Inspired by French Provencçal cuisine, this is the perfect sauce: pan-fried zucchini, basil leaves, and Greek yogurt (or cream cheese, goat cheese, crème fraîche) for a very smooth texture and flavorful sauce.
What’s the best sauce to serve with pasta and rice?
The French love Italian Pasta a la bolognese or simply adding pesto and parmesan. But to change from ketchup or ready-made sauces, I suggest this super healthy sauce made with a South France Provencal touch. Zucchini is first sautéed in a pan with olive oil, onion, and garlic. No herbes de Provence, as I use basil later in the recipe.
This sauce is very creamy and silky, perfect for eating with pasta, gnocchi, or rice.
How to make this zucchini sauce
First, fry the zucchini we do in France a ratatouille. Pour olive oil into a frying pan or casserole dish. When the oil is warm, add minced onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for a few minutes. Then add zucchini slices or small cubes. The way you choose to cut zucchini doesn’t matter, as you will mix it anyway. The only thing is that the bigger the pieces, the longer the cooking time will be. As we want here a quick recipe, I suggest small cubes.
Sauté zucchini on medium-high heat. Zucchini will get a nice sautéed color and good taste. But not too much because olive oil does not like too high temperatures. Zucchini is cooked as soon as it becomes tender. Check with the tip of a knife.
Mix with herbs and cream
Place zucchini in a blender. Then, what you need to do is to add herbs and a creamy ingredient and blend. I choose fresh basil and French Fromage blanc (a kind of Greek yogurt), but there are many variations that I’ll explain below.
Add herbs: I suggest fresh basil leaves in this recipe because it brings a lot of lightness and freshness, but if you don’t have any, you can substitute another herb you love, for instance, chives, parsley, or coriander. Another option is to add herbes de Provence or dried thyme. If so, it’s better to add dried herbs in the pan when you fry zucchini than when mixing.
Add a creamy ingredient: The first time I prepared this recipe, I used French Fromage blanc, which is almost similar to Greek yogurt, less thick, though. I thought it was lighter than ou traditional crème fraîche. But I could use cream, Greek yogurt, and cream cheese. And if you want an aromatic sauce, why not a fresh goat cheese? For a vegan version, choose a plant-based yogurt with a neutral taste.
I’ve taken several photos to show you the steps of the recipe. I hope that this will be of any help.
Other French ways to cook zucchini
- For zucchini lovers, you’ll find several recipes on the blog.
- Zucchini is one of the star vegetables of South France Provence cuisine. Therefore you’ll find some in the traditional Provencal ratatouille or tian.
- In a savory cake like this zucchini basil and feta savory loaf.
- In a quiche, a rather original recipe of zucchini and sweet corn quiche.
- Zucchini is also perfect for thickening soups and replacing potatoes. I do this very often. At the end of summer, I even freeze cubes of zucchini for my fall soups, here with watercress for a great soup.
- Zucchini can also be eaten raw, make strips and toss with oil and lemon or vinaigrette, such as in this marinated zucchini recipe.
- Finally, this aesthetic way to serve zucchini: rolls filled with cheese, dried fruits, and nuts. A fun fact is that I won a contest organized by the dairy products inter-branch organization with this recipe.
Creamy Zucchini and Basil Sauce for Pasta or Rice
- 1 Blender
- 2 zucchini
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 100 gr Greek yogurt or cream cheese, goat cheese, cream
- 1 stalk fresh basil 15 to 20 leaves
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet.
- Rinse the zucchinis and trim the ends. Peel and chop the onion and garlic. The smaller the pieces, the faster it cooks.
- Add zucchini, onion, and garlic in the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat.
Mix the sauce
- As soon as the zucchini is tender, put it in the blender with the basil leaves and Greek yogurt.Ideally start by adding half of the quantity of Greek yogurt, mix and little by little add the rest until you get the texture you like.
- Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary (more basil, salt or pepper).