Zucchini Pesto Pasta

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Here’s a fresh take on classic pesto—a zucchini-cashew version that might just become your new favorite. After shredding the zucchini, you’ll squeeze extra moisture out of it to ensure the saucy has a silky (not watery) body. Combined with roasted, salted cashews and peppery basil, the result is unique and crave-worthy. Tossed with just enough pasta water to add starch and strands of classic spaghetti, this crowd-friendly vegetarian recipe will win raves at dinnertime. It’s especially good for kids that turn away from vegetables, since the zucchini is mingling under the radar in the sauce. Keep a jar on hand for quick pastas, or for serving with grilled chicken or dolloping onto summer minestrone.

Zucchini Pesto Pasta Recipe
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Hands On Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
Yield:
4 serves

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, trimmed and shredded (about 1½ cups)

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving

  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about ½ cup), plus more for serving

  • ¼ cup roasted salted cashews

  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for serving

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 small clove garlic

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for water

  • 1 pound spaghetti

  • ¼ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

Directions

  1. Place zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to release as much water as possible. Transfer to a food processor or blender. Add basil, Parmesan, cashews, oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Process until smooth.

  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking water. Toss pasta and zucchini pesto in a large bowl, adding reserved cooking water as needed until creamy.

  3. Serve topped with ricotta, basil, Parmesan, and a drizzle of oil.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

677 Calories
25g Fat
91g Carbs
21g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Calories 677
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25g 32%
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Sodium 973mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 91g 33%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 21g

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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