Spring Vegetable and Chicken Primavera

Spring Vegetable & Chicken Primavera - light and fresh simple pasta dinner that celebrates fresh vegetables. | foxeslovelemons.com

Who’s ready for spring produce? Picture me raising my hand really high, like a nerd in the front row of math class. While I love root vegetables of all kinds, I’m ready for some nice crunchy asparagus! I eat a metric ton of asparagus all through the spring and summer – mostly grilled, but I’ll take it anyway I can get it.

The word primavera means “spring” in Italian, so even though we’ve had a rainy, cold spring here in Michigan, I decided to brighten up my dinner with this light and fresh pasta dish. This is another one of those meals that instead of serving a bowl of pasta with some vegetables on the side, I just put it all in the pot and stir. I like to do that. So easy.

Spring Vegetable & Chicken Primavera - light and fresh simple pasta dinner that celebrates fresh vegetables. | foxeslovelemons.com

The great thing about this vegetable and chicken primavera is that you can use any vegetables you want. It’s also a great way to get your family to eat their veggies while still allowing them to think they’re just eating a big bowl of pasta for dinner.


I used chicken tenderloins here. I generally buy whole chickens and butcher them myself at home, because 1.) I know how to, and 2.) chicken is much cheaper this way. Chicken “tenders” aren’t just something on the kiddie menu at Applebee’s – they’re a real thing. When you butcher your own chickens, you’ll notice them right there on each breast. They’re only semi-attached to the breast meat, and very easy to recognize and detach. I store them in a bag in the freezer until I have enough for a meal. If you don’t have chicken tenders, you can use slices of whole chicken breast, turkey tenders, or even some shrimp!


I’ll leave you with a photo that demonstrates why you don’t take photos of piping hot food. It reminds me of Voldemort’s soul leaving his body. #harrypotternerdforever


Spring Vegetable & Chicken Primavera - light and fresh simple pasta dinner that celebrates fresh vegetables. | foxeslovelemons.com

Spring Vegetable and Chicken Primavera


  • 12 ounces spaghetti

  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 3/4 cup frozen peas

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 pound chicken tenderloins

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 leek (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise then cut crosswise into thin slices

  • 3 medium carrots, thinly sliced diagonally

  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat large pot of salted water to boiling over high heat. Add pasta and cook as label directs, adding asparagus and peas during last 2 minutes of cooking. Reserve 3/4 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and vegetables. Return pasta to saucepot and cover to keep warm.

  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Transfer chicken to plate; cover to keep warm.

  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and leek to skillet and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add carrots and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 2 minutes. Add chicken and simmer 2 minutes longer or until sauce thickens slightly and chicken is cooked through. Stir in basil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and lemon zest.

  4. Pour vegetable mixture over pasta and toss until well combined. Add more pasta cooking water if mixture seems too dry. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

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