Simple, delicious creamy lemon zucchini pasta, a light and vibrant summer pasta dish that is super quick to make. It takes only 15 minutes from start to finish, giving you plenty of time to enjoy your day.
It's summer, it's zucchini season and this creamy lemon zucchini pasta is the perfect way to celebrate. It's so so easy it's almost not even a recipe! Don't be fooled though, it's packed with flavor. It's fresh from the lemon and creamy from the mascarpone, making it the ultimate light summer pasta dish. If you like the sound of that then you'll love this creamy chicken pasta bake too!
Pasta dishes can be more involved or super simple and this one can be made in under 15 minutes. Like our easy sausage ragu, it's totally delectable. Who wants to slave over a stove on a hot day anyway?
We know you'll love this simple zucchini pasta recipe that will brighten your day with it's flavor. Be sure to leave us a comment and rating in the recipe below. We love hearing from you!
⭐ Why you'll love this recipe
Here are some reasons why you need this lemon zucchini pasta recipe in your life:
Quick - as we've said before, this recipe is super quick, taking only 15 minutes or less to make.
Seasonal - made with simple vibrant seasonal ingredients; the lemon, zucchini and basil really sing.
Healthy - with plenty of veggies, this pasta meal is well balanced and just what you need with lots of nutritious ingredients.
Flavor - often creamy dishes can be dull in flavor but this recipe definitely isn't. Simply made, but loaded with flavor to excite your taste buds.
You only need simple ingredients for this lemon zucchini recipe, this is what you'll need:
Zucchini - the best way to use up your summer glut of zucchini, use green zucchini or any variety you can find, yellow summer squash works well too!
Mascarpone - for that extra special creaminess. Mascarpone is perfect for this recipe especially as it doesn't split with the addition of lemon juice.
Lemon - you'll need both lemon juice and zest for this recipe, be sure to use unwaxed lemons though.
Pasta - the pasta we use for this recipe is gemelli, it's a short noodle that is perfect for picking up the sauce and grated zucchini. You can use any short pasta shape you like though.
We know you love to mix things up with customizations and substitutions so here are some of our recommendations for our zucchini pasta recipe:
Pasta - we think gemelli is the perfect pasta shape for this recipe, but if you fancy another the world is your oyster, we just recommend sticking to short pasta.
Heat - if you love a bit of spice then sprinkle in some crushed chili flakes relative to what your palate likes. ¼ teaspoon for a little heat up to 1 teaspoon for a good hit of heat.
Protein - after more protein? Use high protein pasta, or sauté some chicken or shrimp to throw in the mix. Or try our lemon garlic shrimp pasta.
Allergens - if you need this to be gluten free, just substitute the pasta with your favorite gluten free version. Also if you want this dairy free, switch out for a dairy free mascarpone.
🔪 How to make lemon zucchini pasta
Follow these simple step by step guides to success for this pasta recipe:
- Whilst the pasta is cooking to its package instructions (reserve some pasta cooking water) heat up the butter in a large skillet and add the lemon zest and garlic, let it gently cook for 1 minute.
- Add the shredded zucchini and stir into the lemon garlic mixture, cook for 1 minute. Then add the mascarpone, parmesan, lemon juice and basil and stir together until combined.
- The zucchini will cook a little longer in the sauce ready to add the pasta into it.
- Stir the pasta throughout the creamy lemon zucchini sauce and add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen it, serve immediately with crusty bread, parmesan and crispy breadcrumbs.
👩🍳 Expert tips
Make sure to read and follow these expert tips to ensure complete success with this creamy lemon zucchini pasta recipe:
Al dente - be sure to cook your pasta al dente, meaning "to the tooth", so it has a little bite to it. The pasta will continue to cook as you serve it in the warm sauce and as it absorbs more liquid.
Lemon - be sure to use unwaxed lemons for the zest as otherwise you'll be eating unwanted wax and it may affect the flavor of the dish.
Basil - slice the basil last minute just before adding, don't roughly chop it as it will bruise and it will go black.
Reserved pasta water - be sure to use this starchy reserved pasta water from cooking the pasta to loosen the sauce and make it unctuously glossy.
💭 Recipe FAQs
Gemelli is a specific pasta shape where two strands of pasta are twisted together and cut into a short noodle. It's a fantastic pasta shape to hold onto pasta sauces.
Your pasta should have enough space to move in the pan, be sure to season 1 gallon of water (4 L) with a heaping tablespoon of kosher salt. This seasons the pasta as it cooks ensuring a delicious pasta dish.
🥗 Related recipes
Love this lemon zucchini pasta recipe? Then you may want more of our dinner recipes. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Love this recipe? Leave us a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe below and don't forget to leave a review in the comments section underneath the recipe. We love hearing from you!
Creamy Lemon Zucchini Pasta
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, ½ lemon juiced
- 1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated, about 2 cups
- ½ cup mascarpone
- ½ cup parmesan, finely grated
- ½ cup basil leaves, finely sliced
- 2 cups gemelli pasta, or short pasta of choice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup reserved pasta cooking water
- ¼ cup toasted breadcrumbs, optional
- 2 tablespoons shaved parmesan, to top
- Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.2 cups gemelli pasta
- In a frying pan, heat the butter over a gentle heat. Add the garlic and the lemon zest and let sizzle in the pan for a few seconds. Add the zucchini to the pan and quickly toss in the butter - you don't want to overcook it!1 tablespoon butter, 1 garlic clove, 1 lemon, 1 medium zucchini
- Stir in the mascarpone, parmesan, lemon juice and basil until combined.½ cup mascarpone, ½ cup parmesan, ½ cup basil leaves, 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- Drain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. Tip the drained pasta into the sauce and toss to coat. Add as much of the reserved pasta water as desired until the pasta is well-coated and saucy. Season with salt and pepper.½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ cup reserved pasta cooking water, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- If liked, toast some breadcrumbs in butter (½ tablespoon butter to ¼ cup breadcrumbs) and sprinkle over the top of the pasta. Finish with shaved parmesan.¼ cup toasted breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons shaved parmesan
- Be sure to cook the pasta al dente.
- Make sure you reserve some pasta cooking water to help loosen the sauce.
- Serve immediately with crusty bread.