With fresh basil pesto, homegrown zucchini and tomatoes, this easy zucchini pasta pesto recipe is paleo, keto, Whole30, gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
The basil is still going strong in my container garden. I had more than enough left to make another batch of pesto with grill roasted garlic. And fresh basil pesto goes so well with homegrown zucchini and tomatoes.
Turning zucchini into noodles for this quick and easy zucchini pasta pesto makes it gluten-free, dairy-free, and perfect for summer. It's a great way to use all that summer zucchini!
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How to make zucchini noodles with pesto
The key to this recipe is making sure you take the time to drain the zucchini noodles. I skip this step for some recipes, but for this dish it's important to drain the zucchini before tossing it with the pesto. This keeps your pesto sauce from getting to watery.
Spiralize the zucchini pasta first and let it drain while you make the pesto. These days you can find zucchini noodles premade in the produce section of most grocery stores. But spiralizing the zucchini takes just minutes if you have a good spiralizer. (This is the one I use. I've had it for years and it is super easy to use!)
All you need to do is cut the ends off the zucchini and place it in the spiralizer. Do you need to peel the zucchini first? That's completely up to you. If you peel it, your zucchini noodles will look more like regular pasta, but it's really not necessary.
The pesto is also no-cook and takes just minutes in the food processor. I use my dairy-free basil pesto sauce and cherry tomatoes to make this simple zucchini pasta. It's one of my go-to spiralizer recipes and it's perfect with fresh summer produce.
This zucchini pasta pesto is great on its own, but you can always top it with grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon or your favorite protein.
Try it with some grilled or roasted vegetables like red pepper, portabella mushrooms, and sweet onions. Pretty much anything would taste good with fresh basil and roasted garlic.
More zucchini noodle recipes
- Garlic Roasted Shrimp with Zucchini Pasta
- Crock Pot Turkey Bolognese Sauce with Zucchini Noodles
- 10 Easy Zucchini Pasta and Veggie Noodle Recipes
Zucchini Pasta Pesto
- 2 large zucchini
- sea salt
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
For the pesto
- ⅓ cup walnuts
- 1 head roasted garlic
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves plus a few leaves for garnish
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Spiralize or julienne the zucchini to make zucchini noodles. Lightly salt and drain zucchini in a colander for 20 minutes to remove excess liquid.
- Toast walnuts in 350°F oven for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool to room temperature.
- Squeeze roasted garlic cloves into a food processor and add cooled walnuts and a good pinch of sea salt. Pulse until mixture resembles large crumbs.
- Add basil leaves and lemon juice. With processor running, stream in olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process until just combined. Add additional sea salt to taste.
- In a large bowl, toss the drained zucchini noodles and tomatoes with pesto until well combined. Garnish with fresh basil.
So is this served cold then? You don't cook it? Interesting!
Thank you Kristen! Cooking is entirely optional. I serve this raw and at room temperature.
I've now officially spent the past 40 minutes researching the best spiral cutter for making zucchini noodles! I'm also considering purchasing the julienne attachment for my cuisinart food processor. Dying to make this!
I love my Paderno spiral vegetable slicer. Once you start spiralizing zucchini noodles you'll be hooked. They are so easy and work with so many sauces!
This looks amazing!
Thank you Jennifer!
Simply looks tempting! I have to try this and I will try to put shrimps on top. Happy and healthy Tummy!
I sautéed the zucchini spirals in some grapeseed oil. Added some coarse pepper and roasted garlic powder. When the spirals were al dente, I turned off heat, added pesto and cherry tomatoes and sprinkled with sliced fresh basil and a dash of parmesan cheese.
Do you cook the zucchini? When... before or after you spiralize it? For how long.. .or do you eat it raw? Would you please email me so I can be sure to get this response? I am in the middle of cooking it right now!!
Hi Janice, spiralize the zucchini while it's raw. After it's spiralized, you can either cook it or eat it raw - it's completely up to you. Here's a post on how to make zucchini noodles.
I hate when people ask dumb questions but here I go, is the quantity for the lemon juice 1 tbsp and 1/4 cup??? I'm looking forward to trying this.
Hi Natalie, thanks for asking! It's just 1 tablespoon. There was a formatting glitch but I fixed it in the recipe.