These Zucchini Noodles topped with basil almond pesto make the perfect side dish or light meal and are an excellent way to use up an abundance of summer zucchini!
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By now I'm sure you've noticed the buzz around spiralized veggies. I've been a little slow to jump onto this bandwagon, partly because I try to keep kitchen gadgets focused on essentials, and partly because, as I've mentioned a few times before, veggies are not exactly my most favorite food.
When I lived in Chicago I was always checking out various neighborhood spots. A few summers ago one of the places close to my house rolled out a new menu that included a zucchini salad similar to this one, which I loved, and of course, thought "I should make something like this." Then realized it would be a perfect reason to buy a spiralizer!! I started with this mini OXO version, as I didn't know if I'd use it enough to make it worth buying the full-sized version. This one is really easy to use and clean up is a breeze.
Making Zucchini Noodles
This dish really has two parts - the zucchini noodles and the pesto. Both are very quick and easy to make.
Spiralize the zucchini: Using your spiralizer, make the zucchini into noodles. Be sure to place them on a paper towel and squeeze out any excess water so you don't end up with soggy noodles when you saute them.
Make the pesto: This is similar to a traditional pesto except it uses almonds instead of pine nuts. The ingredients still go in a food processor with some olive oil to give you the correct texture.
Add the toppings: The zucchini and pesto get topped with some roasted pepitas, a handful of micro-greens and a little crispy pancetta! YUM!!!
Oh, and did I mention the whole thing is ready in less than 30 minutes?! I really wish I'd joined the spiralizer party sooner. These zucchini noodles are amazing - I can eat the whole recipe in one sitting, and actually did several times while testing this recipe!! Keep an eye out for some more zucchini noodles recipes, and maybe a few other spiralized veggies too!
What goes with zucchini noodles?
If you want some other ideas for using all that amazing summer zucchini check out these Zucchini Cakes with Goat Cheese Mousse and these Quinoa and Ricotta Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles.
things you may want for this recipe
OXO Tabletop Spiralizer – I've now upgraded to this slightly larger spiralizer. At about $36 it's still pretty reasonably priced and this one is great for making larger quantities of spiralized veggies.
Zucchini Noodles with Almond Pesto
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 cup basil leaves, packed
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoons roasted pepitas
- ½ cup micro greens
- 1 ounce pancetta, chopped and cooked until crispy (optional)
- Spiralize the zucchini. Using a spiralizer, turn the zucchini into noodles. Place on several paper towels, roll up and squeeze out excess water. Leave rolled and let sit until you are ready to sauté.
- Make the pesto. Place the basil, garlic, almonds and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a standard blade. Pulse several times until the mixture begins to incorporate. With the motor running slowly pour in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and continue to process until fully incorporated. Remove pesto from food processor and set aside in a small bowl until ready to use.
- Sauté the noodles. Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini noodles and sauté for 3-5 minutes until just tender. Remove from heat and add pesto to the pan. Mix until the zucchini is coated.
- Serve. Divide the zucchini noodles between two bowls or plates, top with pepitas and micro greens. If using pancetta, add that and then serve.
- If you are not planning to eat all of the zucchini noodles at once I'd recommend refrigerating the zucchini and pesto separately until ready to serve. Then sauté just before serving.
- Nutrition information does not include the pancetta
This post was originally published in April 2016. It was updated in August 2020 with some new information and a slight modification to the original recipe.