9 Light and Springy Pasta Recipes That Won’t Weigh You Down

pasta recipes
Photo Credit: What's Gaby Cooking?

April 8, 2021

by Ariel Knutson

Your wardrobe changes from winter to spring, so why shouldn’t your pasta game? As much as we love wool socks and bolognese, we’re craving something lighter for the warmer months ahead. It’s time to strip down. Think: lots of greens, lemon, herbs, lean protein, and in-season vegetables. Need some inspiration? Here are 9 bright and tasty pasta recipes that’ll put a spring in your step for the season ahead (i.e. you won’t need to take a nap after eating!).  

1. Spring Pea Pasta with Burrata from What’s Gaby Cooking

Looking for a weeknight dish that feels a little more special? This recipe is for you. It doesn’t require a lot of time or ingredients, but the burrata makes it feel luxurious. What’s Gaby Cooking uses small tube-shaped pasta for this recipe, but it’d also be great with orecchiette or elbow pasta.

spring pasta
Photo Credit: Skinny Taste

2. Angel Hair with Shrimp and Asparagus from Skinnytaste

This simple pasta dish is packed with flavor without a lot of ingredients. You cook the asparagus in simmered tomatoes, chicken broth, and white wine before adding in the cooked pasta and shrimp. Use deveined and peeled shrimp to make things even easier on yourself. 

pasta salad
Photo Credit: The First Mess

3. Lemony Spring Pasta Salad with Vegetables and Herbs from The First Mess

This vegan pasta recipe would be great to take on a picnic. It’s highly shareable, and would be great cold. So what’s in it? There’s chickpeas for added protein, and tons of spring vegetables like radishes, asparagus, and peas. The lemon dressing is the star of the recipe, and includes both lemon juice and zest, Dijon mustard, a little agave sweetener, shallot, and a neutral oil like avocado. 

pasta recipes
Photo Credit: The Bojon Gourmet

4. Creamy Cashew-Miso Pasta with Peas and Fava Beans from The Bojon Gourmet

Cooks like to ooh and ahh over peas and asparagus when April hits, but I think fava beans deserve some recognition! Yes, they can be a little bit tedious to prepare (you have to shell them, after all), but they add a particular texture and freshness to whatever they’re in. I also love the creamy cashew sauce in this recipe. It mimics a traditional cream sauce, but you get the punch from the mustard, lemon, and miso.  

chicken pasta puttanesca
Photo Credit: Healthy Fitness Meals

5. Chicken Pasta Puttanesca from Healthy Fitness Meals

If you’re a die-hard tomato sauce fan, this is the spring pasta for you. It’s brighter than other red sauce recipes thanks to capers, kalamata olives, and parsley. The addition of chicken makes this recipe more filling, so it’s a great option for dinner. 

gnocchi with pesto
Photo Credit: Well and Full

6. Spring Gnocchi with Mustardy Arugula Pesto from Well and Full

I always feel like I’ve unlocked some secret cook’s code when I make pesto that doesn’t have pine nuts, basil, or Parmesan. Anyone else? Here’s a new one: The pesto is made with arugula, walnuts, and Dijon mustard — so it’s sharp, lightly bitter, and packs a punch. It pairs perfectly with pillowy gnocchi and a handful of fresh peas and chives. 

mediterranean orzo salad
Photo Credit: Foodie Crush

7. Mediterranean Orzo Salad from Foodie Crush

This pasta salad has all the bright and briny flavors you’d expect in Mediterranean cuisine (I’m looking at you, feta and kalamata olives). I think it would be particularly great for weekday lunches because it will keep well in the fridge for a week and is great cold. Just make a big batch on Sunday and you’re set!

pasta with ramp pesto
Photo Credit: Gentl & Hyers for Bon Appetit

8. Pasta with Ramp Pesto and Guanciale from Bon Appétit

You know it’s officially spring when you start seeing ramps at the farmers market. This recipe from Bon Appétit uses the ramp greens to make a vibrant pesto with pistachios and Parmesan. If you can’t find guanciale, skip it — or use bacon instead. 

pasta primavera
Photo Credit: Two Peas & Their Pod

9. Pasta Primavera from Two Peas and Their Pod

Classic Pasta Primavera is one part vegetable, one part pasta. In other words, it’s chock-full of vegetables, like asparagus, peas, broccoli, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers. You can play around with the type of vegetables you use based on what you find at the grocery store or farmers market. A light lemon-Parmesan cream sauce pulls it all together and sprinkling fresh herbs on top is never a bad idea.