I’m constantly on the search for quick, easy crowd-pleasing dinners. My mind always goes to pasta but somewhere along the way pasta has gotten a bad rap in the “clean eating” world. This pasta is here to prove that doesn’t need to be so! Looking back on my childhood favorite – fettuccine alfredo – I guess I can see why. But this one is different. Yes, it is still real pasta (I hear all of you that say spiralized veggies are delicious but just aren’t the same).

This pasta primavera, or spring pasta rather, is packed with lots of fresh, vegetables and filled with some of my favorite greens – broccoli, zucchini, peas, and spinach. It’s tossed in a creamy, completely vegan sauce made insanely tasty with the help of caramelized onions. The shiitake bacon is completely addictive – I almost always double the batch since I end up eating half the pan before the pasta is ready… and it’s all tossed together with my favorite ancient grain pasta filled with brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth.

This is one of my back pocket easy pasta recipes for any ol’ weeknight. Make the creamy sauce in advance and dinner will be ready in less than 20 mins. The sauce really makes the dish but if you are not in the headspace to caramelize onions for 40 minutes, you can use a sauce of lemon and olive oil like the one in this pasta recipe. Measurements here really don’t have to be exact – this recipe is a basic guide for your weeknight vegetable pasta – season to taste as you go and feel free to throw in your favorite veggie, or omit one if you don’t have it on hand!


creamy pasta primavera
Serves 4

Pasta Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • Ghee or oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Pink salt and freshly ground pepper

Shiitake Bacon

  • 10 organic shiitake mushrooms (or 1 3.5 ounce package)
  • Olive oil
  • Pink salt and freshly ground pepper

Pasta Primavera

  • 1 head of broccoli, trimmed and cut into small florets
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 8 oz package of ancient grain gluten free pasta (penne), cooked according to package directions and drained

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking pan with parchment and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a dollop of ghee or oil. Add the onions and stir to coat well. Continue cooking the onions for 35 – 40 minutes, until caramelized. Check on them every 5 – 10 minutes and give them a nice stir (but resist the urge to stir too much)!

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta in salted water according the the directions. Drain and set aside.

While the onions are doing their thing, trim the stems off the shiitake mushrooms and slice thinly. Toss on the parchment lined baking sheet with a bit of oil and a few generous pinches of salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 15 – 17 minutes or until crispy (this will depend on how thin you sliced the mushrooms – watch them carefully)!

Once the onions are caramelized, add them to the blender with the cashews, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend with filtered water – add just enough to make a creamy sauce. You want it to be a pourable consistency like very heavy cream. Taste and add more lemon, salt, and pepper as needed.

Over medium heat, add a bit more ghee or oil to the same pan you cooked the onions in and toss in the broccoli and zucchini. Cook for 2 minutes or until barely cooked through then turn the heat to low, add in the frozen peas, spinach a few pinches of salt and about a 1/2 cup of the sauce and 1/4 cup of water. Toss to coat well and cook until spinach is nearly wilted. Add in the pasta and toss with additional sauce as needed. Add a squeeze of lemon and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in bowls topped with shiitake bacon and optional red pepper flakes + basil. Enjoy!