Zucchini pasta, as in pasta with zucchini, is a creamy and easy one-pot recipe to have as a tasty weeknight dinner for the whole family.
You can make it with grated zucchini, fresh herbs, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and a dollop of creamy greek or non-dairy yogurt.
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Our zucchini pasta is pasta with zucchini, not zucchini noodles or zoodles. This pasta dish is easy; you can make it in one pot with little effort.
This recipe is a great way to eat more vegetables without realizing it.
We first sauté the zucchini for 5 minutes with olive oil, onion, garlic, and herbs to make them flavorful.
Then we add the pasta and vegetable broth. The grated zucchini melt into a creamy sauce that hugs the pasta, making it super creamy and delicious.
We finish the dish with grated parmesan cheese and a dollop of greek yogurt for extra creaminess (substitute dairy-free cheese and yogurt to make it without dairy).
The dish comes together in about 20 minutes; it's nutritious, creamy, and fulfilling, yet light, fresh, and zesty.
We make this recipe with green zucchini, but any other type would work.
For example, try globe zucchini, yellow crookneck, yellow squash, yellow zucchini, and grey zucchini.
Use a short pasta type such as rotini, fusilli, penne, rigatoni, or other.
Choose Italian pasta with 100% semolina (durum wheat) and water.
We have not tried this recipe with gluten-free pasta, but it should work fine.
We use extra virgin olive oil to fry the onion and garlic and make a tasty flavor base for the zucchini.
Onion and Garlic
We use a medium size yellow or white onion and fresh garlic.
We recommend using fresh oregano and basil. They are an excellent flavor match with zucchini.
You can also use lemon thyme, thyme, and mint.
We use vegetable broth instead of water to cook this zucchini pasta recipe and add more flavor.
You can use reduced-sodium vegetable broth if you prefer.
Salt and pepper
Add some salt to make this dish taste great. We generally use sea salt or kosher salt.
Freshly ground black pepper adds a pleasant aroma. If you like this dish spicier, add red pepper flakes.
Add grated lemon zest right before serving the pasta. You can also add some freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Parmesan & Yogurt
Finish this recipe by adding a handful of grated parmigiano reggiano or pecorino romano and a couple of dollops of greek yogurt for added umami and creaminess.
For vegans, you can substitute non-dairy cheese and unsweetened non-dairy yogurt and add a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
Pine nuts are optional. We toast them on a pan for a few minutes and add them to garnish the dish.
They add a pleasant toasted nutty flavor that goes wonderfully with the zucchini and basil.
Grate the zucchini with the large holes of a box grater.
Warm up the olive oil in a large skillet, then add finely chopped onion and fry it for 3 minutes.
Add grated garlic and fry for one more minute.
Next, add the shredded zucchini, season them with salt and pepper, and cook on high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the pasta, vegetable broth, and oregano, and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the pasta is creamy and al dente.
Stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the dish.
If the pot dries, add more liquid until the pasta is ready. Cooking time varies between pasta shapes. Therefore, the longer the cooking time, the more liquid is required.
When the pasta is creamy and al dente, turn the heat off, taste, and adjust for salt.
Next, add grated parmesan cheese (or dairy-free cheese), greek yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt), and a handful of chopped fresh basil.
Stir gently until cheese and yogurt melt into the zucchini pasta.
Serve immediately with grated lemon zest and optionally toasted pine nuts.
Zucchini Pesto Pasta
Love zucchini and pasta together? Then you've got to try our zucchini pesto. To make this variation, boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water as instructed on the package.
Drain the pasta, reserve 1 cup of pasta water, and add the pasta to a large bowl.
Add a few tablespoons of zucchini pesto and toss the pasta until thoroughly combined. If necessary, add a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.
Sautéed Zucchini Pasta
To make this delicious zucchini pasta dish, you must sauté some zucchini first. Here's a quick recipe on how to sauté zucchini.
Blend half of your sautéed zucchini with 2 to 3 tablespoons of pasta cooking water until you get a smooth zucchini pasta sauce.
Transfer the zucchini sauce back into the pan with the remaining sautéed zucchini.
Add in the pasta cooked al dente (we recommend spaghetti for this recipe), a ladleful of pasta cooking water, and finish cooking on medium heat, stirring often, for about 1 minute.
Serve with some extra virgin olive oil on top and fresh basil leaves.
Pasta with zucchini is a fulfilling, nutritious main course you can serve alone or with a light salad on the side.
Pair it with any of these fresh sides for added greens:
- Cucumber tomato salad (heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, basil, red onion, olive oil, etc.)
- Panzanella salad (bread, fresh basil, red onion, vine tomatoes, lettuce, vinegar, etc.)
- Chickpea salad (canned chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, avocado, corn, cucumber, etc.)
- Fennel orange salad (orange wedges, black olives, pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, etc.)
- Bruschetta with fresh tomato (bread, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, garlic, fresh basil, etc.)
- Crostini with veggie toppings (bread, olive oil, tapenade, basil pesto, grilled vegetables, etc.)
Or get more veggies on the table by pairing the pasta with these vegetable sides.
Make Ahead & Storage
Make ahead: this one's not a good recipe to make ahead as the pasta loses its oomph soon after it's cooked.
Refrigerator: let the pasta cool down completely at room temperature, then transfer it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for two days.
Reheat: warm leftovers in the microwave. Do not reheat multiple times, as the pasta will overcook.
Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.
More Zucchini Recipes
Zucchini is great for a variety of savory and sweet recipes:
- Zucchini boats (lentils, onion, garlic, walnuts, crushed tomatoes, soy sauce, etc.)
- Raw zucchini salad (shaved zucchini, cherry tomatoes, lemon, mint, basil, pine nuts, etc.)
- Roasted zucchini (breadcrumbs, dried thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, olive oil, etc.)
- Sautéed zucchini (red onion, olive oil, garlic, dried oregano, lemon, parsley, etc.)
- Easy zucchini muffins (almond milk, sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, chocolate chips, etc.)
- Vegan zucchini bread (vanilla extract, flour, walnuts, chocolate chips, plant milk, sugar, etc.)
Or check out any of these zucchini recipes and get inspiration for using those surplus zucchini.
More Easy Pasta
Get more weeknight-friendly dinner ideas with these easy and quick pasta recipes:
- Broccoli pasta (broccoli, red pepper flakes, orecchiette pasta, garlic, etc.)
- Artichoke pasta (jarred artichokes, green olives, pine nuts, mint, lemon, etc.)
- Asparagus pasta (bowtie pasta, lemon, garlic, asparagus, basil, parmesan or vegan cheese, etc.)
- Red pepper pasta (jarred bell pepper, almonds, tomatoes, parsley, garlic, etc.)
- Hummus pasta (hummus, sauteed mushroom, rigatoni pasta, parsley, garlic, etc.)
For many more pasta ideas, check out our pasta category page.
- Box grater
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 6 cups (27 oz) zucchini grated with the large holes of a box grater
- 1 teaspoon oregano or thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 12 ounces pasta rotini, fusilli, farfalle, penne, or other
- 3 cups vegetable broth start with 2 cups or 500 g and add more if necessary
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated, or dairy-free cheese
- ½ cup greek yogurt or dairy-free yogurt
- ¼ packed cup basil leaves
- 1 medium lemon the grated zest
- 2 tablespoons pinenuts
- Grate the zucchini with the large holes of a box grater.6 cups (27 oz) zucchini
- Warm up olive oil in a large skillet, then add finely chopped onion and fry it for 3 minutes.Add grated garlic and fry for one more minute.Add the shredded zucchini, season them with salt and pepper, and cook on high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 yellow onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Add pasta, vegetable broth, and oregano, and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the pasta is creamy and al dente.1 teaspoon oregano, 12 ounces pasta, 3 cups vegetable broth
- Stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the dish.If the pot dries, add more liquid until the pasta is ready.
- Turn the heat off, taste, and adjust for salt.Add grated parmesan cheese (or dairy-free cheese), greek yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt), and a handful of chopped fresh basil.½ cup parmesan cheese, ½ cup greek yogurt, ¼ packed cup basil leaves
- Stir gently until cheese and yogurt melt into the zucchini pasta.
- Serve immediately with grated lemon zest and optionally toasted pine nuts.1 medium lemon, 2 tablespoons pinenuts