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Zoodles with pesto is a fun summertime recipe that adds color, nutrition and fun to your meals. Zoodles are made by spiralizing zucchini so you can substitute them for spaghetti in many recipes or add to pasta to bulk it up with vegetables.
ingredients & substitutions
- Zucchini: Zucchinis are made into long spaghetti like strands with a spiralizer. You can use this recipe with other spirazlized veggies like butternut squash or carrots.
- Cherry tomatoes: The cherry tomatoes are blistered in a skillet to make them super juicy and enhance their sweetness. You can use raw tomatoes, but cooking them quickly really elevates this dish.
- Red wine vinegar: The cooked tomatoes are tossed in red wine vinegar before being added to the other ingredients. This adds a nice tangy flavor to the dish that helps balance out the flavors of the pesto. You can use sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar too.
- Basil Walnut Pesto: You can of course use a store bought pesto, but it takes minutes to make this homemade recipe and it’s so good! You’ll need basil, spinach, parmesan, walnuts, oil, lemon, garlic and salt and pepper.
how to make pesto zoodles
- Add the cherry tomatoes to a skillet with a little oil.
- Cook for a few minutes until bursting and blistered.
- Add the ingredients for the pesto to a food processor.
- Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Add the zoodles, pesto and tomatoes to a large serving bowl.
- Toss to combine and serve.
Tips to make this recipe
- Don’t cook your zoodles. Cooking zoodles in water can leave them quite soggy. By using them raw they have a nice crunch to them and when they soften from the pesto, they’ll still have great texture.
- Salt your zoodles if they are very watery. Place the spiralized zucchini in a colander and toss them in a little salt. Let them sit in the sink for 10 minutes to drain and excess water.
- Use thin zucchini. These contain less water than larger zucchini so won’t need to be salted to remove excess moisture. You can also buy spiralized zucchini.
- Don’t throw away the core. When you use a spiralizer you are left with a core from the zucchini. Keep this refrigerated and it’s great to throw into stir fries, soups and omelettes.
Frequently Asked Questions
A spirazlizer is definitely the quickest and easiest way to get the spaghetti like zoodles. You can use a vegetable peeler, though these tend to make wider noodles and can be uneven. You can use a knife to cut it, though this will take quite a long time, and it’s tricky to get such thin and even zoodles.
Yes, these pesto zoodles can be easily turned into a full meal by adding some shredded chicken or cooked shrimp. It makes for a great low carb replacement for spaghetti to serve with marinara or meatballs. Similarly it can be served as a salad side dish with your favorite mains.
This pesto zoodle salad is best enjoyed close to it being made. As the zoodles sit they will start to release water, so it’s best to enjoy on the same day. Keep it chilled and covered until you are ready to serve.
Zoodles with Basil-Walnut Pesto is a salad and pasta dish hybrid. All of the tasty components of a fresh salad, basil, tomatoes, walnuts, olive oil and spinach woven in with your awesome noodle-but-not-noodle base. It’s fresh, light, filling and has a wonderful presentation for summer gatherings.
For more zucchini recipes:
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- 2 medium zucchinis
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Basil Walnut Pesto
- ¼ cup packed basil plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup packed spinach
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons walnuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 1 garlic clove
- Salt and pepper
- Prepare the zucchini using a spiralizer and place in a large bowl.
- Preheat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until bursting and blistered, 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- To make the Basil Walnut pesto, mix all the ingredients in a food processor until everything is well blended with no clumps.
- Add the pesto on top of the zoodles and mix with blistered tomatoes. Season to taste, top with grated Parmesan and basil, and serve as a cold salad immediately.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.
Thank you so much, Rosemary!
OUTSTANDING!!! Made this with a couple of mods: put in pine nuts instead of walnuts, added chicken mango habanero sausage slices and mushrooms to make it a main course dish, and heated it all together for a couple of minutes. Loved it, and so did my husband…. Thank you for a great recipe!
Thank you so much! That sounds perfect. Happy to have shared!
I sautéed the zucchini noodles in oil for 2 minutes. I also double the spinach and the garlic with good result. The lemon adds so much, don’t skip it.
Thank you! Sounds perfect!
Looks and sounds amazing. Can’t wait to try it.
Thank you so much! Hope you enjoy!!