I Tried Meghan Markle's Zucchini Pasta Sauce & It's Royally Easy To Make
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There are plenty of images that might come to mind when you think of the royal lifestyle. Maybe you think of puffy ballgowns and glamorous galas, or maybe you imagine palaces and fine jewels. You probably don't think of a bowl of brown mush. And yet, a bowl of brown mush just so happens to be a favorite of a member of the British royal family. Meghan Markle, aka The Duchess of Sussex, became royalty when she married Prince Harry in 2018. But that doesn't mean her life instantly became full of fancy, over-the-top royal banquets. In fact, one of her favorite recipes is a super-simple pasta hack that has only one major ingredient: zucchini. With her method of cooking, it ends up looking pretty brown and mushy – but it also tastes pretty delicious. I tried Meghan Markle's zucchini pasta sauce and it's my new favorite easy dinner.
Markle revealed to Delish that she has a unique method of making pasta sauce by slow-cooking zucchini for four to five hours. She said, "The sauce gets so creamy, you'd swear there's tons of butter and oil in it, but it's just zucchini, water and a little bouillon." According to Markle, it becomes a "filthy, sexy mush." If that isn't an intriguing description of a meal, I don't know what is. I love pasta more than I love most thing in the world, and the only thing better than a good pasta sauce is a good pasta sauce that's secretly healthy. Delish put together a recipe for Markle's zucchini pasta based on her description of it, so I used that to make the dish in my own kitchen.
The first step was to assemble my ingredients, which didn't take very long. This recipe is almost unbelievably simple, which totally works for me. The less that goes into a recipe, the more likely I am to try it. This recipe calls for zucchini (obviously), onion, olive oil, a bouillon cube, water, lemon juice, grated parmesan, and red pepper flakes. Oh, and pasta, of course.
The only prep involved is just chopping up the onions and zucchini, and that didn't take very long. Next I sautéed the chopped onions in oil in a big pot for a few minutes. Then it was time to add the chopped zucchini, a half cup of water, and the bouillon cube to the pot. I seasoned it with a little salt and pepper, stirred everything together, switched the heat on the stove to low, and covered the pot. That's pretty much all that goes into this simple recipe. After that, all that was left to do was to wait.
There's something really soothing about slow-cooking a meal for hours. It felt very domestic — in a heartening way, like I was able to make my hard work tangible as I watched a meal form before my eyes. I work from home, and so I was able to take small breaks from writing to check on the zucchini sauce. It's hard to imagine a duchess standing in front of a stove for hours at a time, too. But, then again, Markle did just give birth to baby Archie, so she's probably spending a lot of time at home with him right now. Perhaps Markle and I were stirring zucchini mush at the exact same moment, miles apart. I can dream, at least.
As the afternoon went by and the zucchini broke down, I took photos to chronicle its progress. After the first hour, the sauce still pretty much resembled it's solid form:
The bottom of the pot was coated in a little bit of burnt zucchini, so I scraped up the burnt bits and mixed them in. I also added a little bit more water even though the recipe didn't call for it just because I didn't want it to burn anymore, and that seemed to do the trick. By the third hour, the sauce was looking way more brown and way more mushy:
By the time Hour 4 rolled around, it was time to cook up the pasta. At that point, I also added the parmesan, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes to the sauce. Once the pasta was cooked, I mixed everything all together, and I was surprised by how much it seemed like more traditional pasta sauce. The sauce clung to the pasta beautifully, and the zucchini had cooked so long that it was the same color as a cooked tomato. But the real test would be the taste test.
I was honestly so surprised by how much I loved this pasta sauce. It was full of flavor from the bouillon and the onions, and the lemon juice gave it an acidity that made it really resemble tomato sauce. I don't think I would present this as real sauce to an authentic Italian chef; mushy zucchini can't really compete with your typical sauces. But this does make for an excellent weeknight dinner. I'm definitely going to try this recipe again, and I might even try to modify it for my Instant Pot to make it even easier to make.
Markle calls this sauce "sexy," and I don't know if I can fully agree with that. It's hard to think of brown mush as sexy. But, it tastes way better than it looks, and that makes this meal fit for royalty.