Zucchini Noodles With Pesto (Keto & Vegan)
Zucchini noodles with pesto are delicious low-carb keto pesto pasta made of spiralized zucchini and cooked in a creamy almond milk pesto sauce.
This pesto zoodle recipe is also vegan and gluten-free.
What Are Zucchini Noodles?
Zucchini noodles, also known as zoodles, are vegetable pasta made of raw zucchini using a vegetable spiralizer.
Zucchini is also known as Courgette, Baby Marrow, or Summer Squash.
Zoodles have the same consistency as real pasta without the carbs or calories.
It is a healthy way of enjoying a pasta dish without the carbs, calories, or fat of wheat pasta.
In fact, zucchinis contain only 17 kcal and 2 grams of net carbs per 100 grams.
As a result, they are the perfect vegetable to create pasta-like dishes on a low-carb keto diet.
How To Make Pesto Zoodles
This zucchini noodle recipe uses Parmesan cheese. It should be noted that vegan Parmesan or nutritional yeast works very well for a vegan zoodle recipe.
Therefore, this recipe is a tasty keto vegan meal made with only 6 ingredients.
- Zucchini, it is up to you to peel the zucchini or not. Keeping the zucchini skin adds fiber and nutrients to your dish. Zucchinis are great keto-friendly vegetables, with less than 2 grams of net carbs per 100g.
- Olive oil or another healthy oil like avocado oil, or almond oil.
- Sunflower seeds or pine nuts if you prefer to make a regular pesto recipe, both contain the same amount of net carbs. You can also make my Pesto Without Pine Nuts.
- Parmesan or vegan Parmesan – Parmesan is a keto-friendly cheese.
- Unsweetened Almond Milk is the magic ingredient to create a really creamy sauce without adding carbs or calories.
- Garlic cloves
Making Zucchini Noodles
Wash the summer squash and peel the skin with a vegetable peeler.
To cut the zucchini in spaghetti-like strands, you can use a mandoline, Julienne peeler, or a spiralizer.
You’ll get the best results with a spiralizer. It’s easy to use, quick, and delivers very consistent noodles.
Pat dry the zucchinis with a paper towel to drain some of the moisture and keep them in a colander.
Cooking Zucchini Noodles With Pesto
The best way to cook zucchini noodles is in a lightly oiled frying pan.
First, stir fry your noodles for 5 minutes to give them a little crisp and soften the center slightly.
Then, add your pesto and combine evenly.
Finally, pour a splash of unsweetened almond milk to create a creamy pesto sauce. You can also make my Spinach Pesto.
Obviously, it is recommended to not cook them for more than 10 minutes in total, or they will get really soft and lose their pasta texture.
Serving Zucchini Noodles
These zucchini noodles are delicious on their own, but you can also serve them on the side of a main dish.
The best options with this vegetarian side are:
- Cast-Iron Chicken Breast
- Gluten-Free Meatballs
- Lemon Pepper Chicken Tenders
- Steak Alfredo In 30 Minutes
- Or any steak cooked with my Steak Cooking Guide
Serve the zucchini noodles with black pepper, some fresh Parmesan cheese, and a touch of fresh basil for flavor.
You can store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze them. Defrost them the day before in the fridge.
Rewarm in a saucepan under medium heat or microwave for 2-3 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are Zucchini Noodles With Pest Called Pesto Zoodles?
Zoodles is a portmanteau of the words Zucchini and Noodles, so pest zucchini noodles are called pesto zoodles.
Can I Make Zoodles Without A Spiralizer?
If you don’t have a veggie spiralizer you can simply make noodles with a veggie peeler.
Peel thin ribbons from the zucchini, then slice each ribbon into thin strips.
This is time-consuming and it doesn’t make round noodles.
However, it is a cheap option to make keto noodles without fancy tools. Enjoy this pasta recipe and leave me a comment if you love it!
More Zucchini Recipes
If you love zucchini, I recommend you try the following zucchini recipes.
Zucchini Noodles With Pesto
Want My Kitchen Equipment?
- 4 Zucchinis 14oz
- 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil to stir fry the noodles
Sunflower seed pesto sauce
- ⅓ cup Sunflower Seeds (50g)
- 2 cups Fresh Basil Leaves (30 g)
- ⅓ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- ¼ teaspoon Salt -adjust to taste
- ¼ cup Shredded Parmesan or vegan Parmesan or nutritional yeast
For the sauce
- ¼ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
- Cut out the ends of the zucchini.
- Place the zucchini on your spiralizer. If the length of your zucchini doesn't fit the spiralizer, cut the zucchini in half and spiralize half piece at a time.
- Turn the spiralizer to create zucchini noodles. Make sure you center the zucchini onto the spiralizer and that you firmly press the zucchini onto the blade while you turn. This will create long zucchini noddles and avoid short curly pieces.
- Set aside on a plate while you are making the sunflower seed pesto.
Sunflower seed pesto
- Heat a small frying pan under medium heat. Add the sunflower seeds and toast them for 2 or 3 minutes until fragrant.
- Transfer the toasted seeds into a food processor along with all the rest of the pesto ingredients: basil leaves, olive oil, garlic clove, salt, and grated Parmesan (use vegan Parmesan or nutritional yeast if dairy-free).
- Process until it forms a smooth pesto spread, it should not take more than 1 minute. If needed, stop the food processor, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and process again until it forms a consistent spread.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan on low-medium heat. Add the zucchini noodles and toss for 2-5 minutes, stirring often with a pasta tong to warm the noodles evenly. Note that the longer you cook them the softer they become. For al dente crunchy zucchini noodles, stop after 2 minutes. I recommend you taste the noodles and adjust the time to your palate.
- Stir in the homemade sunflower seed pesto and add the unsweetened almond milk to create a sauce.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce is hot, thick and form bubbles on the side of the pan. Feel free to add more unsweetened almond milk to create a thinner sauce. Don't cook more than 8 minutes in total to prevent the zucchini noodles from softening too much.
- Serve with extra grated Parmesan.
Storage and freezing
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze. Defrost the day before in the fridge.
- Rewarm in a saucepan under medium heat or microwave for 2-3 minutes.
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Cooking Method:One Bowl
Preparation:5 Ingredients Or LessUnder 20 Minutes
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Will frozen zucchini noodles work for this recipe?
I never used frozen zucchini noodles before, feel free to experiment!
I do not like almond milk. Can cashew, oat or soy milk be used instead?
Sure, any dairy free milk will work, the best keto option are unsweetened almond, coconut or cashew. Oat milk and soy milk are higher in carbs. Enjoy the recipe, XOXO Carine
Thank you Carine, this turned out to be very tasty! I will make it again. I fried the zucchini noodles in coconut oil, not in olive oil, just because I like the smell of coconut oil. This added an extra bit to the dish, I should say. I also added some sprouts on top of the ready meal, which looked very healthy. Pesto turned out to be better than I expected, considering I put it in the blender and not in the food processor, just required more liquid, so I added more olive oil. A bit fatty in the end, but it is good fat, so bring it in 🙂 Thank you!
I love frying those noodles in coconut oil too! Thanks so much for trying my recipes. I am glad you are here with me. XOXO Carine