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Your Family: Mmm… this is really good! Thanks for cooking dinner!
You: (thinking to yourself: He he. It’s vegetables.) Well thank you! And you’re quite welcome.
That’s the conversation that will take place when you make pasta primavera for dinner, and there will be full bellies and empty plates to prove the deliciousness of this super easy meal.
Pasta primavera is a fancy name for “pasta with vegetables and a butter cream sauce.” The family loves it because it’s comfort food: Warm, rich, and filling. Resident chef’s love it because it comes together in less than 20 minute, can be made with whatever vegetables are in the fridge (including the random leftover ones) and although it looks like a butter cream sauce, it’s really a vegetable.
Ha! Take THAT anti-vegetable picky eaters! 😉
Start by bring a bit pot of salted water to a boil. Then melt butter and freshly chopped garlic in a large skillet. I used leftover garlic butter that was taking up precious room in the fridge. Two birds, one stone. Check!
Then add 2-4 cups of whatever vegetables you have on hand to the melted butter. Carrots, broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, corn and green beans would all be excellent. I used carrots, broccoli and a red onion. I was afraid I would need my last yellow onion for something else before the grocery budget rest (which thankfully is today!).
Oh yeah, see those peas? Those were an afterthought. Partway through I remembered a half-full bag of frozen mixed vegetables in the freezer. My 4 year old volunteered to pick out all the peas from the bag. A couple pieces of corn that were stuck to the peas got tossed in too.
Add one cup of creamy cauliflower sauce and hot water from the boiling noodles to thin out the sauce as necessary. You want it to be medium-thick. Thin enough to toss noodles, but thick enough to coat them too. Add 1/2 cup of shredded white cheese (any variety will work), stirring to melt and mix well.
When the noodles are done, toss them into the skillet and coat with your creamy veggie cauliflower sauce. Season liberally with salt and pepper, sprinkle some basil and serve hot with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Mmmm….
- 1 pound long noodle pasta (spaghetti or fettuccine recommended)
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2-4 cups of fresh or frozen vegetables (carrots, broccoli, asparagus, peas, bell peppers, onions, corn, green beans, etc.)
- 1 cup of creamy cauliflower sauce
- ½ cup shredded white cheese (Swiss or Monterey Jack recommended)
- 3-6 fresh basil leaves, or 1 Tbsp dried
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese, for topping
- Fill a large pot with water. Season the water with salt and bring to a boil. Cook noodles al dente according to the directions on the package.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet. Add chopped garlic and onion and cook on low until garlic is light brown and onions are slightly translucent.
- Add vegetables including broccoli stems (if using), except florets, and cook until just barely tender.
- Add creamy cauliflower sauce, shredded cheese and stir until cheese melts. Add water from the noodles, ¼ cup at a time, as needed to thin the sauce. Keep sauce on low until the noodles are done.
- When the noodles are done, combine them with the sauce, fresh basil and florets in the skillet. Toss to coat the pasta well. Season with salt and pepper, serve hot with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.
Got dietary restrictions? This recipe can be easily tailored to suit two allergy needs:
- Dairy-free: Omit all cheese, add extra water and/or creamy cauliflower sauce to achieve desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Gluten-free: Use gluten-free pasta.
This dish is SUPER frugal. It’s less than $5 when you use fresh, in season vegetables, but can be even less expensive if you use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Better yet, use homegrown cauliflower in the creamy cauliflower sauce and other homegrown veggies from the garden too to make this dish for only the cost of the pasta!
This meal is PERFECT for meatless nights in our house. Looking for other meatless meal ideas?
- Cheesey-Mexi Lentil Macaroni
- Summer Squash Pasta
- Vegetable Fried Rice
- Seed Salad
- Healthy and Frugal Spinach Salad
- Greek Couscous
- Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad, Four Ways)
What vegetables would YOU put on your pasta primavera?
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