Pasta With Rainbow Vegetables

Back in the 1970’s Pasta Primavera was invented and introduced in a New York City restaurant. (Origins of the dish are somewhat disputed.) It was a pasta dish with springtime vegetables (primavera means springtime) in a cream sauce. I like to try to eat lighter and healthier meals with lower fat. In fact everytime I see my physician for a check-up, she says eat less fat! Today I’m sharing a lighter and healthier pasta dish with a rainbow of vegetables based on spring asparagus. Add carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes for a dish that is both pleasing to the eye and your taste buds.

The vegetable medley is my attempt to “eat a rainbow”. To eat a rainbow means to eat all the various colors in fruits and vegetables. The colors have a nutritional purpose. This means you eat fruits and vegetables from each color and get a variety of important vitamins and nutrients that can prevent disease. At mealtime, half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. If asparagus is unavailable, you could substitute fresh green beans or broccoli. This dish is easy and quick for a beautiful dish for the family. I do suggest you start with a whole grain pasta. I am using pasta penne but you could use another pasta.


Pasta With Rainbow Vegetables

A healither pasta and vegetables dish with spring asparagus, yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, and cherry tomatoes.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword pasta, pasta primavera, pasta with rainbow vegetables, rainbow vegetables, vegetables
Servings 4


  • 2 cups whole grain penne pasta
  • 1 lb fresh asparagus trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 small yellow squash halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 small zucchini halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic minched
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 lemons cut into wedges


  • Place large pot of water on high; lightly salt
  • Bring to a boil and add penne
  • Cook for about 11 minutes until pasta is tender but firm to the bite
  • Meanwhile heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat
  • Add onion and cook 2 to 3 minutes until softened
  • Add asparagus, mushroom, and squash
  • Cook for about 5 minutes until just tender
  • Add tomatoes, carrot, garlic, oregano, black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes
  • Cook about 1 minute until tomatoes begin to soften
  • Drain penne and reserve 1/2 cup of water
  • Add penne to vegetables with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup pasta water
  • Stir & if more water is needed to emulsify the cheese, add the last 1/4 cup
  • Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over dish
  • Serve with 1/4 cup Parmesan sprinkled on top with lemon wedges to side


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I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

27 thoughts to “Pasta With Rainbow Vegetables”

  1. This looks delicious! I love traditional pasta primavera loaded with fresh veggies but I too am always trying to cut fat (and dairy!) from our diet. This is a great alternative! Pinned.

  2. Oh, that looks wonderful and delicious, dear Carol! I also had a very colorful plate today: carrots (orange), celery (green), red peppers, tomatoes (red), potatoes (yellow) and a vegetarian meat substitute made from peas (looks and tastes like a kebab). I’m not a true vegetarian, but I’m adding more and more veggie days to my diet. I like your receipe very much!
    All the best,

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