This spiralized zucchini noodle recipe comes together in 10 minutes with a quick and easy vegan cashew pesto. It's a healthy option for lunch or dinner!
I have a confession to make – this was the first time we've dug out our spiralizer since we moved to Indiana in January. It wound up in some box that was buried under other boxes, collecting cobwebs until I had a craving for zucchini pasta a few days ago. When we first bought our spiralizer last summer, we used the thing like crazy. I ripped the box open like it was Christmas morning and we had a constant stream of zucchini noodles coming out of it for a couple of months.
Since I've rekindled my love for the spiralizer and zucchinis are super cheap this time of year, this dish will be a staple for the rest of the season. Just a light toss in this tangy, rich pesto brightens up the zucchini noodles, creating a refreshing dish that's more than welcome at the end of a hot summer day.
Speaking of summer, I have another confession to make: I'm addicted to food gardening. I don't know when it happened or how. But I think it was somewhere between curing my brussels sprouts of cabbage loopworm and tasting the first heirloom tomato that we grew from seed. The plump, gold pear tomatoes in this pasta? From the garden. And that basil is the first thing I smell when I walk out the back door and take a deep breath.
After finding free pallets to enlarge the garden [our soil is not fit for growing food] and getting my fall seeds in the mail, I am itching to get outside and plant. If everything goes as planned – I'm no green thumb, so I'm not making any promises – we should have greens within a month or so and lots of other veggies in late November. I'll keep you updated via Instagram and in blog posts! And by the way, if you've got any tips for fall planting, I'd love to hear them. Comment away!
True, unsponsored story – this is THE best spiralizer that money can buy. And it's not even expensive. It gets the job done, works like a charm, is lightweight, and fairly easy to clean. Zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes – you name it, this thing can handle it. The best part about a spiralizer, in my opinion, is that it gives you a brand new way to enjoy vegetables. It's easy to get burnt out on the same ol' food made the same ol' way, which is why this thing is such a brilliant addition to the kitchen.
Some people have issues with their zucchini noodles making pasta dishes watery, which is understandable considering they're made up, mostly, of water. My suggestion is simple and always works for me when dealing with cold noodles: first, make the pesto (or whatever kind of sauce you desire) and set it aside. While the flavors are intensifying and becoming magical in the pesto, that's when you spiralize your zucchini. Once you're done with the zucchini, place it in a large bowl, add the pesto, and toss everything together. The pesto should not be added until you're ready to eat.
In the same way that salt and lemon make your mouth water, they cause zucchini to release excess water, too. After I added the pesto in this dish, I didn't notice any major difference until probably 20 minutes after mixing everything together.
I think I've jumped around enough in this post, so now I'm going to take my short attention span outside into the sunshine and get this fall garden going. Let me know how your zucchini noodles with vegan cashew pesto turns out, especially if you make this pesto. I want to hear about it and I want to see it on Instagram – hashtag #thefitchen to show off your skills!
Zucchini Pasta with Vegan Cashew Basil Pesto
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
Get out your spiralizer to enjoy the freshest flavors summer has to offer – zucchini, ripe tomatoes, and rich basil pesto make for a healthy and light dinner treat.
- 2 large zucchinis
- 2 cups of fresh basil
- ¼ cup of raw cashews
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (what's nutritional yeast? i'll explain! click here.)
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons quality olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ⅓ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- In a food processor, add garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons olive oil, pepper, and cashews. Process until smooth.
- Add nutritional yeast and salt and process to combine.
- Add basil and ¼ cup olive oil and process again.
- Finally, add lemon juice and process until combined.
- Set the pesto aside until you're ready to combine with zucchini noodles.
- Chop about ½" off both ends of the zucchini and spiralize. I recommend tearing the noodles into smaller pieces as you go, otherwise you'll end up with a "Lady and the Tramp" situation on your hands when you try to eat your pasta!
- Once you've finished spiralizing, add zoodles to a large bowl and mix in the pesto until well-coated.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Category: Mains
This is an excellent recipe. I used pesto and basil fresh from the garden. Amazingly good! The only thing I did differently was to sauté the zucchini in olive oil for 5 minutes first. This recipe is a keeper!
Yum! I've never tried cooking the zucchini noodles beforehand. Sounds so good!
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Do you cook the zoodles or eat the raw?
Hi Heather –
For this recipe, we left them raw. If desired, you could toss them in the skillet for a quick sauté to heat them up!
Do you have the use the nutritional yeast? What is its purpose?
Hi Andrea -
I recommend using it for this recipe. It adds a "cheesy" flavor to the sauce and helps thicken it as well.
Will do. Thanks!
Def bookmarking this, buying that sprializer asap. Where do I get "2 cups basil"?
I definitely recommend buying one. We've had ours for over 2 years and I'm still in love with it! Most grocery stores carry fresh basil – check your nearest one!
Can I sub the cashews with almonds? Thank you.
That shouldn't be a problem at all – go right ahead! The flavor will be a bit different, but still delicious, I'm sure.
Love the idea of spiral veggies. What brand is your machine & where do I buy it. Thks.
Me too! My spiralizer is one of my favorite pieces of kitchen equipment. :) I like the Paderno spiralizer, which I ordered from Amazon. Here is the link to the product: http://www.amazon.com/Paderno-World-Cuisine-A4982799-Tri-Blade/dp/B0007Y9WHQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1438375776&sr=8-3&keywords=paderno+spiralizer
HOw many servings does this make?
This serves 2 people as a main or 4 as a side. Thanks for pointing out that I left that out!
You don't soak your cashews? Or it is just a given?
Thank you soo much for all your lovely recipes
Not for this recipe, nope! Just regular raw cashews. :) You are so welcome – glad you like them!