Zucchini & Squash Spaghetti

It’s that time of year again: time to find delicious, inventive ways to use the zucchini and yellow squash coming forth from our garden (many thanks to my husband for even planting a garden this year since I’ve been a little busy with, you know…kids and life). My favorite way to use zucchini is in this ravishingly good zucchini bread recipe (and this simple skillet dinner isn’t bad either!).

With that being said, this simple zucchini and yellow squash pasta dish just might be the new favorite for the slim and sassy green vegetables. The zucchini and yellow squash are julienned (fancy term for cut into thin strands) and thus meld into the spaghetti as if one (read: my kids couldn’t pick out the zucchini and squash because it was all one delicious mess of pasta and veggies). Very simple in flavor and preparation. There’s no doubt this weeknight-friendly recipe will be making it’s way to our table all summer around here, especially since my kids ate the zucchini and squash like nobody’s business. Apparently, it tastes a lot better when it looks like pasta.

What To ServeI served this unobtrusive dish with a more flavor-popping protein: Grilled Island Chicken, and the combination was superb thanks to the slight lemon kick in the pasta.

Zucchini & Squash Spaghetti

One Year Ago: Skillet Summer Vegetable Lasagna
Two Years Ago: Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad
Three Years Ago: Simple and Meaty Skillet Lasagna

Zucchini & Yellow Squash Spaghetti

Yield: Serves 4

Zucchini & Yellow Squash Spaghetti

Note: The recipe says to julienne the squash and zucchini. This simply means to cut them into thin strands (for this recipe, you want them to approximate the size of the cooked spaghetti strands). You can use a mandolin or the large holes of a box grater. I like to use zucchini that are on the smaller side so you don't have a bunch of seeds to deal with. Look for zucchini that are around two or so inches in diameter - the freshest zucchini have little tiny prickly hairs along the green skin. Also, zest the lemon before juicing so you don't have to use an extra lemon just for the zest.


  • 8 ounces spaghetti noodles
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 zucchini, julienned, about 7 cups (see note above)
  • 2 yellow squash, julienned, about 3 1/2 cups (see note above)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemon zest


  1. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain (but do not rinse!).
  2. While the spaghetti is boiling, saute the garlic in the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the julienned zucchini and squash. Season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon of each to start). Cook the zucchini and squash until slightly wilted, 1 minute, then add the lemon juice. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, until the squash and zucchini are just for tender.
  3. Off the heat, stir in the cooked spaghetti, Parmesan cheese, basil and lemon zest. Top with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: adapted from Cuisine at Home, June 2012

29 Responses to Zucchini & Yellow Squash Spaghetti

  1. Tamra says:

    Do you have the calorie count foe this dish?

  2. Krista says:

    Made this the other night, and I can’t wait until I make it again. Loved it! it was so tasty!! Plus my kids ate it, not even knowing they were getting veggies.

  3. Vanessa says:

    I made this dish tonight. The taste was really great. However, my zucchini and squash just kind of clumped together instead of nice strands. I did squeeze a bit of the water out of the shredded zucchini. Was that a no no? Or did I just cook it too long?

    • Mel says:

      Vanessa – I just julienne my veggies and throw them in, so squeezing out the extra water may be the reason it clumped together since it didn’t have enough moisture.

  4. Cathy Gustafson says:

    We tried this last night and LOVED it. My son wants to try it with spaghetti squash instead of pasta.

  5. Brian Erickson says:

    Tastes great! One tip for people wondering how to julienne the veggies-I use a Titan julienne tool which works great! It is offered at Bed Bath and Beyond and includes a great peeler tool as well. Highly recommended for use in the kitchen! Enjoy 😉

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  8. Katie says:

    Mmmmm, looks great! I love zucchini in pasta, and I bet finely shredded like this it just melts away. What a great, light, summer pasta dish. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. GastroStu says:

    Delicious, just the sort of pasta I like to eat in the summer.

  10. Ambra says:

    This was so yummy! I only used 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash and grated them with a box grater. Then, to make sure my little kids would like it, I skipped the lemon zest and basil and the pasta had a deliciously light lemon flavor. SO GOOD!

  11. Shawna says:

    This looks tasty! It reminded me of a dinner my husband makes, he cuts the zucchini as long as he can, sautée’s it in olive oil and serves it with Alfredo sauce. Maybe not the healthiest way to go but soooooo good. And since I’m commenting I have to say I love you! I’ve been following you for years and my heart would break if I couldn’t jump online (almost every day) and find a new recipe to try. Thank you!

  12. Love anything pasta!!! And adding vegetables is an added bonus!!!

  13. amy @ uTryIt says:

    These sound really good and what a nice way to use up the beautiful veggies from the garden! 🙂

  14. Rachel says:

    Yes! I am trying to use more “in season” produce, and this will be perfect! And it looks delish! Thanks again for another great menu idea!

  15. This kind of pasta dish is my usual solo lunch. The pic makes me hungry! If only we could freeze zucchinis!

  16. Mel says:

    Allyson – I have a mandolin so I haven’t tried it on a box grater, but I don’t think it should be that time intensive (have your kids help shred them!). You could try a food processor and see how long the strands are – I don’t think they’ll be any shorter than if you were going to use a box grater. You’ll probably get the longest pieces from a mandolin but either way, it mixes in with the pasta and shouldn’t make a huge difference.

  17. kate C. says:

    Sounds really good! I love zucchini and summer squash with pasta!

  18. Veronica says:

    This is cool! I’ve made zucchini spaghetti where it totally replaces the pasta and that was good because of the lovely sauce but this would be more family-friendly. I will have to try it! Oh, another zucchini recipe you might try is for this zucchini lemon loaf I found on Nancy Creative: http://nancycreative.com/2012/03/25/lemon-zucchini-loaf-with-lemon-glaze/ I know you have the best zucchini bread, but this is totally different from traditional zucchini bread and is totally summery-very moist and light. Love it!

  19. Amber says:

    Looks amazing, as usual!

  20. Jen T says:

    This is perfect! My kids just picked a boat load of zucchini from their gardens this weekend. Thanks!

  21. Allyson says:

    I’m dying to try a new way to convince my kids that zucchini and yellow squash are truly edible! But it sounds pretty time consuming to julienne the veggies. I don’t have a mandolin. Does it take forever with a box grater to grate them (longwise, I imagine)? Could a grater-attachment on a food processor work, or would that get them too short?

  22. This looks absolutely delicious!!

  23. Judy F. says:

    I, too, have made something similar, but I added fresh mushrooms and some chopped tomatoes. I put a browned butter/olive oil that I flavored with garlic and fresh thyme on for the sauce and offered mizithra cheese. I love it!

  24. StephenC says:

    Thanks for a prompt to do something summery and light with summer squashes (of both colors).

  25. Kim in MD says:

    YUM! What a smart Mom you are, Mel! 😉 I love this recipe, and I have lots of yellow squash and zucchini thanks to my MIL. My children do like squash, so I know they will love this pasta recipe.

  26. Jill C says:

    Hi Mel, This looks delicious. I make something similar when I have zucchini to use up. The last time I made it I stirred in a couple tablespoons of nonfat greek yogurt. It added a nice creaminess to the pasta.

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