This can be a completely raw dish. No cooking is required. Or, if you want, you can roast the tomatoes to add a depth of flavor. That would be the most complicated step of this ridiculously easy dish. You can also heat the zucchini on the stove for 3-5 minutes if you would like the dish to be warm. I sautéed my zucchini on the stove after I tossed it with some pesto. The pesto you can make yourself by blending together some basil, garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts. Or you can also buy it pre-made – just make sure that it doesn’t contain Parmesan.
How does a zucchini become noodles, you might ask. You simply use a julienne peeler to strip the zucchini squash down to the seeds, breaking apart any pieces that stick together. I don’t know if making a vegetable into noodles tricks your mind somehow, but I wolfed down two medium zucchini this way. This is not something I normally do. But once the zucchini noodles were mixed with a little pesto and tossed with roasted tomatoes, there was no stopping me. I am lucky I got some photos taken before I tried it, because it was gone in no time. It is definitely going on my list of regulars, as a quick and delicious weeknight dinner.
I can’t emphasize the words quick or easy enough. I am still go over the steps in my head, wondering if I am forgetting something, because I am in disbelief that it was that simple. Peel a zucchini. Toss with pesto and tomatoes. Eat. That’s what, 5 minutes? For a meal? I am seriously considering adding a new category to the difficulty rating system for my recipes, to ‘stunningly simple.’
These zucchini noodles are a great substitute for pasta. The zucchini paired together with the pesto makes a delicious flavor combination, and the tomatoes add a pop of brightness to the dish.
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 3 tbsp pesto
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- Pine nuts, for topping (optional)
- Use a julienne peeler to slice the zucchini into noodles, stopping when you reach the seeds. Set aside.
- If roasting tomatoes, place onto a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.
- Combine the zucchini noodles and pesto, tossing until well coated. Top with tomatoes and pine nuts to serve.
- If cooking zucchini noodles, simply add to a skillet and sauté over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
More Good Paleo-friendly Pasta Recipes
Pesto Paleo Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Spaghetti squash is tossed with pesto, spinach and sundried tomatoes in this easy paleo pasta recipe. While the squash bakes in the oven, prepare the Roasted Garlic and Basil Pesto. The garlic can roast in the oven at the same time as the spaghetti squash.
1 medium spaghetti squash
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup Roasted Garlic and Basil Pesto
1 cup sun dried tomatoes
6 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place squash in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the halves, with the cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until you can poke the squash easily with a fork. Let cool until you can handle it safely. Then scrape the insides with a fork to shred the squash into strands.
3. After removing spaghetti squash from the oven, heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and sun dried tomatoes. Cook, stirring regularly, until the spinach is wilted and the tomatoes are aromatic.
4. Stir in the spaghetti squash strands to the pan. Add the pesto and stir until evenly distributed. Serve warm.