Guilt-Free Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles Pasta

My favorite way to cook zucchini noodles! See how to make our 20-minute zucchini noodles pasta recipe with garlic, tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese. Low-carb, keto-adaptable, and vegetarian-adaptable! Jump to the Zucchini Noodles Pasta Recipe

20 Minute Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles

Guilt-Free, 20 Minute Zucchini Pasta

We are in love with this easy zoodles recipe. There’s fresh zucchini, tomatoes, basil, parmesan, and garlic. The best part? It only takes 20 minutes to make. It’s also low on calories and carbs while having maximum flavor! Enjoy these as a light meal, or add some protein like baked tofu, sautéed shrimp, or juicy chicken.

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles Pasta

This recipe quick and easy. It’s adaptable, too. We love it when made with 100% zucchini noodles (basically, spaghetti made from zucchini), but you can always combine zucchini noodles and regular spaghetti for a little more sticking power.

This zucchini 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 and the options from Muir Glen.

Zucchini noodles, basil and tomatoes

How to Make Zucchini Noodles With and Without a Spiralizer

Zucchini noodles are spaghetti-like strands of zucchini. You can make them in a variety of ways. Here’s how to make them:

The easiest way to make zucchini noodles is to use a spiralizer. They make long, curly noodles in minutes. A spiralizer is a great tool to add to your kitchen. We purchased ours on Amazon for less than $30. There are a variety of brands and price points to choose from, and you may even find that some food processors come with a spiralizer attachment now, too.

No spiralizer, no problem! You can also use a julienne vegetable peeler. These come in at under $10 and might even be hiding in your kitchen gadget drawer right now.

Most mandoline slicers will make noodles or try using a standard vegetable peeler and make wide noodles.

Depending on where you shop, you might even find that you can buy previously spiralized zucchini. I’ve seen prepared zoodles sold in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and even some Safeway stores.

Once you’ve got noodles, you’re ready to cook them. (Or don’t, and try our zucchini noodle salad!)

Cooked Zucchini Noodles

Our Best Tips for Cooking Zoodles So That They Are Delicious and Not Soggy

Zucchini is mostly water, so cooking it can be tricky. Here are our tips for cooking it so that it’s not soggy.

  • Don’t peel zucchini. Peeled zucchini noodles are mushy and have no crunch.
  • Don’t salt zucchini before cooking or while it cooks in the pan. Salt draws out water from the zucchini, making it less crunchy when cooked. Since salt makes things taste good, we prefer to salt the sauce and not the zucchini.
  • Don’t overcook. Just like when making regular spaghetti, cook zucchini noodles to al dente. They are ready when wilted but still have a crunch.

Since cooked zucchini tends to become watery, we do our best in the recipe to reduce this as much as possible. However, you will still find some water left at the bottom of the serving bowl. Not that this is a bad thing. The liquid mixes with tomato, garlic, cheese, and olive oil, so it’s delicious.

Another zucchini recipe: If you are looking for more ways to use up zucchini, here’s our recipe for parmesan basil zucchini chips. They are addictive.

What Our Readers Are Saying

If you don’t believe that our recipe helps you achieve perfect zucchini noodles pasta at home, take a look at what our readers are saying about the recipe! More reviews are in the comments section below.

“Wow! It’s delicious. This recipe is at the top of the favorites list!” – Pam

“I was surprised how delicious this actually was!! I followed recipe exactly and it turned out perfect.” – Marissa

“Oh. My. Goodness! Its amazing! What a super way to introduce the family to disguised healthy eating with flavor that is the embodiment of summer. This year I planted even more zucchini and Zoodles will be part of our lives forever!” – Shannon

More Veggie Recipes

Guilt-Free Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles Pasta

  • 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
  • Trim 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.

    Add 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.

    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, 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
    • Bring the liquid left in the skillet 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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Parmesan cheese may not be vegetarian. Swap for any vegetarian-friendly hard cheese 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.

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

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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232 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Steve October 12, 2021, 11:15 am

    Zoodles, where have you been all my life. I made this recipe exactly as written and they turned out beautifully. The taste and texture is exactly like noodles. I served it with some leftover marry me chicken and roasted brussels sprouts, boy that was good eating. Ten stars (out of ten).

  • esmeralda September 7, 2021, 10:52 am

    I love this blog THANKS for sharing

  • Tracy Howell August 26, 2021, 9:42 am

    Hi, just wondering what brand spirilizer you are using. Thanks

    • Adam August 26, 2021, 2:46 pm

      We have a Paderno in our kitchen but any spiralizer will work.

  • Annika August 21, 2021, 12:47 pm

    Absolutely delicious, healthy and so quick and easy!! I would definitely make this again!

  • Lateysha Smith July 27, 2021, 10:43 pm

    Amazing! I was craving pasta but want to stay on my fitness goal track! I paired this with lamb shoulder and just amazing!

  • Debra July 25, 2021, 5:31 pm

    How much potassium in zucchini noodle pasta?

  • July 2, 2021, 9:51 am

    New found replacement for pasta! This is absolutely out of this world delicious!

  • Mary Conlisk July 1, 2021, 8:51 pm

    Oh my goodness! I think I’ve finally found a replacement for pasta! This was so flavorful and delicious. Hubby, the carnivore, thought this was great as well!

  • joe June 11, 2021, 11:51 am

    This is a great dish!! The only thing I would suggest that you have everything ready (prep) before starting this dish, it comes together fast!

  • Vaishali June 7, 2021, 1:17 am

    Hi guys… i was trying zucchini noodles for the first time & it turned out amazing.. thanks to your recipe.. very simple & delicious .. will definitely make it again

  • Kieth Grune April 2, 2021, 3:58 pm

    good place to share

  • Ursula Goodwin February 28, 2021, 7:34 pm

    Yum, I added some onion at the start and didn’t do the sauce thing because not much water came out of the noodles and it turned out great. My first time making zoodles and definitely is a good light lunch, you just need quite a lot for a proper meal

  • Mallory February 25, 2021, 9:17 pm

    Wow. Honestly, WOW. I tweak my recipe by adding chopped onion with garlic to infuse. I pre cook broccoli then add that in after zucchini has cooked down most of the way, along with red, yellow peppers, baby spinach…This is my absolute favorite recipe and I cooK A LOT!! Adding the extra veggies really gives it that healthy oomph!THANK YOU ADAM AND JOANNE!!

  • Margarita Molodow February 10, 2021, 8:34 pm

    trying it tonite sounds great

  • Mary January 28, 2021, 6:09 pm

    We all enjoyed it very much! Great gluten free recipe.


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