Best Zucchini Noodles We’ve Made

This is my favorite way to cook zucchini noodles (zoodles)! You will love our quick and easy zucchini noodles pasta recipe with garlic, tomatoes, basil, and cheese. Low-carb and vegetarian-adaptable!

Zucchini Noodles Recipe Video

We love this easy zoodles recipe, which uses noodles made from fresh zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, basil, and parmesan. Enjoy this light, healthy meal as-is, or add cooked garlic shrimp, baked tofu, or juicy chicken breasts.

This zucchini pasta recipe only takes 20 minutes. It’s also low on calories and carbs while having maximum flavor! See below for our easy recipe and my best tips for making zucchini noodles (with and without a spiralizer). For more veggie noodle recipes, see our creamy sweet potato noodles and this parmesan spaghetti squash with chicken.

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles Pasta (Zoodles!)

Key Ingredients

  • Zucchini: Use store-bought zoodles or make your zucchini noodles for this recipe (zoodles are spaghetti made from zucchini). I have shared how to make zucchini noodles below. We love this recipe with 100% zucchini noodles, but you can always combine zucchini noodles and regular spaghetti for a little more sticking power.
  • Garlic: I cook my zoodles in garlicky olive oil, which makes them taste incredible.
  • Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes cook down and turn into our sauce for the noodles.
  • Cheese: I love parmesan cheese, but you can substitute vegetarian-friendly cheeses if you need to. A soft goat cheese or feta, while different, is excellent in this recipe. Leave the cheese out for vegan noodles and sprinkle over a bit of nutritional yeast.
  • Basil: This zucchini pasta recipe is all about fresh ingredients, so I love stirring in a handful of fresh basil.
  • Cornstarch: My secret to the best zucchini noodles! Zucchini releases a lot of water during cooking. I steer into this and use a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch and water) to thicken the liquid in my skillet into a silky sauce.

How to Make Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles

I highly recommend buying a spiralizer if you are making your zucchini noodles for this recipe. If you do not have one, I have included tips below for making zoodles without one. Use fresh, firm zucchini for the best zucchini noodles.

A spiralizer makes long, curly zucchini noodles in minutes. My model is from Paderno (it was around $30). To make zoodles:

  1. Rinse your zucchini and trim the ends.
  2. Secure your spiralizer to your counter (mine has suction cups), then place your zucchini into it so it firmly holds the zucchini in place.
  3. Turn the handle until all of the zucchini turns into noodles! Your noodles will be really long, so use scissors to cut the noodles around 12 inches long.
  4. Use in the recipe or store your raw zucchini noodles in an airtight container lined with paper towels (the paper towels help absorb extra moisture). Refrigerate and use within 3 days. Or freeze them.

To freeze zoodles, blanch them first (so they do not become soggy after thawing). Dunk fresh zoodles in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain them, and then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Pat them very dry, and then spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until hard, then transfer to freezer-safe bags and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using them in your favorite zucchini noodles recipes (I also love this Mediterranean zucchini noodle salad).

You can still make zucchini noodles if you do not have a spiralizer. Use a julienne peeler or mandoline slicer with a noodle-cutting blade. Finally, for wider noodles, use a standard vegetable peeler.

Fresh zucchini noodles, basil and tomatoes

Now that you have zucchini noodles, you can make our zucchini noodles pasta! You’ll start by cooking garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil in a wide skillet. Then, toss in the zucchini noodles and cook, tossing them with tongs, until they are wilted and crisp-tender.

Cooking zucchini noodles (zoodles) with garlic, basil, and tomatoes

Then, stir in the fresh tomatoes, basil, and cheese. After a minute, everything is cooked, and you can make the silky sauce.

Perfectly Cooked Zucchini Noodles

Now it’s time for my #1 tip for cooking zucchini noodle without making them soggy. Remove the noodles for a minute, then stir a mixture of cornstarch and water into the liquid left in the skillet (it’s delicious). Bring it to a simmer and watch as it thickens into the perfect sauce.

Finally, serve your zucchini noodles with the drizzled sauce over the top!

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles

Best Zucchini Noodles We've Made

  • PREP
  • COOK

We are in love with this easy zucchini noodles recipe. There’s fresh zucchini, tomatoes, basil, parmesan, and 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.

For a vegetarian option, omit the parmesan cheese, substitute it with your favorite vegetarian-friendly cheese, or use nutritional yeast.

Makes 4 Servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

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, see notes for alternatives

1 cup basil leaves, torn into pieces

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons cold water

Salt, to taste


  • Prepare Zucchini Noodles
  • 1Trim and spiralize the zucchini (see notes below for doing this without a spiralizer). Then cut the spiralized zucchini into long noodles to be about the length of spaghetti.

    2Add olive oil, garlic, and the red pepper flakes to a large, deep skillet. Turn to medium heat. When the oil bubbles around the garlic, add the zucchini noodles.

    3Toss 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.

    4Stir in the tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese, and then 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
  • 1Bring the liquid left in the skillet to a simmer.

    2Combine 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.

    3Pour the sauce over the zucchini, tomatoes, and basil. Finish with more parmesan cheese on top and serve immediately.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Leftovers: Cooked zucchini noodles are best when enjoyed straight away. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days, but expect that they will release more liquid as they sit.
  • Making 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.
  • Tomatoes: Other varieties of tomatoes work (like cherry tomatoes), you need 12 ounces. Canned tomatoes also work, you may want to hold back some of the liquid in the can.
  • Extra liquid in the pan: Don’t be surprised if liquid collects at the bottom of the serving dish. It mixes with tomato, garlic, cheese, and olive oil, so it’s delicious.
  • Preventing soggy zoodles: Salt them at the end of cooking them and use cornstarch. Salt draws out moisture, so add it after cooking to keep those noodles firm. A simple slurry (1 teaspoon cornstarch + 2 teaspoons cold water) will thicken any extra liquid into a delicious, silky sauce.
  • Vegetarian option: Parmesan cheese may contain animal rennet, so it’s crucial to check labels before use. Fortunately, several American brands offer vegetarian Parmesan cheese alternatives or use nutritional yeast. When using nutritional yeast, add to your tastes. I’d start with two tablespoons and increase from there.
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We assumed 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 of the recipe / Calories 197 / Protein 10.7 g / Carbohydrate 11.2 g / Dietary Fiber 3.4 g / Total Sugars 1.7 g / Total Fat 14.3 g / Saturated Fat 3.4 g / Cholesterol 7.2 mg / Sodium 471.4 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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246 comments… Leave a Review
  • Michele Ross April 22, 2024, 6:05 am

    In an effort to reduce carbs and sugars in our diet, I’ve discovered your website. So this evening I will be cooking your delicious cauliflower rice dish to serve with trout and a mixture of vegetables. Can’t wait! Thank you all the way from the UK.

    • Adam April 22, 2024, 1:28 pm

      That’s great, Michele! So happy you found our recipes!

  • Susie March 11, 2024, 10:29 am

    We have made this several times, absolutely love this! Definitely a go to in the summer, diet friendly…I could eat it everyday.

    • Adam March 11, 2024, 6:52 pm

      Yay! When we take out our spiralizer we end up making this recipe everyday for weeks. During the summer when you end of with pounds of zucchini from your garden this recipe helps go through it all 🙂

  • Janice Mitchell January 22, 2024, 8:56 pm

    I have the pickiest eater for a husband but this hit the mark. Ty for a great and clear recipe.

  • Amber Marienthal January 16, 2024, 10:41 pm

    I’ve made this a dozen times. It’s absolutely delicious. Sometimes I saute some prawns and add them at the end to up the protein. I’ve also made this and mixed in regular cooked pasta noodles with the zoodles to make it more filling for my husband. You can’t go wrong with this recipe!

  • Chris September 28, 2023, 7:22 pm

    This recipe gives me hope. After starting a diet and feeling hungry for a good portion of the day, this recipe was delicious and filled me up after eating about 500 calories worth. Great dinner!

    • Adam October 12, 2023, 6:38 pm

      Yay! So glad you loved it 🙂

  • Melissa September 22, 2023, 4:21 pm

    OMG! I pretty much followed the exact recipe except adding the cornstarch. I used heirloom tomatoes and the jarred parmesan (all I had). It was mouthwatering-ly delicious. THANK YOU!

    • Adam September 23, 2023, 12:45 am

      Yum! So glad you loved them 🙂


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