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! Jump to the Zucchini Noodles Pasta Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how we make it.

Watch Us Make The Recipe

Guilt-Free, 20 Minute Zucchini Pasta

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. It’s low on calories and carbs, while having maximum flavor!

This is such a quick and easy recipe. It’s adaptable, too. We love this with 100% zucchini noodles (basically, spaghetti made from zucchini), but a combination of real spaghetti or pasta and zucchini is great.

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.

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 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. This 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. 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, too.
  • You can also use 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 them for sale in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and even some Safeway stores.

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

Cooked Zucchini Noodles

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

Zucchini is mostly made up of water so cooking it can be tricky. Here are our tips for cooking it well and making sure it’s not soggy.

  • 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.

20 Minute Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles

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’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 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

  • 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 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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185 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Tim November 10, 2019, 12:44 am

    I was blown away how simple & quick this dish was to make. I didn’t have any cornstarch and it didn’t matter. The only thing I regret is I didn’t cut the noodles. I have to cut them as I plate them. I also added cracked black pepper as I made each plate. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

  • Carmen Gonzales November 8, 2019, 8:47 pm

    Tried recipe tonight. OMG! So freaking good! Will definitely continue making it!

  • Jackie November 2, 2019, 3:10 pm

    This recipe is outstanding! The flavor of the Zoodles is unlike anything else I have ever tried before! Excellent recipe, I will be using it very often!

  • Keisha October 1, 2019, 11:19 pm

    Wanted something different. And I found it. This is SOOO GOOD!!! Followed the recipe as stated. Just added me some spinach because I didn’t have basil. I can eat this all week!

  • Chelsea September 30, 2019, 7:22 pm

    Made these for the first time along with trying zucchini noodles for the first time – how delightful! Would there be any way to meal prep these for the next day or two? I know due to the water content of this dish it would be difficult.

  • Margaret Patane September 27, 2019, 4:48 am

    Lovely recipe- delicious. I skipped the cornflour and instead added a tablespoon of cream cheese, didn’t have basil so used coriander

  • Janice September 24, 2019, 11:44 pm

    Thank you this recipe. I tried two of your recipes: bean burgers but I added a ton of vegetables to this one and I used squash instead. It was amazing! I am now a loyal follower

  • Wanda September 16, 2019, 7:53 pm

    I absolutely LOVED this dish…only thing I added was a little diced rotisserie chicken, but otherwise stuck to the recipe…didn’t have a lot of liquid left as I put zoodles on paper towels after spiralizing, but just added a little broth and then cornstarch mixture The little bite of the red pepper flakes really brightened this dish up. Thanks for your recipe 🙂

  • Alishia September 8, 2019, 10:04 pm

    First time trying this out Im a new fan.

  • chloe Nadeau August 26, 2019, 6:02 pm

    This recipe is so simple and yet incredibly tasty!!!!! I’m definitely going to make this again!

  • Joe August 12, 2019, 5:26 pm

    Im making this recipe but adding you spaghetti squash recipe woth chicken cutlet parmesan. Will get back with a post to see how it turns out and directions!!

  • Margie July 31, 2019, 7:56 pm

    This was my first time making zucchini noodles. This recipe was easy and sooooo tasty. Even my picky husband liked it. Thank you!

  • Dino July 24, 2019, 7:07 pm

    Wow! My new favorite side dish. Wonderful recipe! I didnt have any liquid in my pan after transferring the the zucchini to the plate so I put a splash of marsala in with the water and cornstarch. Yum!

  • Lynne July 21, 2019, 4:28 pm

    So delicious! I couldn’t stop talking about it. Made it 2 nights in a row!

  • David July 20, 2019, 9:25 am

    How many calories is 1 serving

    • Joanne July 23, 2019, 5:08 pm

      Hi David, The nutritional information is found at the bottom of the recipe.


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