Learn how to turn fresh zucchini into a bright and fresh pasta sauce with a simple method. This easy meal takes less than 30 minutes and the sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer for future meals.

Zucchini pasta on counter in two bowls with side of strawberries

Zucchini Pasta Sauce

Every year I ask my husband to plant fewer zucchini plants and somehow, every year we still wind up with a pile. Oh well, more zucchini recipes for me I guess! This pasta sauce is easy to make, easy to freeze, and is a delish option to toss with pasta.

It has a mellow flavor that you can vary with the addition of basil and/or lemon, and it’s great with extra Parmesan. We love this vegetarian meal on its own, though you could serve it with dishes like sauteed shrimp or Fish Sticks, too.

It’s also nice since it includes white beans blended into the sauce, which adds protein and iron (but isn’t very noticeable).

Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at what you need to make this pasta recipe:

Ingredients for zucchini pasta sauce on white countertop
  • Zucchini: Small to medium zucchini usually have better flavor than gigantic ones, though any will work here.
  • Garlic cloves: These add flavor to the sauce. You can swap in onion or shallot if you’d like.
  • Olive oil: Feel free to use unsalted butter if you prefer.
  • White beans: I like to add beans to the sauce to thicken it a little and to add some extra nutrients. I prefer white cannellini beans.
  • Basil leaves: Or parsley or spinach is optional, but an easy way to add more flavor and to make the sauce a brighter color green.
  • Pasta: You can use any type of pasta you like here.
  • Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and/or fresh black pepper (optional but recommended)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Below is an overview of the method for the recipe. Scroll down to the end of the post for the specifics. The main thing to know ahead of time is that you’ll want to reserve a little of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta. You’ll use that to help thin the zucchini sauce.

step by step images on how to make zucchini pasta sauce
  1. Cook the pasta. Meanwhile, Slice your zucchini and mince the garlic.
  2. Sautee until cooked through and lightly golden brown.
  3. Add to a blender with the remaining sauce ingredients, including a little bit of reserved cooking water.
  4. Blend smooth.

TIP: I add a little of the sauce at a time to the pasta to ensure that it’s well-coated but that we don’t put too much on. You can easily store leftover sauce for a future meal.

zucchini pasta in white bowl on white countertop

How to Store

Store any remaining sauce in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or freeze in an ice cube tray overnight, transfer to a freezer bag, remove as much air as you can and freeze for up to 6 months.

Thaw 1-2 cubes overnight in the fridge in a container or at room temperature for about an hour and add to servings of pasta for easy meals.

zucchini pasta in multiple bowls with strawberries on side

Best Tips for Success

  • Trade in shallot or onion for the garlic if you like.
  • Use yellow summer squash if desired.
  • Add a few basil, spinach, or parsley leaves to enhance the green color.
  • Use any type of pasta you like, including regular, whole-wheat, or a bean-based pasta (which would be an easy way to add more iron to this meal). 
  • If the kids don’t love sauce on their pasta, you can offer a small amount of the sauce with buttered pasta as shown above.
  • Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water to help thin the sauce as you blend it up.
  • Top with extra Parmesan, lemon, and black pepper as you like.

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I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please comment below to share.

Zucchini pasta on counter in two bowls with side of strawberries

Zucchini Pasta Sauce

Learn how to turn fresh zucchini into a bright and fresh pasta sauce with a simple method. Add the optional toppings for extra flavor as you and your family like. (Heads up: You'll want to reserve a little of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pot.)
5 from 19 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 266kcal
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 small zucchini (about 2 cups sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup white beans (such as cannellini beans)
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves (or parsley or spinach, optional)
  • 1 pound pasta
  • Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and/or fresh black pepper (optional but recommended)

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Before draining, remove and reserve one cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, cut the ends off of the zucchini and discard. Slice the zucchini about ¼-inch thick.
  • Add the olive oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. When warm, add the garlic. Toss to coat with the oil. Cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  • Add the zucchini and stir to coat with the oil. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning once or twice, or until the zucchini is very soft when poked with a fork. Remove from heat and let cool slightly for a few minutes.
  • Transfer the zucchini to a blender, adding the beans and optional herb or spinach. (That additional makes this a brighter green color.) Blend, starting slowly and working up to high. Add the pasta cooking water, ¼-cup at a time, to make a smooth sauce.
  • Add ½ of the sauce to the pasta and stir to combine. Add as much additional sauce as you like or store the remaining sauce for future use. Serve with Parmesan, lemon zest, and/or pepper as desired.

Notes

  • Store any remaining sauce in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or freeze in an ice cube tray overnight, transfer to a freezer bag, remove as much air as you can and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw 1-2 cubes overnight in the fridge in a container or at room temperature for about an hour and add to servings of pasta for easy meals.
  • Use yellow summer squash if desired.
  • Add a few basil, spinach, or parsley leaves to enhance the green color.
  • Use any type of pasta you like, including regular, whole-wheat, or a bean-based pasta. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup, Calories: 266kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 8mg, Potassium: 322mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 124IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Perfection! So easy and absolutely delicious. Used the extra sauce as a salad dressing after it cooled – it was creamy and dreamy!

  2. 5 stars
    I was literally spooning this out of the blender like soup it was so good. Used the basil modification and a bit of grated parm – 11/10 would make this again. My 2.5 year old loved it, too!

  3. 5 stars
    This is SO yummy and satisfying! The sauce needed a fair bit of salt, which I don’t think is in the recipe. Heavily salting the pasta water that later gets added helped, too! I also added a bit of lemon juice to balance the excellent umami, and I blended some parmesan into the sauce.

  4. 5 stars
    We loved this recipe- will certainly make again… the kids even ate the ‘monster macaroni’, a huge win.