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Zucchini Pasta with Avocado Pesto

Here at One Ingredient Chef, we’re blurring the lines between pasta and salad. No, this isn’t a “pasta salad” per se, it is more like a salad that pretends to be pasta…

Making noodles from raw zucchini sounds absurd. Until you try it. The noodles are light, delicious, super-healthy, and perfect for warm summer afternoons. Toss with a fresh basil & avocado pesto, and throw in some chickpeas and sun-dried tomatoes for a truly incredible meal that takes less than 15 minutes to prepare.

Zucchini Pesto

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 small avocado
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon (juice + zest)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 can (16 oz) chickpeas
  • Sun-dried tomatoes to garnish

Step One – The Zucchini Noodles

Slice off the top and bottom of the zucchini. Then, using a mandolin with a julienne attachment or a julienne peeler, slice into thin pasta-like strips and set aside.

Zucchini Pesto Mandolin

Step Two – The Pesto

In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, avocado, garlic, lemon juice and sea salt. Process until smooth, then taste and adjust any ingredients as necessary. Pesto comes out differently every time, and mine always needs adjustments – don’t be afraid to throw in more basil, garlic, or salt. You can even add a little water if the sauce is too thick.

Step Three – Toss

Add the zucchini noodles to a bowl and toss with the pesto. Then, add in the chickpeas and sun-dried tomatoes and toss again. Transfer to serving plates and garnish each plate with a sprig of basil.

Zucchini Pesto Fork

42 Comments

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  1. My goodness. I saw this today and made it for dinner tonight. It was literally one of my favorite meals. SO FREAKING GOOD. Fresh, light, flavorful, and fantastic. Hubby gives it 2 thumbs up as well! Will DEFINITELY be making this many more times.

  2. Hello,

    Lovely recipes- hey – pine nuts are super expensive where I live – in South Korea- do you think I can sub in sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead?

    Cheers

    • Thanks for the comment, Niall! Yes, pine nuts are expensive here too and you can absolutely sub another kind of nut. It won’t have quite the same taste, but maybe sunflower. I have never tried it but I imagine it could work well!

      • What about subbing in chickpeas instead of pine nuts? I think the flavor of pine nuts is pretty light and somewhat creamy – but I would use less chickpeas than what is called for in pine nuts….

        • Ah, I probably wouldn’t recommend that. Other than both being round and having the same color, chickpeas and pine nuts have literally nothing in common. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Courtney, I haven’t tried saving it for long, but I imagine it wouldn’t keep too well for 2 reasons: 1) the avocado would start to go bad and 2) the zucchini noodles have a high water content that could make them kind of soggy after a while.

  3. I’m trying to find more vegetable recipes to eat healthier. Found this one posted on FB and made it. Used chopped almonds that I had on hand and I have to say this recipe is awesome.

  4. Hey I made this for dinner and it tasted great however I had issues juleeiing the zuchini with my mandolin any suggestions?

    • Hi Rachel, you didn’t specify what the problem was, exactly, so I’d have a hard time speculating on how to fix it. If you run into problems with the julienne attachment, you can always simply cut it into several pieces (lengthwise) and slice with the mandolin into thicker “fettuccine” noodles.

  5. Do you think it would be possible to stir fry zuchini for half a minute or so? I would like it cooked. I am hoping I can make regular pasta dishes with regular pasta and add these kinds of noodles to it to make it lighter.
    Thank you!

  6. Really delicious, even the kids liked it. We sautรฉed the zucchini for a minute before adding the pesto. Definitely a keeper.

  7. I am on a low protein diet, so I made this with toasted sesame seeds instead of pine nuts. It was delicious! Thank you for this recipe!

  8. Made this last week and followed the recipe exactly. I could not believe how creamy the pesto was!

    We made just the pesto sauce tonight and paired it with fresh fettuccine. I have found my new favorite pesto!

    Thanks for all of your awesome recipes! You are a genius!

  9. I bought my second spiralizer because the first one sucked. And full disclosure: after owning it for 3 months I haven’t used it once. But the warm weather is here and this post has inspired me to finally learn how to use it and cook something good! Thanks!

  10. Have been wanting to try making zucchini noodles for awhile, tonight is the night! I am making this recipe right now, has all of my favorite ingredients and basil from my garden! Do not have a spiralizer and could not figure out which attachment to use on the mandolin so just used my handheld grater and it worked great! Oh no pine nuts either so will use almonds! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. This is fantastic! Only rarely do I splurge and buy pine nuts for a recipe, but I did for this one, and it was so worth it. It took me about 10 minutes to put this together and it was very delightful.

    Spent about $10 for all the ingredients to make 3 big servings. Now that I think of it, a bag of pine nuts is MUCH cheaper that going out to eat. The bottle of wine was $30 though…

    • Ah, I don’t know of any specific mandolin that I would recommend… when looking for kitchen gadgets I typically go with the reviews on Amazon and I might suggest starting there.

  12. This pasta was soooooo good.
    *Also a tip for those still working on getting a food processor, you can use the chickpea water to make it easier to blend in a blender and keep it thick! I also picked up some smoked sundrieds and it gave it an awesome extra flavor. This recipe is great for introducing more raw foods to friends and family, I kept catching my boyfriend in the kitchen snacking on it. (:

    Thank you so much for this yummy recipe, definitely one to hang on to and make often!

    • Very cool, Jessie! I’m glad you liked this. Yes, chickpea brine is amazing stuff… I’ve been experimenting with it lately and you can actually whip it into a meringue substitute. It’s incredible.

  13. So I came across this recipe and I’m super stoked on making it! But my problem is, since it’s not exactly something you can store for days at a time, I don’t need to make so much of it :/ I’ve tried divvying up the ingredients to make one serving myself, but I’m not sure if I’m going to have more than what I need of something. Maybe a little bit of guidance? Thanks in advance!!

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