Kid-Friendly Creamy Pasta Primavera Recipe

Fresh, Creamy Pasta Primavera Recipe on a plate with fork on counter. It has fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.
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Fresh, Creamy Pasta Primavera Recipe on a plate with fork and pot in background on counter.  It has fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.

What better way to eat your veggies than to bathe them in a garlic and parmesan cream sauce and then wrap them in fettuccine!  That’s right, this is my Kid-friendly Creamy Pasta Primavera Recipe and it’s marvelous.  This version has kid-friendly veggies asparagus, carrots, and fresh corn kernels that get simply roasted in the oven for a toasty flavor.  Then a 5-minute garlic, grape tomato, half and half, and pasta water sauce comes together.  Cooked pasta is added with lots of parmesan cheese to create a creamy and luxurious sauce.  Finally, the roasted veggies are mixed into all this goodness.  In every cheesy pasta bite, you get earthiness from the asparagus, sweetness from the corn kernels and carrots, and fresh juiciness from the tomatoes. 

If you’re feeling really ambitious…try my Easy Homemade Pasta to take this dinner over the top!

USE VEGGIES YOUR FAMILY LIKES 

My biggest advice when it comes to getting kids to eat veggies, is don’t sweat it.  If your kids don’t like asparagus, swap in broccoli or another veggie they will eat.  That’s what I did here, I used veggies that I know my kids would eat, such as corn and carrots.  These may not be traditional in this recipe, but who cares!  Make it your own! 

Another tip for veggies, is to incorporate them into other recipes.  I do this A LOT!  I’m not necessarily trying to hide the veggies, but rather, trying to give them another flavor so that my daughters will see that they can be yummy.  Here are some of the most successful ways that I’ve done this.  My Easy One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake with Zucchini cooks all in one casserole dish in the oven, so it really could not be any easier!  It’s layered with pasta and sauce on the bottom, then chicken, zucchini, and cheese on top!  Or my  White Enchilada Casserole with Chicken and Veggies which layers in corn tortillas topped with chicken, onions, peppers, and zucchini, then cheese!  How about a Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup with lots of veggies!  Finally, try these delicious Lean Beef Meatballs with Zucchini!

Fresh, Creamy Pasta Primavera Recipe in a pot on counter with fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For roasting the veggies, you need a large sheet pan (I use a 17×11) and a large pot for cooking the pasta and then mixing everything together. I used a dutch oven for this, but any large pot or good quality enameled cast iron 5-6 quart dutch oven is fine.

You will also need a cutting board and knife. And mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR THIS CREAMY PASTA PRIMAVERA RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below)

Prep all of the Veggies: clean and cut the asparagus, slice the carrots, prep the corn kernels, cut the tomatoes in halves, mince the garlic.

While roasting the veggies is technically a cooking step, you can definitely do this step 2-3 days ahead.  NOTE: If you do this ahead, you will want to give them a quick toss in the pot after you drain the pasta, but before you start the sauce, so take the chill off of them before adding them to the pasta at the end. 

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees.  To a large sheet pan, add the carrots, asparagus, and corn kernels.

Raw cut asparagus, corn kernels, and sliced carrots on a sheet pan for Creamy Pasta Primavera. It has fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.

Drizzle with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss with your hands to coat everything with the oil and seasoning. Roast on the center rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and either set aside or store sealed in the fridge until ready to cook the dinner.

What other vegetables can I add?

The short answer is: whatever your family/kids will eat!  The longer answer is:  try to find a variety of colors and textures, but within the range of what your family will actually eat.  Veggies that work with the roasting instructions here are red pepper, peas, zucchini, yellow squash, radishes, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, green beans, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, parsnips, beets, eggplant, or even radicchio.  Cut up the veggies into similar sizes and total quantity as the ones in my recipe and enjoy!

Can I add chicken or shrimp?

Absolutely!  If you want to add a protein to this, chicken or shrimp would both be terrific!  You would want to either cook them in the pot after draining the pasta and before adding the garlic and tomatoes.  Or roast it with the veggies.  If you go the roasting route for chicken, add the chicken to the pan first and roast for 10-15 before adding the veggies and roasting then another 15 minutes.  For the shrimp, they will roast for the same 15 minutes as the veggies.  You can also add strips of steak to this recipe or simply pair the pasta with a chicken breast or piece of grilled steak.

COOK & FINISH YOUR PASTA PRIMAVERA

To save on dishes, I cook everything in the same large pot.  Cook your pasta until al dente.

Save 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and set it aside as you make the start of the sauce.

Using the same pasta pot on Medium-Low heat, add the olive oil, garlic, and halved tomatoes. Sautee for 4-5 minutes, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the half and half and the reserved cup of pasta water, then stir to combine. Turn the heat off.

Halved grape tomatoes, half and half, and pasta water pouring in a pot for Creamy Pasta Primavera. It has fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.

With pot removed from the heat, add the pasta and stir to combine. Add the parmesan cheese while stirring it into the pasta to combine. The cheese should combine with the half and half and pasta water to create a creamy sauce. If the pan and pasta are too hot, it will clump, so be careful with the heat.

Fettuccine pasta mixed with creamy parmesan sauce and grape tomatoes for Creamy Pasta Primavera. It has fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.

Finally, add the roasted veggies into the pasta and stir to combine.

Wood spoon scraping asparagus, corn, and carrots from a sheet pan into the pot of Creamy Pasta Primavera. It has fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.

Can this recipe be made in advance?

Yes, but it will be MUCH better fresh.  The sauce will get dry out if made too far in advance (even an hour ahead).  If you do make it ahead, you can do so up to 4 days ahead.  However, I recommend adding liquid and reheating it slowly on the stove while stirring the liquid in to rehydrate and make it creamy again.  For the liquid, you can add 1/2 cup of half and half, milk, broth, or even just water.  Taste for seasoning and add a pinch of salt or a touch more parmesan cheese if needed.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Fresh, Creamy Pasta Primavera Recipe in a pot on counter with fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Kid-Friendly Creamy Pasta Primavera Recipe

What better way to eat your veggies than to bathe them in a garlic and parmesan cream sauce and then wrap them in fettuccine!  This Kid-Friendly Creamy Pasta Primavera Recipe is a marvelous and easy family dinner.  This version uses asparagus, carrots, and fresh corn kernels that get simply roasted in the oven for a toasty flavor.  A 5-minute garlic, grape tomato, half and half, and pasta water sauce is mixed with pasta and lots of parmesan cheese to create a creamy and luxurious sauce.  Finally, the roasted veggies are mixed into all this goodness.  In every cheesy pasta bite, you get earthiness from the asparagus, sweetness from the corn kernels and carrots, and fresh juiciness from the tomatoes. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword asparagus, corn, healthy dinner, meatless, pasta dinner, primavera recipe, vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Roasted Veggies

  • 2 cups Asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Carrots, sliced
  • 3/4 cup Corn (2 ears of kernels)
  • 1 tablespoon Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Pasta and Other

  • 16 oz Fettuccine Pasta
  • 1 teaspoon Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 5 oz Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Half and Half
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. Prep all of the Veggies: clean and cut the asparagus, slice the carrots, prep the corn kernels, cut the tomatoes in halves, mince the garlic.

Cooking Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees

  2. To a large sheet pan, add the carrots, asparagus, and corn kernels. Drizzle with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss with your hands to coat everything with the oil and seasoning. Roast on the center rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and either set aside or store sealed in the fridge until ready to cook the dinner.

    Raw cut asparagus, corn kernels, and sliced carrots on a sheet pan for Creamy Pasta Primavera. It has fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.
  3. While the veggies roast, bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Add a tsp of salt to the water and then add the pasta to the boiling water and stir so they do not stick together. Bring back to a boil and cook for 7-8 minutes until al dente. Save 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and set it aside until ready to add to the sauce.

  4. Using the same pasta pot on Medium-Low heat, add the olive oil, garlic, and halved tomatoes. Sautee for 4-5 minutes, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the half and half and the reserved cup of pasta water, then stir to combine. Turn the heat off.

    Halved grape tomatoes, half and half, and pasta water pouring in a pot for Creamy Pasta Primavera. It has fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.
  5. With pot removed from the heat, add the pasta and stir to combine. Add the parmesan cheese while stirring it into the pasta to combine. The cheese should combine with the half and half and pasta water to create a creamy sauce. If the pan and pasta are too hot, it will clump, so make sure the pot is removed from the heat.

    Fettuccine pasta mixed with creamy parmesan sauce and grape tomatoes for Creamy Pasta Primavera. It has fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.
  6. Finally, add the roasted veggies into the pasta and stir to combine. Enjoy!

    Wood spoon scraping asparagus, corn, and carrots from a sheet pan into the pot of Creamy Pasta Primavera. It has fettuccine, parmesan cheese, roasted asparagus, carrots, tomatoes and fresh corn kernels.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  1. While roasting the veggies is technically a cooking step, you can definitely do this step 2-3 days ahead.  If you do this ahead, you will want to give them a quick toss in the pot after you drain the pasta, but before you start the sauce, so take the chill off of them before adding them to the pasta at the end. 

Easiest Lentils & Zucchini Cakes Recipe

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Ok, let me just say that you are about to try little savory bites of heaven!  Crispy outside, soft and warm inside, these Lentil and Zucchini Cakes are so satisfying!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan bringing a salty and nutty backdrop and oregano adding an herbaceous note.  The scallion gives a mild onion flavor.  But of course, the stars here are the meaty and earthy lentils and the fresh zucchini.  Formed into a perfect cake and pan fried in just a bit of olive oil.

Delicious and Good for You!

Lentils are not just a vegetarian staple, they are actually VERY versatile and very healthful. They have high levels of soluble fiber. Fiber is important for helping keep cholesterol low, supporting heart health and digestive health. Lentils are also high in protein, and a good source of iron. If you are a newcomer to the world of lentils, try this recipe and I promise, you will be Loving Lentils too!  

BTW, Lentils are a great protein to make a ton of and use in different ways.  You can use in soup, in these cakes, or in my Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe.  Click here to get 30 More Leftover Protein Dinner Ideas.

Zucchini is also healthy!  I mean, obviously, it is a veggie.  But here’s how!  Zucchini is low in calories and packed with vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin A.  Zucchini is also rich in antioxidants that are linked to benefits for your eyes, skin, and heart.   I love using Zucchini in my Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Zucchini recipe and my Crispy Parmesan Zucchini Chips!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For shredding the zucchini, I simply used the large-hole side of a grater. You could also use a food processor with a shredding insert if you have it.

You also need a large frying pan to cook the zucchini cakes. I use my absolute favorite 12″ Ceramic Pan, which is great because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning.  It comes with a glass lid, which is perfect for watching your dinner cook!

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR ZUCCHINI CAKES RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the recipe below for more details)

Cook the lentils on the stove in water for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain the lentils, then mash with a fork so that about 50% are mashed.
Fork mashing cooked lentils for Lentil and Zucchini Cakes. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.

While the lentils cook, finely slice the scallions. Using the large hole side of a grater, shred the zucchini. After it is all shredded, squeeze out and discard the excess water.

Add the shredded zucchini, scallions, flour, parmesan, egg, salt, and pepper. Stir to completely combine. Note: If the mixture seems too thin, add additional flour, a little at a time, until it thickens up.

Parmesan, flour, shredded zucchini and lentils in a bowl for Lentil and Zucchini Cakes. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.

Can I add or swap ingredients in this recipe?

Yes, as long as you have the general measurements and include the flour and egg to bind it all together.  You can swap the Parmesan out for another cheese.  Shredded cheddar, gruyere, or manchego would all be fantastic.  You can swap out the lentils as well.  In their place you could add black beans or chickpeas.  Or you could add more of the zucchini.  You may need a tablespoon more flour if you remove a creamy bean from the recipe just to help it all hold together.

You can also add herbs, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic, and a great many other seasonings.  I kept these simple in flavor as that’s what I found my kids wanted.

Can I make this Zucchini Cakes Recipe ahead?

Yes, you can make the mixture and store it in the fridge sealed airtight for up to 3 days before cooking them.  You can also form the cakes and freeze them raw.  From the freezer, you can bake them in a 400 F degree oven for 20-30 minutes until cooked through and browned on the outside.

COOK YOUR ZUCCHINI CAKES RECIPE

Divide the mixture loosely in the bowl into 8-9 equal large cakes or 16-18 small cakes.  Add oil to a large skillet, heat to medium, add pancakes and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned.

Lentil and Zucchini Cakes cooking in a frying pan. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.

Lentil and Zucchini Cakes starting to cook in a frying pan with center cake flipped over. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.

Serve with my Mind-blowing Remoulade or a Sriracha and Mayo mixture.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Lentil Zucchini Cakes Recipe

Crispy outside, soft inside, these Lentil and Zucchini Cakes are such satisfying little bites of heaven!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan bringing a salty and nutty backdrop and oregano adding an herbaceous note.  The scallion gives a mild onion flavor.  But of course, the stars here are the meaty and earthy lentils and the fresh zucchini.  Formed into a perfect cake and pan fried in just a bit of olive oil. They make a perfect main dish or side! #zucchinicakes #lentilrecipes #zucchinirecipes #vegetarian

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Keyword Lentils, zucchini
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 cakes
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-large zucchini 2 cups grated
  • 1/4 cup scallion finely sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked lentils drained cook according to directions on bag
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • ½ cup parmesan freshly grated
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil

Instructions

Prep-Ahead Steps

  1. Cook the lentils by adding 1/2 cup of uncooked lentils to 2 cups of water and 1 tsp salt. Bring the water up to a boil, then reduce the heat to lowest setting, cover and let cook for 15 minutes until tender.

  2. While the lentils cook, finely slice the scallions. Using the large hole side of a grater, shred the zucchini. After it is all shredded, squeeze out and discard the excess water.

  3. Drain the lentils and then transfer to a large bowl. Mash the lentils with a fork so that about 50% are mashed. Add the shredded zucchini, scallions, flour, parmesan, egg, salt, and pepper. Stir to completely combine. Note: If the mixture seems too thin, add additional flour, a little at a time, until it thickens up.

    Parmesan, flour, shredded zucchini and lentils in a bowl for Lentil and Zucchini Cakes. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.
  4. Divide the mixture loosely in the bowl into 8-9 equal large cakes or 16-18 small cakes.

Cook the Lentil and Zucchini Cakes!

  1. Add oil to a large skillet, heat to medium, add pancakes and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned.
    Lentil and Zucchini Cakes starting to cook in a frying pan with center cake flipped over. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.
  2. Serve with my Mind-blowing Remoulade or a Sriracha and Mayo mixture.