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Creamy Zucchini Skillet Pasta

This pasta is so creamy you would never know there is a ton of zucchini packed into it! Zucchini is one of my favourite summer ingredients and this pasta should definitely be on your “gotta make this” list, but if you’re looking for sweeter ways to use it, check out my zucchini brownies and chocolate chip zucchini bread!

This recipe starts by cooking the shallots and zucchini in some vegan butter (essential for extra-creamy buttery flavour), but then it gets mashed so the volume of zucchini is less detectable- perfect for picky eaters!

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Creamy Zucchini Skillet Pasta

A creamy zucchini pasta bake with spicy crispy topping! This buttery, garlicky, creamy penne pasta is a delicious end of summer recipe to use up that zucchini you bought last weekend! This recipe uses a skillet, see notes below for alternative!

  • Author: Liv B
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale

1 tbsp vegan butter

2 zucchini, chopped

1 shallot, finely sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

2 cups dry penne pasta

Creamy Sauce:

1 cup cashews

3/4 cups water

2 cloves garlic

Generous pinch of salt

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Spicy Crispy Topping:

1/3 cup ground nuts (I used almonds and hazelnuts) or Panko breadcrumbs

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp chili flakes

Instructions

  1. In a skillet on medium/high heat, add vegan butter, shallots and zucchini and cook about 10 minutes, until zucchini is softened, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot on the stove according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain the rest and set aside.
  3. To make the sauce, in a high speed blender or food processor, add all sauce ingredients and blend for 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  4. Preheat oven to Broil at 450 F.
  5. Reduce skillet heat to low/medium and add the pasta water. Mash the zucchini lightly with a masher (mash completely if you have really picky eaters). I like to leave some chunks of zucchini whole for heartiness. Add the cooked pasta and sauce and stir to coat.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the crispy spicy topping ingredients and mix to combine. Evenly sprinkle over pasta.
  7. Place in the oven and broil for about 5 minutes, until topping is golden and crispy.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before topping with basil and serving.

Notes

This recipe uses an oven-safe skillet that can be used stove top and then put in the oven at high temperatures. If you don’t have one, simply make the recipe in a frying pan, then transfer to a casserole dish to bake.

 

CategoriesEntrees
  1. Rebekah says:

    Thanks for a great recipe! I made this for dinner tonight and the family really enjoyed it. I agree that the texture of the zucchini mimics a stretchy cheese, in a good way. We used bread crumbs mixed with vegan butter and Italian seasoning as the topping, since one of our kids dislikes nuts (but he will tolerate a cashew cream sauce).

    1. Jess says:

      Wow! I ended up pulsing the zucchini a bit in the blender and I’m not the biggest fan of them but had one I had been gifted that I need to use up and I liking this more than normal “alfredo” recipe!!

  2. Laura says:

    Delicious! I had a mess of basil that I needed to use up so I added that to the sauce and it tasted like a creamy pesto. Next time I may add peppers and mushrooms.

  3. Jenny says:

    This was so delicious, my boyfriend made it for us and we loved it (and he doesn’t eat very much vegan food). We didn’t have basil, but so delicious without. Will make again.

  4. Lieze says:

    Since I saw your video I craved this recipe.
    We had everything in our fridge and made it a few hours later 😊
    We added some cauliflower to the sauce for some extra veggies. It was soooo yummy! And we have leftovers so we can keep enjoying it a little bit longer 😋
    Easy to make, with accessable affordable ingredients. Would recommend this to non vegans or beginners too!
    Thank you so much, Liv!

  5. Pam says:

    My daughter — who is a novice at cooking from scratch — made this for my birthday. It looked great and was delicious! We’ll definitely be making it again.

  6. melanie says:

    I used olive oil instead of butter and almonds to replace most of the cashews – the texture and everything is on point. It was so creamy and delicious! Thanks Liv for always having such easy and delicious vegan meals that are REALISTIC. I find so many vegan bloggers try to be so overly healthy that it’s unappealing and doing a disservice to veganism. Liv does veganism a great service by making it affordable and accessible to everyone. 🙂

  7. Kathryn says:

    So simple and one of the best creamy pasta recipes I’ve used! I never thought of pairing zucchini with my mac and cheese but I’ll use it every single time now!!

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