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Zucchini Noodles w/ Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes + Walnut Parmesan

It’s already been a few months since I started the farming course I told you about a while back. I’ve been introduced this summer to the fascinating world of organic farming. I’ve been seeding, weeding, planting, cultivating, harvesting, but most importantly noticing nature’s strength and beauty from the front row. It’s been an incredibly rewarding and humbling experience, one that brought me a sense of gratitude and a greater connection to the food I eat. The feeling of seeing these little gifts of nature coming to fruition from a tiny seed, and finally harvesting them with my own hands is truly one of a kind. Nature has so much wisdom, if only we can pause and listen to what she has to teach us.

We harvested those pretty summer squashes earlier this week, along with a huge bunch of beautiful, fragrant basil. And a whole lot of other veggies and herbs that I’ve been using throughout the week (more here, here and here). With all the tomatoes exploding everywhere right now, I didn’t need much digging to figure out what this week’s recipe would be.

Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Vegan Walnut Parmesan by The Green Life

Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Vegan Walnut Parmesan by The Green Life

Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Vegan Walnut Parmesan by The Green Life

Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Vegan Walnut Parmesan by The Green Life

Truth be told, I can be quite lazy when it comes to cooking weeknight dinners. Especially on hot summer days. The last thing I want is to spend hours in the kitchen. These zucchini noodles very, very often come to the rescue and they’ve become a staple around the house.

In the summertime, we eat meals similar to this one at least once a week. I’ll almost always serve these noodles with a pesto made with whatever herb is booming in the garden at the moment, switching the ingredients here and there, sometimes using pine nuts, sometimes almonds, sometimes walnuts. I’ve been making pesto for years and I’ve never written down quantities or followed a recipe. I made an exception for you here today. But of course feel free to adapt this recipe as you please. Pesto is one of those things that is very personal, and almost impossible to mess up. Don’t have basil? Use any other green you have on hand. Like it more lemony? Go ahead. Prefer your pesto runnier? Add more olive oil. Love a good cheesy flavour? Add nutritional yeast (or parmesan if you eat dairy).

Now unless you’re entirely new to vegetarian/plant-based/healthy cooking, you’ve probably seen or at least heard of zucchini noodles before (or as people like to call them, zoodles). If not, I’m happy to introduce them to you. Zoodles are veggies spiralized into a noodle shape, using a spiralizer. They’re a great pasta replacement and make a much lighter, healthier meal. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can get a similar result by using a julienne peeler. Otherwise, you can grate the zucchini with a good old grater. Not as pretty, but certainly as delicious. If you’re new to spiralizing, you can watch this little video I shared on my Nom channel to see how it works.

I particularly love this meal on a hot day because it’s incredibly light and refreshing. It can be made entirely raw (simply omit the step of roasting the cherry tomatoes). You could serve this as a side dish or as a main for a light lunch or dinner. You can even use a combination of zucchini noodles and cooked whole grain pasta to make it a more complete meal (I particularly love these organic bean-based pasta).

Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Vegan Walnut Parmesan by The Green Life

Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Vegan Walnut Parmesan by The Green Life

Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Vegan Walnut Parmesan by The Green Life
Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Vegan Walnut Parmesan by The Green Life

Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Vegan Walnut Parmesan by The Green Life

Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Vegan Walnut Parmesan by The Green Life

For those of you in the Toronto area, you’re invited to join me and my fellow farming friends for an intimate farm-to-table dinner and ritual on September 25th, 2016. We will celebrate the summer harvest and the welcoming of autumn with an open air vegetarian dinner made with organic produce grown on the farm. Details and tickets are available here.


Notes on the recipe: As mentioned above, you could mix in some cooked noodles or pasta to make this a more substantial meal. Note that zucchini noodles are best eaten right away, otherwise they tend to become watery and mushy.

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Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes + Walnut Parmesan

Servings 2 -3 as a main, 4-5 as a side

Ingredients

For the roasted cherry tomatoes

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsp avocado oil or grapeseed oil for cooking (or olive oil)
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the pesto

  • 1/3 cup walnuts or almonds, ideally soaked overnight or for a few hours
  • 1 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or more as needed

For the walnut parmesan

  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the noodles

  • 3-4 zucchini or summer squashes
  • More basil leaves or basil microgreens to garnish

Instructions

For the roasted cherry tomatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cut side up. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt. Place in the oven and roast for about 40-45 minutes, until shrunken and lightly caramelized.

For the pesto

  1. Add walnuts (or almonds), basil, lemon juice, garlic and sea salt to a food processor and blend until finely chopped, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the opening. Blend until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

For the walnut parmesan

  1. Crush the walnuts in a mortar and pestle, keeping a few bigger chunks for texture. Add nutritional yeast and sea salt and mix to combine. The walnut parmesan can be kept in a jar or airtight container for a few weeks.

To assemble

  1. Spiralize zucchini with a spiralizer (or use a julienne peeler). Place zucchini noodles in a bowl and gently toss with the basil pesto until all the noodles are well coated.
  2. Top with roasted cherry tomatoes and sprinkle with a generous portion of walnut parmesan. Garnish with more basil leaves or basil microgreens and serve immediately.

“Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes.”

Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Vegan Walnut Parmesan by The Green Life

If you like this recipe, feel free to pin it to Pinterest. If you make it, make sure to tag your photos with #thegreenlifeblog on Instagram so I can see! And for more inspiration throughout the week, follow me on Nom.


Seen in this post: Spiralizer | Speckled ceramic bowl – YYY Collection | Small black bowl – Indigo | Linen cloth – Anthropologie

Leave a Comment

  • Can I use a blender to make pesto as don’t have food processor or would it not work? Also do you recommend soaking walnuts or just the almonds? Thanks

    • Yes, you could use a blender; your pesto will simply likely have a finer texture. And you might have to stop your blender and scrape down the sides a few times before it’s fully blended.

      Soaking the nuts is optional, but I like doing it whenever I can to increase their digestibility and nutritional content. So yes, I’d recommend soaking both the walnuts and/or almonds. You can read more about the benefits of soaking nuts in this post: https://www.thegreenlife.ca/how-to-make-your-own-nut-milk/. I hope this helps!:)