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Lemon Zucchini Pasta

This lemon zucchini pasta has adorable bowtie noodles and sweet zucchini, mixed with earthy garlic and fresh lemon for the perfect summertime supper!

Lemon Zucchini Pasta in a bowl.

During the summertime, there’s an abundance of fresh zucchini, and since it’s such a versatile vegetable, there are so many delicious ways to cook them up!

This lemon zucchini pasta combines fun bowtie noodles with sauteéd zucchini and adds earthy garlic, fresh lemon and thyme, toasted pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. A little butter and olive oil add richness and help round out the flavors for this ultimate summertime pasta dish. 

It’s also a quick meal that comes together in a short amount of time, with no sweating in the kitchen on those hot summer nights!

Trust me, when you’re looking for how to use up all of that zucchini, you’ll wanna turn to this lemon zucchini pasta!

ingredients to make Lemon Zucchini Pasta on a table.

Ingredients for lemon zucchini pasta

  • Bowtie pasta – This is my favorite shape to use for this dish!
  • Olive oil – Olive oil is the fat of choice to help sauté our zucchini.
  • Zucchini – Zucchini is mild and sweet, with a hint of earthiness.
  • Garlic – Garlic is a classic addition that will add earthiness to the dish. 
  • Fresh thyme – Fresh thyme will add an herbaceous flavor. 
  • Crushed red pepper – Crushed red pepper will add a spicy kick!
  • Butter – Butter will add a creaminess and luscious texture to the dish.
  • Lemon juice – Lemon juice will add a burst of fresh citrus.
  • Parmesan cheese – Parmesan cheese adds a salty bite and umami flavor. 
  • Fresh parsley – Fresh parsley adds a vibrant and herbaceous flavor to the dish.
  • Toasted pine nuts – toasted pine nuts will add both crunch and a nutty flavor. 
Zucchini cooking in a skillet.
Zucchini and parmesan cheese in a skillet.
Lemon Zucchini Pasta in a skillet.

How to toast pine nuts

Toasting pine nuts (or any nut for that matter) is super easy to do.

Take a small pan, and with the burner off, add your nuts. 

Turn the burner to medium-low, and gently stir the nuts until you start to smell them and see them turning a slight golden brown.

You don’t want to walk away while toasting nuts, because they can burn easily!

Lemon Zucchini Pasta topped with parmesan cheese.

Adding protein

There are a lot of ways to add extra protein to this lemon zucchini pasta. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Using protein pasta! These are easily found right next to regular pasta at the grocery store.
  • Shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Rotisserie chicken from the store. These are so helpful and a fast way to add some extra protein to any meal!
Lemon Zucchini Pasta garnished with pine nuts.

Storage and leftovers 

Any leftover lemon zucchini pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

To reheat, simply place in a microwave-safe dish covered loosely with a damp paper towel and heat 2-3 minutes or until heated thoroughly. 

Lemon Zucchini Pasta sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

More zucchini dishes

Lemon Zucchini Pasta

Author: Brandy O’Neill – Nutmeg Nanny
This lemon zucchini pasta has adorable bowtie noodles and sweet zucchini, mixed with earthy garlic and fresh lemon for the perfect summertime supper!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 pound bowtie pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups zucchini cut into ¼ inch thick half moons
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley minced, for topping
  • Toasted pine nuts for topping


  • Bring a large pot of very salty water to a boil. Cook the bowtie pasta until al dente, according to the package directions. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta water. 
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
  • When the oil is hot, add the zucchini. Cook the zucchini for 2 minutes, then stir and cook for an additional 2 minutes. We want a hard sear on the zucchini so make sure not to stir it too much. 
  • Next add the garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for an additional minute. 
  • Next add the butter, lemon juice, and ¼ cup of reserved pasta water. Stir until the butter has melted. 
  • Next, add ¼ cup of parmesan cheese and stir it into the sauce. Add the pasta and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  • If the sauce becomes too thin, add another splash of reserved pasta water. 
  • Serve the pasta with the remaining grated parmesan, fresh chopped parsley, and toasted pine nuts. Enjoy immediately.
  • Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 277mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g
Course Pasta
Cuisine American
Keyword bowtie pasta, fresh zucchini in pasta, lemon pasta, zucchini lemon pasta, zucchini pasta
Did you try this recipe?Leave a comment and 5 star review!
Lemon Zucchini Pasta pin for Pinterest.

About Brandy!

I am a food lover and recipe developer bringing you delicious recipes that taste great and are easy to make! My food is inspired by travels around the world and my love of flavorful food. A list of things that make me happy: cats, Coke Zero, houseplants, and travel. Read more...

Recipe Rating

Shadi Hasanzadenemati

Thursday 8th of June 2023

Love how easy this recipe is. It’s perfect for our family!


as seen on promo graphic


as seen on promo graphic