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Picnic Pasta Salad

Vegan Creamy Pasta Primavera (gluten-free)

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Diet: Vegan


This is an absolute rainbow of pasta deliciousness! Vegan Creamy Pasta Primavera is my current go-to dinner dish. All of my favorite veggies are here in this dish, and when tossed with penne pasta and a creamy lemon sauce it's the perfect dish to satisfy a pasta craving.



For the pasta

  • 10-ounces gluten-free penne pasta (I love Jovial brand)
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt for boiling pasta

For the creamy lemon sauce

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in advance, drained and rinsed*
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the veggies

  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled, ends removed, thinly sliced
  • 3 sweet bell peppers (I like a mix of yellow, orange and red), stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 large thick carrot, peeled, ends removed, thinly sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 head romanesco or broccolini, florets only
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, ends removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • other veggie options: peas, zucchini

For serving

  • vegan Parmesan 
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon zest and/or wedges


  1. Bring water to a rolling boil in a large pot or dutch oven.  Add salt and pasta and cook according to package instructions (until al dente ideally).  
  2. While the pasta cooks, add oil, sliced onion, bell pepper, carrot and romanesco or broccolini florets to a 12-inch cast iron skillet.  Sprinkle lightly with salt to help draw out the moisture from the veggies.  Cook for five minutes over medium heat tossing occasionally.  Add asparagus, toss and cook another five minutes.  Continue cooking until the veggies are tender.  Be careful not to overcook.  Add the tomatoes during the last minute of cooking.
  3. While the pasta and veggies are cooking, add drained cashews, filtered water, garlic, lemon zest and juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper to a high speed blender and blend on the highest speed for one minute until smooth and creamy.  Set aside. 
  4. Once the pasta is done cooking, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest.  Place the cooked pasta back in the dry pot with the burner off.  Pour the creamy lemon sauce overtop the cooked pasta.  Add the cooked veggies and toss everything well to combine.  Add pasta water a little at a time to reach desired sauce consistency.  I usually like to add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water.   
  5. Plate your pasta while hot and add any desired garnishes such as a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan cheese, drizzle of olive oil, pinch of red pepper flakes, freshly ground black pepper, lemon zest and/or lemon wedges.  
  6. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to five days.  To reheat, add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water and reheat everything on the stovetop.  
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stovetop and Blender

Keywords: vegan pasta primavera

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