This absolutely delicious pesto zucchini pasta makes eating vegetables EASY. Homemade pesto, fresh tomatoes, succulent mozzarella, and zucchini noodles unite for the perfect side dish. Add chicken to this cold zucchini pesto pasta for a gorgeous summertime dinner.
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Ingredients For Zucchini Pesto Pasta (+ Subs)
This pesto zucchini pasta comes together with a lotta herbs and zucchini, plus a few pantry staples. Here’s what to gather:
- The noodles: I love zucchini noodles with pesto, they’re slightly sweet, soft, and mild in flavor. You can swap them for your favorite noodles as well, regular spaghetti, spaghetti squash, or butternut squash noodles would all be delicious.
- The pesto: Fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, and parmesan.
- Everything else: Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and toasted (don’t skip!) pine nuts.
As delicious as this zucchini pasta recipe is, you can tweak it to your taste. Consider…
- Turning this into lunch or dinner by adding shredded chicken for a pesto chicken salad. Pesto and salmon are another match made in heaven (see my pesto salmon).
- Add a bit of heat with crushed red pepper flakes.
- Go paleo (i.e. dairy free) by skipping the parmesan, consider adding a bit of nutritional yeast for a similar flavor to parm.
How to Make Zucchini Noodles
No spiralizer, no problem–you have options! Zucchini noodles are “prettiest” when made with a spiralizer. But if you don’t have one, this pesto zucchini pasta isn’t particular. Try making zucchini noodles another way:
- Spiralizer will give you spaghetti-like noodles.
- Y-shaped veggie peeler will give you long and wide noodles.
- Box grater will give you rice/orzo type noodles.
- Mandoline will give you medallions.
Psst–most grocery stores sell zucchini noodles, so if you’re in a hurry, grab a container and use that instead.
Secret Tip: Don’t Cook the Zoodles
Looking for zucchini noodles that AREN’T soggy? Here’s a secret tip for you: don’t cook them. Zucchinis are packed with water, and when cooked, they release this water, break down, and lose their shape. By simply tossing the noodles in our homemade pesto and allowing them to marinade, they’ll soften as much as needed.
How to Make Pesto Zucchini Pasta
This zucchini pesto pasta is so easy to make. Here’s how with step-by-step photos to guide you:
- Sweat the zucchini in a colander.
- Process basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor.
- Add the oil.
- Add the parmesan and lemon juice.
- Toss everything together in a bowl.
More Zoodle Recipes
- Keto Shrimp Scampi
- Keto Alfredo Sauce
- Zucchini Lasagna
- Keto Pad Thai
- Zoodle Salad
- Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups
- Zucchini Spaghetti
Pesto Zucchini PastaPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 4 medium-large zucchini about 2 pounds, trimmed
- 3/4 teaspoon salt divided
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup pine nuts toasted
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 8 ounces pearl mozzarella
- 10 ounces cherry tomato sliced in half
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts optional
- Remove the ends of the zucchini, and spiralize into noodles. Option to cut the noodles in half to prevent super long strands.
- Place zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Toss to coat, and allow the zucchini to sweat for 15 minutes.
- Place zucchini noodles in a damp paper towel and very gentle ring to release excess liquid.
- While the zucchini is sweating, place basil, pine nuts, garlic, pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a food processor, and pulse to coarsely chop.
- Turn the food processor on, and slowly pour the olive oil in just until incorporated. Stop the processor and scrape down the sides.
- Add them lemon juice and parmesan, and continue to process just until combined. Taste and adjust salt/pepper to your liking.
- Toss the zucchini noodles in a bowl, along with tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and pesto. Toss to coat, then top with toasted pine nuts. Enjoy!