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Fresh, wholesome, and delicious pasta with caramelized zucchini! This super simple pasta recipe requires just a handful of ingredients – many of which you probably already have at home. Throw together this easy and healthy weeknight meal in 30 minutes!

fork and spoon lifting pasta with caramelized zucchini out of a bowl.

What You’ll Need to Make Pasta with Caramelized Zucchini

Olive Oil and Butter – The combination of both olive oil and butter are perfect for caramelizing the zucchini in this recipe. Olive oil prevents the zucchini from sticking to the pan, while butter gives it that irresistibly rich flavor.

Zucchini – Use as much or as little zucchini as you’d like in this recipe! Though remember, the zucchini will cook down a ton while cooking, so it’s better to start with more than you may think you need. Thinly slice your zucchini into about 1/8-inch thick rounds. The thinner you slice the zucchini, the faster it’ll cook and caramelize.

Pasta – I used gluten-free linguini for my pasta with caramelized zucchini, but any pasta will work!

overhead image of pasta with caramelized zucchini on a plate with a fork.

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t forget to save some pasta water before straining! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve meant to save pasta water, but totally forgot when it came time to strain it. Reserved pasta water plays a crucial part in the sauce, so make sure you remember it!
  • Cook the zucchini to your liking. I loooove super soft and jammy zucchini, but if you want zucchini with a little more bite, cook it down for just 10-15 minutes. This light and healthy pasta recipe is super easy to customize!
close-up image of pasta with caramelized zucchini in a bowl.

Adjust This Recipe to Your Dietary Needs

Make it Gluten-Free: Simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta like I did!

Make it Vegan/Dairy-Free: Use your favorite non-dairy butter in this recipe, and leave off any cheese when serving.

Pasta with Caramelized Zucchini

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Samantha Course: Uncategorized
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Total time

0

minutes

Fresh, wholesome, and delicious pasta with caramelized zucchini! This super simple pasta recipe requires just a handful of ingredients – many of which you probably already have at home. Throw together this easy and healthy weeknight meal in 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch thick)

  • salt, to taste

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 pound pasta, uncooked

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add in the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the zucchini and a big pinch of salt, cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes.
  • While zucchini cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water and drain pasta from remaining water.
  • Once zucchini is very soft and caramelized, add in the garlic and garlic powder. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the cooked pasta and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet with the zucchini. Stir everything together, and add more pasta water if pasta seems dry. Serve warm with fresh cracked black pepper.

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Easy, healthy, and extra delicious Italian stuffed zucchini boats! This low-carb meal comes together in under 30 minutes, with only 5 (!!!) ingredients. The ultimate lazy, yet super healthy dinner recipe.

overhead image of zucchini boats on a plate with white wine on the side.

What You’ll Need to Make Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Zucchini – This summer vegetable is super cheap and easy to find! Start by slicing a zucchini in half, then removing the seeds and some of the flesh from inside. You’ll be left with two zucchini “boats,” ready to be filled with our delicious Italian sausage in sauce.

Italian Sausage – Feel free to use whatever kind of Italian sausage you’d like! Though make sure it’s uncooked and removed from its casings before cooking. As it cooks, break the sausage up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink. Italian sausage is packed with herbs and spices, adding even more flavor to this already super flavorful dish.

Marinara Sauce – I use and love Rao’s marinara sauce for when I don’t feel like making it myself. Rao’s is perfectly tangy, has tons of flavor, with just a hint of sweetness. However, you can totally use your favorite jarred marinara sauce for this recipe. Or, if you have some time to spare, go ahead and throw together a homemade sauce to use instead.

Dried Italian Seasoning – The final step before cooking these zucchini boats is sprinkling them with a little bit of dried Italian seasoning. I love the flavor this packs, but it’s totally optional if you’re not feeling up to it or don’t have any on-hand.

overhead image of zucchini boats in a baking dish.

Tips and Tricks

  • Finish off these Italian stuffed zucchini boats with fresh-grated parmesan cheese! It rounds out the Italian flavors in this dish, and make it that much more delicious. Also, who doesn’t love a little bit of cheese?!
  • You can easily prep-then-freeze this dish ahead of time! To do this, follow each step of the recipe, up to cooking it. Then, cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, before freezing for up to three months. When ready to eat, simply defrost, then bake as instructed.
  • This is a great, healthy meal to prep for a crowd! Simply double or triple the amounts listed in the recipe below, and you can feed a whole army (ok …maybe not an entire army, but you get the point). I love throwing this quick and easy zucchini recipe together for friends and family, it’s a total crowd-favorite!
close-up image of zucchini boat being cut into with a fork.

Adjust This Recipe to Your Dietary Needs

Make it Gluten-Free: These zucchini boats are already gluten-free! However, to be absolutely certain they don’t contain any traces of gluten, check your sausage and marinara sauce packaging to make sure those ingredient are entirely gluten-free.

Make it Dairy-Free: For a dairy-free version of this recipe, replace the parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast!

Make it Vegan: Replace the sausage with your favorite vegan meat substitute, and cook it with an additional teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning. Then, similar to the dairy-free version, top with nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese.

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Samantha Course: MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Total time

30

minutes

Easy, healthy, and extra delicious Italian stuffed zucchini boats! This low-carb meal comes together in under 30 minutes, with only 5 (!!!) ingredients. The ultimate lazy, yet super healthy dinner recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

  • salt and black pepper, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

  • 1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage (casings removed)

  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, optional

  • grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  • Using a spoon, scoop out and remove the seeds and a little bit of the flesh from each zucchini half.
  • Sprinkle zucchini with salt and black pepper, then place inside a large baking dish and set aside.
  • Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add in the Italian sausage and cook until no longer pink. Break up the meat as it cooks, should take about 5 minutes.
  • Add marinara sauce to the skillet, reduce heat to low and simmer sausage in sauce for 2-3 minutes.
  • Spoon the sauce mixture into the cavity of each zucchini half, then evenly sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and zucchini is tender. Serve warm with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Recipe Video

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