This is truly my favorite 15-minute zoodles marinara recipe. I've made it countless times (often multiple times each week) over the last three years, and it's my go-to when I'm craving something comforting yet veggie-packed. To make it, you'll simmer some of your favorite store-bought marinara sauce along with cherry tomatoes, chili flakes, and garlic powder. About five minutes later, add two spiralized zucchini to the pan and continue to simmer until your zoodles reach desired doneness. I like to up the richness by adding a simple splash of cashew cream, but you can skip that part if you'd like. Serve these flavorful vegan zoodles marinara with a generous sprinkle of nut or seed parmesan.
If I had a penny for every time I've eaten this dish over the last three years, I'd have at least a buck (and maybe even a couple bucks) on my hands.
This vegan 15-minute zoodles marinara is far and away my most repeated, beloved weeknight meal.
It's incredibly simple to make, super comforting and filling, and completely veggie-centered.
I've shared many snapshots of this go-to meal on social media over the years (Exhibit A, Exhibit B), and I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to offer up the details in an official recipe post.
Perhaps because I assumed it was too simple?
But after posting a photo on Instagram stories and receiving a surprising number of messages with requests for the recipe, I realized that maybe I'd underestimated this humble little noodle dish.
As you can tell, I like it extra saucy, and I'm convinced that's the key to creating zoodles (i.e., zucchini noodles) that are truly crave-worthy. (Note: The Instagram photos linked to earlier are indicative of how I usually enjoy the dish—I used a much more restrained hand with the sauce when styling the photos in this post.)
If you go skimpy on the sauce, you will, in fact, feel like you're eating a big ol' bowl of wannabe pasta.
However, if you throw caution to the wind and get a little more saucy than usual, those zoodles of yours will come to life in big, satisfying, pasta-y ways.
As a matter of fact, I prefer my zoodles to be so saucy that I'm forced to eat the dish with both a fork and a spoon in hand. A fork to twirl up all that noodle-y deliciousness, and a spoon to slurp up that brothy, tomato-soup-like marinara at the end.
Noodles and soup united in one big bowl.
To make this simple, easy, and super speedy pasta dish, you'll start by simmering the sauce.
Simply add 1 to 1 ½ cups (depending on how saucy you like it) of your favorite store-bought marinara to a sauté pan along with a handful of quartered cherry tomatoes, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and a few shakes of garlic powder.
Simmer all that goodness for about 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to soften.
Then, add two spiralized zucchini to the pan along with a pinch of sea salt. Continue to simmer until the zucchini noodles soften to desired doneness.
Now you have a choice.
You can stop right here and keep the marinara straightforward and pure, or you can add a splash of cashew cream (i.e., raw cashews blended with filtered water) to create a slightly creamy sauce.
I consistently opt for the creamier, richer route, but you do you.
Choose whichever path you will and then spoon those hot, brothy zoodles into a roomy bowl and top with a few very generous sprinkles of vegan parmesan (see recipe notes for a homemade version).
Finally, twirl, slurp, and enjoy.
I hope this recipe for my favorite 15-minute zoodles marinara finds as welcome a place in your weekly rotation as it has in mine.
Favorite 15-Minute Zoodles Marinara
- 1 to 1 ½ cups of your favorite marinara sauce, to taste (depending on how saucy you like your pasta)
- ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
- Few shakes garlic powder, to taste
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 medium-large zucchini or 3 small zucchini, ends trimmed
- Sea salt, to taste
- ¼ cup raw cashews, soaked (optional)
- ⅓ cup filtered water (optional)
- Vegan parmesan*
- Basil leaves, thinly sliced (optional)
- Add the marinara, tomatoes, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes to a large sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Bring to a rapid simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to soften.
- Meanwhile, use a spiralizer fitted with the thin "spaghetti" attachment to spiralize the zucchini into noodles. Alternatively, use a vegetable peeler to shave the zucchini into long, ribbon-like noodles (but do keep in mind that this dish is much, much tastier and more enjoyable with spiralized zoodles).
- For the optional creamy pink pasta sauce: Add the cashews and filtered water to a high-speed blender, and blend on high until a completely smooth cream forms, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Set within reach of the stove.
- Add the zoodles to the pan along with a pinch of sea salt. Then, increase the heat to medium, and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the noodles soften to desired doneness, stirring occasionally. (Note: If you're using the cashew cream, add it to the pan just a minute or two before the zoodles finish simmering.)
- Taste and season with sea salt, if desired.
- Sprinkle with as much vegan parmesan as desired (store leftovers in the refrigerator) and fresh basil (if using).
- Serve immediately.
Celeste Jackson says
I was craving something on the warmer side tonight and made this......I love how simple and delicious this recipe is! Definitely hits the spot