Zucchini Pasta with Parsley Almond Pesto

Until quite recently, I would pass over recipes that used
squash as a stand-in for pastas. I assumed these dishes were for the low-carb dieters of the world, not for a cook with my appetite. I’m not sure what compelled me to finally give zucchini pasta a try last month, but I’m glad I finally came around.

Some recipes call for a mandoline, or a sharp knife and a
steady hand, to thinly slice the zucchini. I’ve found that using a vegetable
peeler to shave off thin ribbons provides consistently great results. The
recipe below makes a hearty serving for one with leftover pesto. Increase the zucchini
as necessary. Zucchini is also a great addition to regular pasta dishes. I like to add it to the lemon pepper pappardelle from Trader Joe’s. Just add the zucchini to the pasta water for the last minute or two of cooking and drain everything together before serving.

Zucchini “Pasta” with Parsley Almond Pesto


2 medium zucchini
2 Tbl whole almonds
1 C packed Italian parsley leaves
4 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 small garlic clove, pressed
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano for serving


To make the pesto, I follow this recipe from Molly and

To prepare the zucchini, bring a medium pot of salted water
to a boil. Meanwhile, shave off thin slices of zucchini using a vegetable
peeler. When you reach the seeds in the middle of the squash, you may prefer to
stop peeling and reserve the zucchini heart for a salad. I usually continue to
peel and add the entire zucchini, but the texture will be slightly different,
so this is a matter of preference.

Add the zucchini to the boiling water for just a minute or
two. When the green of the zucchini brightens, test a piece. The zucchini
should be just tender. Do not over cook. Drain and transfer to a serving dish. Toss with a tablespoon or two of the pesto and finish off with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

show hide 10 comments

Meghan - What gorgeous photos!
I’m wary of such recipes myself. I, too, have a healthy appetite and enjoy pasta too much to think it needs to be substituted.
BUT–this dish looks so beautiful, healthy, and satisfying. I can’t wait for a bumper crop of zucchini this summer!

dana - i love this! i love my pasta, too, but when i want something light i’ll have something along these lines. sometimes i’ll keep it raw, either with pesto or a punchy lemony vinegraitte.

eileen - There is cool mesmeric beauty to this zucchini that makes you forget its food! Well done, Gemma.

dining room sets - This dish looks so beautiful! Well done and so creative.

ButterYum - Wow – I clicked over here from “Who’s Hungry”, and I’m happy to have found you. Congratulations on being one of the runners up in the photography contest. I’m sorry I missed entering – maybe there will be another one sometime.
Great blog!!!!

Blue Jean Gourmet - Gemma–made this last weekend for a gathering and it was a big hit! I’m still enjoying the leftovers, plus I have a big jar of extra parsley pesto in the fridge destined for pasta later this week.

Nishta - Well, that big jar of leftover pesto ended up being tossed with roasted cauliflower & topped with grated Parmesan–SO GOOD. thanks again, Gemma.

gemma - Thank you everyone! I am still making this dish on a weekly basis. It’s so bright and refreshing.
Thanks Dana – Raw with a lemon vinaigrette sounds divine!
Nishta – I love having this pesto left over. Using it with cauliflower sounds amazing, great tip!

vanessa p - This recipe is extremely easy and delicious. I’m not a fan of zucchini but the photo and ease of recipe made it tempting to make. I will definitely make this next time I am craving pasta.

dining room tables - I find this recipe so easy to make. Love the color, too. Now I am suddenly craving for some pasta.

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