Home » Vegan Spaghetti Alla Nerano (Spaghetti With Fried Zucchini)

Vegan Spaghetti Alla Nerano (Spaghetti With Fried Zucchini)

Two beautiful plates of spaghetti alla nerano on a wooden table

Today, it’s finally time to share my twist on one of my favorite spaghetti recipes: Spaghetti alla Nerano. Outside of Italy, this simple spaghetti dish is terribly unknown. In my opinion, spaghetti alla Nerano is underrated. It’s prepared with creamy spaghetti and delicious fried zucchini. The combination is just fantastic: The taste of fresh, fried zucchini, the crunchy texture, and the creamy pasta are a match made in heaven. Hopefully, this vegan spaghetti alla Nerano recipe helps giving this delicious dish its well-deserved attention.

The recipe is a classic Neapolitan first course, bursting with the delicious summer flavors of the Amalfi coast. Traditionally, the recipe for spaghetti alla Nerano is far from vegan. It is traditionally made with Provolone del Monaco and Parmigiano Reggiano, two types of cheeses. They add a lot of flavor, as well as a fantastic creamy texture to this pasta. We will use some tricks to get the delicious, rich, creamy pasta we want. Let’s make ourselves some vegan spaghetti alla Nerano! 

Ingredients for Vegan Spaghetti alla Nerano: 

Fresh, beautiful ingredients for Spaghetti alla Nerano on a wooden table
  • Small, fresh zucchini
  • Spaghetti
  • Cashews
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Garlic 
  • Salt & pepper

The zucchini is the star of the show. I got my hands on some beautiful little zucchini from an Italian market. If going with regular grocery-store-sized zucchini, 1 1/2 should be enough. 

To get towards the delicious cheesy flavor, I am using cashews, nutritional yeast, and some more garlic, salt, and pepper. Similar to when making a vegan parmesan substitute, the nutty flavors work nicely together to form a vegan cheese substitute. The nutritional yeast also melts into a beautiful, creamy sauce. To make the sauce even creamier, I am adding some of the zucchini to the sauce. It also ensures an even distribution of zucchini flavor in the dish. 

How to make Vegan Spaghetti alla Nerano: 

Firstly, we want to get some preparation in. If you are in a rush, start by soaking the cashews in hot water for at least 15 minutes. It’s best to soak them overnight though. Next, wash the zucchini and get rid of their stems. 

Frying the Zucchini

Next, thinly slice the zucchini. Try to get even cuts so they fry evenly and get a great crisp texture. I’d recommend using a mandoline if you have one. 

Thinly sliced zucchini in a ceramic bowl

Now, you can add your olive oil to your pan and start frying the zucchini. Try not to overheat the olive oil, as it can develop undesirable flavors.

Zucchini slices together with olive oil in a pan

I like it to get nice and crisp and turn to a beautiful golden brown color. Fry them evenly from both sides before transferring them to a paper towel. Let it soak up the extra oil. Generously salt the fried zucchini slices. Separately, fry the garlic until it turns a light golden brown. Be careful not to burn anything. 

Fried Zucchini on a paper towel

Cooking the Spaghetti

Finally, it is time to cook your spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti in boiling, nicely salted water. I like to cook them just shy of al dente to finish them later in the sauce. 

Making the Sauce

Now that the pasta is ready, it is time to make that delicious sauce. Add the soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, a handful of the fried zucchini, and the fried garlic to your blender. Start blending the ingredients while slowly adding ladlefuls of the cooking water from your spaghetti. I like to keep the sauce rather thick. The starchy pasta water will make the sauce incredibly creamy. Check the seasoning of the sauce, and balance the flavor as you desire. You can add more nutritional yeast, zucchini, and salt and pepper as needed. 

Combining & Plating

A plate of beautifully garnished Spaghetti alla Nerano

Reserve a little bit of pasta water in case you need to thin out the sauce, then rinse the spaghetti. Add the sauce to your pan, and cook the spaghetti in the sauce until al dente. I like to add half of the remaining zucchini chips to the pan and reserve the rest for garnishing. Plate the spaghetti alla Nerano with the remaining zucchini chips. 

Some more Garnishing Ideas for Vegan Spaghetti alla Nerano: 

  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Flakey sea salt & pepper
  • Vegan parmesan substitute

And that is all there is to this delicious vegan spaghetti alla Nerano. While it’s a vegan spin on a classic Italian recipe, I am very happy with this version. It is such a perfect summer treat. Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments! 

  • Ever tried Fiori di Zucca? These stuffed zucchini flowers fit this pasta dish very well!

Some more Pasta Recipes you might Enjoy: 

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Two beautiful plates of spaghetti alla nerano on a wooden table

Vegan Spaghetti Alla Nerano (Spaghetti with Zucchini)

This vegan spin on spaghetti alla Nerano is something you should definitely try. Fried zucchini and a creamy cashew-based sauce coat the spaghetti in the most delicious way.

  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale

4 small, fresh zucchini

150ml olive oil (for frying)

200g spaghetti

40g cashews

20g nutritional yeast

1 clove garlic

Salt & pepper to season

Instructions

Start by soaking the cashews in hot water for at least 15 minutes. It’s best to soak them overnight though. Wash the zucchini and get rid of their stems.

Next, thinly slice the zucchini. Try to get even cuts so they fry evenly. I’d recommend using a mandoline if you have one.

Now, you can add your olive oil to your pan and start frying the zucchini. Try not to overheat the olive oil, otherwise it can develop undesirable flavors. Fry them evenly from both sides before transferring them to a paper towel. Let it soak up the extra oil.

Salt the fried zucchini slices. Separately, fry the garlic until it turns a light golden brown.

Finally, it is time to cook your spaghetti. Cook them just shy of al dente to finish them later in the sauce.

Add the soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, a handful of the fried zucchini, and the fried garlic to your blender. Start blending the ingredients while slowly adding ladlefuls of the cooking water from your spaghetti. Check the seasoning of the sauce.

Reserve a little bit of pasta water in case you need thin out the sauce, then rinse the spaghetti. Add the sauce to your pan, and cook the spaghetti in the sauce until al dente. I like to add half of the remaining zucchini chips to the pan and reserve the rest for garnishing.

Notes

I used small, fresh italian zucchini. I’d recommend using approx. 1 1/2 normal grocery-store-sized zucchini for this recipe.

  • Author: Ivo
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main, First, Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Pasta alla Nerano, Spaghetti alla Nerano, Vegan Spaghetti alla Nerano

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