Artichoke pesto zucchini noodles

A few weeks ago, I promised to come up with a pesto pasta dish, but with the warm weather, I felt for something light. Instead, I made fresh spiralized zucchini noodles and tossed them with my homemade artichoke pesto sauce.

This is a simple, easy and flavourful summer dish that can be served as a starter (entrée) or a main meal. Of course, you could make the same dish with pasta, but this healthy version is worth a try. It’s also a great way to get your kids to eat more vegetables.

If you are looking for a gluten-free or lighter alternative to pasta, you should invest in a spiralizer. I recommend the OXO Good Grips Tabletop spiralizer. It is incredibly easy to assemble, use and clean. And the results are excellent. For detailed instructions on how to use it, here’s an 8-minute video by Amy at Superhealthykids.com.

The mild, buttery flavour in zucchini makes it the perfect low carb substitution for pasta. And zucchini noodles, better known as zoodles, pair well with all kinds of sauces, toppings or pesto. However, what you want to avoid are zoodles that are too soggy or soft.

For crisp, al dente zoodles, make sure to select zucchinis that are not overly tender. They should feel firm, but with a little give. When making a recipe, the best way to get the crispiest noodles is to keep your zucchinis on the raw side, as much as possible.

You can make a cold dish, but if you prefer warm, this is what I do. I spiralize the zucchini, lightly pat the noodles with a paper towel, pile them up in a dish and heat them up in the microwave for 30 seconds (maximum 1 minute if you have a lot). After, it’s just a matter of tossing them with your favourite heated sauce or pesto and dividing portions into serving plates. Voilà!

Bon appétit!

Artichoke pesto zucchini noodle

Serve as a starter (an entrée) or main meal

Ingredients

  • Zucchini(s) with peel, spiralized
  • Artichoke pesto sauce or other type of homemade or store-bought pesto sauce.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Options for toppings: marinated artichokes, dry red pepper flakes, micro-greens, salt and pepper to taste. Can also sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese.

Procedure

Spiralize zucchini into noodles, gently pat them dry with a paper towel and transfer to a microwaveable dish or platter. Set aside. (Also note that at this stage, you can store the noodles in a sealed container in fridge and assemble the recipe later. I like to put a sheet of paper towel on bottom to absorp any extra moisture. They will keep for a good 4 days.)

In a sauce pot on stove top, heat up a small amount of olive oil. Add by tablespoons the pesto sauce; more or less one tablespoon per serving. Mix well until blended and evenly heated. Take off heat.

Microwave the zucchini noodles on medium-high heat for 30 seconds or a little closer to 1 minute if you have a lot or if your zoodles have chilled in fridge. But do not over heat them so that they remain on the crisp side.

Add the heated pesto sauce and toss well to coat.

Divide into serving plates with tongs. Add toppings of choice.

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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