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Penne Pasta Primavera is a delicious and healthy meal that is full of crunchy veggies and tender pasta. Finished off with a simple sauce with lots of fresh lemon juice and topped with Parmesan cheese, this easy meal will quickly become a family favorite.

It’s hearty and healthy, but Pasta Primavera can be served as a hearty light or a light dinner and can even be enjoyed cold, making meal prep a breeze! Just serve some bread or dinner rolls on the side and everything will love it.

Penne pasta and vegetables in a large skillet with lemon slices and a wooden spoon.
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Why We Love This Penne Primavera Recipe

I will be the first to admit that eating vegetables isn’t exactly my favorite thing. My preference is to eat them raw, but sometimes you have to mix it up a little. That’s where this Penne Pasta Primavera comes in.

The veggies are cooked just enough to make them easy to eat, but they still have a bite to them. I cannot stand mushy vegetables! A simple sauce of chicken broth and lemon juice coats the al dente penne pasta and the veggies to give them a nice boost of flavor.

This is a perfect lunch to make that will last you the whole week, making it perfect for meal prepping. It’s also great with chicken or shrimp for a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • Penne Pasta – Stating the obvious, I use penne pasta for this recipe. However, it will work with all different kinds of pasta.
  • Butter and Olive Oil – for sauteeing the veggies.
  • Vegetables – Onion, carrots, broccoli, red bell pepper, asparagus, and garlic.
  • Chicken Broth – Opt for a low-sodium variety.
  • Lemon Juice – To add freshness and brightness to the dish.
  • Parmesan Cheese and Fresh Minced Parsley – Optional but highly recommended as the final touch.

How To Make Penne Pasta Primavera

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

This easy Pasta Primavera is quick and simple with just a few fresh ingredients. It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, making it perfect for busy weeknights or simple meal prep. The key is to cook the pasta and the veggies just right, and it can take some practice since every kitchen and stove is different.

Penne pasta boiling in a large pot.

Cook the pasta. Boil some water, season well, and cook the pasta. Reserve some of the pasta water to use later.

carrots, onions and broccoli in a skillet.
Bell pepper, asparagus, broccoli, carrots and onions in a skillet.
Cooked vegetables and garlic in a skillet.

Cook veggies in batches. Melt some butter and olive oil in a skillet and start by cooking the onions. Stir in and cook the carrots, broccoli, red bell pepper, asparagus, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a plate.

Penne pasta in a lemon butter sauce in a skillet.

Make the sauce. Once your veggies are cooked, transfer them to a plate and set it aside. Pour some chicken broth and lemon juice in the skillet and bring it to a boil, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet as you go. That’s where the flavor is!

Vegetables and penne pasta in a skillet.

Reduce and thicken the sauce. Once the sauce has started to reduce, add the pasta and let it simmer for several minutes. The starch from the pasta will help thicken the sauce and the boiling sauce will finish cooking the pasta – it’s a win-win! Once the sauce has reduced some more, add the veggies back in and toss it all around to coat everything in that simple, yummy sauce.

Serve. Grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top and you’re ready to serve.

Bowl of pasta with veggies.

Recipe FAQs

What does Primavera mean?

Primavera means “spring” in Italian; add the penne and you have “Spring Pasta.” This dish is the epitome of light and fresh, making it perfect for warmer weather.

Is this a vegetarian recipe?

Yes, other than the chicken broth, which could easily be swapped for vegetable broth.

How can I make my Penne Pasta creamier?

Adding a little bit of cream or more Parmesan cheese will make the sauce creamier.

Can the vegetable pasta be stored and reheated?

Yes, it can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated on the stove or microwave.

Serving Suggestions

This dish makes a great meatless option when you’re trying to eat a little healthier. It will serve 4 people, but if you need more, it’s easy to double.

Want to know what we serve with our Penne Pasta Primavera? Try my easy, super tender, and juicy Baked Chicken Breasts, Lemon Pepper Shrimp, or Blackened Shrimp.

Plates with penne pasta nad veggies.

Helpful Tips

  1. Use Fresh, Seasonal Vegetables: The essence of this dish is the fresh, crisp vegetables. Try to use vegetables that are in season for the best flavor.
  2. Don’t Overcook Your Vegetables: To retain a nice crunch and bright colors, slightly undercook your veggies during the sautéing process. They’ll continue to cook a bit with the hot pasta.
  3. Add The Veggies In Layers: not all vegetable cook at the same rate, so it’s important to add them at different points in the cooking process, based on how long they take to cook.
  4. Salt Your Pasta Water: Always salt your pasta water. It’s your main opportunity to season the pasta itself.
  5. Reserve Some Pasta Water: Before draining your pasta, reserve some pasta water. The starchy water can be used to loosen the sauce if needed.
  6. Cook Pasta Al Dente: For the best texture, cook your pasta al dente (firm to the bite). It should have a slight chew which pairs nicely with the tender-crisp vegetables.
  7. Use Quality Olive Oil: A good quality olive oil will add a wonderful, rich flavor to the dish.
  8. Grate Your Own Cheese: If you’re adding Parmesan cheese, grate it yourself. Pre-grated cheese often contains additives and doesn’t melt as smoothly.
  9. Try Other Veggies: Add other vegetables like mushrooms, olives, zucchini, squash, or eggplant.
  10. Adjust To Your Liking: Feel free to modify the recipe based on your preferences. You can add in cooked chicken or shrimp for protein, or spice it up with some crushed red pepper flakes. This is a very versatile dish!

More Easy Pasta Recipes


Recipe

Penne Pasta Primavera Recipe

4.89 from 34 votes
Penne Pasta Primavera is a delicious and healthy meal that's full of fresh veggies, pasta, and a simple lemon parmesan sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups uncooked Penne Pasta
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 large carrot thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 ½ cups broccoli florets
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup asparagus or zucchini cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 lemon about ¼ cup
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese optional
  • Fresh minced parsley optional
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Instructions
 

  •  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the penne pasta to just before al dente (1 minute less than package instructions). Reserve ¼ cup of pasta water, drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook until translucent; 1-2 minutes. Stir in vegetables in the following order, cooking and stirring for 1-2 minutes after each addition: Carrots, broccoli, red bell pepper, asparagus or zucchini, minced garlic. Add another tablespoon of butter to the skillet if it starts looking a little dry, usually just before the asparagus. Season vegetables with a pinch of salt and pepper, then transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • To the skillet, add a tablespoon of butter, ¾ cup chicken broth, ¼ cup lemon juice and ¼ of cup pasta water. Bring to a boil and simmer until slightly reduced; 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pasta and continue to simmer until sauce is reduced by half; 3-4 minutes. Stir in vegetables and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  • Top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh minced parsley and serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Notes

Nutritional information is approximate and does not include optional ingredients.
Keyword pasta primavera, penne primavera

Nutrition

Calories: 185kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 8gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 187mgPotassium: 409mgFiber: 5gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 3945IUVitamin C: 77mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. Sonia says:

    Just cooked this for supper. Is a nice light dish, very colourful. Not a lot of flavour in it but not sure what other spices to add, if any, I do not want to overpower it all. I will definitely make again though.

    1. Kristin says:

      Awesome feedback Sonia! Thanks for stopping by to share.

  2. Heather says:

    So, so delicious. Your directions are spot-on – the vegetables turn out perfectly crisp-tender and flavorful. This has become one of our family favorites. Thank you!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Heather! Awesome feedback, thanks for stopping by.

  3. Mira says:

    Excellent recipe! Simple, easy to make and so tasty. Excellent tips for undercooking the pasta, order of adding various veggies and quantities of ingredients on point. So many possibilities with various summer veggies. Thanks again!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Mira! Thank you for the awesome feedback.

  4. Bernda says:

    Loved it. I added mushrooms and extra lemon since I have to cut back on salt. Took a bit more time to reduce the liquids before combining with the veggies.

    1. Kristin says:

      Love the feedback Bernda! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Jessica says:

    Is it OK to use frozen veggies? Any changes to do that?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      You could just add frozen veggies and proceed with the steps after cooking the vegetables. It could add extra water though.

  6. Jess says:

    Can this be made the day before and warmed up to serve? Thanks!

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Yes!

  7. Sarah says:

    So yummy!! I’ve made this many times and it’s just delicious. I am vegan so I just use vegan butter/parm cheese. Delish!

    1. Kristin says:

      Love the feedback Sarah! Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Vickey says:

    Made this last night. It was really good. I used a frozen vegetable mix, broccoli cauliflower, carrots. I didn’t have parmesean cheese. I’m sure that would have been good. Even my picky niece liked it. It’s on our keeper list. It’s a very versatile recipe. It was a full meal but we might add some chicken next time.

    1. Kristin says:

      That’s awesome Vickey! Love the feedback. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Metta says:

    Doubled the recipe approximately to allow for leftovers this week. I used frozen carrots and broccoli, fresh sweet peppers, and zucchini. Super good. Added the Parmesan, parsley, and added fresh lemon zest.

    1. Kristin says:

      Love the feedback Metta! Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Deedee says:

    This meal is amazing!!!!! I made it today and love it also very easy and quick to make. 5 stars from me

    1. Kristin says:

      Love the feedback Deedee! Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Charlotte Prow says:

    Oh my goodness, this is an excellent recipe. I didn’t even miss the meat. It’s full of flavor and the vegetables are tender crisp. Thank you for posting this recipe, Kristin.

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Charlotte! Thanks for stopping by.
      K.

  12. Alexandria says:

    My new favorite summer dinner, great recipe!

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for stopping by Alexandria.

  13. JoAnnn says:

    What a wonderful meal. Full of flavor

    1. Kristin says:

      Awesome feedback JoAnnn! Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Heather says:

    Thank you! I made this for dinner tonight, and everyone loved it. My son (usually a picky eater) even asked for seconds! Finishing the pasta in the lemon/broth mixture really gives it a lot of flavor.

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Heather! Thanks for the awesome feedback!

  15. Abbey says:

    Made this on an unusually warm winter day in Idaho; it tasted like a little bit of summer! This recipe is delicious and light. I might try adding some chicken next time.

    1. Kristin says:

      Awesome feedback Abbey! Thanks for stopping by.

  16. Jim Toto says:

    What is the calorie count per serving?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Roughly 185 calories when the pasta is divided into 4 servings.

  17. Amanda says:

    Firefighter husband and I are on a workout binge in this crazy heat. This is the perfect blend of fresh, citrus, comfort and carb loading we need. It’s a regular!!!

  18. Colleen Rosica says:

    Delicious!!! Making again this weekend for the 2nd time!

    1. Kristin says:

      That’s awesome Colleen! Thanks for stopping by.

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