If your garden is overflowing with zucchini, this recipe is for you! Made with simple summer ingredients, this creamy zucchini pasta is a delicious and nutritious meal that you can enjoy for lunch or dinner.
Whether you’re looking to add more fiber to your diet, trying to get your kids to eat more vegetables, need to use an abundance of zucchini, or simply want a new dinner idea, this creamy zucchini pasta recipe is a great way to do it.
The combination of cooked zucchini and ricotta cheese creates a creamy zucchini pasta sauce that you can add to any pasta you like and will help to ensure everyone is eating more greens and protein.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Quick – Ready in 25 minutes, this zucchini pasta recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal.
- Easy – If you can boil pasta and sauté vegetables you can make this recipe.
- Creamy – The combination of zucchini and ricotta cheese makes a rich and creamy zucchini pasta sauce.
- Vegetarian – This veggie-filled recipe is something everyone can enjoy.
Ingredients for Creamy Zucchini Pasta
- Pasta – You can use short-cut pasta such as fusilli, cavatappi, or penne, or long pasta such as spaghetti, linguine, or bucatini.
- Zucchini – You can use fresh or frozen zucchini for this recipe. Although I used green zucchini in my recipe, you could use yellow summer squash as well.
- Ricotta – To make the creamy zucchini pasta sauce and add some protein at the same time.
- Parmesan – To add a bit more protein, enhance the creaminess, and ensure the sauce is nice and cheesy.
- Shallot – To build the base of the sauce, a small onion will also work. If you don’t have an onion, you can use 1 teaspoon onion powder instead.
- Garlic – To add a depth of flavor. If you don’t have fresh garlic cloves, you can use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
- Lemon – A bit of lemon juice and lemon zest to add some brightness to the creamy zucchini sauce.
- Olive Oil – To add some healthy fats and cook the veggies.
- Salt and Pepper – To season the pasta.
- Fresh Basil – Although optional, finishing the pasta with some fresh basil helps to brighten the dish.
You can also top your pasta with red pepper flakes if you want to add a bit of heat.
To Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free pasta noodles.
To Make it Dairy-Free: Swap the ricotta for non-dairy ricotta cheese or full-fat coconut milk, and swap the parmesan for half the amount of nutritional yeast.
How to Make Pasta with Creamy Zucchini Sauce
- Boil the pasta. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente, then drain, and set aside.
- Cook the zucchini. Sauté the zucchini in a pan with olive oil, onion, and garlic until tender.
- Blend the sauce. Add the cooked zucchini mixture, ricotta cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.
- Mix the pasta and sauce. Return the drained pasta to the pot, cover it with the creamy zucchini pasta sauce, add parmesan cheese, and lemon zest, and toss until well combined.
- Season to taste. Top the fresh basil leaves and additional parmesan cheese as desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
You can find the detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
Red’s Nutrition Tip
I made my recipe with whole milk ricotta cheese, however, if you wanted to reduce the calorie content slightly you could use skim milk ricotta cheese instead. Regardless of which you option choose, you’ll still create a rich, creamy, and veggie-filled pasta sauce.
What to Serve with Zucchini Pasta
This creamy zucchini pasta is a balanced meal with complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein and can certainly be enjoyed on its own. If you want to increase the protein content, I recommend serving it with some grilled shrimp, chicken, or steak. To increase the fiber content, I recommend serving it with a simple green salad.
Storage + Reheating
To Store: Allow the pasta to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To Freeze: Once cooled, transfer the pasta to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: Allow the pasta to thaw completely before reheating. To reheat the pasta on the stovetop, place the pasta in a pan on medium heat with 1-2 tablespoons of water, stirring gently, until the water has been absorbed and the pasta is warmed through. To reheat the pasta in the microwave, place the pasta in a microwave-safe container with 1-2 tablespoons of water and reheat for 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until the water has been absorbed and the pasta is warmed through.
More Ricotta and Zucchini Pasta Recipes:Print
Creamy Zucchini Pasta
The combination of ricotta cheese and zucchini creates a rich and creamy sauce you can add to any pasta you like. Serve it on its own or top it with additional protein for a healthy lunch or dinner.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 1 pound short-cut pasta, fusilli, cavatappi, or penne
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot or small onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound zucchini, diced (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper
- Fresh basil, finely chopped, to serve
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, add the pasta, reduce to a very gentle simmer, and cook to al dente or as per package directions. While the pasta is cooking, scoop out 1 cup of pasta water and set it aside. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water, and set it aside.
- In a large skillet or pan on medium-high heat, warm the olive oil, then add the minced shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and zucchini to the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender, easily pierced with a fork, and lightly browned in spots.
- Transfer the cooked zucchini mixture to a blender or food processor, add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, salt, and a pinch of black pepper, and purée until smooth.
- Once the pasta is cooked and drained, return it to the pot you cooked it in, pour the creamy zucchini pasta sauce on top, add the parmesan cheese, and lemon zest, and stir until well combined, adding splashes of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up only as needed. Once mixed, taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve immediately with freshly chopped basil leaves and more grated parmesan cheese as desired. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 442 calories
- Sugar: 3 grams
- Fat: 13 grams
- Carbohydrates: 62 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Protein: 19 grams