Zucchini ‘Noodle’ & Pesto Salad

Zucchini 'Noodle' & Pesto Salad-2

Zucchini ‘Noodle’ & Pesto Salad

This is going to sound like a big call but I’m willing to ‘go there’ anyway. This was my favourite thing on our table this Christmas. Yep better than the deep fried turkey – although only just. Man was that one tasty turkey. But back to the salad, it has such freshness and vibrancy yet the noodles provide the comfort you’d normally expect from a bowl of spaghetti. I’ve been serving it mostly as a side salad this Summer but it would only take a poached egg, some sardines, a generous handful of shaved Parmesan or a little cooked chicken to turn it into a meal.

And another thing I love about this salad is that it’s not a ‘delicate flower’ that will wilt if you don’t serve asap. It’s actually happy sitting around at room temperature for an hour or so. And the leftovers keep really well in the fridge!

enough for: 2 as a side
takes: 15 minutes

2 medium zucchini
6 tablespoons pesto
2 tablespoons lemon juice
bunch basil, leaves picked
handful pine nuts
Cooked eggs, tuna or chickpeas, to serve

1. Cut zucchini into spaghetti-like noodles using a spiralizer, vegetable peeler or mandoline. Sprinkle with some fine salt and stand for a few minutes to soften.

2. Combine pesto and lemon in a large bowl.

3. Toss zucchini noodles in the pesto dressing along with the basil. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt or lemon, as needed.

4. Serve with pine nuts scattered on top. And your protein on the side.


dairy-free – use a dairy-free pesto or basil oil.

carb lovers / more substantial – toss in some torn sourdough croutons, boiled new potatoes or cooked spaghetti.

more substantial (low carb) – extra protein.

protein options – poached eggs, some sardines, canned tuna, pork sausages, chickpea, lentils, a generous handful of shaved parmesan or feta, or a little cooked shredded chicken. We had this one year with our Christmas turkey and it was a winning combo.

carnivore – serve with grilled chicken, steak or sausages.

different herbs – if it isn’t basil season use flat leaf parsley, mint or some salad leaves instead – you just want some leafy fresh greenness.

different nuts – pine nuts can be expensive so feel free to use almonds, brazil nuts or cashews instead.

nut-free – skip the pine nuts or use shaved parmesan, crumbled feta or slices of fresh goats cheese instead.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

zucchini – will keep for 2 weeks or longer in a plastic bag in the fridge. To keep it even longer, cook sliced zucchini in a little butter until just soft then store in an airtight container in the fridge.

pesto – commercial jars of pesto will keep for months in the pantry. Fresh pesto will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Cover with olive oil to prevent exposure to air and browning reactions.

lemon – whole lemon will keep wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for months.

basil – make basil oil by packing washed and dried leaves in a clean jar and covering with extra virgin olive oil. Or you can freeze the leaves, they’ll wilt but will still be delicious.

pine nuts – keep them in the pantry.

Prepare Ahead

No. Best when freshly made. However, leftovers will keep in the fridge for a week. Don’t freeze.

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  • Oooohhh, just bought a 2nd hand, electric spiralizer and tried this recipe! SO DELICIOUS!!! 😀 definitely a new favorite!

  • I just love this salad… variation to try:
    – roast pecan pieces
    – handful of blueberries
    – purple basil and it’s flowers (if you grow it, it is an edible ornamental)

    I followed JC’s instructions, but once I forgot to let the spirals sit in salt, I Lomé it better just letting them sit in lemon or lime juice. The spirals keep some crispness. Reminding me of al dente pasta.

  • I love it, I’ve used it so much, as a side salad cold and I’ve slightly warmed it to serve with lamb chops. So good. I’m going to try it with a pesto made with my lemon balm – so easy to grow and it makes a lovely lemony pesto.

    • Isn’t it great Deb?
      Planning to make it a few more times while I have loads of basil and zucchini in the garden 🙂

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