Guilt-Free Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles Pasta Recipe

How to make our 20-minute zucchini noodle pasta recipe with garlic, tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese. Jump to the Zucchini Noodles Pasta Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how we make it.

Here’s the spiralizer that we have in our kitchen. We love it!

We are in love with this easy recipe. There’s fresh zucchini, tomatoes, basil, parmesan, and lots of garlic.¬†The best part? It only takes 20 minutes to make.

Mediterranean Zucchini NoodlesYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Easy Mediterranean Zucchini Pasta Salad Recipe with cucumber, tomatoes, and feta. Low-carb and delicious!

Guilt-Free, 20 Minute Zucchini Pasta

This is such a quick and easy recipe. It’s adaptable, too. We love this with 100% zucchini noodles, but a combination of spaghetti and zucchini is great.

How to Make Guilt-Free, 20 Minute Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Pasta

This pasta recipe is all about fresh ingredients. The zucchini should be firm and the tomatoes sweet. If you have a hard time finding good, flavorful tomatoes, it is better to use canned. We love canned San Marzano tomatoes as well as the options from Muir Glen.

This pasta recipe is all about fresh ingredients. The zucchini should be firm and the tomatoes sweet.

How to Make Zucchini Noodles

  • The easiest way to make zucchini noodles is to use a spiralizer. They make long, curly noodles in minutes. This is¬†a great tool to add to your kitchen.

Here’s the spiralizer that we have in our kitchen. We love it!

  • You can also use a julienne vegetable peeler¬†‚ÄĒ like this one¬†from OXO. These come in at under $10 and might even be hiding in your kitchen gadget drawer¬†right now.
  • Most mandoline slicers will make noodles, too.¬†We have one like this in our kitchen, but you can find even fancier ones online.
  • You can also¬†use a standard vegetable peeler and make wide noodles.

Once you’ve got noodles, you’re ready to cook them.

How to Cook Zucchini Noodles

How to Cook Them

Zucchini is mostly made up of water so cooking it can be tricky. Here are our tips for cooking it well.

  • Don’t peel the zucchini. Peeled zucchini noodles are mushy and have little crunch. Plus, it adds a step and we’re looking for dinner on the table fast.
  • Don’t salt the zucchini ahead or time or while it cooks in the pan. Salt draws out water from¬†the zucchini. This will make it less crunchy when it’s cooked. Since salt makes things taste good, we prefer to salt the sauce and not the zucchini.
  • Don’t overcook. The noodles should be cooked to al dente (just like pasta). This means they will looked wilted, but still have a crunch.

Since zucchini has a tendency to become watery,¬†we do our best to reduce this as much as possible in our recipe. Even so,¬†you will still find some water¬†left at the bottom of the serving bowl. This is okay with us. The liquid mixes with tomato, garlic, cheese, and olive oil, so it’s delicious.

Baked Zucchini Chips RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: These Parmesan Basil Baked Zucchini Chips. They are easy to make and are the perfect side or snack.

20 Minute Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Pasta Recipe

Guilt-Free Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles Pasta Recipe

  • PREP
  • COOK

We’re in love with this easy zucchini pasta recipe. There‚Äôs fresh zucchini, tomatoes, basil, parmesan, and lots of garlic. Plus, it only takes 20 minutes to make. Make this with 100% zucchini noodles or swap half of the zucchini for regular spaghetti for a heartier meal.

Here’s the spiralizer that we have in our kitchen. We love it!

Makes 4 Servings

You Will Need

4 medium zucchini (about 2 pounds)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 to 4 cloves)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like the pasta

2 medium tomatoes, chopped, see note (about 12 ounces)

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1 cup basil leaves, torn into pieces

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons cold water

Salt, to taste


  • Prepare Noodles
  • Trim and spiralize the zucchini (see notes below for how to do this without a spiralizer). Cut extra long noodles so that they are about the length of spaghetti.

    Add olive oil, garlic, and the red pepper flakes to a large, deep skillet. Turn to medium heat. When the oil begins to bubble around the garlic, add the zucchini noodles. Toss the noodles with pasta tongs and cook until al dente — they should be wilted, but still have a crunch; 5 to 7 minutes. Do not let the noodles cook any longer or else they will become mushy. As they cook, keep tossing so that all the zucchini noodles have a chance to hit the bottom of the skillet.

    Stir in the tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese. Cook for one minute.

    Use pasta tongs to transfer the noodles, tomatoes, and basil to a serving dish. Leave the liquid in the skillet.

    • To Finish
    • Bring the liquid to a simmer. Combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl then whisk into the simmering liquid. Cook, while whisking, until the liquid thickens to a sauce; about 1 minute. Taste the sauce and season with salt.

      Pour the sauce over the zucchini, tomatoes, and basil. Finish with more parmesan cheese on top and serve immediately.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • How to make Zucchini Noodles without a Spiralizer: The spiralizer is not the only way to make noodles. You can use a julienne vegetable peeler or a mandoline. You can also use a standard vegetable peeler to make wide noodles or ribbons.
  • Don’t be surprised if after the pasta has been sitting, liquid collects at the bottom of the serving dish. This is okay with us. The liquid mixes with tomato, garlic, cheese, and olive oil, so it’s delicious.
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values. We omitted salt from the calculations since you will need to add to your tastes.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste ‚ÄĒ We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Calories 184 / Protein 7 g / Carbohydrate 10 g / Dietary Fiber 3 g / Total Sugars 7 g / Total Fat 14 g / Saturated Fat 3 g / Cholesterol 9 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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17 comments… Leave a Comment
  • nancy May 22, 2017, 3:20 pm

    wow – my whole family LOVED this. just ordered a spiralizer so i can make it all summer long. thanks so much. i just love your recipes!!

  • Rebekah May 9, 2017, 8:44 am

    Great dish! Wonderful flavor. Rich taste without the heaviness.

  • nicole May 9, 2017, 7:05 am

    This was a fantastic recipe and it was my first time making this and I completely loved it. The garlic is indeed the secret ingredient. Thanks a lot.

  • Lawre Murphy April 27, 2017, 6:56 am

    Can you provide nutritional info? Sugar/Calories. Loved it.

    • Adam May 2, 2017, 6:47 pm

      Glad you liked it. We just added nutrition facts!

  • Elaine April 18, 2017, 7:52 pm

    One of my favorites. I’ve made it several times. I did add some fresh lemon juice and capers to the sauce this last time and just loved it!

  • Liz April 10, 2017, 7:12 pm

    Am going grain free, so I’m always looking for a great alternative to pasta! This is delicious – love the garlic and red pepper. The parmesan clumped for me, so I had to cut the clumps to get some parm in each bite. Thanks for the great idea!

  • Adela April 9, 2017, 10:29 pm

    It was much better than i expected,will definitely make again. I used store-bought grated parmesan and it was good but i have a feeling that it might be better with freshly grated/shredded one. Couldn’t find the nutritional info though on this recipe.

  • Alison March 16, 2017, 7:10 pm

    Portions and cook times are off. Turned into a watery mess when transferred back into the pan. Waste of good ingredients.

    • Joanne May 12, 2017, 7:02 pm

      Hi Alison, Zucchini is made up of quite a bit of water so after the pasta has been sitting, liquid will likely collect at the bottom of the serving dish. To help with this, we add the cornstarch and are careful not to overcook the noodles. Sorry the dish didn’t turn out as you expected.

  • Teri March 10, 2017, 11:28 am


  • Irma fuhr March 8, 2017, 5:42 pm

    It was awesome I will make it once a week love zucchini ūüėÉ I added some side os shrimp scampi the family enjoyed. Thanks

  • Rich March 7, 2017, 5:43 pm

    Fantastic I found a quick and easy meal that I like very much and I can buy the zucchini and squash alreadyok spiralized at my grocery store

  • Rexy March 1, 2017, 7:08 pm

    Made as directed & was delish! Not much liquid leftover to make sauce from cornstarch but was still yummy!!! Can’t wait to make again!

  • Sharon February 17, 2017, 10:58 am

    Made it. Loved it.

  • Amy February 9, 2017, 7:55 pm

    This recipe is very good! I used canned tomatoes because I didn’t have fresh, and it turned out really well so I appreciated that recommendation. The chili adds a nice spice and the garlic is oh so yummy! Thank you for the recipe! Such a pretty recipe to serve as well.

  • Waterboy February 7, 2017, 10:38 pm

    Didn’t make the noodles myself for this first go but we loved it! It’s nice and light so you don’t feel all carbed out if you add some bread.


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