Pesto Pasta Primavera: Vegan + Gluten-Free Option

Vegan Pasta Primavera

I love a good pasta primavera - especially one that features seasonal veggies. Pasta is great because you can turn it into a quick dinner on weeknights or dress it up a bit for more special occasions. And - seriously - who doesn’t like pasta?

A few months back I shared my favorite vegan pesto recipe - one that tastes so much like the real thing, you really can’t tell it is actually completely plant-based. (I tested this theory on my cheese-loving omnivore friends and they were none the wiser!)

Quick Dinner Tip:

Not enough time to whip up a homemade batch of pesto? Never fear - Trader Joe’s sells a delicious Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto in the refrigerator section. Feel free to sub this in. 

My secret to a fantastic pasta primavera are roasted veggies. Roasting the veggies really brings out their flavor and creates a crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside texture that is just delightful. The other benefit of roasting veggies is that it is so hands-off. While your veggies are roasting in the oven, you can be prepping the pasta and/or other toppings.

My favorite thing about pasta primavera is that it is so customizable. You can use almost any veggies/toppings you have on hand. For the batch in the photos, I roasted red onion, cauliflower and broccoli, then added sun dried tomatoes and kalamata olives at the end. But the options are endless - check out my lists below for suggested veggies and toppings.

Vegan Pasta Primavera

“Roastable” Veggies:

  • Onions                    
  • Broccoli       
  • Cauliflower
  • Summer Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
  • Carrots

Other Pasta Toppings:

  • Kalamata Olives (or other type of olive)
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Marinated Artichoke Hearts (chopped into smaller pieces)
  • Capers
  • Fresh Diced Tomatoes / Halved Cherry Tomatoes
  • Arugula/Spinach/Kale (chopped into bite-sized pieces)
Vegan Pesto Pasta Primavera

Pesto Pasta Primavera

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz pack of pasta*
  • About 4 cups of chopped veggies for roasting
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Other pasta toppings, as desired
  • 1 cup pesto sauce
  • Reserved pasta water

* Any type of pasta will work, but I used whole wheat spaghetti for the batch in the photos. For my gluten-free friends, go ahead and use your favorite gluten-free pasta.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix chopped veggies with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put veggies on parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and lightly crispy - but not overdone. Note that different types of veggies may require different baking times. See this post from The Kitchn about how long to roast different types of veggies.
  2. While the veggies are roasting, prepare pasta according to the package instructions. Before draining, reserve about ½ cup of pasta water for later. Drain and rinse pasta in cool water (especially if using GF pasta!)
  3. Combine pesto sauce, pasta, roasted veggies and other pasta toppings in pot over medium heat and heat until warm, stirring constantly. Use some of the reserved pasta water if consistency is too thick (regular water will work too.)
  4. Serve hot and garnish with chopped basil or vegan parmesan, if you’re feeling fancy. ;) Enjoy!

Bon appétit!