A simple savory zucchini mushroom pasta recipe that's packed with fresh garden flavors and crispy lemony breadcrumbs. A quick vegetarian summer dinner.
A vegetable garden is a wonderful thing. Not just for the food it produces, but for the attention it requires. No, really. Hear me out on this.
I've had a garden in some shape or form for more than ten years. Aside from getting the beds established and the end-of-year cleanup, I don't think a garden is hard work. It is work, of course. But good work. Good in the sense that it causes you to slow down and pay attention.
I think we can all benefit from something that makes us intentionally be more mindful. Most of us are too busy to get the chance throughout a typical day. In some ways, a garden is meditative and relaxing. Even if your garden is made up of just a few containers on your back patio, it can be a welcome distraction and provide you with a little food in the process.
By taking morning and evening (sometimes even lunchtime, if I'm lucky) walks through my garden, I can easily tackle small tasks. I look out for harmful bugs, see if anything could benefit from a little fertilizer, and incrementally pick as things as they're ready for eating. Instead of letting tasks build up for days and become a big chore, I keep it all manageable with just a few minutes here and there. It also helps that my wife and I share the responsibility.
This zucchini mushroom pasta recipe is a product of me taking the time to slow down in the garden this year. Each morning I pinch back some basil to prevent flowering, and each day I keep an eye on the zucchini, picking them as early as possible. So far, the basil has yet to flower, and I have yet to find myself with a four-foot-long zucchini.
Everyone likes to joke (or complain) about having too much zucchini, but if people just picked them before they got so big, they wouldn't have so much to worry about. I can pick half a dozen small zucchini and they still don't equate to the amount I've gotten out of one of those baseball bat-sized monstrosities. On the other hand, if you do want more zucchini, just let them grow bigger.
And if you need another idea for using up zucchini, check out my Simple Stuffed Zucchini recipe. Another idea I just tried for the first time is zucchini pickles. Instead of cucumbers, you use zucchini. Here's a quick zucchini pickle recipe to try out.
This simple dish combines zucchini and basil from the garden, along with mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Oh yeah, there's pasta, too. Here's everything you'll need:
- Pasta (any kind)
- Panko bread crumbs
- A lemon
- Red pepper flakes
- An onion
- White wine or vegetable broth
Start things off by getting a pot of water to boil for the pasta. This always takes a while, so it should be the first thing that you do.
After your ingredients are prepped, make the breadcrumbs. All you do is toast them in some olive oil then mix in some lemon zest.
Next up, saute the vegetables in olive oil and then a little wine. When the pasta is done and vegetables are cooked, it all gets tossed together.
Instead of topping it off with cheese, as is so often do with pasta dishes, use the toasted lemon breadcrumbs for a nice crunch and burst of freshness.
And that's all it takes to make this zucchini mushroom pasta. It's a quick meal yet tastes like it took much more time and effort—kind of like my garden.
Looking for more pasta dinner ideas? Try my Green Pea Pasta with Mint, Penne Alla Rum, or Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad.
Vegetables - Could you use vegetables other than zucchini? Yes. Broccoli might be nice, you'll just have to adjust the cooking time.
Wine - As I mentioned already, feel free to use broth instead of wine. I know not everyone consumes alcohol or you may just not have any handy.
Panko breadcrumbs - Fresh breadcrumbs or another style could work. Pank are nice because they're bigger and offer more of that texture and crunch.
💭 Top tips
- Don't overcook the zucchini! If you've ever had mushy zucchini, you know how terrible it can be. It's why so many people hate the poor vegetable. If you slice it thin and aren't using giant pieces, it won't take long to cook and it's why it's the last thing you add into the pan.
Zucchini Mushroom Pasta
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Diet: Vegetarian
A simple savory zucchini and mushroom pasta recipe packed with fresh garden flavors and crispy lemony breadcrumbs. A quick vegetarian summer dinner.
- 12 ounces of pasta (any kind works)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- zest of 1 lemon
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 cup white wine or vegetable broth
- ¼ chop roughly chopped basil
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a couple of good pinches of salt and pasta. Cook according to the package directions until al dente.
Heat a large deep pan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add the breadcrumbs and cook for about 5 minutes until brown. Stir often. When done, remove from the pan and set aside on a plate. Mix in the lemon zest and ½ teaspoon of salt.
Return the pan to heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the red pepper flakes and onion and saute for about 10 minutes until soft and golden. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and the remaining salt, and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour the wine or broth into the pan and simmer on high for a couple of minutes before adding the zucchini. Lower the heat and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so until the zucchini is tender but not mushy.
Off heat, toss the pasta with the vegetables and basil until combined. Serve warm topped with lemon breadcrumbs.
If the dish ends up too thick, or you plan to reheat it later, add some of that pasta water you saved. This starchy water helps to make a sauce.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Main Dishes
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: vegetable pasta, vegetarian, zucchini, mushrooms, pasta, breadcrumbs, lemon
I ended up not using all of the liquid in the pan with the veggies because I felt like I was about to eat soup. When are you supposed to add the garlic?
Thanks for trying the recipe, Dawn. Sorry for the oversight. The garlic goes in with the mushrooms. I've updated the recipe. When using just the cup of wine or broth, I didn't find the result to be soupy after cooking and tossing everything with the pasta. The reserved cup of pasta water is only needed if the sauce is too thick. I updated the wording on that in case it wasn't clear.
My family enjoyed this dish a lot. I made it almost exactly as written, but I put in a few sun dried tomatoes, too.
Glad you enjoyed it, Penny! Sundried tomatoes sound like a great addition.