Almond milk replaces cream and butter in this easy and healthy, spring-inspired version of the classic Italian pasta primavera, that’s loaded with fresh veggies and herbs.
Skinny Pasta Primavera
This year I’m partnering with Almond Breeze to create and share recipes using almond milk. The previous recipe I created using almond milk was breakfast-centric. This month, we’re heading to the dinner hour for a savory way to end the day.
I was in my Weight Watchers meeting this week where the theme was rediscovering your kitchen. We were asked to bring in some of our favorite healthier recipes to share.
As is par for the course, I couldn’t choose just one. Hello, I’m a food blogger.
So instead, I took this cookbook and this list of 5 food bloggers’ weight loss success stories to share. Because inspiration breeds determination. Am I right? *btw, did I just make that up or is it a real saying?*
At the meeting the leader asked, “What is the one food you can’t give up?” Popular responses: Chocolate. Coffee. Even, soup. The woman who said soup must be related to my daughter. She has soup running through her veins.
For me, it’s pasta.
Luckily, healthify-ing pasta is pretty easy to do. Even for a creamy pasta like this Pasta Primavera.
You won’t ever see me totally eliminating cream and butter from my ingredient list, but sometimes I am looking for a lighter option.
Before one-pot pastas were a “thing,” I was cooking them as a side dish to some of my favorite comfort foods. One of the sides I grew up on was the packaged noodles with seasoning packets. You know, the kinds that are cooked in a mix of milk and water with a pat of butter and a dump of spices into the pot.
There I was. One-pot cooking and I didn’t even realize it. Remembering that method (minus the flavor packet) made it obvious to me that a healthy version of cream sauce could be created using noodles and fresh spring goodies cooked in Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk.
With this pasta primavera recipe you won’t see that thick, creamy texture you’ve come to expect from a traditional creamed plate of pasta. But you’re not going to see the extra calories per serving either.
This pasta primavera sauce lets the vegetables shine and lends just the right amount of creaminess to keep those noodles from feeling naked.
What’s in This One-Pot Pasta Primavera?
This pasta primavera is about half pasta, and half veggies. Asparagus, leeks, young broccoli spears, and mushrooms infuse the almond milk with vegetable flavor. Shelled English peas and kale sprouts are added at the end of cooking time to provide a difference of texture in each bite.
Kale sprouts? What the…??? I found them at Trader Joe’s and then saw them later the same day at my local Kroger. They’re a hybrid of kale and brussels sprouts. I found them less bitter than either of their parents. For this recipe, I chopped the base off of each mini head and used mostly just the leaves, although a few little clusters snuck their way into the dish, too.
Some fresh dill and thyme, Parmesan, veggie broth, and lemon juice round out the flavors in this dish and make for the easiest one-pot pasta recipe.
How to Make Pasta Primavera
To make this creamy pasta primavera, add the spaghetti noodles, leek, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, garlic, almond milk, vegetable broth, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, thyme leaves and olive oil to a large pot or dutch oven.
The Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk cooks into the pasta, which then releases gluten and thus creates the creamy sauce. The Parmesan cheese is tossed in during the final stage for more creaminess. Different brands of noodles cook and absorb at different rates so be patient and test their doneness as it cooks.
Add the kale sprout leaves and peas during the last few minutes so they don’t overcook.
Once the noodles are cooked, the sauce will most likely look too thin. That’s okay, allow it to sit for a minute or two to thicken. If your sauce feels too thick, add a little more almond milk to thin.
Just before serving, load this dish up with fresh dill and grated lemon peel. They both add a ton of fresh, spring freshness to the dish.
Can I Use Different Veggies?
Of course! I used nearly all green, seasonal veggies in this version but you could certainly substitute any of your favorites. Frozen peas, chopped kale, zucchini or spinach are just a few alternatives to consider.
Can I Make This Dairy-Free?
To make this easy pasta primavera dairy-free (and accidentally vegan!), I bet you could use nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan. I’ve only made this recipe as written, so I can’t say for sure how much nutritional yeast you’d need to use. Play around with it and let me know how it turns out!
Tips for Making Healthier Pasta Primavera
If your asparagus is especially thin, you may want to add with the peas and kale sprouts rather than with the noodles so they don’t get gummy. Unless, of course, you prefer them that way.
I used spaghetti noodles, but any long, thin pasta will work. Avoid using short, thicker pastas here.
This recipe is fairly flexible. You can use low-fat milk in place of almondmilk if that’s all you have on hand, chicken broth in place of veggie broth, and so forth.
More One-Pot Pasta Recipes You’ll Love
- One-Pan Chicken and Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce
- One-Pot Penne Pasta with Ground Turkey and Spinach
- One-Pot Mexican Shrimp with Orzo and Zucchini
- Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo
One-Pot Skinny Pasta Primavera
- 8 ounces spaghetti noodles , broken in half
- 1 leek , cleaned and sliced thinly
- 1/2 pound asparagus
- 1/4 pound broccoli florets
- 1 cup brown mushrooms , stemmed and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic , peeled and minced
- 3 cups Almond Breeze Almondmilk Original Unsweetened
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs , leaves separated from the stems
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10-12 kale sprouts , ends trimmed and leaves separated
- 3/4 cup English peas (or frozen peas that have been thawed)
- 1/2 lemon , juiced and zested
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (+ more for garnish)
- 1/3 cup dill leaves , roughly chopped
- Add the broken spaghetti noodles, leek, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, garlic, almond milk, vegetable broth, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, thyme leaves and olive oil to a large stock pot or dutch oven.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer but still bubbling and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally so pasta doesn't stick together.
- Add the kale sprout leaves and peas and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until pasta is cooked and the milk has reduced to a sauce.
- Stir in the lemon juice, parmesan cheese and dill. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Season with more kosher salt as desired.
- Serve with more dill leaves, parmesan cheese and sprinkle with the lemon zest.
More Easy Pasta Dishes You’ll Love
- Creamy Pasta with Salmon and Asparagus
- Mom’s Homemade Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- Fresh Tomato and Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta
- Shrimp Scampi Pasta
- Baked Sausage and Cheese Rigatoni
Craving more life balance, less stress, and better health? Check out my Nourished Planner, the daily planner to help create simplicity and under-schedule your life.
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This post is part of a partnered series with Blue Diamond Almond Breeze. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. There are affiliate links in this post of which I receive a small commission. All opinions are always my own.