I have to admit, I love asparagus. 

Every year, I try to think of new ways to enjoy this vegetable.  Last year, I wrote a recipe for lemon pasta w/ grilled chicken and asparagus.  This time around, I created another pasta dish, but decided to skip the meat and incorporate other spring vegetables like peas and carrots as well.  I figured pasta primavera was perfect because it’s an Italian dish that is usually made with pasta and fresh, crisp vegetables.  My new version below leaves out the cream, making it light and colorful; perfect for anyone watching their waistline.  And sure you could add grilled chicken or fish,  but whole-wheat pasta contains around 7 grams of protein per cup so you can keep this dish meatless and still feel full.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 4-5 servings):

  • 1 lb. Short Pasta, Whole Wheat or Regular (such as Penne, Farfalle or Shells)
  • 1 small Onion or 1 large Shallot, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus, woody stems trimmed
  • 2 tbsp Salted Butter
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Shredded Carrot (either pre-shredded or shredded using a vegetable peeler)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup Peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup Vegetable or Chicken Stock
  • ½ a Lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup Parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for the table


Place a large pot of water over high heat.  Once boiling, add 2 tbsp salt and pasta and cook according to package directions.  Meanwhile, prep vegetables by dicing the onion or shallot, mince the garlic, and, holding your knife at an angle, slice your asparagus into small pieces (about the same size as your pasta).  During the last two minutes of cooking the pasta, add the asparagus, drain everything when done and set aside.   

Then, in a deep sauté pan or pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onions and sauté for a couple minutes.  Once soft, add in the garlic.  Then add the carrots and cook until soft, seasoning everything with salt and pepper to taste, and the red pepper flakes.  Next add the peas and chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Once bubbling, add the pasta, asparagus, lemon juice, parsley and stir to combine.  Check the seasoning here and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Transfer everything to a large serving platter and finish with a generous amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.