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Zucchini Spaghetti (Zoodles with Marinara)

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This zucchini spaghetti made with zoodles and a delicious homemade marinara sauce is a bright, fresh meal!

It's easy to make spiralized zucchini noodles (zoodles). They're a healthy option if you want a low-carb alternative to pasta or you enjoy zucchini (like me)!

I love making zoodles because they're a great use for zucchini when you end up with lots of them in the summer.

Zoodles with marinara sauce in a white bowl with a fork.
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Why You'll Love these Zucchini Noodles

These spiralized fresh zucchini noodles are light but have enough sauce that they're a hearty meal. It's a great meal any time of year, but especially wonderful in the summer when zucchinis are abundant. 

You'll make zucchini noodles with a homemade marinara sauce in this recipe. Using good whole tomatoes, lots of garlic, dried herbs, and a quick sauté of the noodles, you'll have a delicious veggie loaded meal in about 30 minutes.

It's also great for meal prep! I love making this recipe on the weekend and portioning it out for a few lunches over the week. You can eat it cold or heat it up.

Ingredients

You don't need much to make this great meal. Here's what you'll need:

Ingredients for zucchini noodles and tomato sauce.

Zucchini - Zucchini is typically available in grocery stores year-round but it's at its peak in summer. Look for dark green zucchini that feel firm and don't have any slimy residue.

Canned Tomatoes - You'll need a 28-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes. I highly recommend any of the following brands: Bianco DiNapoli, San Merican, or San Marzano. San Merican and San Marzano can be found at most grocery stores.

Garlic - Besides the tomato, this is the most important flavor in the marinara. You don't want to skip the fresh garlic. I do not recommend replacing the fresh garlic with garlic powder. 

Olive Oil - Some olive oil will be used for cooking the garlic and some will be used to sauté the zoodles.

Seasonings - Kosher salt, red pepper flakes, and dried oregano come together to season the sauce. 

Fresh Basil - A sprig of fresh basil will add some flavor at the end of cooking the sauce. 

Optional Toppings - Shredded parmesan cheese, a little black pepper, fresh herbs, and additional salt can be added to top this dish if desired.

See the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and full instructions. 

Instructions

Though it seems like a few steps, there's very little cooking time, and this recipe requires little effort to be delicious. 

Make the Sauce

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and let it cook till it sizzles.
  2. Before the garlic browns, add the peeled tomatoes, salt, red pepper flakes, and oregano along with 1 cup of water. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally and use a spoon to break apart the larger pieces of tomato.
  3. In the last 2-3 minutes of cooking the sauce, add the sprig of basil, leaving the end sticking out of the sauce so you can pull it out and discard it when the pasta is done cooking.
A closeup of marinara sauce cooking.

Prepare the Zucchini Spaghetti

  1. Cut the ends off the zucchini, affix it to a spiralizer, and turn the handle. Most spiralizers come with multiple plates that allow you to cut your vegetables to varying thicknesses. I generally use the medium noodle size for everything. If you don't have a spiralizer, you can use a julienne peeler or your vegetable peeler. 
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and when hot add half the zucchini noodles. Toss them to coat them in oil and allow them to cook for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and repeat cooking the remaining zucchini noodles.
  3. Serve the zucchini noodles topped with tomato sauce. Top with optional fresh herbs or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese
A zoodle maker and zucchini noodles.

More Zucchini Recipes to Try

See all our favorite zucchini recipes or try one of these favorites!

  • Creamy Zucchini Pasta with Lemon - If you're not ready to fully commit to zoodles, this easy recipe combines a rich and creamy sauce with half zucchini noodles and half pasta noodles.
  • Shaved Zucchini Salad - This salad is a wonderful way to eat fresh garden zucchini and is delicious in the summer months! A ribboned zucchini with creamy cheese, lemon, and pine nuts makes a delicious summer salad. 
  • Baked Zucchini Fries - These zucchini sticks are baked with cotija cheese and breadcrumbs and are a healthier way to enjoy crispy, crunchy, veggie fries!
  • Zucchini Tartlets - These puff pastry zucchini tarts with goat cheese and microgreens are sure to please all your guests.
  • Kousa Mahshi (Stuffed Zucchini) - This stuffed zucchini with rice and ground beef is a delicious healthy meal and total comfort food!
A bowl with zoodles and tomato sauce, topped with parmesan cheese.

Frequently Asked Questions

If zoodles are a new zucchini recipe to you, you may find these frequently asked questions helpful. 

How do you make zoodles not soggy?

Though an extra step isn't necessary with this recipe, you can add salt to your zoodles before cooking and wrap them in a paper towel or let them sit in a colander for 10-15 minutes to get rid of any excess moisture. Then, give them a good squeeze to ring out the liquid before cooking. You'll also want to be sure not to overcook your zoodles. 

How do you cut zucchini for spaghetti?

A spiralizer is my preferred way to make zoodles. There are all kinds of different spiralizers like a handheld spiralizer, spiralizer attachment to a mixer, or a countertop spiralizer. You can also use a knife with a sharp blade to cut your zucchini into thin strips. And if all you have is a box grater, that works too! But, you won't have the long noodle shape. 

Tip: If you've never used a spiralizer before, get an extra zucchini just to test on. The most important part is not to crank the handle so hard you break the noodles or tip over the machine.

Do zucchini noodles taste like pasta?

Zucchini noodles do not taste exactly like pasta. They are neutral enough in flavor to be a great substitute and have a similar texture, making them a favorite way to enjoy healthier pasta. Though they likely won't replace pasta in a dish like pasta salad, they're delicious in saucy pasta dishes. 

Are zucchini noodles healthy?

Yes! Zucchini noodles are healthy. Zucchini contains nutrients like vitamin A, manganese, vitamin C, and potassium. It's also a low-carb substitute for regular pasta. Zucchini spaghetti is a great way to enjoy spaghetti with more nutrients and less carbs than regular spaghetti. 

Tips for Making this Recipe

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Cooking Tips - Don't forget to use a spoon or spatula to break apart the tomatoes while making the sauce. They will naturally break down as they heat up, but you'll need to assist them to get to a good consistency for the sauce!

Specialty Ingredients - For this recipe, you'll need a 28-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes. Because they form almost the entire base of the sauce, it's important to get good tomatoes! I recommend San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes or Bianco DiNapoli Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes.

Recommended Tools - I highly recommend getting a spiralizer if you don't already have one. They're inexpensive, fun to use, and make great veggie noodles. I recommend this spiralizer from Paderno.

Storing Tips - You can save this dish in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I recommend reheating it on the stovetop. Using a microwave will make the zucchini noodles mushy.

Diet/Allergy Alternatives - If you'd like to make this recipe vegan, use a vegan parmesan for the topping, or just leave it off and use fresh herbs.

We hope you love this awesome veggie noodle spaghetti!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Zucchini Spaghetti

Zoodles with marinara sauce in a white bowl with a fork.

This fresh zoodles with marinara recipe is a healthy weeknight meal.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounces) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large sprig of basil
  • 2 pounds zucchini*
  • optional - ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese or chopped fresh herbs

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the garlic and let it cook till it sizzles.
  2. Before the garlic browns, add the peeled tomatoes, salt, red pepper flakes, and oregano along with 1 cup of water. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally and use a spoon to break apart the larger pieces of tomato.
  3. In the last 3 minutes of cooking the sauce, add the sprig of basil, leaving the end sticking out of the sauce so you can pull it out and discard it when the pasta is done cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, spiralize the zucchini or ribbon it using a spiralizer or vegetable peeler.
  5. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and when hot add half the zucchini noodles. Toss them to coat them in oil and allow them to cook for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and repeat cooking the remaining zucchini noodles.
  6. Serve the zucchini noodles topped with tomato sauce. Top with optional fresh herbs or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Notes

*This was 4 medium zucchini for me.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 550mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 7g

Bob

Friday 19th of July 2024

Hello you're a zucchini recipe look delicious I am going to try it this weekend thanks for sharing

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