Make This Simple Zucchini Pasta for Dinner Tonight

Aka “what to do with your farmer’s market haul.”

By Camille Styles
Photography Michelle Nash
zucchini pasta on plate_zucchini pasta

Dips in the pool, cold drinks, and juicy summer produce are high on my list of life’s best offerings right now. While I might be ready for the intense heat to subside, there’s still nothing like the last days of summer—and my farmer’s market haul means that my produce drawer is full of way more zucchini and summer squash than I know what to do with.

I’m leaning into the abundance by making this mouthwatering zucchini pasta recipe that celebrates the season’s best flavors. Summer squashes, nutty parmesan, zesty lemon, and aromatic herbs come together for one of the best simple pastas in my playbook. Eat it al fresco and pretend like you’re in Italy.

zucchini pasta bowl

Why You’ll Love This Zucchini Pasta Recipe

Yes, there are a lot of zucchini pasta recipes out there—but this is the ONE I’ve got on repeat. What makes it really great (aside from the short ingredient list) is the specific combination of flavors. Sweet caramelized squash with salty parmesan, the bright acid of the lemon, and the fresh herbs make it comforting, vibrant, and nourishing—without being at all heavy. It’s a celebration of summer’s finest, creating a dish that’s both comforting and vibrant.

I like to use tube-shaped pasta for this one—paccheri, rigatoni, or pesto—so that the delicious sauce gets scooped up into every bite.

ingredients for zucchini pasta
camille styles cooking_high p

First, Gather Your Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this zucchini pasta:

  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • summer squash and zucchini
  • paccheri or rigatoni
  • parmesan
  • lemon
  • basil or mint
  • pine nuts or walnuts
zucchini pasta

One-Pot Dinner Means Easy Breezy Clean-Up

During the summer, I’m all about the one-pot dinner and this recipe is no exception. This pasta follows a super simple method:

  • Sauté smashed garlic cloves in olive oil.
  • Add sliced zucchini and let it cook over medium-low for 30 minutes, to let it get nice and caramelized.
  • Toss al dente pasta in the pan with the squash along with reserved pasta water, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest, and fresh basil leaves.
  • Top it with more cheese, nuts, red pepper flakes, and herbs—then devour.

Told you it was easy.

zucchini pasta zoomed

Ingredients Swaps for Success

Simple pasta recipes like this one are so adaptable based on your preferences and what you’ve got hanging out in your produce drawer. Here are some winning swaps if you want to adapt this recipe:

  • For a more nutrient-rich option, you can use whole-grain pasta, or even a gluten-free low carb chickpea pasta like Banza. (My personal favorite since I’ve gone grain-free.)
  • Make it vegan by skipping the parmesan and opting for a sprinkle of nutritional yeast instead.
  • I like to add a double dose of lemon zest and a big squeeze of juice to make it sing.
  • Add a protein like grilled shrimp or chicken.
  • And of course, you can always add more summer veggies. Eggplant can sauté right along with the zucchini. Or, add a bunch of chopped tomatoes during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
zucchini pasta plated
camille styles assembling zucchini pasta

And you’ve got a delightful zucchini pasta recipe that celebrates the bounty of late-summer produce! With its caramelized squash, fragrant herbs, and nutty parmesan, this dish keeps it simple and delicious and is equally perfect for a cozy weeknight dinner as it is for a weekend feast with friends—or leftovers for lunch the next day. Scroll on for the recipe, and be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make it.

Other Simple Summer Pasta Recipes to Try

Lemony Spring Pasta Salad with Artichokes and Bacon

Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts and Kale Pesto

Ratatouille-Style Roasted Vegetable Pasta

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summer squash zucchini pasta

Simple Zucchini Pasta

  • Author: Camille Styles
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Sweet caramelized squash, fragrant herbs, and nutty parmesan make this simple summer pasta absolutely addictive.


Units Scale
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 pounds assorted summer squashes and zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces paccheri or rigatoni (or other tube-shaped pasta)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup basil or mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or crushed walnuts


  1. Over medium heat, warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium low. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown (about 5 minutes). 
  2. Add squash and turn heat to medium-low. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 30 minutes until the squash is very tender and caramelized. 
  3. While the squash is cooking, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking water.
  4. Add pasta to skillet with the pasta water and half the parmesan. Stir well, add the rest of the parmesan, zest, juice, and half the basil. Stir well to combine.
  5. Serve topped with more Parmesan, salt, pepper, walnuts, red pepper flakes, and basil leaves. Eat! 


  • Feel free to swap in whole grain or chickpea pasta to up the nutrients.
  • Make it vegan by swapping the parmesan for a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: pasta

Keywords: zucchini pasta recipe, simple summer pasta recipe

Comments (34)

  1. Mrs. Ainee C. Beland says:

    We’ve not been having pasta dishes as much or at all this year, but this seems very good; a tad heavy on the oil.

  2. Mar says:

    30 minutes seems long time for squash to cook

  3. Elle K says:

    This was simply delicious! A great summer dish that I will definitely make again. Used a zucchini but my summer squash had gone bad, so I added some fresh tomatoes in the last 5 minutes of cooking as suggested. I used vegan parm instead of regular and kept everything else as is. My only question is about the garlic. Should it be removed from the pan before the zucchini is cooked in the oil for 30 mins? It seemed a little overdone so I wasn’t sure if I’d mistakenly left it in when I shouldn’t have. Still ate and enjoyed it! Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. J Ross says:

    fresh, quick and delicious. Added shrimp for some protein. Also, kid approved!

  5. Brandy OBrien says:

    This recipe is the perfect way to utilize the abundance of summer squash and zucchini from my garden without having to acquire any extra ingredients. The lemon zest, garlic, basil and pine nuts (and the addition of some Aleppo pepper for me!) come together wonderfully and make a light and satisfying meal. There is barely any mess to clean up. The addition of some pasta water and grated parm or Locatelli also adds a nice coating around the pasta. Thank you! Voila! Summer perfection!

  6. Janice says:

    Absolutely delicious! The ingredient ratios are perfect (yay garlic), and l’ll definitely keep making this all summer long!

  7. Megan Jones-Smith says:

    This is a delicious recipe that is already in our regular rotation! Taking the time to roast the pine nuts is key, as is adding the lemon to bring it all together. We also cook the zucchini a little longer so that it almost becomes a sauce for the pasta.

  8. Molly says:

    Hooray for plant based recipes! I would love to see this one of YouTube. They only reason for 4 stars is I like to add more texture and color (and need to get my taste buds on board with zucchini). Thank you for much for the detailed blog post with tips 🙂

  9. Nancy Gruber says:

    Tried this recipe last night and loved it. Tasty and easy to make. I used whole wheat penne pasta and threw in some shrimp. The zucchini was such a great idea for adding a veggie to the dish. The smashed garlic, the basil and parmesan all made this a rich and tasty dish. Great combination. Great recipe. will add to my rotation.

  10. DEBRA LEGRAND says:

    It was delicious and the whole family enjoyed it. My youngest has a nut allergy so I omitted the pine nuts and topped it with brown butter breadcrumbs and added shrimp. Very very tasty.

  11. Suzanna says:

    Rica y saludable.
    Muchas gracias.

  12. Sylvia says:

    This was an easy and tasty meal. The pine nuts were a tasty addition. I used less oil, which was enough for us.

  13. Chelsea S says:

    This was absolutely delicious. It was exactly what I would order at a fancy Italian restaurant but it was easy to make at home. We served ours with locally made bbq’d tuscan sausages and chose to use toasted pine nuts.

  14. Cheryl says:

    We loved this one. The daffodils have been coming up through the snow but this made it really spring. We made it to eat in the path of totality, what a treat.

  15. Erica says:

    Perfect quick weeknight dinner!

  16. Carrie says:

    For some reason, we rarely ever eat zucchini, but this recipe has put a FULL stop on that tendency. Yum!!! We’ll be eating this all throughout spring/summer. It was easy to put together, is packed with flavor, and helps get more veggies into our diet. What’s not to love?!

  17. Natalie says:

    I have a similar recipe for zucchini pasta that I make but it has less lemon and does not include pine nuts. Both were nice additions. I made it with basil leaves this time, but next time I want to try out mint leaves instead. I think that would really elevate the spring feel of this dish!

  18. Crystal C says:

    Pine nuts or walnuts? Red pepper flakes or none? I choose pine nuts and of course red pepper flakes, yum!

  19. Holly Patel says:

    Used pine nuts instead, because I was feeling fancy! Turned out great! Thank you!

  20. Kallie says:

    I made this with gluten free pasta and it was amazing. My husband (and even kids) were raving. So simple and the perfect summer pasta dish – light and refreshing!

  21. Nicole says:

    My new go to Spring/Summer pasta. So fresh and a real crowd pleaser.

  22. Alexis says:

    This was a very good side! I think it would be great to make a batch to take to a pool party. I added red chili flakes and radish for more texture and heat.

  23. Emily says:

    Yum! Looking forward to lunches this week!

  24. Anne Waisanen says:

    LOVED this. An easy, light, refreshing recipe. Officially in our weeknight meal rotation!

  25. Denise Fraser says:

    I love this recipe. The key is to slowly caramelize the zucchini and garlic. That makes the flavor of this recipe deep and luxurious. I was fortunate to have some grilled vegetables to add to this at the end to create a fabulous meal. But this pasta dish alone is so good you’ll want to make it again and again. A new favorite to my list of easy weeknight go to dishes. Thank you Camille!

  26. Barb says:

    Fresh, light and flavorful! I have made this twice already this week. Quick to make on a late night. I added burata the 2nd time I made this recipe. My new go to summer meal!!

  27. karen baratta says:

    hi. would love to make this and trying to print the recipes. there are several pop up ad videos running constantly and i cannot print the page without the ads. 🙁

  28. Lindsay says:

    Fresh, yummy, and light. I added spinach and extra parm for a next day reheat and was delightful. Will definitely make again!

  29. Adrienne says:

    Delicious pasta and so easy to make! I am excited to make this with the zucchini from my garden because I always have tons to use up and this is perfect!

  30. Ally K says:

    Loved this recipe, the zucchini becomes creamy and delicious!
    Would like a little more sauce though 🙂

  31. Rachel N says:

    My family and I loved this recipe- I’m in college and have a lot of dietary restrictions, and this one was fast, even my brothers ate it, and it was super easy to modify! I used Banza pasta (my favorite since I can’t have grains) and vegan Parmesan, and I loved the flavors. I didn’t used to be a squash fan but it caramelized so beautifully and was really wonderful with the lemon and cheese and basil. Will definitely make again!

  32. Alison Peterson says:

    Great dinner–I adjusted the ingredients to make the recipe just for one. My toddler daughter somehow hates pasta ha… but I loved it!

  33. Kathleen Tlachi says:

    We loved this dish. It is perfect for spring and summer. It was so fresh and full of flavor. The lemon zest really brought it over the top. It was easy to prepare, and when planting our summer gardens, squash and basil are plentiful making this an economical dish as well.

  34. EMW says:

    So springy!

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