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 sauce with pasta on two plates with sides.

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). It’s one of our favorite summer pasta dishes, along with our Lemon Broccoli Pasta.

Your toddler won’t eat? Help is here!

Sign up for our email updates to get tips and ideas sent to your inbox. 

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at what you need to make this pasta recipe for the kids or to share with the entire family.

Ingredients for zucchini pasta sauce on 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, reserving a little of the pasta cooking water. 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.

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.

Related Recipes


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

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Zucchini pasta sauce with pasta on two plates with sides.

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 55 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!

This post was first published July 2022.

Related Posts

Related Products

Share it with the world

Pin

Filed Under

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi there, I just wanted to say thank you for the recipe. I didn’t have white beans so I used chickpeas/garbanzo (dried ones cooked in pressure cooker). I topped it with Cheddar, onion & garlic powder and my pickiest toddler loves it, he ate almost the whole bowl prepared for him just now and that really surprises me because he is probably the pickiest toddler in the world, if there was an award for it, he would have won it lol. I have tried a dozen of your recipes and he didn’t want to eat any until this one. So, thank you. Side Q, please post more recipes using almond flour.

  2. Do you think this could work with frozen zucchini? I have so much from last summer that I cubed and shredded most of it to freeze to use up throughout the winter.

  3. 5 stars
    This was an easy way to use up our fresh zucchini. My boys love pasta, and it was a nice way to sneak some more nutrition into the sauce. It was a hit! The whole family ate it too-it was a touch on the bland side for our liking, but all in all, a good recipe that I would make again. No reason we can’t add a bit more mix-ins to our portions!

  4. 5 stars
    I was a little skeptical of how this would taste, but it turned out SO GOOD. I added both lemon zest and parmesan and I’m so glad I did! I doubled the recipe (which I pretty much never do on a first trial, but I wanted to use a whole large-ish zucchini), and now I have a super easy yummy sauce for the freezer. And my almost 2 year old gobbled this down 😀

  5. 5 stars
    Perfect base recipe for some veggie-loaded noodles! I used my instant pot for this recipe and made it a bit richer. I just cooked the noodles in the IP and let them set in a colander while I made my sauce in the same pot. Here is how I did mine: saute zucchini, 1/2 onion, and two garlic cloves until soft. Add in 1 small bunch of chopped fresh kale and saute for 1 more minute. I used an immersion blender in the Instant Pot to blend the veggies, cannellini beans, and water. I added 1/4 tsp of salt, lemon zest from 1 lemon, 1/3 cup heavy cream, and 1/2 cup of parmesan. My toddler and whole family gobbled it up. Yum, yum!

  6. 5 stars
    Made this for my 20 month old tonight! Added spinach and switched out Parmesan for a cheddar blend (her favorite). She has never liked zucchini but ate this well!

See More Comments