Double-Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Perfect as an accompaniement to a grilled steak, this dish uses summer's bounty of zucchini, basil and tomatoes.

By / Photography By Hugh Forte | August 05, 2015

About this recipe

I have a tough time calling this recipe a “big bowl” because it’s so light. You’ll likely want to serve this with some garlic bread, and you could add grilled shrimp or chicken sausages if you’re looking to bulk it up for the omnivores. The lentil “meatballs” in my first book would also be perfect here. I pack in a ton of flavor by making a quick pesto and then stirring in the components of pesto to finish the dish. I suggest five zucchini, assuming yours are a hearty size. If you have ones on the smaller side, shred up six or seven, so there’s enough to go around.

Unlike most recipes here, the leftovers don’t reheat well, so this is a dish you’ll want to cook and eat the same day. It is even worth trying raw if the summer days are warm and a cool noodle dish sounds better—simply skip the sauté and dress the drained zucchini in pesto. The pesto may be prepared a few days in advance and any extra makes for an excellent sandwich spread or salad dressing when thinned with a little lemon juice.


Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Using a julienne peeler, slice the zucchini into thin strips, stopping when you get to the seedy center. This can also be done with a spiral slicer, mandoline, or very carefully by hand. Lay the zucchini “noodles” on a dish towel and sprinkle them with sea salt; let them sweat for about 20 minutes, then blot and gently squeeze out the excess water with the dish towel.

Meanwhile, for the pesto, in a food processor, blend the garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a paste. Add the basil and blend to combine. With the motor running, add the olive oil, and then the Parmesan. Taste and adjust as needed (I like to add lots of lemon). Transfer to a jar and set aside.

Keeping stems attached, rub the tomatoes with a thin coat of oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast them on a rimmed baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes until they just begin to collapse.

In your largest frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the white beans, a hearty pinch of salt and pepper, and sauté just to warm through. Add the zucchini and gently sauté for5 to 6 minutes until warmed (too long and they’ll get soggy). Gently toss them in⅓ cup of the prepared pesto (add more to taste) and half of the pine nuts, basil, and Parmesan.

Serve each bowl with a generous garnish of the remaining pine nuts, basil, Parmesan, pinch of red pepper flakes, and a fresh grate of lemon zest. Snip the tomatoes at the stem into four portions and serve alongside the noodles.

Reprinted with permission from The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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  • 5 large zucchini
  • sea salt
  • 1 pound vine-ripened tomatoes, stems attached
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans, rinsed and drained
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 cup basil, julienned
  • 3/4 cup shaved Parmesan
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Fresh lemon zest, for garnish
For the Pesto
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups firmly packed basil
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
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