Spaghetti & Zucchini Noodles with Basil-Walnut Pesto

Basil is the backbone of this vibrant no-cook basil-walnut pesto sauce. Toss in some leftover roast chicken or pork with these zucchini noodles for a heartier meal.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
6 cups


  • 4 medium zucchini or summer squash (2 1/4-2 1/2 lbs. total; see Tip)

  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti

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

  • ½ cup walnut pieces, toasted

  • 2 cloves garlic, halved

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper


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

  2. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain.

  3. Combine basil, walnuts, garlic, 5 Tbsp. oil, Parmesan, lemon juice, pepper, and the remaining 3/4 tsp. salt in a mini food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.

  4. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash strands and cook, stirring, until warmed and slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the pesto. Add the spaghetti and toss to combine. If the mixture seems dry, add the reserved cooking water a little at a time. Garnish with additional basil, if desired.


Equipment: Spiral vegetable slicer, mini food processor

Tip: You can skip Step 1 and use 2 lbs. of premade 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 Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 11g 22%
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 461mg 20%
Potassium 665mg 14%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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