sauce.
You’ll find that most of the pasta dishes here on Sprinkles and Sprouts mention reserving pasta cooking water. And there are a lot of pasta recipes! You can see them all here in my Pasta collection!
Appetizer: This Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Pasta is already packed with veg! So we would suggest skipping the side and instead, serve an appetizer whilst the veg is roasting. A platter of sliced meats would be perfect. Or a simple Caprese salad (try this Fig Caprese one for a twist on the classic!)
Alternatively: Serve this Roasted Veg Pasta as a side dish with your seared steak or grilled chicken.
Wine: The rich roasted flavors of this Mediterranean pasta work well with both red and white wine. When looking at white wines, pick a light dry white like a Pinot Grigio or an Albarino.
For red wines, you want to pick a light red, something like a Gamey or a Pinotage. Both of these will work with the sweetness of the roasted veg.
For more wonderful pasta recipes why not try these:
Pin this recipe for Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Pasta. Pin it here.
Easy Creamy Fresh Vegetable Pasta will be an anytime meal! Simply prepare your pasta. Choose your veggies. And, wow! You have a healthy meal!
Easy Pasta Recipe at Home
Pasta at home is one of the easiest meals, I believe, to make.
To me, the key is what are you adding to the pasta to make it a meal?
Some of my favorite recipes I’ve created with pasta? Well, here you go! Take a look.
Lemon Shrimp Pasta
Pasta with Heavy Cream
Of course, creaminess can come through several ingredients. And, with this recipe, we’re definitely achieving this through the use of heavy cream and cheese. I mean isn’t that the essence of mac and cheese?
Creamy Pasta Recipes
Creamy pasta recipes are great with just vegetables, like this recipe. Or you can throw in protein or seafood. Nothing’s more delicious than shrimp or scallops with pasta and veggies, too.
Creamy Pasta Primavera
A really nice creamy pasta primavera, which basically means ‘spring’. That’s the time of the year that gardens are typically planted and all those glorious fresh vegetables can be harvested throughout the summer.
Pasta with Vegetables
Pasta with vegetables is a primavera that’s a celebration of all things light and fresh. This recipe can be adapted to the veggies you prefer. And, don’t be shy about adding different vegetables as well as leafy veggies like baby spinach, chard and kale!
Healthy Creamy Pasta Primavera
Yes, the heavy cream and cheese in this recipe add up calories. The fresh vegetables do provide that healthiness that we always try to achieve in a recipe.
Easy Creamy Fresh Vegetable Pasta
And, another plus factor for healthiness. The nutritional yeast. If you’ve not used it, then take a look at some of the benefits I talk about in this post.
Creamy Pasta and Vegetables Recipe
I’d definitely try to source fresh vegetables for this recipe. Of course, if you absolutely cannot, then look for the large garden style frozen vegetables. No sauce. Just vegetables.
Pasta Primavera with Shrimp
And, if you want to add to this recipe shrimp, scallops or chicken, it would be divine. Each is cooked differently before adding into the pasta.
Best Pasta Recipes
Another kind of pasta that my family absolutely adores is with my bolognese. And, I’m very proud to say that my bolognese catapulted me into the Top 10 of the Recipes division of the World Food Championships several years ago.
I have some variations of bolognese. Some more complicated and time consuming than others. All delicious!
Easy Creamy Fresh Vegetable Pasta
- 4 ½ cup pasta, small pasta like penne, mini rigatoni, cavatelli, farfalle, cassarecce, orecchiette, etc.
- 4 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving/drizzling
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbl. anchovy paste
- 1 cup Zucchini, cut in bite size chunks
- 1 cup Peas, previously frozen
- 1 cup Mini Peppers, cut in bite size pieces
- ½ Carrots, shredded
- 1 cup Broccolini, sliced and chopped
- 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in halves
- 1 small Bokchoy bunch, sliced with greens
- 1 cup Chard, with stems, sliced into ribbons
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- CREAMY SAUCE:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup grated cheese
- 1 Tbl. nutritional yeast
Prepare the pasta per directions but undercooking about 2 minutes. Remove pasta from hot salted water. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic. Sauté a couple of minutes. Add the anchovy paste and blend.
Add the vegetables, except the basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss and blend. Cover and cook about 5 minutes blend a couple of times.
Meanwhile, put the heavy cream, grated cheese and nutritional yeast in a large microwavable measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Blend and stir.
COMBINING PASTA & VEGETABLES
Add the pasta to the vegetables. Reduce heat to low. Pour the creamy sauce over it. Add about one cup of the pasta water. Add fresh basil leaves. Gently toss and blend. Cover and let the pasta simmer/cook about 5-8 minutes. Blend before serving.
A quick Vegetable Pasta that’s made with less pasta and more veggies that tastes so amazing, no one realises it’s a healthy pasta recipe. It’s a vegetarian pasta loaded with a whole head of broccoli, corn, zucchinis, capsicum/peppers and onion, and smothered in a garlic herb tomato sauce.
All made in one pot – from scratch, in 20 minutes. *Fist pump!*
There’s a time for making vegetable pasta the proper way – roasting veggies until beautifully caramelised, making a pasta sauce, cooking the pasta, then bringing it all together at the end. It’ll take close to an hour, and it’s totally fabulous.
This one pot vegetarian pasta is for all those other times.
A complete meal that covers all bases:
tons of veggies;
light on the pasta;
just one pot to clean; and
absolutely delish. (The cheese helps… 😉)
Choose your own vegetables and pasta
This is a terrific versatile vegetarian pasta that you can make your own using your vegetables of choice. I’ve used a whole head of broccoli, the icy remains of frozen corn, 2 zucchinis nearing the end of their life and a capsicum/bell pepper. All vegetables I happened to have (albeit I then had to go out and buy them again to make the video 😂)
You can also choose your own pasta. This recipe will work with any short pasta – macaroni, spirals, penne, ziti (which is what I’ve used).
Jeez, I’m being flexible today, aren’t I! I figure after all the rules I set out in Friday’s Chocolate Mousse, I was due for a nice and easy “use what you want” recipe today. 😂
Though having said that, while this vegetable pasta is adaptable to whatever vegetables and short pasta you want, the liquid quantities and cook times are not as flexible so please do follow the recipe.
A 20 Minute Quick Healthy Dinner
This recipe has a nice flow to it. I start off by chopping the garlic and onion, then get that on the stove to cook slowly on a low heat so it becomes sweet and becomes an amazing flavour base for this quick healthy dinner.
In between leisurely stirring the onion every now and then, I chop the other vegetables, pop open cans and measure out the herbs and spices so it’s all ready to go into the pot by the time the onion is done.
Once the pasta is in, it takes a mere 10 minutes to finish cooking. Much longer than this and you’ll end up with soggy pasta, so basically, this has to be a quick 20 minutes recipe otherwise your pasta is overcooked! 😂
I know I’m talking up how this is a healthy Vegetable Pasta recipe but when you watch the video, you’re going to see me toss in a nice handful of cheese that’s stirred through the pasta, then a bit more to melt on top.
There’s no denying cheese makes this even tastier, but for a healthier option, opt for some parmesan instead.
Excluding the cheese, this pasta is a mere 378 calories per serving – and it’s a generous serving size, this recipe makes a big pot full!
Either way, you’re going to be yscoffing this down. Added bonus: it’s great Couch Food. (Definition: food you can eat on the couch without taking your eyes off the TV 🙌🏻) – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Sometimes it’s nice to have a visual, so watch me make this Vegetable Pasta!
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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.
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.
What Ingredients do I Need for Pasta Primavera?
- Penne pasta
- 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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
This Roasted Vegetable Pasta is simple to make, tastes delicious and can easily be adapted to suit vegetable preference.
5 Reasons to Love this Dish
- Versatile: Switch up the vegetables to suit the season, use up veggies in the fridge or to satisfy your family’s taste buds.
- Veggie Loaded: Reaching the daily vegetable intake goal isn’t always easy, therefore making veggie-loaded dishes is always a good choice.
- Good for Picky Eaters: Pasta is a loved food of many children and can be a good vehicle for introducing new or less liked ingredients. Roasting vegetables makes them sweeter and more appealing to kids. As the vegetables are cut into big strips it is easy for kids to leave the vegetables they don’t like. Remember, exposure is key. Even having vegetables on the plate is a step towards eating and enjoying them.
- Main Meal or Side Dish: This meal works as both.
- Prep Ahead: Prepare all the vegetables ahead of time (morning/evening before) to make mealtime easier.
- VEGETABLES: Use the vegetables suggested in the recipe or mix and match to suit what you have available or to satisfy your family’s taste buds.
- PASTA: Penne is pictured but you can use your favourite pasta shape.
- PARMESAN: Fresh is always best. Don’t be tempted to use the ambient parmesan you find in the pasta aisle. The flavour will not be the same. If you don’t like parmesan you could try crumbling in some feta.
- HERBS: This dish uses a combination of dried herbs and fresh parsley. This can be adapted to suit taste and/or availability. Basil works well as a substitute for parsley.
Process Shots and Recipe Tips
Start by preparing and roasting the vegetables…
- Place the carrots and onions on the first sheet and the zucchini, bell pepper, asparagus and tomatoes on the other. Drizzle both sheets of vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle over Italian herbs. Mix until the vegetables are well coated.
- Place the sheet with the carrots and onions in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and add some of the vegetables from the second sheet so that each sheet has an equal distribution of vegetables. (You do not want the trays crowded or the vegetables will steam). Place both baking sheets in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are golden brown around the edges.
- Make the sauce by combining lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and 1/4 cup of reserved pasta cooking water. (Image 1)
- Add the sauce to the cooked pasta and roasted vegetables (image 2).
- Add the parmesan and parsley and stir through. (image 3)
- Season to taste with salt, pepper and some chilli flakes (if you like a little heat)
Frequently Asked Questions
Starchy pasta water acts as an emulsifier and thickener. It helps to bind together the oil and lemon juice to achieve a smooth, creamier sauce.
Yes! Add some strips of chicken, prawns (shrimp) or some toasted pine nuts. You can also serve this as a side dish along with proteins such as fish and chicken.
Some vegetables need a longer cooking time than others. Root vegetables (such as carrots, parsnip, sweet potato, beets, onion) take around 30 mins of roasting. Tender vegetables such as zucchini, pepper, asparagus take around 20 mins.
If making for a baby/toddler, do not add salt. You can remove the baby portion before adding the parmesan and just sprinkle a small amount to reduce sodium levels.
Allow to cool, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Re-heat in a microwave or on the stovetop adding a splash of vegetable/chicken stock to add back some moisture.
Love Pasta? You may also like…
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From pasta to burgers, there’s a way to add vegetables to just about anything!
(Odua Images / Shutterstock.com)
Eating vegetables is an important part of a healthy diet. That’s why people from places like the Mediterranean region who tend to eat a large variety of vegetables are so much healthier .
Vegetables contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals so eating a variety will ensure that our bodies get what we need. The USDA has suggested eating three to five servings a day and because nature has color coded fruits and vegetables so eating the rainbow will give you everything you need.
But what do you do with a picky eater who hates vegetables? Someone who would never willingly eat broccoli or kale?
So instead of serving vegetables as a side dish, or giving up on serving them at all, make them as appealing and inviting as possible. The key is to incorporate vegetables into meals that your family already loves.
Here are 11 creative ways you can include more vegetables into your family’s diet:
Soups are the cold weather go-to-food. Make a nourishing pureed soup using winter squash, pumpkin , carrots, cauliflower, or a combination and make it sweet or savory. Cook up a pot of hearty minestrone filled with vegetables, beans and pasta or make a hearty tomato vegetable soup.
Easy Veggie Lasagna
Just add layers of zucchini or spinach to your layers of either cheese or meat lasagna. You can also add finely chopped vegetables to your homemade tomato sauce. You can also make pasta dishes healthier by substituting tri-colored or all veggie spaghetti or rotini in your favorite recipes.
Make your morning rush easier and healthier by making baked-egg cups in muffin tins. There is a recipie from Super Healthy Kids and some health tips too. Egg cups can be made ahead of time and froxen. Baked-egg cups also make a delicious after-school snack.
Besides the advantage of having your meal cook while you are at work, this is an easy way to get more vegetables into your family. Make a one-pot meal filled with carrots, parsnips, and turnips added to the usual meat and potatoes meal. You can make stews, chilies, curries, pot pies, and many more meals in a slow cooker. Your food is ready when you get home, clean-up is easy, and you can freeze the leftovers.
Smoothies or Juices
While most smoothies or juices are made of fruit, you can incorporate vegetables into them too. Add fresh greens like spinach and kale to avocado, mango, strawberry or peach smoothies. Use carrots in your juicer to drink alone or added to orange juice.
( Yulia Davidovich / Shutterstock.com)
Veggie Up Your Omelets
Omelets are a great way to add veggies to your diet. They are easy to make, just fry beaten eggs in a little canola oil or margarine and add fillings that include vegetables like spinach, onions, tomatoes or peppers cheeses, and meats. To make your omelet even healthier use only egg whites or egg beaters and low-fat cheese.
One-pot casseroles are not just for potluck dinners. Casseroles typically combine pieces of meat or fish potatoes, peas, and grains like rice or pasta. Bulk-up the vegetables by adding cooked cauliflower or broccoli into mac-n- cheese, butternut squash to chili, or spinach to curries and dal. You can add additional vegetables to any recipe for a one-pot meal.
It’s a Wrap
Use lettuce as a wrap instead of bread or tortillas. T aste of home has a collection of 40 recipes for lettuce wrapped dishes including Vietnamese pork wraps, spicy turkey wraps, and tuna and white bean wraps. If lettuce doesn’t appeal to you, make more traditional wraps using grain-free wraps or tortillas.
Add hearty vegetables like butternut squash, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts , or root vegetables to your beef or pork roasts. Serve sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes to make your meal healthier.
( Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.com)
Veggie burgers are a great tasting substitute for meat and can be made at home from vegetables and nuts or purchased in supermarkets. Over the past few years, vegetarian and vegan food options have mushroomed. You can even get a veggie burger or faux chicken meal in fast food restaurants.
( Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.com)
This versatile vegetable can be mashed or pureed and used to replace almost anything. Serve mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes, cauliflower granules instead of rice, and use you can even replace pizza crust with cauliflower mash.
You can't spot the veggies, can you? They're well blended into the sauce, concealing them from the skeptical, judging eyes of your children.
Eat Your Veggies!
It is not always easy to get kids to eat more vegetables and healthy foods. Even for my broccoli loving, salad craving, somewhat sugar-phobic children, it can be a challenge. When it comes to spaghetti, it can be even more difficult.
Let’s be honest; the conventional American interpretation of spaghetti is already void of creativity and vegetable variety. Most variation in this dish is in the form of herbs, spices, and meat choice. Many of us are accustomed to adding a simple side salad to this meal to round out the nutritional value. I have always found the “side salad” remedy to be too much food—especially when saving space for garlic bread. Every once in a while, you may discover mushrooms, olives, and onions featured individually. The recipe that follows offers infinite options for vegetable inclusion, quickly increasing nutrition value and taste.
While adding vegetables to pasta dishes contributes extra vitamins and fiber, juggling pans, burners and cooking times can be daunting. Planning ahead is crucial. Check the boiling time recommended on the spaghetti and frozen vegetable packaging, if any. For fresh vegetables, consult a cookbook if you are unsure of standard cooking times. Dense or thick-skinned vegetables such as winter squash, beets or artichokes usually take longer to cook than pasta, while peas and spinach are ready in as little as two minutes.
Wash, peel and chop the vegetables, as needed.
Fill a large stock pot about three-quarters full of water, and set it on the stove with the burner set to high.
Add the first ingredient to the pot, which may be pasta or a type of vegetable, depending on the ingredients of your dish.
Set a timer for the highest number of minutes after you add the first ingredient to guide you for the other ingredients. Winter squash cubes take about 15 minutes, for example, while fresh peas take two to three minutes. Pasta may fall in between, at around 10 minutes.
Add the rest of the vegetables and the pasta in order of their cooking times. For the example in Step 4, put the winter squash in the pot and set the timer for 15 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, add pasta, and at the three- minute mark, add peas.
Remove the pot from the heat when the timer sounds, and drain in a colander.
Toss with olive oil and preferred seasonings, or microwave store-bought pasta sauce on a moderate heat, and spoon it over the pasta and veggies.
Pasta with Sautéed Vegetables.
Wash, peel and chop vegetables, as needed. If you are using tomatoes or bell peppers, scoop out the seeds.
Fill a large stock pot about three-quarters full of water, and put it on a burner set to high.
Add about 5 tbsp. olive oil to your saute pan, and set the burner to medium.
Sauté the vegetables, adding longer-cooking vegetables like bell peppers first and adding vegetables such as asparagus spears, summer squash, onions and mushrooms five minutes later, with tomatoes and pea pods about five minutes after that.
Put spaghetti in the pot of boiling water.
Stir the vegetables frequently while the spaghetti is boiling, for about 10 minutes.
Remove the stock pot from the heat, and drain spaghetti in a colander.
Add about one-third of the cooked spaghetti to the sauté pan, and incorporate it into the vegetables. Continue with the rest of the spaghetti.
Steam or sauté about 6 cups of mixed vegetables and set aside..
Heat store-bought pasta sauce, or make your own. Mayo Clinic’s pasta primavera sauce combines 1 tbsp butter, 1 cup nonfat evaporated milk and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, which is stirred at a medium-low heat until it thickens. Keep your spaghetti sauce warm until the pasta cooks.
Fill a large stock pot about three-quarters full of water and set it on the stove with the burner set to high.
Return to the sauté pan, and cook the onions and garlic in the olive oil, then add the previously cooked vegetables.
Drain the spaghetti in a colander, and pour the drained pasta into a large serving bowl.
Remove the sauté pan from the burner, and spoon the vegetables over the pasta.
Stir Fry Pasta With Vegetables is a great quick and easy meal idea. It is probably the most delicious way to enjoy pasta with tons of seasonal vegetables. This stir fry pasta dish is surely tasty, kind of healthy (actually skinny), and vegan too. The best part is it requires only 30 minutes to get ready.
This vegan vegetable pasta is light, colorful, and super easy to prepare.
No need to spend hours in the kitchen. With minimal cooking time, one gets to enjoy a wholesome meal of pasta with vegetables.
It is one of those pasta recipes that you would surely like to bookmark for a potluck, picnic, or a quick weeknight dinner.
I am a big fan of stir-fry dishes such as vegan tofu stir fry or this vegetable pasta. There is something comforting about a good stir-fry. It adds so much variety to the meal.
The Choice of Pasta
Which kind of pasta is perfect for stir-frying? I prefer using bite-size, easy to stir pasta for this recipe.
My favorite ones are – penne, macaroni, fusili, farfalle, shell or Conchiglie pasta.
You can pick any bite-size, hand made pasta variety for tossing with vegetables. The stir-fry pasta is all about the simplicity of ingredients.
Tips To Keep It Skinny
First and foremost, replace the regular pasta with whole wheat or durum wheat semolina pasta.
Avoid using butter to prepare the pasta. A tablespoon or two of olive oil is good enough to make the entire stir-fry.
Overcooked vegetables would kill the taste, texture, and nutrients of the dish. So it’s best to stir-fry them quickly till they are al dente and have a crunch to them.
Fresh herbs like basil and parsley make pasta rich in anti-oxidants along with many other health benefits. So don’t hesitate to garnish your pasta with plenty of herbs.
Last but not least, give the cheese a miss. I know it is hard to resist the temptation of grating cheese over the pasta. But to keep it healthy, it is best to skip adding cheese to this pasta with vegetables.
Step-By-Step Cooking Method
Cook Pasta: Boil water in a large saucepan with a teaspoon of salt. Once the water starts bubbling and boiling, add the uncooked pasta, stir and cook the pasta till al dente. Transfer the cooked pasta to a colander. Drain the water.
Stir Fry Vegetables: Heat olive oil in a stir-fry pan. Add the chopped garlic, chili flakes, cook for 10 – 20 seconds to infuse the flavor of garlic and chili into the oil.
Add onion, and stir fry over high heat for the next 10 – 20 seconds. Next, add the vegetables, salt, and stir-fry them till they are tender but not overcooked or soft.
Assemble: Now add the boiled pasta, Italian herbs, and stir to combine. Stir fry for a minute. Turn off the heat.
This pasta with vegetables is a highly customizable dish.
Non Vegetarian: On busy weeknights or for quick working lunch I serve it with the addition of grilled chicken/shrimps/squids/scallops/tuna/bacon (add either of these meats or seafood to the stir-fry).
Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free pasta to make a delicious stir-fry pasta without any gluten.
Kid-Friendly: If you are making this dish for the kids then it will be great to skip the red chili flakes. Else, this pasta recipe is good to go for the school lunchboxes as well.
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