Pesto Pasta Primavera | Fork Knife Swoon

Pea-Pesto Pasta Primavera. Say that three times fast. Beyond being a rather triumphant alliteration, this verdant pasta dish is a delicious ode to Spring produce. I had been pondering the idea of making a fresh pea pesto for a while now, thinking it would be a great way to build a flavorful, substantive sauce without including Parmesan cheese, a traditional pesto component. Fuller-bodied peas replace the herbs and other greens that I typically use in pesto, and the sauce is completed with a handful of almonds and a squeeze of lemon juice.

The result is a bright, fresh sauce that clings to all the littlest nooks in the pasta, imparting flavor in every bite. The pasta is then tossed with quick sauteed peas, asparagus and spring onions for a healthy, satisfying dish that’s perfect for a meatless Spring supper.

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Pesto Pasta Primavera | Fork Knife Swoon

Pesto Pasta Primavera

  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x



For the Pesto

  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup almonds, roughly-chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

For the Pasta

  • 3 cups dry tubular pasta (I used casarecce here, but you could also use penne, ziti, rigatoni or fusilli)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 810 asparagus spears, trimmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 34 green onion stalks, white and green parts, thinly-sliced
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: fresh basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, make the pesto. Combine the peas, basil, almonds and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until the pesto is smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and cook until it begins to soften, about a minute or two. Add the peas and asparagus and cook until the vegetables begin to just soften, but still retain their bright color, about 1-2 minutes. Add the onion, stir to combine, and season with the salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the vegetable mixture with the pasta and garnish with grated Parmesan and chopped, fresh basil, as desired. Serve warm.