Zucchini “Noodles” with Pesto & Pine Nuts

zucchini noodles

Known for its tender flesh and delicate flavor, zucchini is nothing if not versatile — you can grill it, sauté it, fry it, and even bake into breads. However, its mild flavor can be a bit bland, so when my garden bursts with zucchini every summer, I’m always looking for new ways to spice it up. Here, peeling the zucchini into wide ribbons and discarding the seeds makes it less watery and creates more surface are for the sauce to coat, almost like pasta. And pesto loaded with garlic and basil adds vibrant flavor. Zucchini masquerading as noodles…what could be better?

Zucchini farmers market

Zucchini 1

Zucchini "Noodles" with Pesto & Pine Nuts

Print Recipe
Servings: 4
Total Time: 20 Minutes


  • 3 (about 2-1/2 lbs) large zucchini (larger zucchini make for nicer, wider noodles)
  • 2 tablespoons homemade or store bought pesto, best quality
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted until golden*
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. Using a vegetable peeler, press firmly and peel zucchini into long, wide ribbons. Work your way around the zucchini and stop when you get to the seeds.
  2. Lightly coat a non-stick pan with olive oil and heat to medium-high heat. Add the zucchini "noodles" to pan and gently stir for about 1-2 minutes, until just al dente.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the cooked zucchini, pesto sauce, Parmesan cheese and toasted nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste (be sure to add enough salt to bring out all the flavors), then serve.
  4. *To toast the nuts, preheat the toaster oven or oven to 350 degrees. Toast until golden, watching carefully, for about 5 minutes.


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  • Cameron

    Yum! Would have never thought of making noodles out of those slightly bloated zucchini! And since i love to make my own pesto this is an instant hit for my roommates and I. I’ve got this in my bookmark feed… yummy ideas. Thanks!

  • What a wonderful side dish – I cannot wait to try this one!!

  • judy

    My husband and I are both on low carb diets, so this is a perfect dish for us. I’ve been making it as a pasta substitute. Delish idea…thank you

  • Great way to enjoy some fresh zucchini!

  • I wonder if these would hold up in a soup? Perhaps if I added them at the last minute? Gorgeous photos!

  • This dish is going on my Thanksgiving menu! Thank you for the idea.

  • I love your blog! Everything is very elegant and beautifully done! All my favorite foodgawker pictures are usually yours. I can’t wait to try that buttered rum cider you posted. This recipe looks healthy and delicious :)

  • Lori

    Delicious! I’ve made this a few times now…the key is to barely cook the zucchini.

  • Zucchini “Noodles” with Pesto & Pine Nuts <– wow I loved it! :)

  • Zucchini “Noodles” with Pesto & Pine Nuts<– interesting!

  • [...] Mashed PotatoesCandied Yams with a Pecan Crumble ToppingCranberry Chutney with Candied Ginger Zucchini ‘Pasta’ with PestoWhole Wheat Vegetable Stuffing (Whole Wheat Bread loaded with sauteed veggies)Pumpkin Dinner [...]

  • Yum and healthy! Sometimes zucchini can be too watery for me, but when you give this a minute to simmer, you lose the water and can drain the “noodles”. The nuts are a must for the texture, and I also needed more salt and pepper.

  • Sue

    I will definitely be using this recipe. With the pine nuts for crunch, even my hubby will eat this for Meatless Monday!
    Vickie, thanks for the hint.

  • Mary

    Delicious and a great way to use zucchini in the summer!

  • LaurenS

    We are always looking for things to do with zucchini in the summer. I will try this one soon.

  • Judi

    This looks so good! Can’t wait to try it.

  • Martha C

    This was delicious! The pesto and pine nuts were perfect. My only problem was that the strips tended to stick together. Next time I will separate them as I add them to the pan. But this is an amazingly quick dish. I served with rice, garlic bread and sliced tomatoes for a meatless meal. Yum.

  • Cherie

    Zucchini in the garden are about 5″ long – won’t be long before I try this…. and anything else I can find to use it up!!

  • Cherie

    Zucchini are growing like mad! Knew you would have a “new & different” idea to use them up!


    I tried this and it was fantastic. Even was able to get my child to eat it and he liked it.

  • My husband absolutely loved this, and he is not a “vegetable lover.” Shaving the vegetables did not take as much time as I thought. I used walnuts instead of pine nuts. They were good, but I think pine nuts would be even better. I printed this off and will definitely make it again.

  • Mary Beth Elderton

    This is delicious..and so easy! I used both zucchini and yellow squash, walnuts, and store-bought basil pesto–I had these on hand. I added a dash of crushed red pepper, because we like it :)
    This is so quick to put together that it is a perfect busy evening side.

  • Katie

    This is fantastic! I made it with walnuts and added a dash of cayenne pepper for a little bit of bite.

    And the left-overs are great on a Flatout bread pizza.

  • Magi

    This sounds like a winner! I am going to try it tonight.


  • Karen

    My 10 year old nephew who does NOT EAT vegetables loved these “noodles”!! Thanks for another great recipe Jen!!

  • Kim

    So glad I found this recipe. I used store bought pesto and added cannellini beans for some added protein and it was delicious! I stored the extra sauce separate from the “noodles” and carried it to work for lunch the next day and it re-heated really well. Healthy vegetarian dinners in under 20 minutes, including prep time, are a big hit in my busy life. :)

  • I loved this recipe. My husband is not a fan of green vegetables but he has happily had this dish a few times. I’ve served it as a side dish with chicken or something else not too rich. I find I need very little of the pesto. The flavor goes a long way on the “noodles”. Trying to cut the carbs a bit for our meals, I love having this recipe in my arsenal.

  • Ella Duhon

    where is recipe for home made pesto please .?

  • casbarn

    Does this need to be served warm/hot or can it be served at room temperature?

    • Jenn

      Either way is fine. Hope you enjoy!

  • I love that you gave zucchini noodles the spotlight here! I love them so much that I devoted a food blog to the spiralizer… check it out sometime, inspiralized.com! love this post!!

  • Jennifer

    Wow! This recipe is one of my favorite summer Veggie dishes. The pesto was a nice twist on this old favorite!

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