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Lemony zucchini pasta in a white bowl.

Lemony Zucchini Pasta

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  • Author: Ally Milligan
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


An easy, lemony, vegetable-packed pasta recipe, perfect for warm-weather nights. Made with gluten-free pasta, zucchini, leeks, garlic, and red pepper flakes for spice. Garnish with optional feta or Parmesan cheese. Gluten-free and vegetarian.


  • 8 oz gluten-free fusilli or rotini pasta (I like chickpea or lentil for plant-based protein)
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch sticks (see notes)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 2 small leeks, washed and white and pale-green parts thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled feta cheese, for serving (dairy-free if desired and optional)


  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, make the zucchini. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the zucchini and season with salt. Give a quick stir and then cook undisturbed for a few minutes. Stir again and cook until the zucchini is browned and just tender on all sides. Remove the zucchini from the skillet. Lower the heat to medium.
  3. To the same skillet, add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Add the leeks, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until soft about 5 minutes. Add in the cooked zucchini and give everything a good stir.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the leeks. Stir to combine. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the mixture, stir again, and add more salt to taste.
  5. Save half of the pasta mixture for lunch tomorrow. Divide the remaining half between two bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled feta, if using.


Zucchini. Feel free to use summer squash instead of zucchini in this recipe. You can also experiment with cutting the zucchini in cubes (or even spiralizing it) instead of cutting it into sticks!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.