This Pesto Pasta with Vegetables, also known as pesto primavera, is the perfect light dish to enjoy for lunch or dinner. Plus, you get to choose any vegetables of your choice to throw in the mix! Try pairing this pasta with a protein like chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas to round out the meal.
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How do you make pesto pasta with vegetables?
I’ve got good news for you. This recipe is as easy as it sounds! Simply combine pasta with fresh veg and pesto. Here’s how:
- Cook your pasta. Cook according to the packager depending on what type of pasta you use.
- Quickly sauté your veggies. You can add raw veggies but I like to soften them with a quick sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Combine with pesto. Then, add everything into one pot and add over the delicious pesto. Bonus points for making your own pesto sauce.
Is this dish healthy?
Absolutely! This penne pesto is filled with a variety of colorful vegetables. And as a dietitian, I’m always telling people to “eat the rainbow” because all these different colors represent all kinds of nutrients that keep us healthy.
While pasta can definitely be part of a balanced diet, I often like to swap regular pasta for chickpea pasta. Chickpea pasta cooks and tastes just like regular pasta, but is loaded with extra protein and fiber. In fact, when comparing 2 ounce servings, chickpea pasta has double the amount of protein or regular pasta. This protein promotes muscle recovery and allows us to feel fuller longer.
Customize with any vegetables and pasta of your choice
Like all of my other recipes, this pesto pasta is completely customizable. You get to choose what veggies you want to use.
Just be sure to stick with quick-cooking vegetables and avoid tougher vegetables like potatoes, beets, and squash. Before you throw veggies into the pan, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Mix and match any of the following to fill your 5 cups of veggies:
- Bell peppers – any color
- Cherry tomatoes
- Yellow squash
You also get to choose any pasta of your choice. You can use regular pasta or other types like chickpea pasta, cauliflower pasta, brown rice pasta, or lentil pasta. I tend to like using chickpea pasta because it packs in more protein and fiber.
When it comes to the actual shape of the pasta, try using penne, spirals, or bowties or any other shape you’d like!
What should I serve this pesto primavera with?
Try pairing this pasta with a protein like chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas to round out the meal. If you’re using chickpea pasta, it already has a lot of protein so you probably don’t need to add anything extra on top.
Need more hands-on help with recipes?
- 8 ounces pasta of your choice** (I prefer using chickpea pasta for extra protein but you can also use regular pasta, cauliflower pasta, brown rice pasta, or lentil pasta)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 cups quick cooking vegetables of your choice, chopped into small pieces (I recommend using a mixture of various vegetables to fill the 5 cups total such as corn, bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, broccoli, carrots, peas, and asparagus)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan, plus more for serving
- 1 small lemon, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Cook your pasta according to the package directions. Once cooked, reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta and place it back into the pot.
- While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add vegetables and saute for 3-4 minutes until slightly softened. Then, remove pan from the heat and stir in garlic and Italian seasoning.
- Add cooked pasta over vegetables. Toss everything with pesto, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add the reserved pasta water and toss once again.
- Serve pasta with more parmesan cheese on top, if desired.
**You can use any shape of pasta you like but I typically like to use penne, spirals, or bowties for this dish.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 390Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 500mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 12gSugar: 7gProtein: 21g
This is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. Nutrition information is calculated for using chickpea pasta. For more nutrition information, seek a professional registered dietitian's advice.