One-pot low-carb Mediterranean-inspired zoodles "pasta" (aka zucchini noodles) goes from pantry to table in 20 minutes. Bright and fresh, this is the perfect quick and easy summer dinner recipe.
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The first time I made this, Mr. Peel and I looked at each other like OMG and then both immediately said- “if tuna noodle casserole was light and summery, this is what it would taste like”.
📖Why This Recipe Works
As the weather has been getting warmer it has got me thinking about what makes the perfect patio meal. One you can linger over, enjoying the long sunny evening, and pairs perfectly with a crisp white wine.
Sardines get a bad rap but the boneless, skinless kinds are basically mercury-free tuna. Wipe away the sardine fear and embrace the goodness.
It is a healthy, keto alternative to the typical pasta de Sardina. Don't have sardines? Don't worry! Canned tuna works too.
Zucchini Noodles (aka Zoodles)- I don't own a spiralizer so I always go with the fresh prepper or frozen zucchini noodles.
You can use julienned zucchini as well. Substituting regular pasta is always an option, I find that the dish becomes more like a light and summery tuna noodle casserole then.
Sardines- Sardines are tuna’s chic cousin who summers in Portofino. She definitely eats Mediterranean zoodles while rocking her vintage caftan and oversized sunglasses. Crisp white wine in hand (of course).
For this recipe, you want to use the boneless skinless packed in water or oil. I typically pick them up in bulk at Costco. This recipe only calls for one 4 oz can.
When in need of a more filling meal, or when I have been light on protein, I double the sardines leaving the remaining ingredients as it is.
Additionally, if you are reluctant to try sardines you can always stick with canned tuna or salmon. Both work great in this recipe.
Artichokes- You can use canned in water or frozen. I stay away from marinated artichokes for this recipe. While we love them, they throw off the flavor profile of the dish.
Lemon- You will need one whole lemon for this dish. You can substitute bottled lemon juice in a pinch.
Dill- I always use fresh but dried will due in a pinch. It just might not have the summery flavor the fresh dill has.
Additional Ingredients- Slivered almonds, capers, and garlic round out the dish.
⏲️How to Make Mediterranean Zucchini Noodles
But the best thing about our lemony zoodles with artichokes and sardines is that it is one pot 20 minutes from cutting board to table.
Start with a large skillet on medium-high heat. Quickly toast your almonds in a dry pan and set aside.
Add olive oil to the pan. Quickly saute the garlic and then add the lemon, cooking for about a minute. Add the artichokes and saute until they turn just golden.
Add the zoodles, sardines, and capers to the pan. Cook until just heated through. PRO TIP: Keep an eye on your zoodles! The biggest mistake is overcooking your zucchini noodles. They should be just warmed through and still a bit crunchy.
Stir in dill and garnish with almonds.
🥗What to Serve with Zoodles
I think the classic house salad and house dressing are obvious. But I also like cherry tomato salad or a burrata salad with this zoodle recipe. A little blackberry lemonade or an Italian soda. And a Paloma if I am in a cocktail mood.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
If your sardines were packed in oil you can use that oil to saute the garlic.
This zucchini noodle pasta recipe is best eaten immediately. However, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
More Summer Dinner Recipes
And check out all of my healthy gluten-free summertime recipes!
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
First, pat them dry with a dish towel. Don't add any extra liquid to the recipe. And most important, do not overcook. Zucchini noodles should maintain a bit of crunch, just like al dente pasta.
Mediterranean Zucchini Noodle Pasta
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic for one minute. Add lemon and cook for an additional minute. Add artichokes, cook 3 to 5 minutes or until they begin to brown.2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, 14 oz can artichoke hearts, 1 lemon
- Add zoodles, sardines and capers and cook until heated through. Remove lemon rinds. Garnish with almond slivers and fresh dill.24 oz zucchini noodles, 4 oz can sardines, 3 tablespoons capers, 3 tablespoons slivered almonds, 3 tablespoons fresh dill
- If the sardines are packed in oil you can reserve the liquid in use in place of the additional olive oil.
- Not a fan of sardines? Try canned tuna packed in oil.