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 this 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 summer squash than I know what to do with.
I’m leaning into the abundance by making this mouthwatering zucchini pasta recipe that celebrate’s 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.
Why You’ll Love This Zucchini Pasta
Yes, there are a lot of zucchini pastas 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 a tube-shaped pasta for this one—paccheri, rigatoni, or pesto—so that the delicious sauce gets scooped up into every bite.
First, Gather Your Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this zucchini pasta:
- olive oil
- summer squash and zucchini
- paccheri or rigatoni
- basil or mint
- pine nuts or walnuts
One Pot Dinner = Easy Breezy Clean-Up
During the summer, I’m all about the one-pot dinner and this is no exception. This pasta follows a super simple method:
- Sauté smashed garlic cloves in olive oil.
- Add the squash and let it cook over medium low for 30 minutes, to let it get nice and caramelized.
- Add al dente pasta to the squash along with pasta water, parmesan, lemon zest and juice, and fresh basil.
- Top it with more cheese, nuts, and herbs—then devour.
Told you it was easy.
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 chickpea pasta like Banza.
- Make it vegan by skipping the parmesan and opting for a sprinkle of nutritional yeast instead.
- I personally like to add a double dose of lemon zest and a big squeeze of juice to make it sing.
- 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.
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 it equally perfect for a cozy weeknight dinner as it is for a weekend feast with friends. Scroll on for the recipe, and be sure to tag my on Instagram if you make it.