- 4 medium to large zucchini (or one per person), washed, ends trimmed, skin on, and julienned
- Flesh of 1 large, ripe avocado
- 2 cups fresh whole basil leaves (lightly packed)
- 1/3 cup whole raw pine nuts
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- 1 teaspoon zest plus juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Optional: 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast if you have it on hand (note: nutritional yeast is very different from regular yeast and can be found at most health food stores)
Use a julienne peeler or mandoline to slice/peel the zucchini into noodles.
Toast the pine nuts in a small saute pan over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until fragrant (you can skip this step if you want the recipe to be completely raw, toasting the nuts just intensifies their flavor.) While the pine nuts toast, first place garlic clove in the food processor by itself and pulse about 10 times until it’s finely chopped. Allow the pine nuts to cool before adding them to the food processor. Add the cooled pine nuts and rest of the pesto ingredients except the olive oil to the food processor and pulse until all of the ingredients are finely chopped and incorporated (about 10-15 pulses). Turn the food processor on and stream in the olive oil, blending until combined (about 30 seconds total).
Toss your zucchini noodles with your pesto and serve. This dish is excellent room temperature or chilled.
- Add a sprinkle of hemp seeds, chickpeas, nuts or organic chicken breast for added protein to make this a full meal
- Watch the pine nuts closely if you toast them, they’ll burn quickly as they contain a lot of (healthy) fat.
- Subbing 1/2 the basil for arugula, spinach or parsley is a great option.
- Substituting walnuts for pine nuts also tastes great.
- I recommend always using organic ingredients, but especially the lemon here because you are zesting it. Wash it thoroughly, too.
- You can store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator up to 3 days; I suggest cutting the “noodles” right before you use them. If you let them sit they can give off too much liquid and become soggy.
- Using 1/2 zucchini noodles and 1/2 whole-grain gluten-free spaghetti noodles is also a fun way to eat this dish.