Zucchini "Spaghetti" with Spinach Pesto

Over the weekend, I made some spinach pesto, and I’ve been enjoying it rather frequently this week, both in dinners and lunches.  I originally made it to top zucchini, shredded long like noodles, which is what I am sharing with you today.  With the leftovers, I’ve been using it for sandwiches since I’m now at school all day for loooong hours.  The sandwiches are so simple (since I haven’t really gotten any lunch meat or anything yet):  habanero jack cheese, spinach, and pesto, on multi-grain thins.  SO tasty.

Zucchini "Spaghetti" with Spinach Pesto | cooking ala mel

This pesto is nice and garlicky, with a bit of tang from lemon juice.  The pesto uses cashews instead of pine nuts, so it’s not going to break your wallet!  I used just a hint of basil, since my basil plant doesn’t have quite enough at this point to be making even a small batch of pesto.  I love spinach pesto, so that was fine with me!  I am in love with the bright green hue!
Zucchini "Spaghetti" with Spinach Pesto | cooking ala mel

I love pesto with pasta, but I’ve seen so many people making dishes with “zucchini noodles” that I had to give them a try.  I have a mandoline, but I wanted to try out using my regular box grater by using a technique shared by Izy of Top with Cinnamon.  You just lay the grater down horizontally instead of standing it up, and then grate the zucchini in the same way as you would with a mandoline!  I like that you don’t necessarily need to have fancy tools to make this, and the zucchini is such a healthy pasta alternative!  It’s really good, too.  I sautéed it slightly, but you can just as easily serve it cold.  I’ll definitely be making this lots until the zucchini is no longer plentiful!

Have you ever tried zucchini “noodles?”  What sorts of topping or sauces do you like with your pasta?

Zucchini "Spaghetti" with Spinach Pesto

serves 4


    For the pesto:
  • 2 cups spinach, packed
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup cashews (raw or roasted)
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/3 cup parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • For the zucchini “noodles:”
  • 2 large zucchini, ends trimmed
  • salt, pepper, to taste
  • pesto
  • freshly grated parmesan, for sprinkling
For the pesto:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the spinach, basil, garlic, cashews, lemon juice, and parmesan. Process until the spinach breaks down, and then add in the olive oil. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the zucchini "noodles:"

Using a mandoline or box grater laying on its side (technique with gifs on Top With Cinnamon), shred the zucchini into long strands like spaghetti.

If you’d like to serve it cold, add the pesto right after shredding, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parmesan, and serve.

To serve warm, add the zucchini spaghetti to a large skillet over medium heat, and lightly sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the pesto, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parmesan. Serve.