This zucchini pasta sauce is the perfect way to use up your summer zucchini harvest! It's easy to make in 30 minutes, buttery, and totally delicious.
Try my Easy Zucchini Soup or Baked Balsamic Parmesan Zucchini next.
Why you'll love it
I have a number of zucchini noodle recipes on here, but this is my first time posting a pasta recipe with a zucchini sauce. I wasn't even sure what to name it, but hopefully those who are searching for a pasta sauce made with zucchini rather than zoodles will actually find this one.
To those lucky enough to have a garden with zucchini growing in it, this zucchini pasta is the ideal pasta dish for you. I know that it can sometimes be difficult to use it all up. Melt-in-your-mouth zucchini is butter's best friend in this simple pasta that's fantastic for lazy summer evenings.
What goes into it
- Pasta - any kind will do, but I like how buttery sauces coat a longer pasta like linguine, fettuccine, or spaghetti
- Zucchini - the star of the sauce. You don't need to be super precise; the weight is more of a guideline.
- Olive oil and butter - for sautéing and making up the base of the sauce
- Onion and garlic - our tasty aromatics. I prefer using Vidalia (sweet) onions.
- Italian seasoning - my go-to seasoning blend for so many recipes. It's a single jar with fragrant dried Italian herbs.
- Chicken broth - for deeper savory flavor. You can swap it out for veggie broth if you'd prefer this to be a vegetarian pasta.
- Lemon juice - it adds a touch of acidity and brightness
- Parmesan - to top it all off and add richness to the sauce. I always recommend grating your own parmesan cheese for the best results.
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha's favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- To mince the garlic, I use this garlic press since you don't even need to peel the cloves beforehand.
- A pair of kitchen tongs is handy to toss the sauce with the pasta.
- I use my Microplane to easily and quickly zest the parmesan.
- This Le Creuset skillet is the one I used.
How to make pasta with zucchini sauce
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Boil the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, prep the other recipe ingredients. In a skillet, sauté the onion until translucent, then add in the zucchini, garlic, and Italian seasoning, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.
Finish the sauce by adding the broth, remaining butter, and lemon juice. Stir in the freshly grated parmesan cheese and starchy pasta water if desired. Toss with the drained pasta, and enjoy.
Substitutions and variations
- Try replacing half or all of the chicken broth with dry white wine if you're feeling a little fancy! Use sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, or even chardonnay. Just make sure it's one you'd enjoy drinking.
- This zucchini pasta is one of those forgiving recipes where it's easy enough to throw in some fresh garden herbs on or even other garden veggies that you want to use up. We haven't tested it, but fresh tomatoes could definitely be added in here, as an example.
- Want to add some protein to this dish? Leftover Baked Chicken or rotisserie chicken or even some shrimp would be delicious.
What to serve with this zucchini pasta
- It's a lovely light meal on its own, but you could always serve it with a slice of fresh crusty bread, a dinner roll, or some Garlic Bread if you're craving something more substantial.
- A salad is always a solid choice to go with this pasta. Try mixed greens with my Copycat Olive Garden Dressing, or make this Super Simple Parmesan Arugula Salad.
- Enjoy it on your patio with a glass of white wine, and it's a seasonal meal done right.
Leftovers and storage
- This pasta is best enjoyed fresh, but it will keep in the fridge in a covered container for a few days.
- Warm it up over a low heat in a small saucepan. If it's looking a little dry, give it a splash of broth to revive the sauce.
- I don't suggest freezing this one since the texture will likely change once thawed.
More zucchini recipes to enjoy
Will you give this fresh zucchini pasta sauce sauce a try? Let me know! Questions, or want to leave me a star rating and review? Drop a comment below.
Simple Fresh Zucchini Pasta Sauce
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta I used fettuccine
- 1.5 pounds zucchini diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter divided
- 1/2 small onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 dash Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup chicken or veg broth
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Boil a salted pot of water for your pasta. Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, chop the zucchini and prep your other ingredients.
- Add the olive oil and one tablespoon of the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the zucchini, garlic, and Italian seasoning to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the remaining butter, chicken broth, and lemon juice to the pan. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes or so.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese and toss with the drained pasta (add a splash of pasta water if you wish). Season with salt & pepper as needed and enjoy immediately.
- Zucchini sizing is pretty subjective, so I figured that including a weight would be the most useful thing to do. I used 3 small-to-medium zucchini totaling around 1.5 pounds. Anything around 1 lb. or so will work, but I wouldn't go less than that if you're feeding 4 people.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This recipe was originally published on July 26, 2019. It's been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!
I am visiting with my mom this week and I decided to try this out my first night here. We both enjoyed it. I added rotisserie chicken and cherry tomatoes to make it the full meal. Very colorful!
I tweaked it some and will do so next time for personal preference. Less cheese and more garlic, Italian seasoning and lemon. Definitely a nice and light pasta dish that we'll make again & again!
Sounds good to me! 🙂 Glad it's a new one for your recipe box, Angela! Appreciate your review as always!
JoAnn C says
This was the second time making this recipe. Quick and delicious meal.
Yay!! Glad you enjoyed it, JoAnn!
SUNČANA SUZANIĆ says
I add some tomato juice and parsley
Kathryn Galvin says
Just made it and had a new zucchini from the garden. Was delicious!
That's awesome!! Thanks for letting me know!
Made this for dinner tonight. It is excellent! Will make often!
Yay!! That's great to hear, Sue! 😀 Thank you
Diane Kruger says
This is so exquisite tasting. I got young tender zucchini. The recipe is very easy to follow. It is so good and I mean very good! Paired with warm French bread with garlic salt and it is so satisfying.
I'm so pleased I made this and will be making it a lot more.
Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Diane. I am so happy you enjoyed it! 🙂
Elizabeth Kelly says
This was easy to make and tasted lovely. I was looking for a lighter sauce and wanted something other than a tomato or mushroom based sauce. This fit the bill beautifully. Thank you.
I'm so pleased you enjoyed it, Elizabeth! Thanks for taking the time to write me a review. 🙂
Sound delicious. I'll try it.
Jayme Amaral says
Fantastic! I’ve made this twice now. I do grate the zucchini because it’s easier for my 9 month old to eat and she LOVES IT. This time I added roasted garlic! Incredible! I’ll be freezing some of the sauce this time around for a quick meal. I hope it’ll hold up in the freezer!
Wonderful!! 🙂 So happy your daughter likes it too.
Alexandra Chavez says
Delicious! Substituted Parmesan for feta (Bc that’s what I had) still was a hit!
Caroline V Bruno says
Hello !! , What a wonderful sauce !! Not a vegetarian, but not eating meat lately. This is a great recipe for pasta. Who doesn't like a little zucchini once and then.
I'm so pleased you enjoyed it, Caroline!! 🙂 I love zucchini too... I don't make it often enough.
This is amazing! Have made quite a few times and now making again that it’s zucchini season! Sometimes I add some crispy pancetta or bacon and some chili. Delicious
I'm so happy to hear that!! 🙂
This was good and easy! I think a smaller pasta like shells or orzo would make it easier to eat - next time!
Yes! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
M Carol Parente says
OMG! I had some fresh cauliflower and ricotta raviolis and was looking for a quick sauce to use up a zucchini I also had!. I'm so glad I found this! My husband says the recipe is a "real keeper!"
That's awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. 🙂
Darrell Kesur says
Excellent and easy to prepare recipe!!
So glad you enjoyed it, Darrell!
This was delicious! I followed the recipe and it was so simple. Definitely making it again. Thank you!
You're very welcome! 🙂
Sounds amazing! Have you had any luck freezing this sauce?
Hi! I haven't tried. I think it would probably be fine. The zucchini will go quite soft, but I think it would still be tasty.
Ashlyn @ F5 Method says
I’ve had a bunch of fresh summer zucchini on hand lately and this looks like a great way to use it. Looks amazing as always Natasha!!
Awesome, let me know if you make it!
I just recently made this and what a hit. We are mainly vegetarian in my home & I’m always on the look out for new meatless recipes. The addition of lemon juice made the meal pop. It’s fast too. 🍋
I am so happy you liked it, Sheryl! Thanks for leaving me a comment. 🙂