July 25, 2018

Simple Weeknight Zucchini Pasta

Keeping things simple for you today. This zucchini pasta is how we eat almost all summer; little this, little that and dinner is ready.

I actually had to make this one again after I took the photos because I couldn’t remember the ratios that I used. You know it’s a good recipe when you don’t actually need measurements- if you have more zucchini than this calls for, awesome. If you double the fresh basil, well- that works too. If you omit the parmesan all together, awesome. If you decide to add in fresh mozzerella balls and forgo the tomatoes… you get the picture.

I’m giving you a recipe because there is one, not because you need one.

rigatoni with zucchini, tomatoes and basil

This is one of my favorite ways to eat zucchini; caramelized until almost jammy and broken down. The cooked zucchini become the sauce, creamy and bursting with flavor. Make sure to cook the zucchini down long enough for this to happen. They will first release a ton of water– keep going. The water will start to evaporate and the zucchini will almost stick to the pan and become golden brown, that’s the texture that you want.

Along with some fresh tomatoes, you’ve got a simple pasta sauce made almost entirely out of vegetables.

pan of zucchini pasta fresh cooked pasta

I like ziti or rigatoni here as the ridges stands up to the thick sauce, but I suppose other shapes will work. This sauce also tastes amazing on fresh polenta, either using cornmeal or my fresh corn polenta.

I know I mention this over and over again when I share a pasta recipe, but there is a trick to creating glossy, silky pasta. Undercook the pasta just slightly- this usually means 1-2 minutes less than what’s called for on the package. Reserve pasta cooking water.

Now, the magic happens. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce along with a few splashes of pasta water and toss, toss, toss. The hot water will continue to cook the pasta as it soaks up the flavor of the sauce. This is usually where I also add a healthy dusting of parmesan cheese to bind everything together, but that’s easily skipped for my dairy-free friends.

Top with lots of fresh basil and dig in. xo

pasta with zucchini, tomatoes and basil

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

pan of zucchini pasta

Simple Weeknight Zucchini Pasta

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main, pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian, American, Pasta, Vegetarian


Simple Weeknight Zucchini Pasta. Looking for a fast-cooking meal? Try this summer pasta. Rigatoni with garden-fresh tomatoes, zucchini and basil. Great for weeknights when you aren’t interested in cooking but want delicious food!

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main, pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian, American, Pasta, Vegetarian
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main, pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian, American, Pasta, Vegetarian


  • 12 ounces rigatoni
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound zucchini squash, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni to the pasta and cook until just al-dente according to package directions (undercook by 1 minute of the recommended cooking time.) Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Do not rinse the pasta! 
  2. While the water is boiling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, salt and red pepper flakes and cook for just 30 seconds, until fragrant but not browned. 
  3. Add the zucchini and tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash begins to break down. Add in the pasta and toss, adding a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water at a time, tossing the entire time to finish cooking the pasta and allow the zucchini-tomato sauce to stick to the noodles. 
  4. Stir in the cheese, lemon juice and basil and toss well. Serve! 


  • Serving Size: 1/4th serving
  • Calories: 493
  • Sugar: 3.5 g
  • Sodium: 468 mg
  • Fat: 18.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 67 g
  • Fiber: 3.4 g
  • Protein: 15.7 g

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simple weeknight zucchini pasta

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.


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    1. Chris Morocco
      July 11, 2019 AT 2:15 pm

      Hey Alex,

      Great recipe!



    2. Lyn Croyle @ cookeatlivelove.com
      July 29, 2018 AT 1:58 pm

      I love the ease and simple approach to this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Alex
        July 29, 2018 AT 6:07 pm

        Thanks Lyn!

    3. Naina Jain
      July 27, 2018 AT 3:37 am

      Hey Alex!! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’m so obsessed with Zucchini Pasta

    4. Alan Watts
      July 26, 2018 AT 8:43 am

      Hey Alex, an awesome looking recipe coming from a zucchini fan :}

      Cool looking marble table top too

      1. Alex
        July 26, 2018 AT 12:27 pm

        Thanks Alan!