Fresh Zucchini Pasta with Tomatoes and Homemade Pesto

There’s an old joke that you can’t grow just one zucchini.

Vertical image of white bowls with zucchini, tomatoes, and pesto.

When zucchini season rolls around, they seem to bust out from every corner of the garden.

Farmers and gardeners lament that there aren’t enough ways to use this crop up, and so they resort to leaving them in other people’s gardens and on neighbors’ doorsteps to attempt to rid themselves of their overflow.

Vertical image of a bowl with spiralized zucchini and tomatoes with grated cheese.

In her poem, Attack of the Squash People, Marge Piercey writes of the abundant veggie:

“… They’re coming, they’re on us,

the long striped gourds, the silky

babies, the hairy adolescents,

the lumpy vast adults

like the trunks of green elephants.

Recite fifty zucchini recipes!

… Sneak out before dawn to drop

them in other people’s gardens,

in baby buggies at churchdoors.

Shot, smuggling zucchini into

mailboxes, a federal offense…”

You’ll find the full text of this foodie poem and more of Marge Piercey’s selected works in Circles on the Water, available on Amazon.com.

Whether or not you have this much of an overflow, it is always good to have more zucchini recipes on hand.

Vertical image of a large pan with a mixture of pesto, zoodles, and chopped tomatoes.

For those trying to steer clear of grains or if you’re simply in search of a light meal, zucchini just might be your new best friend.

Did you know that you can even turn it into pasta?

With the help of a handy spiralizer, this green squash makes great noodles – a.k.a. “zoodles” – that can be used in your favorite pasta dish.

Vertical image of white bowls with zucchini noodles and tomatoes on a blue towel, with whole tomatoes and a bowl of pesto next to them.

I love our Lemon Basil Pesto, a really simple sauce that can be used for a variety of dishes: to dress a salad, to sauce a pizza, to top homemade noodles, or to spread over crusty bread.

But it is especially delicious atop zucchini pasta.

Tossed with some bright cherry tomatoes, typically in season at the same time as that bumper crop of squash, this dish is packed with nutrition.

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Horizontal image of a pan with a mixture of zoodles and tomatoes on a blue towel.

Fresh Zucchini Pasta with Tomatoes and Pesto


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings

Description

Spiralized zucchini is all the rage. Try it sauteed with Foodal’s homemade lemon basil pesto and cherry tomatoes.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Foodal’s Lemon Basil Pesto, or other prepared pesto
  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Prepare a batch of Foodal’s lemon basil pesto, or your favorite recipe for pesto.
  2. Spiralize the zucchini according to manufacturer’s directions. Slice tomatoes in half.
  3. Saute zucchini and tomatoes in olive oil over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes, until the spiralized noodles are al dente and the tomatoes begin to soften.
  4. Add the pesto, season with salt and pepper, stir to coat, and heat until warm. Serve immediately.

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Make the Pesto

Horizontal image of a blue bowl with pesto on a wooden surface.

Prepare a batch of lemon basil pesto, if you don’t already have some on hand. There are so many different ways to use this pesto that you will definitely want to have some leftovers to store for later!

The pesto keeps well for up to three weeks in the refrigerator, so you will have plenty of time to use it in all of your favorite pesto applications.

Got leftover lemons? Learn how to store them and other citrus fruits properly.

Step 2 – Prep the Veggies

Horizontal image of a spiralizer with spiralized zucchini, chopped tomatoes, and a knife on a wooden cutting board.

Spiralize the zucchini according to the manufacturer’s directions using the noodle attachment.

Slice all of the tomatoes in half with a sharp knife and sturdy cutting board.

Any small tomato will do. But don’t try substituting a larger version – it will not hold its shape or texture through the cooking process, and won’t lend quite the same chew to the final product.

Step 3 – Saute

Horizontal image of a pan filled with cooked zucchini and chopped cherry tomatoes.

Pour the olive oil into a medium-sized saute pan and place it on the stove over medium-high heat. Let the oil heat for about one minute, then add the zucchini noodles and tomatoes.

Stir constantly with kitchen tongs while cooking. The noodles are done when they fall flat in the pan but still have a bit of a crunch left to them.

You don’t want to overcook, or else they will be wilted and soggy! Think al dente. This will only take about a minute or so.

The tomatoes will also begin to soften around the edges, but they will continue to hold their shape.

Step 4 – Dress

Horizontal image of a pan with a mixture of zoodles and tomatoes on a blue towel.

Add the pesto to the pan and toss the noodles until they are coated well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and keep on the heat until the pesto is warm.

Transfer to a bowl and top with freshly grated Parmesan. Enjoy right away!

Serve a Crowd

This dish can easily be doubled up to serve a bigger crowd.

Horizontal image of two bowls with fresh zoodles and tomatoes with forks, a bowl of pesto, and whole tomatoes on a blue towel.

If you are going to cook more than 2 zucchini at a time, it might take 5-7 minutes to cook them all the way through.

Just keep a close eye on things to keep them from overcooking! Nobody wants mushy noodles.

In love with the spiralizer? Try our other recipes for spiralized sweet potato noodles and kohlrabi slaw.

Have you ever found yourself with an overabundance of zucchini? Are you always on the lookout for new ways to put this tasty veggie to use? Tell us about it in the comments below!


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing different views of a fresh zucchini pesto pasta dish.

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Kendall Vanderslice

Kendall’s love of food has taken her around the world. From baking muffins on a ship in West Africa and milking cows with Tanzanian Maasai, to hunting down the finest apfelstrudel in Austria, she continually seeks to understand the global impact of food. Kendall holds a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and has worked in the pastry departments of many of Boston’s top kitchens. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Kendall helps to run a small community supported bread bakery and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and culture on her personal blog, A Vanderslice of the Sweet Life.

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