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summer pasta in bowl

Vegan Summer Pasta with Zucchini

When summer produce is at its best and you have a bounty of zucchini, tomatoes, and fresh basil… bring it to this simple but impressive pasta dish! Serves 4.
Course entree, Main Course, pasta
Keyword basil, olives, pasta, tomatoes, zucchini


  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 6-7 cups diced yellow summer squash or green zucchini see note
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp or more crushed red chili flakes (see note) optional
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes or sliced/halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano see note if using dried
  • 7-8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil see note
  • 1 lb dry cut whole-grain pasta ex: penne, rotini, bow-tie
  • 2-3 tbsp olive brine optional
  • 1/2 cup halved or chopped pitted kalamata olives optional
  • Extra salt / pepper to taste for finishing ; extra basil leaves for finishing


  • In a large pot or saute pan over high heat, add the wine, diced squash/zucchini, and salt and pepper. Cool uncovered over high heat for 8-9 minutes, until zucchini has started to soften, stirring occasionally.* If mixture is sticking, add a teaspoon or two of water as needed (usually do not need as the zucchini releases a lot of moisture).
  • Reduce heat to low. Add tomatoes and fresh oregano and stir through. Then add garlic and stir through. Cover pot, increase heat to medium-low, and let cook for another 8-9 minutes, until the zucchini and tomatoes have softened and developed a chunky sauce-like texture. Once pasta is cooked and drained, add it to this mixture and stir through. Add basil, olive brine, and olives if using. Taste, adding extra seasoning as desired. Serve with an extra topping of olives or fresh sprinkle of basil leaves (see other serving ideas below).
  • *While the zucchini and tomatoes are cooking, you can begin to prepare the cooking water for the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. As you finish cooking the tomatoes, begin cooking the pasta according to package directions. Once just cooked through (or al dente), drain pasta.


Zucchini Note: Yellow squash/zucchini are my preference for this dish. With the cooking, the squash softens but doesn’t mute in color as green zucchini does.
Chili flakes note: I often make this pasta without the chili flakes. If you love a pop of heat, however, add the chili flakes when cooking the squash - adding more to taste if desired.
Oregano and Basil Note: If you don’t have fresh oregano, you can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano, but add it at the beginning of the cooking process, when adding the zucchini. Don’t substitute dried basil for the fresh basil in this dish. If you don’t have fresh basil, you can use fresh parsley or omit it altogether.
Serving Ideas: Top with pasta with either a light drizzle of a balsamic reduction, or a generous sprinkle of vegan parmesan.