This warm and creamy pesto pasta with spring vegetables is an easy one-pot pasta recipe with peas, asparagus, and ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. It’s great as a light vegetarian meal or as a side dish at dinner!
I'm flat-out pooped after the go-go-go day I had yesterday.
Fortunately, it was all good things, so I can't complain too much.
I got to see a seminar my daughter's first grade class did in the morning, then she had a half-day and was home with us for the afternoon. And as soon as we were back from swim lessons, I headed to a "sip and see" for my friend's new baby boy.
Being surrounded by some of my favorite women for an evening in with a brand new baby (and some wine for the "sip" part)... well, that's a pretty fabulous evening in my book. 💕
And today's recipe brings happiness in the form of some serious spring vibes.
My asparagus and peas with basil is an easy veggie side that’s always part of my springtime meals.
And I love making my spring rice pilaf with asparagus and peas and my one-pot quinoa with peas and Parmesan.
Some of those same exact flavors and combinations are showing up today too in this creamy pesto pasta with spring vegetables. 💚💚💚
The pasta and veggies are coated in a creamy pesto sauce that comes together right in the same pan for easy clean-up.
It’s bright, fresh and full of spring veggie favorites!
Oh, and you can use store-bought or a homemade pesto, either way is fine. (And if you're a pesto lover like me, check out these other recipes, ideas and ways to use basil pesto.)
I’ve kept the recipe below pretty simple but I love adding some extra pops of flavor at the end to really bring out all of the flavors.
Yes, it is my mission in life to bring more toppings to pretty much every single dish.
Toppings for creamy pesto pasta with spring vegetables:
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and maybe some lemon zest for a citrusy pop
- Chopped fresh basil (or mint or parsley, if you prefer) for some fresh herbs
- Extra grated Parmesan cheese for a savory finish
- A sprinkling of pine nuts for some crunch
Want to make this dish more of a full meal?
I have added rotisserie chicken to this on several occasions to make it heartier, particularly for my husband.
Here's what to do:
Place the chopped cooked chicken in the bottom of your pot after you’ve drained the pasta and veggies, then add them on top and proceed with adding the pesto and other sauce ingredients. The chicken will get warmed through from the hot pasta and coated with the sauce. 👍
Or just serve this pasta alongside your favorite chicken, fish or pork recipe. That's easy BBQ salmon in the picture below 👇!
(Here are my easy chicken dinner recipes if you want to browse for some inspiration! Or check out my chicken recipes in under 15 minutes if you’re pressed for time.)
I hope you feel the happy spring vibes and give this creamy pesto pasta with peas and asparagus a try.
Have a great weekend my friends!
Creamy pesto pasta with spring vegetables
This warm and creamy one-pot pesto pasta with peas, asparagus, ricotta and Parmesan cheese is a great dinner side dish or vegetarian main meal.
- 12 oz. whole wheat penne or rotini pasta
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1-inch long pieces
- 1 cup green peas (thawed, if frozen)
- ⅔ cup prepared pesto
- 1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese (or use whole milk ricotta)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise (I use reduced fat)
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Chopped fresh basil, extra Parmesan cheese, fresh lemon juice
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil then add a small handful of salt and add the pasta.
- Cook pasta for 6 minutes then add the asparagus stalks to the pot. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the peas and stir to combine and warm them through. Check the pasta and cook until al dente.
- Drain the pasta and vegetables, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
- Return the pasta and veggies to the pot. Add pesto, ricotta cheese and mayonnaise and stir until well combined, adding splashes of cooking liquid as needed to help the sauce come together. Stir in Parmesan cheese and cherry tomatoes (if using) and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Add any desired toppings and serve warm.
Try these toppings:
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and maybe some lemon zest
- Chopped fresh basil (or mint or parsley, if you prefer)
- Extra grated Parmesan cheese
- A sprinkling of pine nuts for some crunch
Or add some rotisserie chicken to make a heartier meal. Place the chopped cooked chicken in the bottom of your pot after you’ve drained the chicken and veggies, then add them on top and proceed with adding the pesto and other sauce ingredients. The chicken will get warmed through and coated with everything else.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 684Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 767mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 23g
This just reminds me of spring! Looks delicious!
Thanks so much Karly! 🙂