This lemon-basil zucchini pasta sauce is so easy to make and you only need a handful of ingredients. This vegan zucchini pasta sauce will be on repeat this summer for me!
I’ve made this recipe before, though not vegan, and I wanted to try a version that was completely plant-based. As we get into the summer season, this recipe is a great way to use the surplus of zucchini that we all seem to have!
The premise of this recipe is quite simple. You simmer diced onion and diced zucchini over moderate heat for about 40 minutes. You don’t want to brown the zucchini, instead, you want a medium-low heat to slowly pull the water out of the squash. This water is then evaporated and you’re left with a jammy texture that’s loaded with zucchini flavor.
It’s a super lush texture and tastes absolutely amazing as the basis for this sauce.
Once the zucchini is nice and jammy, you simply add lemon juice and minced basil then toss with cooked pasta. That’s the recipe!
What do you need for this lemon-basil zucchini pasta sauce:
The great thing about this vegan zucchini pasta sauce recipe is that it doesn’t require a ton of ingredients. You’ll need:
- Lemon– the juice and zest
The zucchini chips are optional, but I think the crunch tastes great with the jammy, lush pasta sauce.
If you made this recipe, snap a pic on Instagram and tag @exploring__vegan so I can feature you in my feed!
If you’re looking for more pasta recipes, check my archives!
Lemon-Basil Zucchini Pasta Sauce
- Wide pot
- Large pot
Zucchini pasta sauce:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 2 pounds zucchini, trimmed and diced
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested, juice and zest kept separate
- 1 ounce basil, minced, a few leaves reserved for garnish
- 16 ounces dry pasta
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup neutral oil
- 1 zucchini, trimmed and sliced paper-thin
Simmer the zucchini pasta sauce:
- Heat the olive oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until just translucent. Add the diced zucchini and season with salt. Cook for 35–40 minutes over medium-low to medium heat. Stir occasionally. You don’t want the zucchini to brown. Instead, you want the liquid to be released slowly and then evaporate to create a thick, jammy texture.
Cook the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta and set aside.
- Prepare the zucchini chips:
- Arrange the zucchini slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Place a paper towel on top and set aside for 15 minutes.
Fry the zucchini chips:
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the zucchini slices dry thoroughly. Once the oil is hot, add the zucchini in batches, and cook for 1–2 minutes per side until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Finish the pasta sauce:
- Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and the minced basil and cook for 3–4 minutes.
- Add the pasta cooking water and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the sauce is bubbling, add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Cook for 1 minute. Taste and season once more to your preferences. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the pasta between shallow bowls. Garnish with the reserved zucchini chips and lemon zest. Add a few basil leaves on top, if you like.