Spaghetti and Zucchini Noodles with Basil-Walnut Pesto

Trading half the pasta noodles for zucchini noodles creates a flavorful, healthier dinner everyone will love.

Spaghetti and Zucchini Noodles with Basil-Walnut Pesto
Photo: Jacob Fox
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 4 medium zucchini or summer squash (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 lb. total)*

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 8 ounce dried whole-wheat spaghetti

  • 2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish

  • ½ cup walnut pieces, toasted

  • 6 tablespoon olive oil

  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 2 cloves garlic, halved

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Using a spiral vegetable slicer or peeler, cut zucchini lengthwise into long, thin strands (stop when you reach the seeds). Place the strands in a colander and toss with 1/4 tsp. of the salt. Let drain at least 15 minutes, then gently squeeze zucchini to remove any excess moisture. Pile the strands on a cutting board and chop them once or twice to break them up.

  2. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water; drain pasta.

  3. In a small food processor combine basil, walnuts, 5 Tbsp. of the oil, the Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, and the remaining 3/4 tsp. salt Process until smooth. Transfer pesto to a large bowl.

  4. In a 10-inch skillet heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high. Add zucchini; cook and stir about 3 minutes or until heated and slightly tender. Transfer to bowl with the pesto. Add spaghetti; toss to combine. If the mixture seems dry, add the reserved pasta cooking water a little at a time. If you like, garnish with additional basil.


If you like, skip Step 1 and use 2 lb. refrigerated zucchini noodles.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

369 Calories
23g Fat
36g Carbs
11g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 369
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 461mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 11g
Potassium 665mg 14%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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