Spaghetti with creamy zucchini sauce is a flavorful one pan meal and the perfect way to use up that extra zucchini! Spaghetti is tossed in a rich cream sauce that's filled with shredded zucchini and carrots.
If you love one pan meals, you'll have to give this spaghetti with creamy zucchini sauce a try. Perfect for your next Meatless Monday meal and easy enough to make on a busy weeknight.
The best part about this recipe? The creamy zucchini sauce. You're gonna love it! You're basically making a rich, creamy alfredo sauce that's been tossed with shredded zucchini, carrots, and spaghetti.
Have a big zucchini harvest from your backyard garden? This recipe is a great way to use up extra zucchini.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Spaghetti - Can be substituted with any other long pasta, like fettuccine or linguine. I prefer using long pasta because the shredded vegetables tend to cling to it. However, any medium sized pasta, like farfalle or penne, would also work.
- Onion & garlic - Adds flavor to the dish. I do not recommend omitting.
- Seasoning - Salt and red pepper flakes add flavor to the dish. Red pepper flakes can be substituted with black pepper for a milder flavor.
- Butter - Can be substituted with any cooking oil you have on hand if needed.
- Parmesan cheese - If you'd like to make this dish vegetarian friendly, parmesan cheese can be substituted with any other hard parmesan-style cheese that is made with vegetable rennet.
- Vegetables - Zucchini and carrot can be shredded using the large side of a box grater or the grating disc of a food processor. Zucchini can be substituted with yellow summer squash.
- Broth - Chicken or vegetable broth work best in this recipe.
- Heavy cream - Makes the sauce thick, rich, and creamy. I do not recommend substituting with milk because your sauce will turn out thin.
Pasta and liquid proportions
Since the pasta is cooked in the same pan as the rest of the ingredients, the exact amount of liquid needed to cook the pasta needs to be added to the pan - no more, no less.
Too much liquid will leave you with a watery sauce. Too little liquid and your ingredients can dry out and stick to the bottom of the pan.
I highly recommend weighing the pasta to ensure you're using the correct amount. I also recommend measuring the broth using a liquid measuring cup or a scale.
This particular recipe uses less broth than my other skillet meals because of the addition of zucchini and carrots. When the vegetables begin to cook, they release moisture. This liquid (along with the broth) is what cooks your dried pasta.
Because of this, I do not recommend omitting the zucchini and carrots - their moisture is taken into account when writing the recipe.
What type of pan to use
For this skillet meal, you'll want to use a sauté pan. What is the difference between a skillet and a sauté pan?
A sauté pan has a flat bottom and tall, vertical sides, like shown in the photos. It may also have a second 'helper handle' opposite the main handle.
A skillet has a smaller surface area on the bottom of the pan and sides that flare up at an angle.
A sauté pan is better for cooking large meals, like one pan meals, because there's simply more space in the pan. Plus, the helper handle makes it easier to move a full sauté pan from the stove.
What to serve with spaghetti
Here are a few of my favorites sides to pair with spaghetti with creamy zucchini sauce:
- Freezer garlic bread
- Cheese stuffed biscuits
- Strawberry walnut salad
- Grilled chicken tenders
- Parmesan crusted pork chops
Spaghetti with Creamy Zucchini Sauce
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound (453 g) zucchini, grated
- 2 carrots, grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 12 ounces (340 g) vegetable broth
- 8 ounces (226 g) spaghetti, uncooked
- ½ cup (113 g) heavy cream
- ½ cup (56 g) parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
- Add zucchini, carrots, salt, and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine. Add broth and spaghetti. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook according to pasta's package directions for al dente pasta. *Halfway through cooking, remove lid and stir to better incorporate pasta. If pasta begins to look dry, add a splash of water to the pan. If pasta sauce looks very liquidy, leave lid off for second half of cooking and turn heat to medium/medium-low.
- Remove lid and add heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Stir until melted.
- Remove from heat and allow to set for 5 minutes to allow sauce to thicken before serving.
- 12 ounces of broth = 1.5 liquid US cups
- One pound of zucchini can range from one very large zucchini to four small zucchini.
- *Pasta needs the exact amount of liquid (from broth and from grated vegetables) to cook correctly without leaving extra liquid in the pan. Pasta, broth, and vegetables need to be accurately measured.
- To make vegetarian - replace parmesan cheese with any hard Italian cheese made with vegetable rennet.