A Low-Carb Alternative to Traditional Pasta Dishes
Are you looking for a healthy, low-carb alternative to traditional pasta dishes? Look no further than this zucchini noodle pesto recipe! Zucchini noodles, or “zoodles,” are a delicious and nutritious substitute for pasta, and when paired with homemade pesto, they make for a flavorful and satisfying meal.
Benefits of Zucchini
Zucchini noodles are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a healthier alternative to traditional pasta. They are also lower in calories and carbohydrates, making them a great option for those following a low-carb or keto diet. Additionally, homemade pesto is a great way to add flavor to any dish while avoiding the preservatives and additives found in store-bought options.
Interesting Facts about Zucchini
Did you know that zucchini is a fruit, not a vegetable? It’s actually classified as a type of summer squash! Zucchini is also incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from savory to sweet. And while pesto is traditionally made with basil, it can also be made with other herbs like cilantro, parsley, or even spinach.
How Healthy Is Zucchini?
Zucchini is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber, all of which are important for maintaining good health. Additionally, homemade pesto made with fresh herbs, garlic, and olive oil contains healthy fats and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and promote heart health.
How To Make the Noodles Not Soggy
Zucchini noodles can indeed turn out soggy if not prepared properly due to their high water content. Here are some tips to avoid this issue:
- Salt and Drain: Before cooking, toss your noodles in a generous amount of salt and let them sit in a colander for about 10-15 minutes. The salt draws out a lot of the moisture from the noodles. After this, rinse them under cold water to remove the excess salt and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
- Quick, High-Heat Cooking: If you are cooking your noodles, do so quickly at a high temperature. The longer noodles cook, the more water they release. So, a quick sauté in a hot pan should do the trick.
- Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: Overcrowding the pan can result in the noodles steaming instead of sautéing, which may lead to a soggy texture. If you’re cooking a large batch, consider cooking in multiple smaller batches instead.
- Don’t Over-Sauce: The noodles will continue to release moisture into whatever sauce you’re using, thinning it out and potentially leading to a watery, soggy dish. Use sauce sparingly, and consider adding it right before you’re ready to eat.
- Eat Immediately: the noodles are best consumed immediately after cooking. The longer they sit, especially if mixed with sauce, the more water they will release.
- Consider Serving Raw: Depending on the recipe, raw noodles can be a crunchy and refreshing alternative to cooked ones. In the case of a pesto, raw noodles may work very well as the pesto sauce can be enjoyed with raw or cooked noodles.
Remember, practice makes perfect, and soon you’ll be making firm, non-soggy zucchini noodles with ease!Print
Zucchini Noodle Pesto
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
Looking for a healthy, low-carb alternative to pasta? Try this zucchini noodle pesto recipe! Zucchini noodles are nutritious and lower in calories and carbohydrates, making them perfect for low-carb or keto diets. Plus, homemade pesto adds flavor without preservatives.
3–4 medium zucchini, spiralized
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
2–3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Spiralize the zucchini and set aside.
- In a food processor, combine the basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic. Pulse until well combined.
- With the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the zucchini noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the pesto until the zucchini noodles are well coated.
- Serve immediately, garnished with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, if desired.
When cooking this zucchini noodle pesto meal, here are some things to be careful of:
- Overcooking the zucchini noodles: Be careful not to overcook the zucchini noodles, as they can become mushy and lose their texture. Cook them just until they are tender, which should only take a few minutes.
- Burning the pine nuts: Pine nuts can burn quickly, so keep an eye on them while toasting in the pan or in the oven. Stir frequently to ensure they toast evenly.
- Adding too much salt: Parmesan cheese is already salty, so be careful when seasoning the pesto with additional salt. Taste as you go and add salt sparingly.
- Pesto consistency: Depending on the type of basil and amount of olive oil used, the pesto can vary in consistency. Adjust the amount of oil and cheese to get the desired thickness.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: zucchini noodle pesto, low-carb pasta alternative, homemade pesto
If you don’t have zucchini, you can use other types of spiralized vegetables like sweet potato, butternut squash, or carrot. And if you don’t have all the ingredients for the pesto, you can use store-bought pesto or substitute the pine nuts with walnuts or almonds.
Suggested Side Dishes
Zucchini noodle pesto is a light and flavorful dish that pairs well with a variety of sides. Here are a few suggestions:
- Garlic bread: Toasted slices of garlic bread would be a perfect accompaniment to this meal.
- Salad: A simple salad of mixed greens or arugula with a light vinaigrette would complement the zucchini noodles nicely.
- Grilled chicken or shrimp: Adding some grilled or baked chicken or shrimp to the dish would make it a more substantial meal and add some protein.
- Roasted vegetables: Roasted asparagus, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts would be a delicious and healthy side to this meal.
- White wine: A chilled glass of white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, would pair well with the light and refreshing flavors of this dish.
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