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spring vegetarian pasta dish with butter sauce
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5 from 4 votes

Spring Vegetarian Pasta with Butter Sauce

This pasta with spring vegetables of pea and asparagus is light, bright and delicious. A vegetarian pasta dish that takes under 30-minutes. It's perfect for a quick weeknight meatless dinner and is also gluten free!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: asparagus, pasta, peas, spring, vegetarian
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 574kcal
Author: Elise Shivamber


  • 10 OZ Pasta (penne, rigatoni, shells, orecchiette)
  • 2 TBSP Salt
  • 8-10 Cups Water

Pasta Sauce

  • 6 TBSP Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Lemon zested and juiced
  • ¾ Cup Pasta Water reserved from cooking pasta
  • ½ TSP Red Pepper Flakes

Vegetables & Herbs

  • ¾ Cup Frozen Petit Peas
  • 1 Cup Asparagus about 1 bundle; thoroughly washed
  • ¼ Cup Mint thoroughly washed


Cook Pasta & Prep Veggies

  • Bring water to boil in a large pot. Once at a boil, add the salt and stir. Add in the pasta and cook per the box instructions. Check your pasta for doneness 2-3 minutes before suggested time. Pasta should be chewy.
  • While the pasta cooks, remove the bottoms of the asparagus that are too tough to eat. Do this by holding the center and bottom of the asparagus and snap it where it bends. Cut the other asparagus in the same spot and throw out the bottoms. 
  • Next, cut the asparagus so that each piece is 2 inches tall (typically chop each piece in two equal parts). Keep to the side.
  • Stack mint leaves flat on top of each other. Roll horizontally to look like a cigar. Chop with the mint roll horizontal to your body and knife.
  • When the pasta is done cooking, save 1 cup of pasta water and then drain.

Make the Sauce & Mix Together

  • Melt the unsalted butter on medium-low heat in a medium pot.
  • Once melted, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and ½ cup of the pasta water. Stir and cook for a few minutes until thickened and combined.
  • Add the asparagus and stir. Add the frozen peas, cooked pasta and another ¼ cup of reserved pasta water.
  • Stir to combine and let cook together for 2-minutes. If too dry, add a little more pasta water and continue to stir. 
  • Turn off heat and pour into a serving dish or directly into individual bowls. 
  • Top with freshly chopped mint.


Thicken the butter by cooking it on low temperature with lemon juice and pasta water. The salt in the pasta water not only helps flavor the butter sauce, but the starch in it also helps it.


Calories: 574kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 4702mg | Potassium: 386mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1303IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3mg