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Horizontal image of a wooden bowl filled with a pile of cooked thinly sliced vegetables covered in a vibrant green sauce and fresh herb garnish next to a blue towel, wooden spoons, lemon slices.

Zucchini Ribbons in Vegan Pesto Alfredo Sauce

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Liven up pasta night with this vegan twist on a classic, where tender zucchini ribbons are tossed with creamy cheese-free pesto alfredo.


  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup vegetable broth 
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped sweet onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 pounds zucchini (about 6 large), ends trimmed
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish


  1. Soak the cashews in hot water for 15 minutes and then discard the liquid.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the vegetable broth and onions. Simmer until the liquid has almost entirely evaporated and the onions have softened, about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Transfer the onions to a food processor and allow them to cool slightly. Reserve the pan.
  4. Add the soaked cashews, garlic, lemon juice, basil, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the food processor. Puree until the texture is smooth and similar to pesto, and then slowly stream in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil while the food processor is running. Season to taste with additional salt as needed.
  5. Using a vegetable peeler or your mandoline, slice the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons, turning as you peel, until you get to the seeds at the core. Discard the cores.
  6. In the same large skillet where you cooked the onions, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place over medium-high heat and swirl to coat the pan. Cooking in two batches so you don’t crowd the pan, toss and saute the zucchini ribbons with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until softened, about 2-3 minutes per batch. 
  7. Transfer the warm zucchini to a large mixing bowl and then pour in the pesto alfredo, tossing to coat. 
  8. Divide among plates and garnish with additional basil, parsley, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: vegan, zucchini, pesto, zoodles