Skinny Pasta Primavera Recipe

A lightened-up Pasta Primavera, as a chef focused on nourishing meals, I’m always looking for ways to take classic comfort foods and give them an upgrade with more veggies and less fat or calories. Pasta primavera is such a crowd-pleaser, but the heavy cream and oil can weigh you down. I believe I’ve crafted the perfect balance. The result is a dish bursting with the bright, fresh flavors of spring with a lighter texture that will have you feeling satisfied, not stuffed. Best of all, it comes together quickly for an easy weeknight meal.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced zucchini, halved – The zucchini adds a nice texture and only contributes minimal calories. I love how its fresh flavor really shines through.
  • 1 cup small broccoli florets – Broccoli is one of my favorite veggies for its nutritional powerhouse status. The tiny florets cook up quickly to a tender-crisp texture.
  • 1 cup snow peas, halved – For a pop of color and crunch, snow peas make a welcome addition. I find their sweetness a perfect match for the pasta.
  • 1 cup red bell pepper cut into small segments – Bell peppers add not only vibrant color but also vitamin C. The small dice ensures every bite has a hit of pepper.
  • 1 cup chopped scallions – For a mild onion flavor that won’t overpower, scallions are just right.
  • 1 pound dried whole grain fusilli pasta, can sub gluten-free or high-protein pasta – Whole grains like fusilli satisfy while also providing important nutrients.
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves – Fresh herbs really elevate simple ingredients, and thyme pairs beautifully with the veggies.
  • 4 ounce cream cheese low-fat or nonfat – A touch of cream cheese adds richness without excess fat or calories.
  • 3 cloves garlic minced – Garlic adds depth of flavor in a subtle way.
  • 2 cups reserved pasta water – The starchy water helps create a creamy sauce.
  • salt and pepper – For seasoning.
  • grated parmesan for garnish – A sprinkle of parm finishes it off perfectly.
Skinny Pasta Primavera

How to Make This Skinny Pasta Primavera Recipe

Preparing the Ingredients

The first step is prepping our ingredients for optimal cooking. Halve the snow peas and slice the zucchini. Dice the bell pepper into small pieces. Break the broccoli into small florets. Mince the garlic and chop the scallions. Strip the thyme leaves from their stems. This prep work allows everything to cook evenly.

Cooking the Pasta

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the fusilli pasta and cook until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of the starchy pasta cooking water before draining.

Sautéing the Vegetables

While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add a splash of olive oil or cooking spray. When hot, add the broccoli, bell pepper, zucchini and snow peas. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the veggies are tender but still have a bit of bite. Season with salt and pepper.

Making the Cream Sauce

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the cream cheese, garlic, and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to the skillet. Whisk continuously until the cream cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy.

Finishing Touches

Add the cooked pasta back to the skillet along with the remaining 1 1/2 cups pasta water. Toss everything together over medium heat until the pasta is coated in the creamy sauce. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped scallions and fresh thyme.

Serving Instructions

This Skinny Pasta Primavera is best served warm straight from the skillet. For an elegant presentation, spoon individual portions into shallow bowls. You can also serve family style in a large serving dish. Top with extra grated parmesan and red pepper flakes if desired.

Storage and Freezing Instructions

  • This recipe can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To store, allow the pasta primavera to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. The sauce will thicken as it chills. When reheating, add a splash of pasta water or vegetable broth to loosen the sauce.
  • The pasta primavera also freezes beautifully for easy meal prep. To freeze, follow the cooling and storage instructions above but use an freezer-safe container. The recipe will keep frozen for 3-4 months. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge or speed thaw in the microwave and reheat on the stovetop or in the oven until piping hot. You can also freeze individual portions on a baking sheet, then transfer the frozen blocks to a freezer bag once solid. Reheat single portions as needed.
Skinny Pasta Primavera

Related Dinner:


Can I use a different pasta shape?

Yes, feel free to substitute your favorite pasta in place of fusilli. Penne, farfalle and rotini all work great too.

Is the cream cheese necessary?

While the cream cheese adds richness, you can leave it out for a lower fat version. The sauce will be thinner but still tasty.

Can I add protein?

Absolutely! Try mixing in shredded chicken, cooked shrimp or crumbled feta cheese. Chickpeas also make a nutritious addition.

Will the sauce be too thin?

The pasta water helps create a creamy texture. If it seems runny after mixing, simmer for a few minutes to allow the sauce to thicken up.

Can I double the recipe?

This recipe doubles well for larger crowds. Just be sure to use a very large skillet and cook the pasta in batches if needed.

Are there any nutrition facts?

A single serving provides about 350 calories, 10g protein, 60g carbs and carbs and carbs and 8g fat. It’s also loaded with vitamins A, C and K from all the fresh veggies.

Skinny Pasta Primavera

Skinny Pasta Primavera

A lightened-up Pasta Primavera, as a chef focused on nourishing meals, I’m always looking for ways to take classic comfort foods and give them an upgrade with more veggies and less fat or calories. Pasta primavera is such a crowd-pleaser, but the heavy cream and oil can weigh you down.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 170 kcal


  • 1 lb dried whole grain fusilli pasta
  • 1 cup red bell pepper cut into small segments
  • 1 cup snow peas, halved
  • 1 cup small broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 cups reserved pasta water
  • 4 ounce cream cheese low-fat or nonfat
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup sliced zucchini, halved
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • grated parmesan for garnish


  • First, prep our assorted veggies by washing and chopping them into bite-sized pieces – broccoli florets, bell pepper cubes, zucchini half-moons, sliced scallions, etc. Mince the garlic cloves as well. This can all be done ahead of time for easy assembly later.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then cook your pasta of choice until al dente. Drain and set aside, reserving some of the starchy cooking liquid.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the chopped veggies until just tender. Season with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Add the cream cheese and a splash of pasta cooking liquid to the warm skillet. Whisk continuously until smooth and creamy.
  • Toss the cooked pasta with the creamy veggie mixture. Adjust consistency with more reserved liquid as needed. Serve family style or plate individual portions.
Keyword healthy primavera recipe, light pasta primavera,, low-fat primavera,
Hey there! I'm Betty Spangler. I love food, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple.