Raisin Your Nutrition

– A blog about the energy benefits of raisins –

Zucchini zoodles only

A new take on Zucchini Pasta with Raisins

September 12, 2016 by

Got oodles of zucchini in your summer garden? Are your neighbors generously sharing theirs with you? Lemon-Garlic Pasta with Zucchini and Raisins is fragrant with finely sliced lemon zest, toasted garlic and crunchy walnuts, and is a perfect use for lots of summer zucchini. Raisins, either natural or golden, add that surprise sweetness I mentioned in Super Simple Turkey Tacos with Raisins. You can also make this recipe with traditional pasta, or turn the zucchini into pasta “noodles.”


When I first created this recipe a few years ago, the game-changing vegetable gizmo called a spiralizer hadn’t hit the market. Now, zucchini “noodles” and cauliflower “rice” have become exciting veggie addtions or replacements to dishes like lasagna, pizza and pasta. In fact, a recent survey by Pinterest (link to article here) found vegetables frequently included in comfort food searches as consumers look for healthier slants to familiar foods.


Since the original recipe seemed a natural for “noodles” made out of zucchini, or what I’m calling here “zoodles,” I tried substituting all the pasta with 3-4 spiralized zucchini.


I also made a batch with half zucchini zoodles and half spaghetti. I loved both! Use zucchini without the pasta for a “skinny pasta” vegetable salad. (See tips for spiralized zucchini in the notes below the recipe).

Zucchini zoodles only

Zucchini zoodles only

Half zucchini zoodles and half spaghetti

Half zucchini zoodles and half spaghetti

With a full 2 tablespoons of thinly sliced garlic, this recipe was also a hit with garlic lovers. Lightly toasted sliced garlic takes on an almost creamy garlicky flavor, and with the thinly sliced lemon zest, the two become a fragrant marriage that’s not overly strong. But use less garlic if you like (for my taste I sometimes do).


Be sure to stir and watch the garlic carefully when toasting, and use a medium temp so as not to over-brown and cause a bitter or scorched flavor.

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Whichever way you go—with either “zoodled” or sliced zucchini, pasta or not—top generously with grated Parmesan cheese. Once you try this garlicky-sweet-salty combo, I think you’ll be hooked. Try similar flavors in Sun-Maid’s Zucchini Ribbons Pizza with garlic, lemon zest, raisins and goat or feta cheese for that salty finish.


Lemon-Garlic Pasta with Zucchini and Raisins

Lemon zest and garlic add a fragrant bite to this quick one-pan pasta spiked with natural raisins.


12      oz. spaghetti or long pasta

1        lemon

3        tablespoons olive oil

2        tablespoons thinly sliced garlic

2        medium zucchini* (12 oz.) sliced in 1/8-inch thick half-rounds, (3 cups)

1/2     cup Sun-Maid Raisins

1/4     cup chopped walnuts or whole pine nuts

1/2     teaspoon salt

Grated Parmesan cheese



Cook pasta in boiling salted water per package directions. Drain.

Remove strips of lemon peel with a vegetable peeler. Finely slice the peel into 1-inch long shreds to make about 2 tablespoons. Reserve lemon for another use.

Heat olive oil in pot used for pasta over medium heat. Add garlic and stir 1-2 minutes until garlic just starts to turn golden brown.

Add lemon peel, zucchini, raisins, nuts and salt.

Stir over medium heat until nuts are lightly toasted and zucchini is tender-crisp, 1-2 minutes.

Rinse pasta briefly with hot water if it has become sticky. Return pasta to pot and stir to combine. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.


*Notes for spiralized zucchini

  • Use about 3 medium zucchini for zoodles if replacing all the spaghetti with zucchini. Or 2 medium zucchini and 6 ounces spaghetti.
  • Zucchini zoodles can be added with the raisins and nuts, or tossed raw with the warm toasted mixture. The zucchini will have a little more texture.
  • Don’t forget the salt, this recipe will miss it!



Rosemary Mark remembers the day her kindergarten teacher said, “Rosemary, you need to play somewhere other than the kitchen or the grocery store, how about the playground.” Five year-old Rosemary was devastated, but only for the day. After studying foods and nutrition in college, she made the kitchen her playground for recipe development and new product innovation. She blogs at www.getcookingsimply.com.

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About The Author
Suzanne Nelson

Dr. Nelson recently joined the staff of Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania as a nutrition and wellness advisor and sports nutritionist. Previously, she was the Director of Sports Performance Nutrition in the athletic department at the University of California, Berkeley. While in California, she was the team nutritionist for the San Francisco 49ers and provided nutrition consultation to the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors. In addition, Dr. Nelson has advised elite amateur athletes at the national, world, and Olympic level. She is a nationally known speaker in sports nutrition and is the author/editor of several books and numerous scientific journal articles. Dr. Nelson is the Nutrition and Health Advisor for Sun-Maid.

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