Spring Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese

An easy spring vegetable pasta with goat cheese, packed with healthy greens and tons of flavor from fresh peas, asparagus, garlic, lemon, herbs, and tangy goat cheese. A favorite quick seasonal pasta dish for busy weeknight dinners! Vegetarian and gluten free friendly.

A simple spring vegetable pasta

When things get really busy, pasta is always one of our go-to dinners. It’s an obvious choice for those nights when we want really good food that doesn’t take a lot of time (or energy) to prepare.

It’s too easy to open up a box of pasta or some store-bought ravioli, top it with a simple garlic butter sauce, quick sautéed spring veggies, and crumbles of tangy goat cheese, and call it dinner – all in about thirty minutes.

This time, I opted for tender asparagus, fresh snap peas, baby arugula, and a few pea shoots thrown in for good measure, but fava beans, scallions, broccoli, zucchini, peppers – any quick-cooking green veggie – would also be lovely. With a fresh, green side salad or a hunk of sourdough served alongside – and maybe a glass of wine? – this vegetarian pasta makes for a pretty perfect meal in my book.

a pile of tender spring asparagus on a sheet pan

Ingredients in this weeknight spring vegetable pasta

This easy veggie goat cheese pasta is flavorful and satisfying, and comes together with simple pantry ingredients and fresh, in season spring vegetables. It’s similar to a pasta primavera – from the Italian word for springtime – with many of the same components, but with a lighter, simpler, lemony garlic butter sauce. These are the ingredients you’ll need to make it:

  • pasta: of course! I used penne here, but you can use your favorite short cut or long pasta shape. Favorites are DeLallo for traditional wheat pasta or Jovial for gluten free.
  • olive oil and butter: this is the time to use a good quality olive oil, and for extra flavor and richness, we’ll also add a bit of butter.
  • garlic and onion: a quick caramelize of fresh garlic and yellow or sweet onion adds great flavor.
  • asparagus: for an earthy spring crunch. Look for slender stalks which will be more tender.
  • peas: English or snap peas both work well. I like to use a mix of shelled peas and chopped pea pods for lots of texture.
  • baby arugula: for vibrant color, freshness, and a slight peppery bite. If you’d like a more mild green, spinach or baby kale would be delicious as well.
  • lemon: a squeeze of lemon juice and some zest adds such brightness. I always reach for Meyer lemon for added sweetness and citrusy flavor when available.
  • goat cheese: creamy and tangy and a wonderful counterpart to the sautéed veggies. Fresh ricotta would also be delish.
  • parmesan cheese: for a salty, cheesy finish. Pasta just isn’t complete without a dusting of parmesan!
  • fresh herbs: parsley, chives, and if you want to add even more spring-y pea flavor, some fresh pea shoots.
  • salt and pepper: just a pinch of each, to taste. Be sure to season along the way to bring out and intensify all the other flavors.

Find all the exact measurements and recipe instructions below.

20-minute Spring Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese, Fresh Peas, and Asparagus, via forkknifeswoon.com

How to make a spring vegetable pasta with goat cheese

This healthy and hearty veggie pasta is perfect for busy weeknights – it comes together quickly in a few easy steps in under half an hour. Here’s how you make it:

  1. Cook the pasta al dente in a large pot of generously salted water.
  2. Saute the asparagus, peas, and arugula in olive oil, butter, and garlic. Add some lemon juice and zest, and season well.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the vegetables and combine with the creamy goat cheese and parmesan. Finish with your fresh herbs, a crack of black pepper, and serve warm!

That’s it – simple, veggie-packed, cheesy pasta goodness in no time. The result is bright and fresh, and Spring in a bowl. Enjoy!!

Spring Vegetable Pasta FAQs

What shape of pasta is best to use?

Traditionally pasta primavera uses long shapes (spaghetti, angel hair, fettuccine etc.) but I like to use short cuts like penne, rotini, or orecchiette which mimics the chunky shapes of the vegetables. I think this would also be great with gnocchi. Use your favorite!

Can I use different vegetables?

The asparagus, peas, and herbs are my favorite combination, but use this as just a guide. Any number of quick cooking spring or early-summer vegetables would be lovely here. Zucchini, bell pepper, fava beans, baby kale, mushrooms etc. Just be sure to chop the vegetables roughly the same size to ensure that they cook evenly.

Can I use frozen vegetables?

Sure. You can make this pasta year round and use frozen veggies. They’re economical and convenient! But keep in mind there’s something pretty magical about using fresh from the farmers market, peak season spring asparagus, snap peas, or baby greens. That being said, weeknight cooking should be flexible! If you go the frozen route, you may need to add a couple minutes to the cooking time.

What to do with leftover pasta

This vegetable pasta is best enjoyed immediately, but will keep for 2-3 days, covered tightly in the refrigerator.

A plate of spring vegetable pasta with asparagus, peas, arugula, goat cheese, parmesan, lemon, and fresh herbs

Other healthy and delicious pasta recipes you’ll love:

If you make this goat cheese and spring vegetable pasta, be sure to tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #forkknifeswoon and leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it! ★★★★★ Star ratings are especially helpful because they help others find my recipes too. xo, Laura

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A plate of spring vegetable pasta with asparagus, peas, arugula, goat cheese, parmesan, lemon, and fresh herbs

Spring Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese


  • Author: Laura Bolton
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 24 Servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

An easy spring vegetable pasta with goat cheese, packed with healthy greens and tons of flavor from fresh peas, asparagus, garlic, lemon, herbs, and tangy goat cheese. A favorite quick pasta dish for busy weeknight dinners! Vegetarian and gluten free friendly.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 lb penne pasta ¹
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh English or snap peas, shelled
  • 12 cups (packed) baby arugula
  • small handful of pea shoots (optional)
  • half of one small lemon, juiced and zested ²
  • 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 Tbsp flat leaf Italian parsley, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chives, minced
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the butter, and when it melts, add the garlic, and cook until golden and fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the asparagus, and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes, until just beginning to soften.
  4. Add the peas, arugula, and pea shoots, if using. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes, until the vegetables are tender but still vibrantly green. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Add the lemon juice and zest, and stir to combine.
  6. Add the cooked pasta to the vegetables, and stir to combine. Top with the goat cheese, parmesan, and herbs, and divide between bowls. Serve with more parmesan, to taste. Enjoy!!

Notes

¹ Make it gluten-free: Switch out the pasta for a gluten-free version. My favorite is Jovial brown rice pasta, which tastes as much like the “real” thing as any I’ve tried.

² Start with about 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp zest and adjust according to your tastes. If you can find them, Meyer lemons are my favorite choice. They’re in season in Winter and add a welcome sweetness and flavor to the pasta.

For a creamier pasta sauce, you can reserve about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water and add it along with the goat cheese and parmesan.

  • Category: Dinner, Savory
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: spring vegetable pasta with goat cheese, vegetable pasta, asparagus, peas, lemon, easy

Originally published April 7, 2016. Recipe and notes updated September 9, 2021.

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4 Comments

  1. 4.21.16
    Liz said:

    Love this pasta salad, Laura. Thank you.

  2. 4.12.16

    This looks wonderful and really healthy! I love me some cheesy pastas too and would love to incorporate other varieties of cheese into this recipe. What do you think would work well with the goat cheese? Thank you.

    • 4.21.16
      admin said:

      Thanks so much, Rach! I’m a huge fan of cheesy pasta too 🙂 I think you could absolutely add Parmesan to this, or fresh ricotta would be lovely as well. Enjoy!!

Hi! I'm Laura, the food-obsessed cook, writer, and photographer behind Fork Knife Swoon, where you'll find mostly sweet, seasonal recipes and stories from my Northern Virginia kitchen.

All photography and content copyright Laura Bolton ©2021.