The spiral-cut method for prepping zucchini is just plain fun to do. I’ll confess, I love creating these swirly strands of fresh zucchini so I’m looking for ways to use them in recipes. Here’s a good one. Slightly cook the “noodles” and top with sauteed broccoli, crispy bacon and a Fresh Basil Pesto (recipe included) or prepared pesto sauce. It’s practically off the charts on the flavor meter!
It’s helpful to get as much moisture out of the noodles before cooking them so I’ve included that technique in the recipe. It makes quite a bit of difference in the final product so take the time to do this step. This dish can stand alone as a main dish served with a little crusty bread/olive oil and a spinach salad like the one I posted recently (Spinach, Pear and Walnut Salad). Or serve as a side dish along with your favorite grilled meat or fish (like Amazing Italian Meatballs with Tangy BBQ Sauce or Grilled Pork Chops with Fresh Peach Ginger Sauce or Maple Walnut Crusted Salmon to name a few).
- Fresh Basil Pesto Zucchini Noodles
- 3 medium zucchini, spiral-cut (mandolin or spiral-cut slicers are great for this)
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2-3 Tbsp Fresh Basil Pesto or prepared basil pesto
- 6 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp slivered almonds or pine nuts
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
- Place zucchini strips in a colander over a bowl or sink. Sprinkle zucchini with salt and toss to combine. Let the zucchini sit for 15 minutes while the salt extracts the moisture. Drain excess water, squeezing zucchini with paper towels, if necessary.
- For the Fresh Basil Pesto: Combine the basil, garlic, almonds or pine nuts and Parmesan cheese in a container of food processor fitted with metal blade. Cover and process until smooth. With the machine running, slowly drizzle olive oil through the chute to incorporate the oil. Transfer to a bowl and season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, if desired. (Stores in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.)
- Heat oil in medium skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add the red onions and broccoli, stirring frequently for about 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add zucchini noodles and 2 Tbsp Fresh Basil Pesto, tossing to combine all ingredients. Taste and add more pesto, if needed. Heat for another 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.
- Serve with bacon crumbles and shaved Parmesan cheese.
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