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veggie pesto pasta with parmesan on top

Veggie Pesto Pasta

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 10 cups, 6 servings
  • Diet: Vegetarian


If you have 30 minutes, then you have enough time to throw together this simple Veggie Pesto Pasta recipe. It is made with fresh cooked vegetables, tender pasta and tossed with basil pesto. It is great for a weeknight meal and can be adapted for whichever veggies you have on hand.


¾ teaspoon salt plus more for pasta cooking water

1 pound rigatoni (whole-wheat or gluten-free if desired)

2 cups broccoli florets

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 small zucchini, cut into half moons

2/3 cup basil pesto, homemade or purchased

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Toasted pine nuts and shredded parmesan for serving, if desired


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. In last 3 ½ minutes, add the broccoli. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pepper, zucchini and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables start to brown in spots, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes.
  3. Combine the drained pasta mixture, the cooked vegetables and pesto in the pasta pot. Thin with cooking liquid if necessary. Season with pepper to taste. 
  4. Serve topped with pine nuts and Parmesan if desired.


Ingredient Note:

Feel free to adapt this recipe for whichever veggies you have on hand. 

  • Use 2 cups Cauliflower or broccoli rabe in place of the broccoli. 
  • Instead of zucchini try Diced Eggplant or asparagus (use 2 cups diced)
  • Yellow summer squash can be subbed for the zucchini
  • Try another color bell pepper such as green or yellow bell peppers
  • One small thinly sliced sweet onion can be subbed for the pepper
  • Add a few handfuls of clean spinach to the saute in the last minute to wilt into the veggie mixture
  • Halved cherry tomatoes can also be added to the saute in the last minute or two

Just remember to try to use veggies that cook at the same rate. For harder veggies, add them to the cooking liquid with the pasta, and softer/quicker cooking veggies can be sauteed.

Tip: To toast pine nuts, stir in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. 

Make Ahead: This pasta is best when freshly made, however, leftovers can be reheated in the microwave. Heat one serving for 2 minutes on high or until steaming hot.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Active Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 2/3 cups
  • Calories: 399
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Carbohydrates: 61 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 12 g

Keywords: Veggie Pesto Pasta, Pesto Pasta with Vegetables, pesto pasta with veggies, pasta with pesto and vegetables

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