Zucchini Noodles with Pesto & Pine Nuts

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These zucchini noodles are peeled into wide ribbons to mimic pappardelle pasta, and pesto adds vibrant summer flavor.

With 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 area for the sauce to coat, almost like pappardelle pasta. And pesto loaded with garlic and basil adds vibrant flavor.

What You’ll Need To Make Zucchini Noodles with Pesto

ingredients to make zucchini noodles

How To Make Zucchini Noodles with Pesto

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.
peeling the zucchini into wide ribbons

Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini “noodles” to the pan. It will seem like a lot. Don’t worry; they’ll cook down.

zucchini noodles in the pan

Cook the zucchini noodles, stirring gently with tongs, for about 2 minutes, until just softened. Do not overcook.

cooked zucchini noodlesAdd the pesto, Parmigiano-Reggiano, toasted nuts, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper.

adding the pesto, pine nuts, cheese, and seasoning to the zucchiniToss well, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary (be sure to add enough salt to bring out all the flavors).

finished zucchini noodlesTransfer the zucchini noodles to a serving bowl and top with more cheese, if desired. Serve warm or room temperature.

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Zucchini Noodles with Pesto & Pine Nuts

These zucchini noodles are peeled into wide ribbons to mimic pappardelle pasta, and pesto adds vibrant summer flavor.

Servings: 4 (as a side dish)
Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini "noodles" to the pan and cook, stirring gently with tongs, for about 2 minutes, until just softened. Do not overcook.
  3. Add the pesto, Parmigiano-Reggiano, toasted nuts, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary (be sure to add enough salt to bring out all the flavors). Transfer the zucchini noodles to a serving bowl and top with more cheese, if desired. Serve warm or room temperature.
  4. *To toast the nuts, put them in a dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden in spots, about 3 minutes.

Pair with

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I loved this recipe. Easy to put together, looks fantastic, and tastes amazing. I made pesto, otherwise it would have been a ten-minute meal, which I love. My zucchini was a bit watery. Next time I’ll drain after cooking or maybe salt it beforehand to bring out some of the moisture so I can pat it off. Ate the seed part of the zucchini with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper for lunch today. 🙂

    • — kb on August 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was super yummy, everyone loved it. I made it exactly like the recipe stated and added your pesto grilled shrimp with it. Perfect dinner…thank you so much

    • — Anne on June 28, 2021
    • Reply

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