In this Simple Cooking with Heart recipe, zucchini not only tops the Italian pasta dish—it is also added into the pesto!
It's a great way to take advantage of the abundance of zucchini we get in the summer months and certainly a delicious way to get some vegetables into your day.
Spaghetti Pesto Sauce and Zucchini
Calories272 Per Serving
Protein11g Per Serving
Fiber9g Per Serving
Cost Per Serving$2.09
|Total Fat||6.2 g|
|Saturated Fat||1.0 g|
|Trans Fat||0.0 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||1.1 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||3.4 g|
|Total Carbohydrate||48 g|
|Dietary Fiber||9 g|
3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 meat
4 medium zucchini (chopped)
12 oz. packaged, whole-wheat spaghetti (1 package)
1 bunch fresh basil (large, about 2 cups), washed
1 clove garlic (minced)OR
1 tsp. minced garlic (from jar)
2 Tbsp. walnuts or almonds, unsalted
2 Tbsp. low-sodium chicken brothOR
2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
Trim the ends off the zucchini and discard the ends. Cut each zucchini into halves, thinly slicing each half for about 8 cups total chopped zucchini.
Coat a large nonstick pan with cooking spray. Add zucchini to the pan over medium-high heat. Stirring frequently with a spoon or spatula, sautée zucchini until softened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove zucchini from heat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti into the boiling water, cooking according to package directions (without adding salt). When pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander, making sure to save ¼ cup pasta water.
Meanwhile, make the pesto sauce. Into the bowl of a food processor, add 2 cups cooked zucchini along with basil leaves, garlic, nuts, chicken broth, oil, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Process the mixture until blended, about 1 minute, adding another 1 to 2 tablespoons of chicken broth if needed for a thinner consistency.
In a large bowl, mix together drained spaghetti and pesto sauce, along with 1 to 2 tablespoons reserved pasta water for moisture (or more, if needed). Top with the rest of the cooked zucchini and serve.
Cooking Tip: Pesto doesn’t need to be made with just basil leaves—other greens or herbs like spinach, arugula, or mint can be subbed for the same amount of basil.
Tip: Saving a bit of the pasta water is a healthy way to thicken any type of sauce since the water is filled with starch from the pasta cooking.