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Creamy 5-Ingredient Acini Di Pepe Recipe With Zucchini & Parmesan | Side Dishes

Tired of the same ol’ rice or potato side dishes? Try this easy acini di pepe recipe with zucchini and Parmesan. This side dish is quick, easy, creamy and loaded with flavor. What is acini di pepe? Acini di pepe is a form of pasta and means “grains of pepper” in Italian. 

Cook the acini di pepe according to package directions and drain well. Stir in the shredded or grated zucchini, butter, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese. Season with black pepper and stir well to combine. Done!

Ingredients for acini di pepe.

And guess what? If you have a picky eater, he or she won’t even know the zucchini is there. Serve this acini di pepe as a side dish or a vegetarian main dish. The leftovers reheat well for dinner or lunch the next day, too. 

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Cuisine: Italian

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4 to 9 minutes

Total Time: 9 to 14 minutes

Servings: 6


  • 1 cup acini di pepe
  • 1 zucchini, finely shredded using a grater
  • juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

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Recipe Notes

  • If you can’t find acini di pepe, you could substitute orzo or pastina.
  • If you can, squeeze fresh lemon juice. Fresh is always best.

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Cook acini di pepe according to package directions, about 4 to 9 minutes. Drain well. 
  2. Add zucchini, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and Parmesan. Mix well. 
  3. Season with black pepper, to taste.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 107

Total Fat: 6.1g

Saturated Fat: 3.8g

Cholesterol: 17mg

Sodium: 117mg

Total Carbohydrate: 9.5g

Dietary Fiber: 1g

Total Sugars: 1.3g

Protein: 4.6g

Vitamin D: 3mcg

Calcium: 95mg

Iron: 0mg

Potassium: 100mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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