Italian Zucchini Soup is a wonderful light soup that’s perfect for taking all that summer zucchini and turning into a meal.  Made with broken spaghetti, hand-crushed canned tomatoes, fresh basil, and parsley, this soup is perfect with Pecorino Romano cheese and some crusty Italian bread.

Italian zucchini soup in black bowl.

Italian zucchini soup with broken spaghetti is truly a nostalgia-invoking dish for me.  

I can still hear the sound of my grandma breaking the spaghetti in her kitchen as she’d prepare to make this soup with the zucchini from our garden.

Similar to pasta e lenticchie, or pasta e patate, this soup is economical and is founded on the “waste not-want not” mentality that was so prevalent among first and second-generation Italian-Americans during the 1900s.

Years later, this is still a favorite soup of mine because it’s cheap and so simple that it can be made in under 30 minutes – proof that even the simplest of recipes can transcend generations.

Ingredients shown: olive oil, plum tomatoes, onion, Pecorino, parsley, basil, garlic, zucchini, and broken spaghetti.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Dice 1 medium onion, chop 6 cloves of garlic, and cube 4-5 medium-sized zucchini. Chop a 1/4 cup of basil and a 1/4 cup of parsley.  Break a 1/2 pound of spaghetti into bite-sized pieces and set aside.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Italian zucchini soup recipe process shot collage group number one.
  1. Heat a large pot to medium-low and add 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the onions.  Saute the onions for 4-5 minutes or until soft and add the garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.  
  2. Add the hot red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds and then add the zucchini.  Turn the heat up to medium and saute the zucchini for about 10 minutes until fairly soft.
Recipe process shot collage group number two.
  1. Add a 14-ounce can of hand-crushed tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.  Season the tomatoes and zucchini with salt and pepper.
  2. Add 6 cups of water and bring the soup to a simmer.  Add the broken spaghetti to the salted pot of water and begin to cook until al dente.
Recipe process shot collage group number three.
  1. Once simmering, taste test the soup and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.  
  2. Turn off the heat and add the al dente broken spaghetti.  If the soup is too dry add more of the reserved pasta water and thin to your liking.
Recipe process shot collage group number four.
  1. Add the basil and parsley and give the soup a mix.  Serve the soup in bowls with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and grated Pecorino Romano cheese along with crusty Italian bread on the side.  Enjoy!
Italian zucchini soup in in Dutch oven.

Top tips

  • The zucchini. If possible, use medium or small-sized zucchini as they tend to have fewer seeds and taste better.  The zucchini pictured above in the ingredient pic is on the larger side because that was what was available. 
  • The pasta. Broken spaghetti is used for this recipe because that’s how my family made it.  You can use any small-sized pasta you like though.  Small shells or small bowties would work well.
  • The tomatoes.  I used canned tomatoes that I crushed by hand.  If you have fresh plum tomatoes and want to use those, I recommend blanching first and removing the skins.
  • The cheese.  I love serving this with Pecorino Romano cheese but you can also use Parmigiano Reggiano.  If you have a Parmigiano Reggiano rind,  you can add that to the zucchini soup for more flavor.  

Zucchini soup in black bowl with bunch of basil on cutting board.

Jim, isn’t this made with cucuzza?

Many Italian-American gardeners grow snake zucchini or cucuzza (slang gagootz).  Cucuzza can be found in Italian and Sicilian markets and likely was grown as a way to pay homage to their homeland.

It’s a gourd that grows massively and rewards one with a bountiful harvest of squash and leaves.  They are typically grown on a large hanging wood trellis and can often grow 4 feet or larger.  

The leaves of the Cucuzza, also known as tenerumi, are often chopped up and added to the zucchini soup.  If you grow cucuzza, definitely use those leaves.  

More zucchini recipes

If you’re looking for more ways to use zucchini, here are some of our favorite recipes!

If you’ve enjoyed this Italian Zucchini Soup Recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.

We strive to satisfy a number of learning styles.  If you are someone who prefers to learn by watching, you can find most of our recipes on YouTube and our Facebook Page.

Italian Zucchini Soup

5 from 16 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Italian zucchini soup with diced zucchini, broken spaghetti, hand-crushed canned tomatoes, fresh basil, and parsley, topped with plenty of Pecorino Romano cheese.


  • 1/2 pound spaghetti broken into bite size pieces
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for serving
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 4-5 medium zucchini cubed
  • 1 14 ounce-can plum tomatoes hand crushed, see notes below
  • 6 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 packed cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 packed cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • Pecorino Romano for serving


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  • Heat a large pot to medium-low heat and add the olive oil along with the onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until soft then add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes longer or until lightly golden.
  • Add the hot red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more then add the zucchini. Turn the heat to medium and saute the zucchini for about 10 minutes or until fairly soft.
  • Add the tomatoes to the pot and continue to cook for a few minutes. Season the tomatoes and veggies with salt and pepper then add the water and bring soup to a simmer.
  • At this time cook the broken spaghetti until al dente.
  • Once simmering taste test the soup and season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Once satisfied, turn off the heat and add the al dente broken spaghetti, basil, and parsley. Mix together.
  • If the soup is too thick add a bit more water. Serve the soup in bowls with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and grated Pecorino Romano cheese along with crusty Italian bread on the side. Enjoy!


  • 14-ounces of plum tomatoes is equal to half a standard American can.  Alternatively, you can use 3-4 fresh plum tomatoes that have been blanched to remove the skins.
  • Any small pasta can be used, but broken spaghetti or linguine work really well for this dish.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the microwave.
  • For more flavor, Parmigiano rinds can be cooked in the soup while simmering.


Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.3g | Protein: 7.4g | Fat: 12.8g | Saturated Fat: 1.7g | Sodium: 410mg | Potassium: 516mg | Fiber: 3.9g | Sugar: 7g | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!Check us out on Instagram at @sipandfeast or tag #sipandfeast!
5 from 16 votes (4 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Sarah says:

    5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight and we loved it! I browned some sausage with the onions and garlic, so I didn’t need to add any olive oil. I also used 4 cups of chicken stock and a whole 28 ounce can of tomatoes in lieu of the 6 cups of water. The fresh herbs are a such a delightful way to finish this light and easy soup. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Tara says:

      So happy you loved it, Sarah!

  2. Nick Giglio says:

    5 stars
    I make this with Cucuzza when I can find it. My dad used to grow it and my mom made this all the time in the summer in my childhood. The taste (sweetness) is absolutely amazing! It’s pretty good with zucchini also and I’ve sometimes used a mixture of both. I like to add water and vegetable stock when making this for a little extra flavor.

  3. C deacons says:

    5 stars
    I don’t use the spaghetti, mostly because I forgot and then I was happy cuz I didn’t use another pot. It’s got wonderful flavor. Oh,I also forgot to saute the zucchini and just let it soften in the soup but I’ll try to remember next time.

    1. Tara says:

      We’re so happy you enjoyed!

  4. Donna Measing-Tenenblatt says:

    I grew up in this soup-my absolute favorite as a kid. This recipe is only slightly different from that my mom and grandpa prepared. The grated cheese on top takes it to the next level! Can’t wait to try your version! We also used the broken spaghetti- but on occasion, mom would use small shells, elbows or ditalini! Love all your recipes -they’re the closest to what I grew up with in an Italian American family on LI!

    1. James says:

      So happy to hear you’re enjoying the recipes and hope you like this one as well!

  5. Charlene Monteith says:

    Can I use chicken broth instead of water will it change the flavor to much.

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Charlene, yes, you can definitely use chicken broth. Hope you enjoy!

  6. David says:

    Thanks for the recipe, this looks really clean and delicious. Is there any reason you’ve cooked the pasta separately instead of in the soup? It seems it’s just making an unnecessary step and pot to clean.

    1. Jim says:

      Hi David, you can definitely cook the pasta in the soup. I cooked it separate to make sure the pasta was al dente when I added it.

  7. Robert says:

    I love your channel Jim. Great recipes. This may be a stupid question, but here goes: What is the portion size with respect to the posted macros?

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Robert, so happy you’re enjoying the recipes! This recipe yields 6 servings. Note that nutritional data are estimates and are for informational purposes only.

  8. Staci says:

    5 stars
    Wonderful summer soup. I used canned cannellini beans instead of the pasta and it turned out lovely

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Staci, thanks for the comment and so happy you liked this. Cannellini beans are a great add!