Mar 19, 2024

Zucchini and Squash Pasta with Parsley and Mint Sauce

If you're not too familiar with using mint in savory dishes, this idea can feel bizarre at first. You might imagine the dish will have a strong minty taste and not too appetizing. That can be the case if using a whole bunch of mint leaves. However, we are talking about just a small handful for 2 to 3 servings. So all you get is a bit of herbal refreshing touch, and definitely not "minty" at all. Try it and you'll know better.

Zucchini and squash pasta with parsley and mint sauce - 

Zucchini and squash pasta with parsley and mint sauce

Ingredients (for 2 to 3 servings)?

  • 250 grams spaghetti
  • 300 grams shrimps (I used big red shrimps)
  • 1/2 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 medium squash
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Some olive oil
  • Some salt
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 loosely packed cup parsley
  • 1 loosely packed cup mint leaves
  • Some aged Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)


Peel and devein the shrimp. The big red shrimp I used was already prepped, so there's no shell for me to utilize. If you do, add in the shells and the heads to a pot together with some olive oil. Sear till aromatic then drain to keep the oil only.

Prepped big red shrimp

Finely chop the parsley and mint leaves. Flat leaf parsley preferable but the curly kind is fine too. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Trim-off the tips for the zucchini and squash, then cut to thin strips, about 3-inch in length. 

Zucchini and squash thin strips

Bring a big pot of water to a boil and season some salt. Cook the pasta till nearly al dente. Save about 1 cup of pasta water then drain the rest.

Have a big pot or big pan ready, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil or use the aromatic oil after searing the shrimp shells and shrimp heads. Add in garlic along with 1 tablespoon of capers and 1 teaspoon of salt. Switch to medium heat and cook till aromatic but not burn the garlic bits.

Searing chopped garlic and capers

Transfer zucchini and squash strips over and stir-fry till softened. Taste and season with more salt. 

Cooking down zucchini and squash strips

Add the shrimps and cook till almost cooked-through. Pour in some pasta water and let the oil and water cook till they appear to be infused with each other more. I added 1/3 cup of pasta water here. 

Adding pasta water

Transfer drained pasta and mix till evenly blended.

Mix in pasta

Add 1 loosely packed cup of chopped parsley and 1 loosely packed cup of chopped mint. Toss till combined. Add half of the lemon zest then squeeze some lemon juice for a brighter note. 

Plate and drizzle some olive oil over, the pasta will be ready to serve. I like to enjoy this dish dairy-free. However, if you'd like, you can grate some aged Parmigiano Reggiano over for a savory boost. 

Zucchini and squash pasta with parsley and mint sauce

Besides using mint, I also love the idea of cutting zucchini and squash to thin strips instead of the much more usual shapes such as slices and chunks. In a way the strips can blend in with the spaghetti nicely since they hold similar shapes. And swirling up pasta with these veggies mixed within was fun.

Zucchini and squash pasta with parsley and mint sauce

Zucchini and squash must stay, so do the parsley and mint. But if you don't feel like shrimps, chicken or scallops are two other great options suitable with this flavor combo. 

Other recipes using mint:

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