Summer Zucchini Squash Carbonara

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Summer Zucchini Squash Carbonara is light and simple but has tons of flavor from caramelized zucchini and squash making it perfectly delicious.

A twist of spaghetti noodles on a plate with squash.
zucchini and squash with spaghetti noodles in a pan

Summer Zucchini Squash Carbonara

This Italian-inspired summer recipe is sure to please even the pickiest eater. It stars an unlikely ingredient—zucchini and summer squash—that is sauteed in the pan, creating a light and healthy twist on the traditional carbonara. Since there are minimal ingredients use the best ingredients that you can afford. Good olive oil, fresh peppercorns, and the best Pecorino or Parmesan cheese. These ingredients will create a balance of flavors that will delight the senses.

The key to creating the perfect carbonara is to be creative and experiment with different flavors and textures so each bite has something unique and memorable. Not only is this dish delicious, but the addition of vegetables also makes it a nutritious and filling meal.

Summer Zucchini Squash Carbonara in a red pan

What is ‘carbonara’?

Originating in Lazio, Italy, carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish made with just five ingredients. You make traditional carbonara with pasta (spaghetti), eggs, black pepper, pecorino, and pancetta. And, serve it as a main dish.

Traditionally, you create the sauce from ‘more eggs yolks than egg whites’ which makes it rich and luxurious. However, purest say, ‘There is absolutely no cream in carbonara.’

Of course, every rule is meant to be broken and I like carbonara made with or with eggs and with or without heavy cream. My recipe today doesn’t have eggs or cream. I loosely define it as a carbonara and, regardless of the name, it’s a spectacular recipe! It’s easy, quick, filling, and delicous!

Summer Zucchini Squash Carbonara in a skillet.

Summer Zucchini Squash Carbonara Ingredients

This recipe is super simple with only seven ingredients.

The full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions is at the bottom of this post. You can save a tree and save the recipe to your personal and private recipe box right here on Call Me PMc. This way you’ll never misplace it.

  • Zucchini, up to 1 pound. See notes below.
  • Yellow squash, up to 1 pound.
  • Kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese. Which ever you choose, if possible get fresh and grate it yourself.

The recipe as written has a high vegetable to pasta ratio. However, you can add fewer zucchini and squash if you prefer. Furthermore, you can add all zucchini or all squash. I like the mix of both. I suggest you make it as written the first time then adjust to your liking going forward.

Zucchini Squash slice with noodles in a pan.


Is pecorino the same as Parmesan?

They are both aged, salty, hard cheeses. However, they are not the same. The main difference is pecorino is made from sheep’s milk and Parmesan is made from cow’s milk.

What is a ‘good’ olive oil to cook with?

Experts recommend extra virgin olive oil since it’s the highest quality olive oil on the market. It’s processed differently than other olive oil. A good but moderately price EVOO is Pompeian Smooth Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

What is good served with carbonara?

I prefer a simple green vegetable or salad like Panko Broccoli, Broccoli Salad, Steakhouse Wedge Salad, or Napa Cabbage Slaw.

Summer Zucchini Squash Carbonara in a skillet.
A twist of spaghetti noodles on a plate with squash.

Summer Zucchini Squash Carbonara

This is my version of a carbonara made with fresh summer squash and zucchini. It's quick, easy-to-make and flavorful.
Author: Paula
5 from 38 votes
Print Pin Rate

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Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
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  • 1 pound zucchini
  • 1 pound summer squash
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ to ¾ tablespoon whole black peppercorns crushed
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1 cup Pecorino or Parmesan cheese if possible get fresh and grate it yourself.


  • Wash, dry, and thinly slice the zucchini and squash.
  • Cook the spaghetti noodles according to the package directions to al dente. They will cook some more when it's all put together so you don't want them overcooked now.
  • Add oil to a 10 or 12-inch pan on the stovetop. Add the sliced squash and zucchini to the pan and saute until cooked but still firm, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper and stir.
  • When the pasta is cooked, drain but reserve the pasta water.
  • Add the pasta, 1 cup pasta water, and the Pecorino or Parmesan cheese to the pan with the squash and stir. If it's too dry add more pasta water 1/4 cup at a time. There won't be a lot of sauce but you also don't want it to be dry where the pasta sticks together. Cover and let it sit on low temp for about 5 minutes.
  • Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Serve immediately.


Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 610mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 460IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. So after washing and slicing the squash, what’s next?! Are they’re supposed to be raw? Cause there’s no further cooking instructions after it

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