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Penne Pesto Primavera

Homemade Penne Pesto Primavera is the most delicious and the easiest Italian pasta recipe! This pesto pasta dish is full of flavors, filling and satisfying, and sure to become a family favorite.

Al dente pasta, delightful pesto sauce and nutrients rich vegetables is all you need to make this restaurant quality pasta dinner at home.  And it is fast and easy !

As rich and divine this pasta looks, all it needs is simple ingredients and easy cooking technique to bring it to table.

Pinterest image with text overlay for the pesto pasta recipe.

Pasta is my all time favorite comfort food. Some days you need a simple meal that soothes and satisfies. This 20 minutes Vegetable Pasta fits that motto perfectly.

This recipe is one of our favorite pasta dishes for those days when deciding what’s for dinner is a dilemma. The whole family loves pasta and the pesto sauce.  So cooking this dish makes everyone happy.

Penne Pesto Primavera is the ultimate comfort meal.  You can make this incredible delicious pasta recipe in under 30 minutes. This pesto pasta recipe is kids approved and makes budget friendly restaurant quality meal at home. Vegan and gluten free weeknight pasta dinner made easy.

A dinner bowl with pesto pasta and vegetables served along with a fork.

Noodles and Things Copycat

Pesto Cavatappi and Penne Rosa are our favorites to order at Noodles and Things. This recipe makes copycat version just with different types of pasta.

You will love how easy it is to make this recipe to your liking.  You can change the shape of pasta. Veggies can be changed as well to your liking.

WHAT MAKES THIS RECIPE WORK?

  • Easy to make.
  • Short ingredients list.
  • Easy ingredients that you can find in any pantry.
  • Versatile and easy to customize
  • Suitable for vegan, gluten free, soy free and dairy free 

An individual serving of penne pesto primavera

Make it your Liking

Shape of pasta – any type and shape of pasta works including spaghetti, fettuccine, rigatoni, or any other you like. Ravioli or gnocchi also works.

Pasta Sauce – We love pesto but if you prefer you can change it up to any other pasta sauces like alfredo, marinara, arabiata or al vodka.

Veggies – I am using easy to find veggies like mushrooms and broccoli to bulk it up and amp the health quotient. You can choose any vegetables you have in hand or like. Zucchini, red peppers, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower are all great options.

Adding protein – You can add a can of garbanzo beans to make a filling plant based protein rich meal. Similarly, for meat eaters, any grilled meat will be a good addition.

A fork holding some sauce coated pasta and cooked vegetables.

What is Primavera?

Primavera means Spring. So the food that is light and fresh is classified as Primavera. Typically Primavera is sautéed seasonal vegetables. They are paired with different pasta dishes.

Pasta Primavera thus uses seasonal produce. It can be any vegetables that are in season. Often these veggies are cooked along with pasta to make them tender or you can do a simple sauté or quick stir fry and mix it along with the sauce separately.

Can I double this recipe?

Besides weeknight dinners, this carbo-licious Penne Pesto Primavera pasta recipe is perfect for special occasions or just for when company comes over. Afterall, who doesn’t like pasta, right?

With the amount of ingredients listed below, this recipe makes 6 generous servings.

You can however easily double or triple the amount to serve larger group. It stores well as well.

 

A skillet full of pesto coated vegetables and pasta to make this Penne Pesto Primavera recipe at home.

 

Inexpensive / Budget Friendly Pasta Dinner

Since pasta is really inexpensive food, you can feed a large crowd or hungry team without breaking your bank. We love budget friendly, healthy filling meals and this one is a star amongst them !

How to Make Pesto Sauce At Home:

Making pesto sauce at home is very easy. All you need is fresh basil leaves, garlic, any nuts ( preferably pine nuts or walnuts), olive oil, parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast for vegan) and salt.

Put everything in a food processor and pulse to combine. While the machine is running, slowly add the olive oil until the pesto is smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Yummy pesto sauce is ready.

Towards the end of summer season, there is usually an abundant supply of basil from the garden. I often make big batch of pesto and freeze them in ice cube sizes. That makes it easy to defrost in each serving portion . They almost last till next season and taste amazing.

A bowl of homemade pesto sauce.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

This is a recipe you can serve hot or cold. A great side-dish or can be a full meal. My kids love this when I pack it for school lunch in warm thermos . It’s always a hit in any potluck style gatherings too.

Pair it with warm crusty bread or garlic toast along with a cup of Creamy Tomato Soup or Curried Butternut Squash Soup for a classic café style meal. You can also have a simple salad to add a pop of freshness.

Ingredients:

Exact ingredients and measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here is what you need 

Pasta – I am using gluten free penne. You can use any variety of pasta

Pesto Sauce – Make it homemade or use store brought 

Vegetables – Mushrooms for that perfect meaty umami, broccoli florets  and baby spinach for superfood quality nutrients and freshness. Feel free to swap for your favorites.

Garnishes : Fresh chopped basil, salt , ground black pepper and red chili flakes.

Ingredients used in making this recipe.

My Top Picks of ingredients to make this Penne Pesto Primavera ( Amazon Affiliate Links not sponsored)

Gluten free Pasta : I like Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Penne the most. Barilla Gluten Free Pasta is also a great Choice.

Pesto Sauce : I am sharing how to make pesto sauce at home. However premade store bought pesto also works. Rao’s Pesto Sauce and Delallo Pesto for classic Italian taste. For vegan pesto, I love Mantova Basil Pesto and ROI Vegan Pesto.

How To Make :

  1. The Primavera vegetables: Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a Sauté Pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Sprinkle some salt. Sauté and cook till they start to release the water. (2-4 minutes )
    Add the broccoli and minced garlic; cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes until broccoli is tender. Add baby spinach and mix it well. Spinach wilts quickly. Turn off the heat and remove the vegetables from the skillet and set aside.
  2. To Make Pasta : Make the pasta according to the package directions and cooking time. In the boiling water, I add tablespoon of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt so pasta gets the taste and doesn’t stick together.
    Reserve 1/2 cup of cooked water and drain the pasta completely in the colander. Rinse it with cold water to prevent it from further cooking. Let water drain out completely. 
  3. Bring it All Together : Add drained pasta in the pasta bowl. Mix it with the pesto sauce . Add the cooked vegetables along with the fresh basil; stir and toss well to combine. If the pasta looks too dry, splash in a small amount of reserved cooking water.
    Serve it in bowls. Sprinkle with extra basil, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast and freshly ground black pepper and chili flakes. Bon Appetit!

Process step collage showing steps involved in making this recipe.

Check these meatless pasta recipes that work great as main dishes or as side dishes. Let us know when you make them !

Close up of pasta made in the skillet and seasoned with sauce and vegetables.

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A skillet full of pesto coated vegetables and pasta to make this Penne Pesto Primavera recipe at home.

Penne Pesto Primavera

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Penne Pesto Primavera is the ultimate comfort meal. You can make this incredible delicious pasta recipe in under 30 minutes. This pesto pasta recipe is kids approved and makes budget friendly restaurant quality meal at home.

Ingredients

Instructions

For the vegetables: Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a Sauté Pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Sprinkle some salt. Saute and cook till they start to release the water. (2-4 minutes )

Add the broccoli and minced garlic; cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes until broccoli is tender. Add baby spinach and mix it well. Spinach wilts quickly. Turn off the heat and remove the vegetables from the skillet and set aside.

To Make Pasta : Make the pasta according to the package directions and cooking time. In the boiling water, I add tablespoon of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt so pasta gets the taste and doesn't stick together. 

Reserve 1/2 cup of cooked water and drain the pasta completely in the colander. Rinse it with cold water to prevent it from further cooking. Let water drain out completely. 

Mix It All Up : Add drained pasta in the pasta bowl. Mix it with the pesto sauce . Add the cooked vegetables along with the fresh basil; stir and toss well to combine. If the sauce needs a little more liquid, splash in a small amount of reserved cooking water. 

Serve it in bowls. Sprinkle with extra basil, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast and freshly ground black pepper and chili flakes. Bon Appetit!

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS

I love cooking pasta dishes in Instant Pot since it saves a lot of active cooking time and efforts in boiling water, draining it and washing extra dishes.

You can also make this Penne Pesto in Instant Pot as one pot meal. Here’s how

Start the Instant Pot on SAUTE mode and add the oil. Once oil is heated, add mushrooms, broccoli and garlic. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and let them cook until mushrooms start to release the water. (3-5 minutes)

Once mushrooms have browned, add baby spinach and mix well. Cancel SAUTE. Remove cookedvegetables and set them aside.

Add water and deglaze the pot by scrapping the bits stuck at the bottom. Make sure nothing is stuck at the base. Add pasta, enough
water to cover the pasta (about 2 cups..do NOT push the pasta down under water)

Add some salt and remaining olive oil. Close the lid. Valve at SEALING.

Check the cooking time mentioned on the pasta box. Now press MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK and choose half of the cooking time suggested on the box. (usually 4-5 minutes)

Once Instant Pot finishes cooking and goes to KEEP WARM timer, wait for 5 minutes and then release the leftover pressure by moving the valve from SEALING to VENTING. After the silver pin drops, open the lid.

Stir in sautéed vegetables and pesto sauce. Add salt and pepper. Gently mix everything well together. Garnish with fresh chopped basil, red chili flakes and black pepper and nutritional yeast (or parmesan if using) and serve. Bon Appetit !

Notes

Can I double this recipe?

Besides weeknight dinners,  this carbo-licious pasta recipe is perfect for special occasions or just for when company comes over. Afterall, who doesn’t like pasta, right?

With the amount of ingredients listed, this recipe makes 6 generous servings. You can however easily double or triple the amount to serve larger group. It stores well as well.

Is this Recipe vegan?

If you use nutritional yeast or vegan plant based cheese instead of regular parmesan cheese, this recipe is vegan. Do choose certified vegan pesto sauce as well.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 405Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 606mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 17g

Nutritional values are provided as a courtesy and the values are approximate. The values will change depending on the exact ingredients, measurements and brands used. As always, for specific health issues and dietary requirements please consult medical professional.

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This recipe was originally published in July , 2018. It has been modified on February 2021 with process shot, ingredients and other photos as well as Instant Pot cooking instructions.

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