Though this plant-based Pasta Primavera uses only a half-pound of pasta, it’s so chockfull of vegetables that it makes quite a heaping helping. You can serve it any time of year, but it’s an especially nice way to welcome spring, as its name implies. It’s also a pleasing main dish at spring holiday or special occasion meals, such as Easter or Mother’s Day. Serve with a simple salad of fresh greens.
- ½ pound short pasta such as rotini or penne, preferably whole grain
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 heaping cups cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 2 heaping cups broccoli, cut into small florets
- 12 stalks slender asparagus or 8 medium-thick, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 heaping cup sliced white or brown mushrooms
- 1 medium-small yellow summer squash, diced
- 14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup sliced sun dried tomatoes, oil-packed or not, as you prefer
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, or 1 tablespoon fresh
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh
- Sliced fresh basil as desired (use lots!)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste, optional
- Vegan Cashew Parmesan-Style Cheez, optional
- Cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly simmering water until al dente, then drain.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in an extra-large skillet or steep-sided stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent.
- Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Add the wine and cauliflower and cook, covered, for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the broccoli, asparagus, squash, and canned tomatoes, and dried herbs. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender-crisp.
- When the pasta is done, drain it well and combine with the vegetables mixture right in the pan, if it's large enough, or in a large serving bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil unless you used oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, in which case add a bit more of their oil if you'd like.
- Stir in as much basil as you'd like, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add dried hot red pepper flakes if using them.
- Serve at once. If desired, pass around some vegan Parmesan cheese for topping each serving.
Variation: To make this an even heartier dish, add a 14-to-16 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups).