The secret to a great pasta primavera is the right balance of vegetable flavors and textures, plus a killer sauce. This vegan pasta recipe fits the bill, with crisp-tender broccoli, sweet bell peppers, earthy mushrooms, and tangy tomatoes, all of which are topped with a creamy walnut-and-herb sauce that gets a spicy kick from sambal oelek, an Asian chile paste. Sambal oelek can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets, but you can also substitute a few drops of your favorite hot sauce. When blending the sauce, don’t worry about pre-chopping the parsley and cilantro. Simply trim away the larger stems before measuring the leaves, then place them directly in the food processor.

Recipe from

By Mary McDougall, RN,


  • 2 cups walnut pieces
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • ⅓ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • ⅓ cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek chile paste or hot sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces dried rotini pasta
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups red and/or yellow bell pepper strips
  • 16 ounces fresh mushrooms, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes


  • Combine the walnuts, stock, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, garlic, chile paste, and salt (if using) in a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Season with pepper.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and bell peppers; cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms; cook for 2 minutes more. Drain.
  • Transfer the pasta mixture to a large bowl. Add the sauce, and toss to coat. Add the tomatoes; toss gently to combine. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Comments (14)

(5 from 8 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Josie Grasso

Hi. Is 16 ounces of mushrooms correct? Here in Aus we measure in grams, so 16 ounces is equivalent to 450gms. Thanks in advance for your reply.

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hello down under! Yes, 16 ounces is correct:)


If substituting Cannelini beans for walnuts, what is the ratio? 2 cups to 2 cups? Thank you!

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Kristi, while we haven't tried this, an equal substitution of walnuts for cannellini beans seems fair. You might find that you need less vegetable broth because the beans will have more moisture in them, so I'd be inclined to add the broth gradually in case you don't need it all. Let us know how it goes!


What more could you want? A fantastic primavera!


What could you substitute if allergic to walnuts? Thanks.

Courtney Davison

Hi J, You could try using cannellini beans instead. When blended, they bring a similarly creamy, buttery texture to the walnuts. Please let us know how it goes. Thank you! Courtney Davison Editor, Forks Over Knives

The Woof

I was skeptical about the flavors of the sauce but it was delicious! I used green lentil rotini pasta and added raw chopped spinach at the end. Definitely a keeper in the dinner rotation. I am sure any variety of your favorite veggies would work in this dish!

Mary Jane

This was delicious! Absolutely loved the sauce flavor; I used Sriracha sauce for hot sauce; left out mushrooms as my daughter doesn't like them. Definitely will make again!

Nancy Zehetner

Delicious! I used sriracha for the hot sauce. I will most definitely make this again. I did sauté the mushrooms and bell peppers in a bit of olive oil before adding to the pot but I think I will stick to the directions next time.


This was delicious! I did add onions and carrots and I sauteed the vegetables with a small amount of vegetable broth. I like my pasta al dente and it would have cooked it too long.


The sauce on this was bright and flavorful. It did need more salt and pepper. I sauteed the mushrooms and peppers in a little olive oil. Broccoli I threw in the pasta water.


This was sooo good...although next time I´ll do the vegetables apart so I don´t have to throw their vitamins with the water.


Such a lot of hard work obviously goes into these recipes and I'm sure you'd welcome more comments. I made this exactly according to the recipe, except for substituting Cap Bon- type harissa + some olive oil to the sauce and it was delicious. Next time, I might turn the veg for a minute or two in a pan before adding, but the main event was the sauce, which I feel works without any added nooch on account of the texture and flavour of the walnuts. Thank you.

About the Author

Headshot of Mary McDougall, RN

About the Author

Mary McDougall, RN

Mary McDougall is a nurse and co-author of eight national bestselling books. She lectures nationwide, has created more than 2,000 health-supporting recipes, and has been caring for people with diet and lifestyle medicine for 25 years.
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