This is such a simple dish, but the flavors of my quick summer squash pasta recipe are amazing. This is the type of dish that fits fresh summer cuisine. 

Here in New Hampshire, we have to use our imagination as far as summer is concerned, but this is the type of dish you would want to eat on a warm, sunny summer day. So, for those of you who are experiencing an actual summer, go for it! 

The rest of us will have to enjoy this dish and dream of summer. It works too!

Try my roasted butternut squash stuffed shells or this gluten-free one-pot pasta for other tasty veggie pasta recipes.

Why you’ll love this vegan pasta recipe with squash

  • Wellness: This recipe contains nutritious ingredients like summer squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil. It’s a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your meal planning.
  • Light and fresh: The combination of summer squash, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes gives the dish a light and refreshing quality. It’s perfect for warm summer days when you’re craving something satisfying but not too heavy.
  • Easy to customize: You can adjust the ingredients and spices to suit your preferences. Add more or less crushed red pepper for heat, vary the pasta type, or experiment with different herbs and spices to make it your own.
  • Quick and easy: This recipe is relatively simple to prepare, making it ideal for weeknight dinners or when you’re short on time. You can have a delicious meal on the table in no time.
  • Colorful and pretty: The vibrant colors of the summer squash, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes make this dish visually appealing. It’s perfect for impressing guests or brightening your family’s dinner table.
  • Versatile: You can serve this pasta hot, at room temperature, or cold as a salad. It’s a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in various ways.

Ingredients and substitution notes 

  • Olive oil: As there isn’t a lot of sauce in this recipe, the flavor of the oil will shine through, so you want it to be of good quality.
  • Garlic cloves: Fresh garlic adds a pungent, aromatic flavor. I recommend using fresh versus powdered garlic for this recipe. 
  • Yellow summer squash and zucchini: Look for fresh, firm, and unblemished veggies.
  • Crushed red pepper: This is optional, but if you’re like me and love a little bit of heat, I’d suggest adding some in. 
  • Better-than-Bouillon: This concentrated vegetable base adds depth and umami to the pasta. You can use it to create a vegetable broth by mixing it with water.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Choose ripe, sweet cherry tomatoes for a burst of color and flavor. You can use just red or a multi-colored range.
  • Fresh basil: Fresh basil leaves provide a delightful, aromatic touch. Tear or chop them just before adding them to retain their freshness and flavor.
  • Penne pasta: Penne pasta works well in this recipe, but you can also use other shapes like spaghetti, linguine, or fusilli.

Summer Squash Pasta Recipe variations and add-ins

  • Summer squash casserole: Layer sliced summer squash with breadcrumbs, vegan cheese, and herbs in a baking dish with the paste. Bake until it’s bubbly and golden brown for a satisfying pasta casserole.
  • Summer squash fritters: Grate summer squash, mix with herbs, flour, and spices, and pan-fry them into crispy cakes. Serve with a vegan yogurt-based dipping sauce.
  • Mediterranean twist: Enhance the flavors with ingredients like Kalamata olives, vegan feta cheese, and fresh oregano—the briny olives and creamy vegan feta pair wonderfully with summer squash.
  • Ratatouille: Combine summer squash with eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes to make a classic French dish. Here is my favorite Ratatouille recipe!
  • Squash and bean salad: Make the recipe and cool all the ingredients. Then, serve it with cooked beans, such as cannellini or chickpeas. Toss with a lemon vinaigrette and fresh herbs for a hearty and refreshing salad.
  • Add pesto: Toss summer squash with homemade vegan pesto sauce for a burst of herby flavor. Add toasted pine nuts and grated vegan parmesan for extra texture and taste.

Top tips

  • Focus on the quality of your squash: Opt for fresh and firm summer squash without blemishes. The quality of your ingredients makes a real difference in the final dish.
  • Uniform dicing: Dice the summer squash and zucchini into uniform pieces to ensure even cooking. This helps ensure all the details cook at the same rate.
  • Control moisture: To prevent your dish from becoming too watery, lightly salt the squash and let it sit for a few minutes before cooking. 
  • Taste as you go: As you cook, taste your dish and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
  • Don’t overcook: Overcooking summer squash can make it mushy and lose its fresh flavor. 

Make ahead of instructions and storage

Make-ahead instructions:

Wash, slice, or dice the summer squash as needed. Prepare any other ingredients ahead of time and set them aside.

For many recipes, you can partially cook the summer squash in advance. Sauté or roast the squash until it’s slightly undercooked or al dente. This helps preserve the texture.

Allow the partially cooked summer squash to cool to room temperature. This prevents condensation inside the storage container, which can make the dish soggy.

Storage Instructions:

Cooked summer squash and pasta can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Place your leftovers into an airtight container to maintain freshness and prevent odors from spreading to other foods.

While summer squash can be frozen, it may become softer upon thawing due to its high water content. If you freeze your squash, ensure it’s well-sealed in an airtight container or freezer bag. Be aware that thawed summer squash may have a different texture than fresh.

When reheating, use methods that preserve the dish’s texture and flavor. Sautéing, baking, or using the microwave at reduced power can be effective. Be gentle to prevent overcooking.

Serving suggestions 

Serve your delicious summer squash pasta with a pear and pecan green salad or this delightful, simple green salad

Sometimes, I’ll serve my squash pasta recipe with a heartier vegan salad like this chickpea salad.

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Pasta with Summer Squash

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Chef Ani


  • 12 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium sized yellow summer squash, petite diced 
  • 1 medium sized zucchini, petite diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon Better-than-Bouillon
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh basil, cut into small strips
  • 1/2 pound Penne pasta


Start by cooking the pasta according to the directions on the box. It’s good to leave the pasta al dente, as it will cook a little more when tossed with the vegetables. Drain the water and rinse pasta in cool water. Drain. Set aside.

In a large skillet, add oil and garlic. Sauté for one minutes while stirring. Add the yellow and green summer squash. Sauté for another minute.
Add the crushed red pepper, water, better-than-bouillon, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the cherry tomatoes. Cook an additional couple of minutes.

Next add the pasta. Toss to combine and heat. Salt to taste. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.