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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.

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. By the way, if you are looking for more vegetable noodle recipes, take a look at this Creamy Avocado Lime Sweet Potato Noodles recipe.

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

Here’s another easy zucchini recipe! Try our Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini

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.

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

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.
  • 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, too.
  • 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

Creamy Avocado Lime Sweet Potato NoodlesYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: How to make our 25-minute sweet potato noodles recipe with a creamy dairy-free avocado sauce. Jump to the Creamy Avocado Sweet Potato Noodles Recipe.

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 look 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. By the way, if you are looking for more ways to use up zucchini, here’s our parmesan basil zucchini chips recipe for you. They are addictive.

Ridiculously Good Shrimp Pesto Soba Noodles RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: We love quick, fresh dinners. These soba noodles tossed with basil pesto hit the spot. Jump to the Pesto Shrimp Soba Noodles Recipe. Also gluten-free!

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’s 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.

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 — 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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127 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Bonni June 26, 2018, 1:46 pm

    I have frozen zoodles I brought from Trader Joe’s. Will that work? I have a spiralizer so if not I can pick up some fresh zucchini. I was just looking for ways to use the frozen box 🙂

    • Adam June 26, 2018, 6:42 pm

      Hi Bonni, the frozen zoodles will work. You might find that they release a little more liquid than freshly spiralized zucchini. You can either drain a little of the liquid or thicken it with the corn starch called for in the recipe.

  • Brooklyn June 26, 2018, 1:20 am

    I absolutely LOVE ZOODLES!!! I little pricey if already Zoodled…BUT, they cook quickly and are YUMMY!!! Who needs pasta? Not this Brooklyn girl!!! Sometimes I just cook them in a bit of olive oil and garlic and toss with Italian dressing. Cool in fridge and it makes a tasty summer salad! 🙂

  • Becky June 23, 2018, 9:02 am

    We loved it! So easy and delicious! Thank you.

  • Angel June 14, 2018, 12:28 am

    This is my first time ever having zoodles, and I have to say, I was skeptical but I think I’m hooked! Next time I’ll add sautéed onions and some spinach too 🙂 thanks for the great recipie!

  • K May 29, 2018, 8:38 pm

    I salted zucchini and let it sit for 20 minutes, then dried w paper towels.
    Sautéed minced garlic and red pepper for a minute then added zucchini and cooked for a few minutes. Then added drained 2 cans of drained chopped stewed tomatoes. And Parmesan cheese and cooked for one more minute. Omitted the cornstarch. Wasn’t very runny.

  • Lena May 27, 2018, 1:32 pm

    Omg it was so soupy. No.

    • Joanne August 9, 2018, 6:02 pm

      Hi Lena, some extra liquid is inevitable with zucchini noodles, which is why we add the cornstarch to the recipe to thicken the liquid into a sauce.

  • Barbara May 19, 2018, 1:29 pm

    Thank you! I’ve never “zoodled” before and I am now hooked. I used your receipe as a base and then just used what I had on hand. I added thin sliced red and green pepper and onion (just because they were going to go bad if I didn’t use them today). I didn’t have fresh tomatoes so I used a can of fire roasted tomatoes and Italian herb seasoning. Totally skipped the last step of corn starch. My boyfriend couldn’t stop raving. Thanks for the new passion of zoodling!

  • Audra May 16, 2018, 7:06 pm

    4 servings? I think not!! This was amazing. Hubby and i gobbled it up. No leftovers.

  • Jim May 8, 2018, 9:55 am

    I just got spiraling machine like yours, Our Low Carb ,adventure I wonder can you give me a list of other vegetables or ways to use it? Thx love your videos

  • Debbie May 5, 2018, 6:10 pm

    I don’t have fresh basil and don’t want to walk back to the store just for that. Can I use dried basil instead?

    • Joanne August 9, 2018, 6:01 pm

      Hi Debbie, dried basil works!


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