Simple pasta recipe for weeknights—Spicy Ditali with Courgette (Zucchini) and Hot Chilli Oil—when you want dinner to be delicious and nutritious, in relatively little time. Your pasta of choice—gluten-free, bean or low carb—tossed in spicy chilli oil, summer’s bounty of vegetables like courgette, mushrooms and fresh tomatoes, along with boiled lentils. This weeknight style pasta dish can be made in about 40 – 50 minutes.
I make at least two pasta dishes every week. The stash of yellow courgette, or zucchini, that I still had left from last week’s groceries, had to be used, quickly. Some of it went into the Vegan Red Curry with Tofu and Vegetables that you all loved. With what was left, I naturally thought of a flavourful colourful pasta dish to make next.
In truth, I initially thought of making pasta salad with roasted courgette, but I wasn’t keen on turning the oven on. So, the courgette got seared into the skillet, and it made sense to just toss in all the rest—vegetables, lentils and pasta—to make a warm dish instead. Served with a drizzle of hot chilli oil, it’s equally delicious when cold. My pasta of choice for this dish is the ditali, which are small tubes and more often used in soups and stews, but really any pasta shape will do.
Colourful and beaming with summer produce, this easy skillet pasta is made under 50 minutes, although if you have pre-cooked lentils or beans on hand, I guess you could make it in under 35 minutes.
To make Spicy Ditali Pasta with Courgette (Zucchini) and Hot Chilli Oil
Start with the lentils as they’ll take about 20 minutes to cook to al dente. They go into a saucepan with about 500ml of water which is brought to a rapid boil. Then, the temperature is lowered and the lentils are simmered until they become tender but not mushy. The lentils are then drained and set aside.
Alternatively, to save time you may use canned lentils or other legumes.
The chilli oil is the soul of the dish here, and so simple to make. Dried chillies and garlic are gently simmered in oil for about 15 minutes to infuse the pungent flavours. A pinch of brightly coloured chilli powder will enhance the colour.
I like to strain the oil but you may keep the chillies in there if you prefer. This chilli oil can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated for up to 2 months. You can use it in many ways—drizzled over salads, roasted vegetables, or try it for popping corn!
While the lentils are cooking and chilli oil is simmering, you can prepare the vegetables and place the pasta to boil in salted water according to the package instructions.
I have a fancy crinkle cutter that I love slicing courgette and other veggies with. The raised undulated surface allow the courgette to stay sturdy and crunchy, and not melt away or become gummy if cooked a few minutes too long. But what I like the most is that the ridges get lightly charred which makes the dish look really quite striking.
You could saute all the vegetables together if you are short of time but they each require different time to cook properly. So, I like to saute them separately with a little oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat, starting with the courgette/zucchini.
Then, the mushrooms go in with a little soy sauce and are sauteed for 2 minutes before adding in the snow peas and cooked for another 2 – 3 minutes or until mushrooms have reduced to about half their size. All the veggies are removed and set aside.
Next, the tomatoes are lightly sauteed in the same pan until they start to break down.
Finally, all the vegetables are tossed back into the pan along with the cooked pasta and lentils. Seasonings and thyme are added, along with a couple of spoonfuls of the chilli oil. This is now starting to look pretty as all is stirred and combined on medium heat for a few minutes until the pasta is reheated.
Serve in bowls topped with some vegan parmesan, if desired, drizzle on the remaining chilli oil and a dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice. This pasta is delicious served warm or cold as a salad. Make some extra and serve it the next day for lunch.
If you make this Spicy Pasta with Zucchini and Chili Oil, leave me a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I just love to hear from all of you and will always try to do my best to respond to your comments. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag us on Instagram #veganlovlie @veganlovlie! I love seeing what you’re making and I might feature your dish in our stories.
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- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, or vegan butter
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (leave out if you don’t consume)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or 1 whole dried red chilli
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder (my favourite is this one
The Pasta Dish:
- 100 g Du Puy or brown lentils, (½ cup)
- 250 g pasta of choice, I used durum wheat ditali
- 1 - 2 tablespoons oil, for cooking
- 120 g yellow/green courgette/zucchini, (1 small), sliced
- 100 g white mushrooms, (5-6), sliced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 6 - 7 snow peas, or mangetout, stringed and cut into halves/thirds
- 150 g salad tomato, (1 medium tomato), cubed
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme, or a few sprigs fresh thyme, substitute with other herbs like oregano, basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegan parmesan and a dash of fresh lemon juice, for serving, optional
- To cook the lentils, cover them with about 500ml (2 cups) of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium, and then simmer covered for about 20 minutes until lentils are cooked and al dente. Take care not to allow the lentils to turn mushy. Check on them as from 10 minutes through the cooking and add water as needed to continue cooking. Once lentils are cooked, drain and set them aside.
- In a small saucepan on medium heat, add the oil/vegan butter. Allow it to warm up, then add garlic and dried chilli. Toss and saute lightly for about 30 seconds, then lower the heat to low. Add the chilli powder and continue simmering over very low heat for about 12 - 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the oil cool down before straining it; keep aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and pasta.
- In a large pot, place enough salted water to boil. Once boiling, drop in the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- In a large skillet on medium-high heat, add a little oil and saute the vegetables, each one separately. Start with the courgette/zucchini. Saute until lightly charred on both sides. Take care not to let the courgette turn soggy. Remove the courgette from the pan and toss in the mushrooms. You don’t need to add any more oil, unless you want to. Season the mushrooms with the soy sauce and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the snow peas and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes or until mushrooms have reduced to about half their size. Remove and set aside.
- Lightly saute the tomatoes in the same pan until they start to break down. Toss all the vegetables back into the pan along with the cooked pasta. Season to taste and sprinkle with thyme. Drizzle on a couple of spoonfuls of the chilli oil and stir to combine on medium heat for a few minutes until pasta is reheated.
- Serve in bowls topped with some vegan parmesan, if desired, and drizzle on the remaining chilli oil. This pasta is delicious served warm or cold as a salad.
The chilli oil can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
You can make this under 35 minutes by using canned (or pre-boiled frozen) lentils, chickpeas or other beans instead.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 635 Total Fat: 25g Saturated Fat: 4g Unsaturated Fat: 17g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 926mg Carbohydrates: 82g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 7g Protein: 21g