One-Pot Whole-Wheat Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan

~ So easy, with such amazing flavors! This One-Pot Whole-Wheat Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan is at the delicious crossroads of light, fresh spring flavors and a big comfort-food hug. Seriously good any time of year, but the flavors are spot-on, sunshine-y springtime! Bonus: this skillet meal comes together so simply, in just one pot, and can even be made entirely ahead and quickly reheated on busy evenings! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Make Ahead    Vegetarian (see note)  

So easy (just one pot!), with such amazing flavors! This One-Pot Whole-Wheat Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan is a 30-minute dinner that’s true comfort food, full of bright, fresh flavors! Bonus: this vegetarian skillet meal comes together so simply and can even be made ENTIRELY ahead and quickly reheated on busy evenings! | one-pot pasta | whole-wheat pasta recipes | pasta with asparagus | #easydinner #30minutemeal #vegetarian #skilletmeal #MeatlessMondays | www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com

This scrumptious One-Pot Pasta features asparagus, peas, parmesan cheese, fresh tarragon and a double-hit of bright, lemony flavors! So fresh, yet such true comfort food!

Our little disclaimer: When we read about the newly released cookbook Healthyish, we asked author Lindsay Maitland Hunt for permission to review her book and post this recipe – because we adored the cookbook’s premise and really wanted to share the book with all of you. Although Lindsay and her publisher were kind enough to provide us with a free copy of the cookbook for review, we were not compensated in any other way and all opinions are entirely our own. The recipe for One-Pot Whole Wheat Spring Pasta is reprinted with permission.

I’ve told you about my parents’ bookshop, and confided in you about my foodie book obsession. My cookbook collection alone numbers somewhere over 400. I know that probably sounds like a ridiculously huge amount of cookbooks, but honestly, I’m pretty picky about which ones I keep around – hundreds more have gotten shuffled right back to my parents’ shop, simply not inspiring enough to earn a place on my shelves.

But when Healthyish came along, I knew it was something special. The kind of book that doesn’t take up residence on my shelves, but actually hangs out on my kitchen counter. That doesn’t happen often.

I reached out to Lindsay, the author, for permission to share this book and a couple of her recipes with you … because Healthyish is just so me … so you … so us.

The new cookbook Healthyish by Lindsay Maitland Hunt is full of healthier (yet hugely flavorful!) recipes, like the One-Pot Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan we’re featuring on the blog today!

First of all, it’s gorgeous, like you could nibble every photo and even the paper would taste good.

And it’s full of just exactly the kind of recipes I like to cook (and I know you do, too) – easy and healthy, but jam-crammed with flavor. Page after beautiful page of recipes I genuinely can’t wait to try.

From breakfasts to snacks, vegetarian dinners to beef, chicken and fish … all the way through to desserts that check “healthyish” boxes near and dear to my heart (like whole grains, reduced-fat ice creams and plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits).

In fact, I might have gone a little crazy, trying just a few more of Lindsay’s Healthyish recipes than I truly needed to, all in the name of being able to give you solid feedback. The great thing is, these recipes just work. I kinda started to feel like I couldn’t miss.

Try not to drool as I tick off the recipes we tried and really, really liked. And try to keep reading all the way to the end before you charge off and order your own copy straightaway. (But it’s ok if you just can’t wait … I’ll be here when you get back!) We made:

  • Cozy Bean and Egg Skillet for Two – Except, well … I made it for three, which is no problem since it’s very forgiving and easy to double!
  • Cheesy Broccoli and Pea Soup – One of the very first recipes I made, to serve along with the One-Pot Spring Pasta recipe I’m sharing with you today. It was a smash hit, and my family was genuinely surprised how much they enjoyed it (pictured below).

The night that I first tested today’s skillet meal recipe for Whole-Wheat Pasta with Asparagus, I paired it with this fantastic Cheesy Broccoli and Pea Soup – they were terrific together!

  • Miso Chicken Noodle Soup – So simple and so adaptable – each of us chose whether we wanted to include the egg and the kimchi or not, to personalize it exactly the way we each liked.
  • Quick Rotisserie Chicken Tacos with Smashed Avocado – I hope it’s not gonna sound like an overstatement to say that these are kind of life-changing. They’re the cover shot for the entire Healthyish cookbook and the poster child for everything the book stands for – simple, doable and WOW! Just wow. And lucky you – next week I’m sharing the recipe!
  • Spiced Chicken and Chickpea Flatbreads with Cucumber-Dill Tzatziki – A fun meal that packs a protein wallop, all drizzled in a lick-your plate tzatziki (pictured below).

Besides the one pot, whole wheat pasta recipe I’m sharing with you on the blog today, another of the recipes we tried out of this gorgeous cookbook was this one, for Spiced Chicken and Chickpea Flatbreads with Cucumber-Dill Tzatziki.

  • Turkey and Chickpea Burgers with Dill Havarti – A lightened-up burger that was such a nice change of pace, and really satisfying despite being much lighter than a beef burger. Hint: don’t skip the dill havarti – it’s worth tracking down!
  • Coconut Curry Noodles with Shrimp and Napa Cabbage – This was fun to make, and I sure was one happy camper to dig into the leftovers throughout the week. Craveworthy. Like, I’m sad the leftovers are gone now.
  • Lemon Meringue “Pie” Sundaes – We loved this recipe! It had big, creamy-lemony-piey (piey?? Just go with me …) flavor but required no pie-making effort (yay!). And actually, we just made these again last night to celebrate Pi Day – our impromptu little math dessert was ready in moments (so nobody cared that I’d completely forgotten to plan a REAL pie for such a major holiday)!

And then this …

In this vegetarian one-pot recipe, whole-wheat pasta is cooked all together with crisp-tender asparagus and sweet peas, then accented with savory parmesan, bright lemon, and fresh tarragon. It’s all draped in a light sauce that’s the perfect finishing touch!

Along with the Cheesy Broccoli and Pea Soup, this One-Pot Whole-Wheat Pasta was one of the first recipes I made out of Healthyish (they were fantastic served together), and as we all debated which two recipes from the cookbook to share with you, I knew this pasta had to be one of them.

What Makes This Pasta So Special

It’s like ultimate comfort food meets light and fresh, veggie-packed, springtime joy. A satisfying bear-hug in the fresh sunshine of a warm spring day.

Crisp-tender asparagus and sweet peas are a lovely textural contrast to perfectly al dente pasta. Just a little butter gives a touch of richness, and along with a bit of the residual cooking water, it deftly creates a light and silky sauce that drapes over the pasta and veggies.

Absolutely loaded with fresh yet rich and comforting flavors, plus wonderful textures – this one-pot pasta has it all, from delicious spring veggies to bright lemon and savory cheese! A vegetarian dinner that’s perfect for Meatless Mondays … and NOBODY will miss the meat!

Then there’s the ingenious hit of tarragon, which adds a freshness that’s less assertive than summer basil. Remember how a waiter once entrusted my friend with the secret to amazing Chicken Salad (“Always use tarragon!”)? Well, tarragon works the same unexpected magic here. It’s that little something … that you can’t quite put your finger on.

Savory parmesan and bright lemon are the finishing top notes. Lemon and parm are a dynamic duo that team up as a simple way to add a huge flavor punch to quick pasta dishes – and it’s sort of become one of my favorite flavor-boosting combos lately. Remember our Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta and our Pasta with Peas and Bacon? Oh, yeaaaaahhhhhh. Those recipes. Make them again (right after you try this one!).

Plus, we’ve got the whole-wheat pasta thing happening here! Hurray for whole-grain nutrition that tastes so darn good that nobody will notice or care!

It might seem like this recipe just can’t get any better.

But wait … it does …

ONE POT!

Yes. I kid you not. It’s a busy home cook’s dream. It all happens in one pot!

The process is no-brainer easy, and clean-up is a breeze.

It’s hard to say what the very best part of this skillet meal is! It’s got whole-wheat pasta and loads of veggies, so it’s definitely a healthy dinner idea. And, it’s a one pot recipe that cooks all together in less than 30 minutes. Plus … it’s just so darn delicious! Definitely a new family favorite!

One-pot pasta recipes hold a special allure for me. I remember when I first heard of the idea a few years ago, and I almost couldn’t believe it could actually work. Wouldn’t the pasta be gummy if you didn’t go through the whole song and dance of boiling it separately and draining away the starchy cooking water? (Spoiler alert: no.)

I used to think one-pot pasta recipes seemed too good to be true. But actually … they’re just TOO GOOD. So, so toooooo good.

Funny though – I realized that, before this recipe today, I’ve only offered up just one other one-pot pasta recipe here on our blog (our BLT Pierogi Skillet). Why??? This needs to change! I have so many other ideas to share, because one-pot pasta is a fantastic answer to the busy-weeknight-dinner dilemma we all grapple with.

So start here, with this Springtime Pasta, while I head to the kitchen to cook you up some more great recipes!

Tips for Making This Yummy Whole-Wheat Pasta Recipe

  • First off, although Lindsay calls this “Spring Pasta,” it’s pretty easy to snag these ingredients year-round, so you really can whip it up at a moment’s notice, any time you could use a little refreshing spring sunshine in your life. I highly recommend it any time of year (in Ohio, we take all the sunshine we can get)!

Besides whole wheat pasta, this recipe gets huge flavor boosts from shallots, lovely spring asparagus, and just a little hit of fresh tarragon. So much fresh, vibrant flavor packed into one pan!

  • To make this extra-pretty, cut the asparagus on the diagonal. Or, if you’re in a hurry … just chop and go. The key is keeping the asparagus pieces evenly around an inch in length (more or less – don’t stress over precision), so that they’re an ideal size to hang out with medium-sized pasta shapes like penne. (Psssst … and if you need some help selecting the very best asparagus, be sure to check out my 3 Easy Tips for How to Buy Asparagus.)

Beautiful, vibrantly fresh asparagus is the superstar of this one pot meal.

  • Note that you’re using both lemon zest and lemon juice here (double-bright sunshine flavor!). It’s easiest to zest the lemon first, before you cut it in half and juice it. If you’re a zesting newbie, not to worry – we’ve got a whole post on how to zest a lemon. And, I suggest equipping yourself with a microplane grater like mine. It’s a workhorse that’s stayed sharp for years now, and I just toss it right in the dishwasher for easy clean-up.

This easy pasta recipe takes only a few minutes but has big, big flavors. It gets a double hit of refreshing lemon, using both the lemon zest and the juice.

  • Lindsay wrote this pasta recipe for Healthyish so that you add the asparagus and peas right in with the pasta – it’s super simple that way, saving a step of adding the pasta and the veggies in two separate steps. But, note on the recipe card that I offer my suggestions from testing this recipe, for how you can adjust exactly when you add the veggies, depending on how cooked or al dente your family likes them.

A one-pot meal that’s ready in 30 minutes or less! This Whole-Wheat Pasta with Asparagus recipe is truly a busy home cook’s dream!

Cooking This One-Pot Pasta Ahead of Time

Be sure to check out my notes on the recipe card about how you can make the entire recipe ahead of time and rewarm it in a jiffy.

As if one-pot pasta wasn’t already a total lifesaver on busy nights!

Full disclosure: when it first comes off the stove, still saucy and fresh, it’s truly at its pinnacle. But it’s still fantastic rewarmed, and you can loosen it back up with a little broth or even a tiny drizzle of olive oil to get back a bit of that velvety, creamy feel that it had when it was first hot off the stove.

If you do plan to make this entirely ahead and reheat it at dinnertime, though, you should definitely consider adding the peas and asparagus a bit later in the cooking process, so they retain some of their vibrance when reheated.

Vegetarian comfort food in a flash! This Springtime Pasta skillet meal is so quick and easy but boasts big, big flavors! Asparagus and sweet peas, plus parmesan, lemon, shallots and tarragon – there’s just so much to love!

Soooooo …

Did I just make your to-do list longer, with two new, high-priority items? {Sorry} Are you scribbling these on that list right this moment:

  • Get asparagus and tarragon and make this ASAP!
  • Get Healthyish!

Don’t worry – they’re both super easy to accomplish, and I really think you’ll be so happy with both!

But can I add one more teeny to-do list item? I promise it’s worth it! Add this:

  • Come back to THK next week to get the recipe for Healthyish Rotisserie Chicken Tacos!

This One-Pot Whole-Wheat Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan will be a new family favorite! It’s a quick and easy skillet meal with big flavors. No one will miss the meat in this vegetarian comfort food that’s perfect for Meatless Mondays!

Mmmmmmmm … enjoy your taste of springtime. And I’ll see you for tacos next week, friends!

One-Pot Whole-Wheat Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan

One-Pot Whole-Wheat Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan

Yield: 10 cups
Prep Time: 6 minutes
Cook Time: 19 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This vegetarian One-Pot Pasta recipe is a delicious burst of happy spring sunshine ... any time of year! This easy skillet meal comes together in just one pot, and you can even make it ahead and quickly reheat it on busy nights!

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Make Ahead    Vegetarian (see note)  

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large shallots (4 ounces / 115 grams), thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 pound (455 grams) asparagus, sliced diagonally into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) short, whole-wheat pasta (such as penne rigate, fusilli, or rigatoni)
  • 3 cups (720 ml) water
  • 1 cup (135 grams) frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 ounces (55 grams) finely grated parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup) (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, straight-sided sauté pan or large pot. 
  2. Add the shallots, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the shallots are starting to soften, 4-6 minutes.
  3. Add the asparagus, pasta, water, and peas (see note about timing and vegetable doneness). Cover and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring here and there, until the pasta is just tender, 11-14 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat when there's still a little water left – you're looking for just enough to create a sauce. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, parmesan cheese, butter, and tarragon, and season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Serve hot.

Notes

Two Healthy Kitchens' Notes About This Recipe:

Parmesan Cheese: To make this pasta recipe truly vegetarian, be sure to select a parmesan cheese made with non-traditional enzyme alternatives from microbes or fermentation, rather than the traditional rennet.

Cooking the vegetables: You can control the doneness of the peas and asparagus, depending on the point in the cooking process when you choose to add them. Lindsay's recipe, as written in her Healthyish cookbook, directs you to add the asparagus and peas at the same time as the pasta. This works great, but because we sometimes prefer our veggies a bit more al dente, I found during our tests of this recipe that I prefer to wait and add my asparagus and peas just a little bit later. If that's also your preference, I would suggest bringing the pasta to a boil as directed, and then adding the veggies after the pasta has been simmering for 3-5 minutes (again, depending on how you like your vegetables cooked). 

Make-ahead options: You can certainly complete some steps of this recipe ahead of time, such as slicing your shallots and asparagus. In addition, this skillet meal reheats nicely, so if you know you'll be rushed at dinnertime, you can actually make this recipe in its entirety earlier in the day or the day before. If you want to try this, I would recommend slightly undercooking the asparagus and peas at first, so they don't become overcooked when you reheat the pasta (see note above about cooking the veggies). Also, if you'd like to loosen the pasta a bit upon reheating and regain some of the silkiness the light sauce has when it's first hot off the stove, you can add a small splash of olive oil or broth as you reheat.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 servings Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 177Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 443mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Did You Make This Recipe?

We'd LOVE to hear! Please leave a star-rating above. And, tag us on Instagram @twohealthykitchens or use the sharing buttons below!

Dish up big, big comforting flavors with this whole-wheat pasta with asparagus, peas, parmesan, shallot, lemon and tarragon. So much to love about this vibrantly delicious skillet meal!

10 thoughts on “One-Pot Whole-Wheat Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan”

  1. I do not like the taste of black licorice so I am hesitant to use tarragon. Do you have any other suggestions to use as a replacement? Thank you!

    Reply
    • I think basil might be nice. The tarragon really doesn’t give a black licorice flavor, though. Even my picky eater daughter loves this recipe! May I suggest that you also try separating out just a tiny portion of the recipe and adding a little tarragon just to that small portion (while using another herb like basil on the rest), just to see how you like the tarragon? I think you might be surprised and decide to go with the tarragon the next time around! Good luck! ~Shelley

      Reply
  2. I just made this for dinner tonight as a side to our smoked salmon. DELICIOUS! I only had dried tarragon and it was still wonderful. Did not (and would not) change anything. So creative yet so easy. Will make again. I ordered your book and can’t wait to make some more of your creations. Excellent!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Diane! This comment really just made my day — you are so sweet to take the time to leave such a lovely review! I really hope you love some of the other yummy recipes in the book — you’ll have to let us know which is your favorite! 😀 ~Amy

      Reply
  3. Delicious! I made this last night, and my whole family enjoyed it, even my husband who doesn’t like peas. Next time I will use finely grated parmesan as your recipe recommends. I just had shredded pieces available and they coagulated when I incorporated them into the sauce. We prefer al dente veggies too, so thanks for the tip about adding the asparagus and peas several minutes after the pasta!

    Reply
    • Hi Sue! Oh, I’m thrilled to hear you guys all liked this so much! It’s really become one of my new faves, and it makes me so happy to know your family loved it, too! And my oh my … I can’t WAIT for you to see the next recipe I’m sharing out of the “Healthyish” cookbook – the Rotisserie Chicken Tacos! They’re an absolute standout, too! 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this sweet comment, Sue, with helpful feedback about the parmesan and how the veggies worked for you – not only does it make me happy to hear you liked this recipe, but your feedback is truly useful for other readers, too! Have a fantastic week! ~Shelley

      Reply

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