Olive Garden Zoodles Primavera

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Olive Garden Zoodles Primavera is the best zucchini pasta recipe EVER!! Perfectly tender-crisp and colorful veggies in a creamy, cheesy sauce. It’s the perfect meal to make with seasonal veggies, but this healthy pasta primavera is so scrumptious, you’ll want it all year long! 

titled image for olive garden zoodles


The zucchini noodles are one of my favorite items on the Olive Garden® lighter fare menu. Plenty of veggies, and of course, plenty of cheese!

And for home gardeners, there’s no better way to enjoy your seasonal produce.

ingredients for olive garden zoodles

Olive Garden Zoodles

Who said healthy food has to be boring?

This zucchini pasta recipe is packed with energy-boosting vitamins and minerals that will help keep your body in tip top shape. No guilt here!

Definitely keep some of your squash on standby for another healthy Italian recipe – zucchini parmesan!

Also, if you want a healthy side to serve with the meal, you can’t go wrong with Olive Garden Salad and Italian Dressing!

onions, garlic and mushrooms in cast iron skillet

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Zucchini – We use only the best squash to prepare the best zoodles recipe!

    Perfectly ripe zucchini should be a gorgeous dark green color, and the flesh should be firm — not mushy at all!

    If it feels springy or spongy when you gently press, it’s likely gone bad.
  • Mushrooms – The Olive Garden zucchini pasta recipe uses baby bella mushrooms, but there’s room for any mushroom you like!

    You can dice a regular sized portobello mushroom, use white mushrooms, or throw in some morel mushrooms.

    The world is your oyster — and oyster mushrooms would work, too!
  • Bell Peppers – Red peppers will match your plate of zoodles primavera from Olive Garden, but yellow or orange peppers are delicious as well!

    Alternatives aren’t quite as sweet or juicy, so keep that in mind when choosing your produce.
  • Broccoli and Carrots – You can easily use frozen florets and carrots instead of fresh.

    If you do, let them thaw in the fridge and then pat with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  • Tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes are just perfect. You can throw them in whole and heat them up just enough for them to give a little juicy pop with each bite!

    But you have some wiggle room — grape tomatoes make a fine substitute.
  • Heavy Cream and Parmesan Cheese – For our delicious cream sauce!

    You could substitute the heavy cream with whole milk, if preferred, but the resulting sauce won’t be as thick or luscious.

    One way to compensate is with a bit of flour or a tiny amount of cornstarch to thicken things up.
adding fresh veggies to cast iron skillet for healthy pasta primavera

How to Make Perfect Zoodles

You’ll have a hard time preparing zoodles primavera without a proper spiralizer.

I use a KitchenAid spiralizer attachment, though there are plenty of manual options out there. 

  1. Prepare the squash by chopping off the rounded ends, then give the veggies a quick rinse. 
  2. Salt the zucchini.
    After making the zucchini noodles, you need to give them time to release the water that’s built up in the flesh.

    Do this by sprinkling the noodles with sea salt. Then, place them into a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl and let them sit for at least 30 minutes.

    Doing this helps to prevent watery noodles, prevents the veggie mix from boiling, helps them cook faster, and also keeps the zoodles super flavorful.
  3. Release excess water.
    Afterward, wrap the zoodles in a few sheets of paper towel or a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to drain any liquid still hanging on.

    You won’t be able to get all of the water out, but this should help remove most of it!
olive garden zucchini noodles - adding cream and parmesan

Storing and Reheating

Be sure to refrigerate your leftovers in an airtight container as soon as you’re finished serving.

This helps them last as long as possible. Ideally, Olive Garden Zoodles Primavera will keep for up to 3 days. 

To reheat, add everything back into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until warmed through. Honestly, though? I eat my leftovers cold!

Olive Garden Zucchini Noodles FAQ

Are zoodles healthier?

They sure are. Compared to pasta made with flour, zucchini noodles have fewer carbohydrates and are gluten free.

Not only that, but they’re full of vitamins and minerals! Zucchini is rich in vitamins A, C, and B6, , as well as potassium and fiber.

Combined with its low levels of sugar and fat, it is an extremely healthy pasta substitute.

Can zoodles be eaten raw?

Absolutely! In fact, this zucchini pasta recipe involves very little cooking of the noodles themselves – just 4 minutes or so for the squash to soften. 

But you could easily add the zucchini noodles at the very end and coat them in the cream sauce without frying them at all.

Remember, though, that the texture will be crisper and the noodles will have a slightly bitter flavor.

olive garden zoodles wound around fork

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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healthy pasta primavera in cast iron skillet

olive garden zoodles primavera in skillet

Olive Garden Zoodles Primavera

Donna Elick
Olive Garden Zoodles is a healthy pasta primavera on the lighter fare menu. Zucchini pasta is SO good, and we have the recipe for you!
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Method Stovetop
Servings 4

Ingredients
 

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 white onion, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Thoroughly wash all vegetables.
  • Spiralize 3 zucchini. Square off the ends of the zucchini and place them in the spiralizer. Use a medium spiral blade.
  • Place the zucchini in a bowl or colander and toss with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Set aside (set over a drain if using a colander) and allow the zucchini to weep (release its water.) After about 30 minutes, drain any water that has been released from the zucchini, then wrap the zoodles in a clean dishcloth and gently squeeze as much of the remaining water from them as you can.
  • Prepare the remaining vegetables by dicing, spiralizing, or slicing.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onions and mushrooms to the skillet and saute for about 2 minutes, until softened.
  • Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook 1 minute longer.
  • Add the bell pepper, broccoli, and carrots to the pan and cook, tossing gently, for 2 minutes longer, until the vegetables have just begun to soften.
  • Add in the zoodles, chiffonade basil, and cherry tomatoes. Cook 3-4 minutes longer, until the zoodles begin to soften.
  • Add cream, then parmesan cheese, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir for 1 additional minute, until the cheese has melted and the cream sauce is coating the zoodles and other vegetables.
  • Serve immediately.

Donna’s Notes

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
We used a Kitchen-Aid spiralizer attachment for automatic spirals. There are other brands of spiralizers that are manual, if you do not have a Kitchen-Aid. (I chose the kitchen-aid attachment because it was not much more expensive than a plastic manual spiralizer.)
Weeping the zucchini helps to keep excess liquid out of the pasta primavera, allowing the dish to cook up more quickly and prevent the vegetables from boiling and losing flavor in the excess water.
We loved ½ cup of heavy cream for a nice creamy sauce, but you can certainly substitute milk and/or use less to lighten the meal further.
You can serve with additional parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 300cal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 255mg | Sugar: 9g | Fiber: 4g | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image collage for zoodles primavera olive garden

Originally published August 2022

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