Vegan Pasta Primavera is the ultimate spring time dinner! In this healthy dish, fresh vegetables and pasta are smothered in a creamy nondairy primavera sauce. It's super easy to customize this recipe to your liking, using your favorite veggies! This easy recipe is vegan with a gluten-free option.
This recipe is an oldie from my blog archives that was in desperate need of new photos. I originally created it for an assignment in the Rouxbe Plant-Based Profession Course that I took back in 2015. (How can it was 5 years ago already? I still remember it well.) The assignment brief was easy: We were asked to make a dish with gluten-free pasta and fresh vegetables. It was spring at the time, so I immediately had visions of asparagus and broccoli dancing my head. I put together a pasta dish with rice noodles, fresh greens, and a few other favorite veggies, and tossed it all together in a light cashew cream sauce. The resulting vegan pasta primavera was the ultimate springtime meal.
What is Pasta Primavera?
Although it's made with pasta, this dish is actually American in origin, not Italian. It was created in the '70s by Le Cirque's chef Sirio Maccioni, who had flown to Canada to cook for Italian Baron Carlo Amato. His creation consisted of vegetables and pasta in a sauce made with butter, cream and cheese. He then started serving the meal as a special back home in New York City at Le Cirque.
How To Make Vegan Pasta Primavera
This dish is really easy to make!
- First you cook the pasta according the package directions.
- Then you mix together all sauce ingredients in a blender. It whips up super quickly in my Blendtec. I like to use the Twister Jar, which I find works best with cashew-based sauces.
- Next you cook the leek for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to the brown.
- Then you add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- You now add the broccoli, asparagus, and stock. Continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes. You want the vegetables to turn bright green and the liquid to evaporate.
- Next you add the peas and tomatoes to the pan and give everything a good stir.
- You now add the cashew cream and pasta to the pan and stir everything together. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Dinner is ready!
Customizing Your Pasta Primavera
This recipe can be customized to suite your tastes. You can leave out any vegetables you don't like and add in ones that you do.
- You can add leafy greens, like baby spinach or kale.
- If you don't like peas, you can leave them out or use edamame instead.
- You can use an onion instead of a leek.
- Sun-dried tomatoes can be used instead of cherry tomatoes.
- Red bell pepper can be added for color.
Although it's really easy to find vegan pasta, some pastas do contain eggs, so make sure you read the ingredients when you're shopping. If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure your pasta is gluten-free.
How To Clean Leeks
Leeks are part of the onion family, but they have a milder flavor. They can be found year-round, but they’re really a spring vegetable. They’re usually in season from late winter to early spring. I like to use them instead of onions in spring dishes. Leeks tend to be really dirty, so make sure you wash them well. I clean them by slicing them and then placing the slices in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes. The slices are then scooped up, placed in a colander and rinsed.
Cashews are truly magical. Raw cashews can be mixed together with water and used to replace dairy in everything from salad dressing to cheese.
When you're buying cashes, look for the raw type. They are soft with a mild flavor. Roasted cashews aren’t as soft, so they won't blend as easily. And they will give your cream sauce a roasted, almost burnt flavor.
Raw cashews aren’t technically raw. Cashews have to be processsed with heat in order to be removed from their shells, which are toxic. They’re usually steamed or boiled in the process. They are consired “raw” because they haven’t been roasted.
Vegan Pasta Primavera
For the Sauce
- 1 cup cashews soaked for at least 2 hours, rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon onion granules
- 1 tablespoon garlic granules
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
For the Pasta
- 8 ounces pasta gluten-free if necessary
- 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
- 1 leek cleaned and sliced (white and light green parts only), about half a cup
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 8 ounces crimini or button mushrooms sliced
- 1 bunch broccoli cut into small florets, about 3 cups
- 1 bunch asparagus tough ends trimmed and cut into 1 ½” pieces, about 2 cups
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- ½ cup green peas fresh or frozen and thawed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 1 cup parsley chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Prepare the pasta according to the package. Rinse and set aside until ready to use.
- Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
- Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced leek and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook until the leek begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and another pinch of salt. Stir and cook until the mushrooms begin to brown and release their liquid, about 5 more minutes.
- Add the broccoli and asparagus, and give everything a big stir. Add the stock and deglaze the pan. Allow to cook for 5 or 10 more minutes, until the liquid is almost all absorbed.
- Now add the peas and cherry tomatoes. Stir and cook for a minute or two more. Add the sauce and pasta and fold everything together gently. Gently fold in the parsley and cook for a minute or two more, until the dish is heated throughout.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
Other springtime recipes you might enjoy include:
- Asparagus and Tomato Tart
- Springtime Quinoa Salad
- Asparagus, Arugula, and Farro Salad
- Double Broccoli Quinoa Salad