Pasta Primavera is a classic… and this lightened up version is especially perfect for spring! Made with zucchini noodles, fresh spring vegetables, and the most deliciously light cream sauce, it’s the BEST Primavera you’ve ever tasted… no noodles required!
When it comes to pasta, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. I always love the idea of it… but when it comes down to it, pasta just always feels so heavy. Which is probably why I never order it at a restaurant and rarely even make it at home.
BUT. This Pasta Primavera changes all that. Because this recipe is made with zoodles in place of noodles! So it’s light and flavorful and just like the Primavera you know and love… without the heavy noodles. Because let’s be honest: the noodles don’t actually add any flavor to the dish. So really… who needs them!?
This Pasta Primavera with Zucchini Noodles is PACKED with fresh veggies and smothered with a light, creamy sauce that has hints of lemon, garlic, basil, and butter. It’s the perfect spring dish and our favorite alternative to pasta!
Zucchini noodles – I used zucchini noodles, or zoodles, as the base of this recipe. You’ll need 6-8 cups of zucchini noodles, which is about 6 small zucchini, spiralized.
Vegetables – In addition to the zucchini noodles, this recipe is packed with fresh red pepper, yellow pepper, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, and red onion. I used 1/2 – 1 cup of each, depending on the vegetable. Note: you can add or substitute any of your favorite vegetables.
Butter – I used 2 tablespoons of salted butter in the sauce… just enough to add that delicious buttery flavor while also keeping it nice and light!
Garlic – I added 2 cloves of minced garlic to the sauce to give it some extra delicious flavor. As always, fresh garlic is best!
Chicken broth – Chicken broth is the main ingredient in the sauce. I used regular broth, but you can substitute low sodium or even vegetable broth to make this a completely vegetarian dish.
Lemon zest – Fresh lemon zest adds a delicious pop of citrus flavor to this spring recipe. I used the zest of one whole lemon.
Heavy cream – Heavy cream gives this recipe that little bit of creaminess you’re looking for. Since it’s otherwise all vegetables, the cream helps balance it out and makes it more of a satisfying main dish. Note: you can omit the heavy cream or substitute half & half for an even lighter dish.
Fresh herbs – I’m a huge fan of fresh herbs because of the delicious pop of flavor they add. I added fresh basil and fresh parsley to the finished Primavera, but you can substitute any of your favorite fresh herbs.
Parmesan cheese – No Pasta Primavera is complete without a sprinkle of freshly grated Parm!
This recipe is easy to make, and even easier when you do a little prep work in advance. Here are some easy tips for advance prep:
- Spiralize the zucchini up to 1 day in advance
- Chop the veggies up to 2 days in advance
- Shred the Parmesan cheese using a fine grater or microplane
- Mince the garlic and zest the lemon. Store separately in small airtight containers
Once the veggies are all chopped and ready to go, the prep time for this dish is cut in half for a quick and easy meal that’s perfect for busy nights!
How to make Pasta Primavera with Zucchini Noodles
Start the sauce – In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the minced garlic. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Remove from heat.
Sauté the vegetables – Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced peppers, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, and red onion and season with salt and pepper. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until al dente. Add the zucchini noodles and sauté 2-3 minutes more.
Finish the sauce – Temper the heavy cream by adding 1 teaspoon of the broth mixture at a time to the cream. Once the cream is warm from the broth, stir it into the sauce in the saucepan.
Combine – Pour the sauce over the vegetables in the skillet and stir to coat.
Garnish – Garnish with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- Substitute any type of noodles in place of zucchini noodles
- Add any of your favorite vegetables to the mix, such as grape tomatoes, cauliflower, pea pods, or yellow squash
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning to the sauce
- Sprinkle with red pepper flakes for a spicy kick
- Omit the sauce for an extra light dish (substitute olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper)
- Garnish with any of your favorite fresh herbs
Storage & reheating tips
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, transfer to a small skillet and heat over medium heat, being careful not to over-cook the vegetables. Garnish as desired and enjoy!
More zucchini recipes you’ll love
- 3 Cheese Zucchini Boats
- Zucchini Lasagna
- Zucchini Fries
- Zucchini Fritters
- Cheesy Zucchini Bake
- Zucchini Bread
- Lemon Zucchini Bread
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup sliced red pepper
- 1 cup sliced yellow pepper
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup chopped asparagus
- 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- 6 small zucchini, about 6-8 cups spiralized
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- fresh parsley, to taste
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the minced garlic. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Remove from heat.
- In a large skillet on medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sliced peppers, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, red onion, salt and pepper. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until al dente. Add the zucchini noodles and sauté 2-3 minutes more. Remove from heat.
- Temper the heavy cream by adding 1 teaspoon of the broth mixture at a time to the cream. Once the cream is warm, stir it into the sauce.
- Pour the sauce over the vegetables in the skillet and stir to coat.
- Garnish with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 190Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 542mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 6g