The generous amount of veggies make a heaping helping of vegan pasta primavera, even though it uses less than a full pound of pasta.
Zucchini and yellow squash are economical vegetables all year round, and in season (spring, of course), asparagus is a bargain as well. This vegan pasta primavera is easy enough to make as a weekday meal, and pretty enough to serve to company.
Of course, you can vary the vegetables. All this being said, you can vary the vegetables here, using whatever’s in the fridge or what suits your taste. Instead of summer squashes, try eggplant or broccoli. Don’t like asparagus? Use green beans. Add a cup or so of sliced mushrooms if you’d like. For a complete meal, all you need to add is a simple green salad — toss in some chickpeas for extra protein.
Adding vegan meatballs, as you can see in most of the photos, makes this dish even heartier. You can make your own, of course, but being lazy, I used Earth Grown Organic Vegan Meatballs from the local Aldi market.
A few asparagus tips (get it?)
- Choose bundles with firm spears; the tips should be closed, plump and green.
- Avoid bundles whose ends look withered — a sure sign that they’re past their peak.
- Slender asparagus is often seen in spring, but too slender isn’t a good thing. You want stalks that are succulent, or you’ll just be getting a lot of skin and little flavor.
- If you won’t be using the asparagus right away (though you should use it within a day or two of buying), wrap the ends of the stalks with a damp paper towel and put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- You can also stand them upright in a glass filled with 2 to 3 inches of cool water. That’s even better!
When you’re ready to use
- Wash the asparagus, then cut about an inch off the stem ends.
- If the skin looks somewhat tough toward the stem end, peel about half of the stalks toward the stem end with a vegetable peeler. This is kind of a pain to do, but your finished dish will be that much better for it!
It’s still good minus the vegan meatballs!
- 10 to 12 ounces pasta, any short shape
- 1 package vegan meatballs, optional
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra virgin
- 1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 to 15 stalks asparagus, bottoms trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 2 medium yellow summer squashes or zucchini, or 1 of each, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 28-ounce can tomatoes (try fire-roasted)
- 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper and/or dried hot red pepper flakes to taste
- Vegan mozzarella shreds for topping, optional
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente, then drain.
- If using vegan meatballs, heat according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Add the asparagus and squashes and continue to sauté until just barely tender-crisp. Stir in the tomatoes, seasoning, and parsley and continue to cook until heated through, and no longer. You want the vegetables to stay crisp and colorful!
- Combine the vegetable mixture with the pasta either back in the pot in which the latter was cooked, or in a large serving bowl. Toss to combine. Stir in the remaining olive oil and parsley, and season with salt and pepper and/or dried hot red pepper flakes.
- Serve at once, passing around vegan mozzarella shreds for topping individual servings if you'd like.
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