Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pesto Pasta with Spiralized Zucchini and Carrots

Every summer our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box includes lots of zucchini and squash. Searching for new things to do with them, I learned about spiralizers. These nifty tools allow you to make noodles out of different kinds of vegetables. The one I have sells for at about $30 and comes with three different attachments that produce thick noodles, thinner noodles and ribbon cuts. Unlike flimsier models, it's sturdy enough to cut through harder veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes (you could make your own curly fries!), and beets. Not ready to commit to a spiralizer just yet? Well, fear not; you can use a vegetable peeler to cut thin strips summer squash or carrots. While the results won't be quite the same, you'll at least get an idea of what's possible with vegetable noodles. 

When summer squash are in season, we use our spiralizer to make heaping plates of veggie noodles. Tossed in raw marinara or pesto they make for wonderful light dinner Since it's not that time of year yet and we're still craving warm and heartier food, we sometimes bulk up conventional pasta with an equal volume of veggie noodles. This is a great way to sneak in some vegetables while also cutting the calories of a heaping bowl of spaghetti almost in half. If your sauce is flavorful enough you probably will barely notice that half of your dish is made up of vegetables. I mean, just look at the picture below and try to identify the zucchini noodles. Pretty hard, huh?

Pesto Pasta with Spiralized Zucchini and Carrots
Makes 2 servings
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of vegan pesto (recipe below)
  • 4 oz linguini, spaghetti or other long pasta
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized into thin noodles (you can use a vegetable peeler for the noodles if you don't have a spiralizer)
  • 1 large carrot, spiralized into thin noodles
1.  Make one batch of vegan pesto. Depending on what type of pasta you're using, you could do this while the pasta is cooking.
2.  In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Salt it, add your pasta, and cook per the package's directions until al dente. Drain the pasta.
3.  Heat the pesto in a pan over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Add the pasta, the spiralized zucchini and carrots. Toss until the pesto is evenly distributed and the pasta, zucchini and carrots are hot.

Vegan Pesto
Makes about 1 1/3 cups
  • 3 cups packed basil, washed and dried
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup almonds, raw or toasted
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup canola, light olive oil, or other light-tasting vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1.  Put all the ingredients except the oil in the food processor and run it until they're all very finely chopped. This will take a few minutes and you'll probably have to scrape down the food processor with a spatula a couple times.
2.  Through the small opening on top of the food processor, slowly stream in the olive oil while the food processor is running. Keep processing the mixture until you have a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings or the amount of oil until you reach your desired consistency.


  1. Looks great except maybe be vegan pesto.

  2. Oh ye of little faith! Don't knock until you try it.

  3. this looks fantastic....I'm gonna try it.

  4. Ryan, it was delicious. Definitely give it a shot and let me know how it turns out!