Pasta Primavera

Okay, people. This is a real kitchen-sink kind of deal. Pretty much just throw in whatever vegetables you have around and viola: Pasta Primavera! Which means, like, Springtime Pasta, which means, like, bright colors and light textures and fresh flavors and baby birds all over the damn place.

I love Spring. I love colors and birds and tiny, baby leaves poking out that look like itty-bitty monkey paws all over the trees. I also like bluebonnets and longer days and yard-drinking and peach blossoms. Spring is the most bad-ass season of them all. Hands down.

Blargh. I digress! This is a recipe from the learn to cook book I just wrote! Whee!

Pasta Primavera Recipe

I came up with this recipe several years back, in the very final throes of a dinner party. I was having a bunch of extra-cool people over for dinner and made the fatal dinner party mistake (stoopid!) of not asking about allergies and shit before cooking. Rookie mistake. So everyone shows up and guess who is lactose-intolerant (doesn’t actually matter who in this case) and guess who had made lasagna (me). Woh-woh. Of course, Amazing Guest was prepared just to eat salad and bread, but Neurotic Hostess would not let that happen!

So I scramble around the kitchen and thank Gawd I had half a bag o’ noodles (they were gemelli) and some tomatoes and some kinda vegetables. It really came together as if the Pasta Primavera People were smiling down upon me from the Old Country. I totally impressed the hell outta that lactose-intolerant guest. And, bonus, now I have a treasured recipe to pass down to you, my friends!

The deal with the vegetables is this: use whatever you got, fresh or frozen. Just make sure to cut everything up very small so that, A. it cooks fast and, B. it mixes well with the pasta. So, julienne carrots and green beans; make broccoli and cauliflower florets small like your pinkie finger; cut squash into small cubes, 1/2″; cut greens into 1/2″ ribbons. That’s it. That’s all the rules I will lay on you. Now go. Be free.

Pasta primavera recipe


Pasta Primavera

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4 from 1 review

A quick, healthy, vegetarian pasta dish

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 8 ounces pasta
  • 1 cup sliced green beans
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 12 carrots julienned
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil or parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Put on a large pot of water to boil the pasta. Stick a lid on it and it will boil faster.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, herbs, lemon juice, oil, and salt and let them marry while everything else is happening
  3. Once the water boils, add the pasta and set a timer for 2 minutes less than the pasta package states
  4. When the timer ding-a-lings, add the vegetables and cook another 2 minutes.
  5. Drain the whole mess, but not really well. Leave it a little wet.
  6. Mix the tomato sauce with the pasta and vegetables
  7. Add a splash more oil if it seems dry and add some salt if it needs it.
  8. The End


Other vegetable combinations to try: raw or steamed asparagus with spring onions and peas; thinly sliced cabbage, radicchio, and baby spinach; cooked artichoke hearts, red onion, black or Kalamata olives; summer squash medley: zucchini, yellow, patty pan squash; roasted eggplant and heirloom tomatoes;

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  1. Great Stone Face on April 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Great episode. Great outtakes, too. Don’t worry about them. I’m sure Julia Child did all of those things on her outtakes. Except maybe cchaacking theο»Ώ lunger into the sink. But only maybe.

    • Hilah Cooking on April 12, 2011 at 10:32 am

      Ha! Oh, GSF, if only you knew about all the other things that happen. Julia would be proud, I am sure.

  2. Sara M on April 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    you call yourself a cook? a 5th grader can make this!

    • Hilah Cooking on April 12, 2011 at 10:30 am

      Hey “Sara”! Yes! Some of the best cooks I know are fifth graders! Kids are so SMART these days! Thanks for adding to the conversation!

    • Great Stone Face on April 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      “Can” doesn’t always mean “should.” My oldest son made a chocolate souffle when he was in second grade, but it turned out flat as a pancake.

      Does your fifth grader have his Whittling Chip? Even so, with all the knife play with this recipe, it’d require adult supervision. When our three sons were in fifth grade, I know I’d have had to keep a close eye on them if they tried to make this dish.

      So, good for you if you’re teaching a kid to cook! My souffle-maker is all grown up now and makes a killer lobster risotto.

      • Hilah Cooking on April 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm

        Yeah, it’s really cool how many pre-teens watch the show and actually make the recipes! I am so proud of them!

    • Randy on April 13, 2011 at 10:55 am

      Sara, if you’re trying to insult someone, try to make the insult reflective of the person you’re trying to insult rather than reflective of your own pretentiousness.

  3. Mark on April 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Nice loog, dude. Now everybody knows what I’ve known all along! Pretty soon you’ll be doing your show without having showered in a week. Oh wait, you already do that! JKJK — just joshing!

    Hey! C’mon, Hilah! I’m just joking around!

    • Hilah Cooking on April 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks, Mark! Loogs are my specialty! And soon the entire WORLD shall bow down before them.

  4. Joshua on April 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    simple, fun, irreverent (but basil is a bit more fun)

    • Hilah Cooking on April 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm

      You’re right about the basil, Josh. Would that it were basil season already…
      Thanks for writing! πŸ™‚

  5. Cat on April 12, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Oooh that looks so super tasty! Unfortunately we’re just entering Winter in NZ so delightful fresh ingredients are ‘spensive πŸ™ I may try this anyway or I may go through your archives and make delicious winter fare!

    Also, “I’m not crazy… I’m very sane! and I’m making wise choices!” Love it!

    • Hilah Cooking on April 13, 2011 at 7:00 am

      Hi Cat! Sorry we’re on different fresh-herb cycles! Stupid equator. You could probably use some arugula instead of the herbs – that’s a wintery thing in NZ isn’t it? I remember people growing lots of it when I was there. But the tomatoes are probably less than stellar right now (honestly, they are less than stellar right now in TX, too.)
      So yeah, search the archives! Wintery things abound! XO

  6. Susan Gayle on April 12, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    I’ve been having one of those generally blah, not that thrilled about anything days. Then I watched this…and I smiled and giggled and even, dare I admit it?…snorted during your outtakes.

    So, “Yay, Hilah!” You can have more fresh herbs any time.

    • Hilah Cooking on April 13, 2011 at 7:07 am

      Yay, Susan! I’m so glad you saw this one! I was going to tell you that I mentioned you, but then I got nerded out about it. I’m gonna see you soon, lady!

  7. Lauren on April 12, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Lame that your sick! I hope you feel better soon. Your vids are hilarious and I’ve been doing a slow marathon of all of them (I’m caught up now, yay!). Keep up the good work!

    • Hilah Cooking on April 13, 2011 at 7:03 am

      Thanks, Lauren! I’m feeling much better now – almost 100%! Hope you try some recipes and give me some feedback in the comments!

  8. Dan Alcantara on April 13, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I think I might be making this for my wife for our at-home date night this weekend.

    Also, I saw Goldie’s tail wagging around behind the logo in the video!

    • Hilah Cooking on April 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Oh Do it, Dan! It’s even vegan!
      Yeah, that was her little tail/butt wagging around. So kewt!!

  9. Jack on April 14, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    OK seriously that looks almost healthy. I can’t eat that. OK I could but I would do it with the lights in the house all dim, so nobody would see me.

    I totally was thinking carbonara before I saw the vid and then BAM you hit me with vegetables and I was like DUBYA-TEE-EFF … Ooooh, primavera.

    Anyway, so I’m back from Southeast Asia and the very first thing I did when I got home was goosh some meat, as instructed, to make a cheeseburger (after watching your cheeseburger episode again – I make wise choices). EFF ME that was a good burger, if I do say so myself. Seriously. So thanks for that.

    The out-takes were pretty amusing. And am I crazy or is there a new stove-cam?

    Peace out Hilah. Thanks for keepin’ it real. Oh wait, do you have a carbonara video anywhere? Damn that sounds good now.

    • Hilah Cooking on April 16, 2011 at 8:41 am

      Jack. Please forget about SE Asia for a second and come to Central Texas and I will show you that vegetables and stuff can be totally yummy and are nothing to fear. How’s this summer?
      You’re not crazy — new stove-cam angle was a major breakthrough! Can’t believe it took that long to figure it out.
      SpagCarb is a great idea that I will do eventually. I promise.

      • Jack on April 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm

        I’m already going to Austin in July anyways by total coincidence. Mostly just to make friends stop harassing my wall. That’s not a euphemism. Facebook – it’s Facebook. It’s relentless wall banging.

        That stove-cam angle is tight (and literally). I’d be interested to see more production outtakes, too. I always wonder what goes on behind the scenes. For now, I picture midget stage hands running around in all black. Like tiny sous chef ninjas.

        • Hilah Cooking on April 28, 2011 at 7:38 am

          Well, there are tiny sous chef ninjas, too. But it’s top secret technology how we smuggled them into the country so I can’t really be too brazen about showing them off.
          Lemme know when you get to Austin and we’ll have cheeseburgers and beer.

  10. Cindy S on April 26, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I made this last night and YUM YUM and more YUM! I love a dish that is easy and so fresh tasting (oh and yummy on GF pasta!) You rocked it, again!

    • Hilah Cooking on April 28, 2011 at 7:39 am

      Yes, Cindy! This is one of my most favoritest easy dinners to make! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Jack on June 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    By the way, I made this the other day for a friend of mine and she said it was really awesome. It was super easy to make, too. I also made some prosciutto-wrapped asparagus too. Seemed to be a winner.

    • Hilah on June 26, 2011 at 8:42 am

      Hi Jack! I’m really happy you and your friend enjoyed it! That asparagus sounds like a great combination with it, too. Have a great summer and thank you for writing!

  12. Harold on November 11, 2012 at 2:09 am

    I have to try this. If I have heard of Pasta Primavera, I don’t remember it. Sounds so delicious and easy. When I make it, I will use an Asian frozen veggie mix. Why? Because that is what I have on hand. I need to clean out the freezer to.

    When you mention, olive oil, do you mean EVOO too?

    Thanks for making me hungry now. I have to finish off what I made yesterday..

    • Hilah on November 12, 2012 at 10:19 am

      That should be a great fusion cooking dish, Harold! πŸ™‚ I use EVOO for this recipe, but even a light olive oil would work. EVOO has a better flavor of course, especially uncooked like in this sauce.

  13. Chloe on February 18, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    It’s unbelievable how much I relate to your Hilah isms. These older videos slay me!
    <3 fan for life

    • Hilah on February 19, 2015 at 10:41 am


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