With just a few ingredients and a super simple method, you can serve up this fresh pasta dinner to everyone at the table. This is a great option for kids who prefer their pasta less saucy—and to still have a meal that’s satisfying to your adult taste buds!

zucchini-pasta-in-adult-and-kids-bowl

Pasta with Summer Squash

I rely on pasta often for quick and easy family meals and while I would happily do a jar of sauce and call it a day, my kids go through phases of not loving tomato sauce. (I sometimes wonder about them, ha!)

This skillet dinner uses summer squash and ground beef to add flavor and has a super simple method too.

It’s a great way to make a one pot meal for a family—even if the kids aren’t into one of the components. (They could very easily skip the meat or squash and still have plenty to eat.)

ingredients-in-zucchini-pasta

Ingredients You Need

To make this easy pasta recipe you’ll need:

  1. Pasta
  2. Ground beef
  3. Summer squash
  4. Green onion (or a regular onion or you can just skip it)
  5. Tomato paste
  6. Parmesan cheese

TIP: Any kind of pasta will work though I prefer a smaller shape like orecchiette, elbows, or farfalle since they are similar in size to the meat and squash pieces.

Can I use regular zucchini?

Sure, classic green zucchini works just fine too.

Can I make this vegetarian?

You can totally omit the meat if you prefer and add a can of drained white beans or garbanzo beans, or shrimp or even tofu.

how-to-make-zucchini-pasta-step-by-step

How to Make Pasta with Summer Squash Step-by-Step

Here’s a look at the process in making this recipe. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the full information.

  1. Dice your veggies.
  2. Start to brown the meat and cook the pasta
  3. Add in the veggies and tomato paste.
  4. Stir in some of the pasta cooking water and the drained pasta.

TIP: I like to top my own serving of this with fresh basil, though that’s optional. Parmesan on top is great if you have it.

child-bowl-with-zucchini-pasta

Best Tips for Success

  • To make this vegetarian, omit the meat and add a can of drained white beans or garbanzo beans, or shrimp or even tofu.
  • You could use ground Italian sausage instead of the ground beef if you prefer.
  • Any kind of pasta will work though I prefer a smaller shape like orecchiette, elbows, or farfalle since they are similar in size to the meat and squash pieces.
  • Take out the portion of pasta water before you drain the pasta so you don’t lose it all down the drain. It will add some body to the finished dish and make a very light sauce.
  • I like to top my own serving of this with fresh basil, though that’s optional. Parmesan on top is great if you have it.
  • You may also like Avocado Pasta, Cherry Tomato Pasta, Pasta with Broccoli, Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese, and Favorite Toddler Pasta recipes.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe—please comment and rate the recipe below!

zucchini-pasta-in-adult-and-kids-bowl

Easy Pasta with Summer Squash and Beef

This dish is easy to pull together in a short amount of time and is a nice alternative to tomato based pasta dishes.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine Italian
Course Dinner
Calories 216kcal
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (from 1 small onion)
  • 2 cups diced summer squash (though more is fine too if you have a large squash!)
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Shredded fresh basil (optional)

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until almost entirely browned, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and sprinkle with salt.
  • Add the pasta to the water and cook according to package directions. (I used orrechiette here and it took 10 minutes)
  • Stir in the onion and squash, cover, and cook for 6-8 minutes or until soft. Remove the lid and add 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the squash mixture along with the butter and Parmesan. Stir until creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper as desired. (I didn't add any more salt but I did add pepper to the adult portions) Top with shredded basil if you'd like.

Notes

  • To make this vegetarian, omit the meat and add a can of drained white beans or garbanzo beans, or shrimp or even tofu.
  • You could use ground Italian sausage instead of the ground beef if you prefer.
  • Any kind of pasta will work though I prefer a smaller shape like orecchiette, elbows, or farfalle since they are similar in size to the meat and squash pieces.
  • Take out the portion of pasta water before you drain the pasta so you don't lose it all down the drain. It will add some body to the finished dish and make a very light sauce.
  • I like to top my own serving of this with fresh basil, though that's optional. Parmesan on top is great if you have it.

Nutrition

Calories: 216kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 419mg, Potassium: 479mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 396IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 65mg, Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. This looks great! Do you think it would work with grated zucchini instead of sliced? My kids won’t do slices of zucchini due to textural issues, but they don’t mind it grated.

    1. Sure, I bet it would. Maybe add it in a little later in the process since it won’t take very long for it to cook.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! It was so quick and easy to make for my toddler twins. I almost think any vegetable in this pasta dish could work- next I am going to try adding spinach or maybe some peas. The summer squash cooked down a ton so don’t be scared to put in too much 🙂

    Will be making this again for sure!