Recipe: Colorful Spring Pasta for Meatless Monday

A dish that celebrates the season and benefits both my health and the planet? Yes, please!

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Posted in Apr 24, 2017

Pasta primavera

What and how we choose to eat says so much about our values—and it literally feeds a positive outlook on life. “Meatless Monday,” the practice of avoiding eating meat each Monday, is an easy, tasty way to start your week off on an upbeat, healthful note.

Did you know this idea has a long history, dating back to World War I, when conservation of resources was a necessity for American families? Today, it enables people to feel connected to a number of positive, important issues, from personal health to reducing our impact on the environment.

Getting the most out of Meatless Mondays means cultivating a collection of reliable, delicious recipes. One of my favorites is this one-pot pasta primavera, a dish that lets the freshness of the season take center stage on the dinner plate. 

I love the versatility of this dish—any seasonal produce that looks ripe and bursting with flavor is right at home here. I love that it involves the satisfying task of taking a counter-full of fresh produce and chopping, peeling and slicing it down into a pile of pleasing shapes and colors. And, like with any recipe in regular rotation at my house, I love that it is quick and easy to make!

Pasta Primavera
Serves 4 (with leftovers for a delicious cold pasta salad lunch!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. pasta (any shape will do)
  • 4 carrots, sliced into coins
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
  • 1 leek, split lengthwise, rinsed, and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3T chopped dill
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:

Position a large colander in the sink and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook on medium-high for 2 minutes. Add the asparagus, and cook for 2 more minutes. Then add the leek, red pepper and frozen peas; stir and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

Using a mesh skimmer or slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to the colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

Place the still-warm vegetables in a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon zest.

Using the same boiling water, which is now packed with vitamins and flavor from the vegetables, cook the pasta according to package directions.

Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl of vegetables. Drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice, add kosher salt and black pepper to taste and stir until combined.

Stir in the dill just before serving. Pass the Pecorino Romano cheese for diners to sprinkle as they’d like.

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