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Summer squash lemon spaghetti is an amazing vegetable pasta recipe that is so simple, but also so completely satisfying! The flavors are bright and fresh and the fragrance is soooo vibrant! Everyone in the house will be coming to the kitchen to find out what you are cooking!
Summer Squash Lemon Spaghetti
When the weather starts warming up in the spring, I start dreaming of ways to use all the summer squash from my garden. I want something fresh and easy. So, this recipe is one of my favorites. The spaghetti can be switched out for any kind of noodles I have in my pantry. The zucchini and yellow summer squash are so colorful and vibrant in color and the freshly squeezed lemon brightens the taste.
One thing we really struggle with at our house is getting our vegetables in. I LOVE vegetables, but my kids, not so much! It is a serious problem! I have tried bribes and count downs and eat as many bites as you are old. Everything. Finally, I found out the secret. Cheese. The girls love the parmesan cheese and noodles in this recipe. The small bites of summer squash don’t even phase them. Whew, now I can finally make a meal that they will eat all of and not just eat around the vegetables or eat only the bread. This will be a great super easy and well rounded meal at your house too!
What is Summer Squash?
This time of year I always start hearing the term summer squash thrown around. It is used pretty loosely. As a matter of fact, contrary to popular belief, squash is actually a fruit that is cooked as a vegetable. Who knew? Anyway, squash come in many different varieties so they are grouped by when they are harvested into “summer squash” and “winter squash.” Summer squash therefore is any squash that is harvested in summer, so the confusion is understandable. Some varieties of summer squash include zucchini, many types of yellow summer squash, and pattypan. They are best when cooked within one week of harvesting.
Spaghetti and Vegetable Ingredients:
- White spaghetti: Or whatever noodles you have on hand.
- Olive oil: Cook the garlic in the oil until fragrant then add in the veggies.
- Garlic: minced
- Assorted Vegetables: For this recipe I chose zucchini and summer squash.
- Pine nuts: Optional, but they do add that great nutty flavor to balance out the lemon flavor.
- Parmesan cheese: freshly grated
- Breadcrumbs: They add the little salty crunch to each bite.
- Lemon juice:freshly squeezed
- Salt and pepper: To taste
How to Make Summer Squash Spaghetti:
- Prepare the spaghetti: Cook noodles according to package directions until cooked all the way through. Drain when the noodles are done cooking and return the noodles to the pot.
- Chop up the zucchini and summer squash: Cut the squashes into coins and then lengthwise and width-wise through the coins. (measure out 5 cups after cutting)
- Toast pine nuts: Place the pine nuts in the pan without any oil over medium heat. Lightly toast by stirring until lightly brown. They will burn easily so watch carefully.
- Heat olive oil and garlic: Combine the olive oil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until fragrant.
- Saute chopped squash and zucchini: Add veggies to the olive oil mixture. Stir until they are tender.
- Add in the Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs: Season generously (or to taste) with salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
- Toss veggies and pasta: Add the zucchini and squash mixture to the drained spaghetti. Add in the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and the previously toasted pine nuts. Stir until combined. Tongs work best for tossing the ingredients together.
- Enjoy immediately.
What is the difference between Zucchini and Squash:
Besides the color the main difference between zucchini and squash is the shape. Zucchini has deep green skin and soft white flesh inside. It’s shape is long and straight. However, yellow squash has a wide bottom and tapers at the neck with a recognizable yellow color. Squash often has more seeds. Zucchini and yellow squash are very similar in flavor and texture if harvested at similar maturity. Because of their similar taste, they can be used interchangeably when cooking and add colorful dimension to your dish.
Tips and Variations for Summer Squash:
- Save a bit of the starchy pasta-cooking water and add in a the end to make a fast no-cook pasta sauce!
- Cooking the squash a little longer will make it a little more moist and give a little more sauce to the noodles.
- Use whatever vegetables you find at the farmers market or what is growing well in your garden.
- Mix up the herbs: Thyme, basil, or mint are all great add ins. Just be sure to add them closer to the end so they stay fresh and bright.
- Finish it off with feta cheese(or pesto for a vegan option), capers, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for an extra blast of flavor.
More Delicious Vegetables Recipes to Try:
- Buttery Garlic Herb Chicken with Zucchini
- One Pan Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken with Vegetables
- Grilled Lime Butter Salmon with Summer Vegetables
- Parmesan Roasted Vegetables
- Squash Casserole
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Summer Squash Lemon Spaghetti
- 1 package white spaghetti
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic minced
- 5 cups assorted zucchini and summer squash
- 1/3 cup pine nuts optional
- 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- Salt and pepper
- Prepare the spaghetti according to package directions and cook all the way through. Drain when the noodles are done cooking and return the noodles to the pot.
- Chop up the zucchini and summer squash (measure out 5 cups after cutting) by cutting the squashes into coins and then lengthwise and width-wise through the coins.
- Next, combine the olive oil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until fragrant.
- Add the chopped squash and zucchini to the olive oil mixture. Stir until they are tender.
- Add in the Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Season generously (or to taste) with salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
- Add the zucchini and squash mixture to the drained spaghetti. Add in the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and the previously toasted pine nuts. Stir until combined.
- Tongs work best for tossing the ingredients together.
- Enjoy immediately.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.