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Vegan Pasta Primavera with Creamy Garlic Cashew Sauce

Delicious vegan pasta primavera packed with tender vegetables and tossed in a creamy garlic cashew sauce. This easy vegan pasta primavera recipe has wonderful flavors and plenty of protein and healthy fats for a comforting plant-based meal the whole family will love!

Prep Time
2 hours
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
2 hours 20 mins

Every year I host my famous #AKZucchiniWeek filled with delicious, sweet & savory zucchini recipes for every meal. Last year I created this incredible, easy vegan pasta primavera recipe packed with a rainbow of veggies and tossed in a creamy garlic cashew sauce.

This plant-based take on traditional pasta primavera is so delicious that it deserved a little re-share. This pasta is absolutely stacked with fresh veggies and I AM OBSESSED. The cashew garlic cream sauce is so simple yet incredibly flavorful. I hope you love it!

vegan pasta primavera in a bowl

What is pasta primavera?

Traditional pasta primavera was actually founded in New York in the 1970s and is basically just pasta with lots of fresh vegetables that’s usually tossed in a buttery, creamy sauce. The options are endless for customizing with tons of different veggies, so of course, I wanted to create my own vegan take on pasta primavera with a creamy cashew sauce which is basically a version of my jalapeno cashew cream sauce (but without jalapenos!)

vegetables and sauce laid out on a board to make vegan pasta primavera

Vegan pasta primavera ingredients

You’ll basically just need tons of fresh summer veggies, pasta, seasonings and cashews to make this simple yet oh-so-delicious vegan pasta primavera:

  • Pasta: I like using penne pasta, but feel free to use any kind of pasta you’d like (even gluten free pasta).
  • Olive oil: for cooking your veggies till they’re nice and tender.
  • Veggies: we’re using red onion, carrot, red bell pepper, broccoli, cherry tomatoes and of course, zucchini. Truly eating the rainbow with this easy vegan pasta primavera! Feel free to mix and match based on what you have. Corn and asparagus would be delicious, too!
  • Italian seasoning: for a little Italian flavor in the pasta.
  • For the creamy garlic cashew sauce: you’ll need raw cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic, onion powder, salt & pepper.
  • Optional for serving: red pepper flakes, extra salt & pepper and garlic crostini or my famous homemade garlic bread.

cooking vegetables in a skillet to make healthy vegan pasta primavera

How to make creamy vegan garlic cashew sauce (aka plant-based alfredo sauce!)

The dairy free garlic cashew sauce is basically a delicious, plant-based take on alfredo sauce and I am all for it. To make it:

  1. Soften the cashews. You’ll do this by soaking them in 2 cups of warm water for at least 2 hours. Otherwise, I’ve found that you can easily speed up the process by adding the raw cashews to a pot with water and placing over high heat. Bring water to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat; let the cashews sit for about 20-30 minutes in the hot water, then drain.
  2. Add the ingredients to your blender. Once the cashews have finished soaking: add drained cashews, ½ cup fresh water, fresh lemon juice, garlic salt, onion powder and black pepper to a blender.
  3. Blend until smooth. Blend up all of the ingredients on high until sauce comes together. Taste and add any additional salt & pepper as necessary. If you want a bit of a thinner sauce, add 1-2 tablespoons more water. Set aside until ready to use.

easy vegan pasta primavera in a skillet

Vegan pasta primavera in 3 simple steps

  1. Make the sauce & pasta. After making your creamy garlic cashew sauce, cook your pasta until al dente, according to the directions on the package.
  2. Cook the veggies. While your pasta boils, you can cook your vegetables. Add olive oil to a large pot and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, red bell pepper and broccoli; saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next add in the zucchini and cook for 2 minutes, or until all the veggies are tender, but still have a little crisp to them. Finally stir in the tomatoes and italian seasoning  and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Mix it all together. Finally, add cooked pasta and cashew sauce to the pot with the veggies and stir to combine. Serve with red pepper flakes, if desired. I love enjoying this with a side of garlic bread or with garlic crostini!

the best vegan pasta primavera in two bowls with garlic bread

Customize your plant-based pasta primavera

  • Choose your veggies. Add any veggies you have on hand! In the spring peas and asparagus would be delicious, and summer tomatoes and corn would be great in here, too.
  • Add a protein. If you’re not vegan or vegetarian try adding some grilled chicken, shrimp or even crispy bacon. A sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan would also be delicious.
  • Pick your pasta. Feel free to change it up with your favorite pasta shapes. I think it would be fun to use spaghetti noodles or bowties.

Storing tips

This creamy vegan pasta primavera will stay fresh covered in the fridge for about 4-5 days. It’s delicious made ahead of time, too, so feel free to prep it the night before for your weekday lunches.

vegan pasta primavera in a bowl with a fork

More vegan recipes to try

Get all of our delicious vegan recipes here!

I hope you love this easy vegan pasta primavera recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Stay tuned for more zucchini recipes all week, xo!

Vegan Pasta Primavera with Creamy Garlic Cashew Sauce

4.99 from 60 votes
vegan pasta primavera in a skillet
Course Dairy Free, Dinner, Gluten Free, Lunch, Vegan, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword creamy vegan pasta primavera, dairy free pasta primavera, vegan pasta primavera
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Serves 4

Delicious vegan pasta primavera packed with tender vegetables and tossed in a creamy garlic cashew sauce. This easy vegan pasta primavera recipe has wonderful flavors and plenty of protein and healthy fats for a comforting plant-based meal the whole family will love!

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces penne pasta (or sub any kind of pasta you’d like)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced and quartered OR cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • For the sauce:
  • ¾ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For serving:
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Extra salt and black pepper, if desired
  • Garlic costini/garlic bread

Instructions

  1. First make your sauce: soak the cashews in 2 cups of warm water for at least 2 hours; otherwise I've found that you can easily speed up the process by adding the raw cashews to a pot with water and placing over high heat. Bring water to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat; let the cashews sit for about 30 minutes in the hot water, then drain.
  2. Once the cashews have finished soaking you'll be ready to make the sauce: add drained cashews, ½ cup fresh water, fresh lemon juice, garlic, salt, onion powder and black pepper to a blender. Blend on high until sauce comes together. If you want a bit of a thinner sauce, add 1-2 tablespoons more water. Set aside until ready to use.

  3. Next, cook your pasta until al dente, according to the directions on the package.

  4. While your pasta boils, you can cook your vegetables. Add olive oil to a large pot and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, red bell pepper and broccoli; saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next add in the zucchini and cook for 2 minutes, or until all the veggies are tender, but still have a little crisp to them. Finally stir in the tomatoes and italian seasoning and cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Finally, add cooked pasta and cashew sauce to the pot with the veggies and stir to combine. Serve with red pepper flakes, if desired. I love enjoying this with a side of garlic bread or with garlic crostini!

Recipe Notes

Feel free to mix and match your veggies based on what you have available. Mushrooms, corn or asparagus would be perfect to mix and match!

Nutrition
Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 serving (based on 4)
Calories: 571kcal
Fat: 19.1g
Saturated fat: 2.5g
Carbohydrates: 86.5g
Fiber: 10.6g
Sugar: 9.9g
Protein: 18g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

This post was originally published on August 3, 2020, and republished with new photos on June 24, 2021.

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