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Zucchini Noodles With Parsley Pesto – Made From The Garden

This summer I’ve been busy making recipes using some of the herbs from my two-tiered herb planter. Today I’m sharing this a delicious Zucchini Noodles with Parsley Pesto Recipe From The Garden. Zucchini noodles are a staple in our low carb diet so I’m always looking for new ways to prepare them. I also have an overabundance of parsley, as is often the case, so this recipe was a no brainer!

A forkful of this zoodles with parsley pesto.

Harvesting Fresh Parsley for this Zucchini Noodle Side Dish

One of the best parts about having a herb garden is being able to walk outside and grab whatever you need for your next meal. And when it comes to this zucchini noodle salad with parsley pesto, using fresh parsley straight from the garden makes all the difference!

To get the tastiest pesto with the most vibrant flavor possible, you want to pick your parsley when it’s looking its best. Look for bright green leaves that are fully grown but still nice and tender. Skip any leaves that are turning yellow, looking droopy, or have any spots or weird stuff on them.

When you’re ready to harvest, use a pair of sharp scissors or garden shears to snip off the stems near the bottom of the plant. This way, you won’t damage the main part of the plant and it can keep growing and producing more yummy parsley all season long. Just remember to leave some leaves behind so your plant stays healthy and happy!

A beautiful vibrant parsley plant.

After you’ve grabbed your parsley, give it a quick rinse under some cool water to get rid of any dirt or bugs that might be hanging around. Then, pat the leaves dry with a clean kitchen towel or toss them in a salad spinner if you’ve got one. And just like that, your parsley is ready to be turned into a super fresh and flavorful pesto that takes this side dish to the next level.

There’s just something special about using herbs that you grew yourself. Not only does it make your food taste amazing, but it also feels pretty darn satisfying knowing that you created something delicious with ingredients straight from your own backyard. So, next time you’re whipping up this zucchini noodle salad, don’t forget to step outside and grab some fresh parsley – it’ll make all the difference!

Chopped parsley on a chopping board.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Garden-Fresh Flavors: With fresh parsley straight from your garden, this zucchini noodle salad is bursting with vibrant, authentic flavors that can’t be beat!
  • Unique Twist on Pesto: Forget the traditional basil and pine nuts – this pesto features parsley and pistachios for a delicious and nutty twist that’ll wake up your taste buds.
  • Healthy and Refreshing: Zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles) are a light and healthy swap for regular pasta, making this salad a guilt-free choice for lunch or as a side dish.
  • Perfect for Summer: This cool, crisp side dish is the ideal dish for hot summer days when you want something fresh and flavorful without heating up the kitchen.
  • Customizable: Don’t have pistachios on hand? Swap in your favorite nuts or seeds! This recipe is easy to adapt based on what you have in your pantry.
  • Make-Ahead Friendly: Whip up a big batch of this zucchini noodle dish on the weekend and enjoy it throughout the week for quick and easy lunches or snacks.
  • Crowd-Pleaser: Bring this salad to your next potluck or barbecue and watch it disappear! It’s a guaranteed hit with friends and family.
  • Satisfying Crunch: Between the crisp zucchini noodles and the crunchy pistachios, this salad has the perfect balance of textures in every bite.
  • Nutrient-Packed: Parsley isn’t just a garnish! It’s loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, making this pasta salad as nourishing as it is delicious.
  • Celebrates Your Green Thumb: There’s nothing quite like enjoying the fruits (or in this case, herbs) of your labor. This recipe is a tasty way to show off your gardening skills!
A serving bowl full of pesto.
A character drawing of an herb plant.

Shopping List:

Zucchini

Italian parsley

Arugula

Shelled pistachios

Garlic

Parmesan cheese

Sherry vinegar

Lemon

Olive oil

Salt

Black pepper

A photo with each ingredient labled.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Zucchini: The base of this dish, zucchini noodles (or zoodles) are a healthy, low-carb alternative to traditional pasta.If you can’t find zucchini or prefer a different vegetable, you can use summer squash, cucumber noodles, or even spiralized carrots.

Greens (Italian parsley and Arugula): Italian Parsley is the star of the pesto, fresh Italian parsley adds a bright, herbaceous flavor to the salad. If you don’t have Italian parsley, you can use regular curly parsley or even cilantro for a different flavor profile. Peppery arugula adds a nice depth of flavor and extra greens to the dish. Baby spinach or kale can be used instead of arugula for a milder or earthier flavor.

Pistachios: These nuts provide a creamy, nutty texture and flavor to the pesto. If you don’t have pistachios, you can substitute with other nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts. For a nut-free version, use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead.

Cheese and Vegan Options: This aged cheese lends a salty, umami flavor to the pesto and serves as a garnish. If you want a vegan version, you can use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese.

Acids (Sherry vinegar and Lemon juice): Sherry vinegar adds a tangy, slightly sweet acidity to balance the rich pesto. Red wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar can be used in place of sherry vinegar.The lemon juice brightens up the flavors and adds a fresh, citrusy note.

A side view of the ingredients in white bowls.

Variations

Protein boost: Add some grilled chicken breasts, shrimp, or tofu to make this dish a more filling main dish.

Caprese-inspired: Add some cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella balls for a Caprese-style twist.

Roasted vegetables: Toss in some roasted red peppers, eggplant, or zucchini for added depth of flavor and texture.

Pesto variations: Experiment with different herbs and greens in your pesto, like mint, basil, or even carrot tops.

Zucchini Noodles

Before we jump into the recipe, let’s first chat about zucchini noodles, otherwise known as “Zoodles”. My husband I follow a low carbohydrate diet and do our best to keep our daily Net carbs under 20 grams. Traditional pasta is very carb-heavy and replacements are often needed stay within a low carb diet. Enter zucchini noodles! With a few simple steps you can add zucchini noodles to soups, hot pasta dishes and pasta salad dishes like this yummy zucchini noodles with parsley pesto from the garden.

A big bowl full of zucchini noodles.

How To Make “Zoodles”

Many grocery stores carry zucchini (and other vegetable noodles) already spiralized. You can usually find them in the produce aisle. To make sure they are fresh, you will need to check the expiration date as the fresh zucchini noodles do not not last long. You can also find zucchini noodles in the frozen food aisle. We eat them so frequently that I decided to invest in a Kitchen Aid Spiralizer Stand Mixer Attachment to make my own. This attachment makes spiraling so easy!

The attachment comes with 5 different blades to make different styles of zoodles. To be honest I’ve only used the spiraling one so far but look forward to trying others. If you don’t have the kitchen aid spiralizer, no worries there are other less expensive options. Love and Lemons outlines some options in this post.

zoodles in a large bowl.
A forkful of this zoodles with parsley pesto.

Zucchini Noodles With Parsley Pesto – Made From The Garden

Stephanie LeBlanc
This fresh and vibrant Zucchini Noodle Pesto Salad is a delightful twist on traditional pasta salad. Tender zucchini noodles are tossed with a bright, herbaceous parsley pesto, featuring the nutty flavor of pistachios and a hint of lemon. Peppery arugula adds depth to the salad, while grated parmesan cheese provides a salty, umami finish. This light and healthy dish is perfect for summer gatherings, potlucks, or as a refreshing lunch. Customize the salad with your favorite proteins or roasted vegetables for a heartier meal, or enjoy it as a simple, yet flavorful side dish that celebrates the best of your garden's bounty.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Servings 4 people
Calories 190 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 5 zucchini medium, spiralized or julienned
  • 2 cups fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 cups baby arugula, packed
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp shelled pistachios, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 drizzle balsamic glaze (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Spiralize zucchini using the kitchen aid vegetable spiralizer or other spiralizing tool. You may also use a julienne peeler to prepare the zucchini. Pat the zucchini noodles dry with a dry paper towel and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Combine parsley, arugula, pistachios and fresh garlic in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until coursely chopped. Add the parmesan, vinegar and lemon juice and pulse until combined. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until pesto is thick and smooth. Taste and add salt, pepper and additional lemon juice if needed. 
  • Add the pesto to the bowl with the zucchini noodles and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Garnish with chopped pistachios and parmesan. Drizzle with Balsamic glaze (optional). Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

Notes: I used shredded parmesan cheese because that is what I had on hand. I’d suggest using grated so it adheres better to the zucchini noodles.
  • Calories 190
  • Fat 18.6 g (28.6%)
  • Saturated 2.6 g (13.1%)
  • Carbs 5.6 g (1.9%)
  • Fiber 2.0 g (8.0%)
  • Sugars 3.1 g
  • Protein 2.2 g (4.4%)
  • Sodium 22.3 mg (0.9%)
  • NET carbs: 3.6 g
Note: Nutritional info is provided as a courtesy only. Although celebratednest.com strives to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. 
Pesto in a food processor.

Storing this Zucchini Noodle Pesto Salad

To ensure the best quality and freshness of your zucchini noodle pesto salad, proper storage is key. Here are some tips for storing this delightful dish:

  1. Store the components separately: If you’re not planning to serve the salad immediately, it’s best to store the zucchini noodles, pesto, and any additional toppings or garnishes in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. This will prevent the zucchini noodles from becoming soggy and the pesto from discoloring the vegetables.
  2. Zucchini noodles: After spiralizing your zucchini, pat the noodles dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to remove excess moisture. Place the noodles in an airtight container lined with a dry paper towel to absorb any additional moisture. Store the container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
  3. Pesto: Transfer the prepared parsley pesto to an airtight container, making sure to press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pesto to prevent oxidation and discoloration. Seal the container tightly and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  4. Toppings and garnishes: Store any additional toppings, such as extra pistachios or grated parmesan cheese, in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  5. Assembling the salad: When you’re ready to enjoy your zucchini noodle pesto salad, simply toss the noodles with the desired amount of pesto and add any additional toppings or garnishes. If the pesto has thickened in the refrigerator, you can thin it out with a little extra olive oil or lemon juice before tossing with the noodles.
  6. Leftovers: If you have any leftover assembled salad, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days. Keep in mind that the zucchini noodles may release additional moisture and become softer over time, but the salad will still be delicious.

By following these storage tips, you can enjoy your zucchini noodle pesto salad at its best, maintaining the fresh flavors and textures of the ingredients. Remember to always use your senses and best judgment when determining the freshness and quality of your stored ingredients.

An oval white bowl with zoodles with pesto.

This Zucchini Noodle Pesto Salad is a vibrant, healthy recipe that celebrates the best of fresh, seasonal ingredients. By combining spiralized zucchini noodles with a homemade parsley pistachio pesto sauce, this dish offers a delightful twist on traditional pesto pasta. The raw zucchini noodles provide a light, refreshing base for the creamy pesto, making it a perfect choice for warm weather meals or as a nutritious alternative to heavier pasta dishes.

One of the best parts about this recipe is its versatility. You can easily customize the homemade pesto ingredients to suit your taste preferences or experiment with different greens and nuts to create your own unique flavor combinations. Plus, with the help of a handheld spiralizer or vegetable peeler, transforming zucchini into noodles is a breeze, making this an easy recipe to add to your repertoire of go-to summer dishes.

Whether you’re a long-time fan of zucchini noodles or trying them for the first time, this Zucchini Noodle Pesto Salad is sure to become a favorite. So the next time you find yourself with an abundance of fresh zucchini and herbs from your garden or local market, give this simple yet flavorful dish a try. Your taste buds will thank you!

Be sure to check out our other herb-forward recipes: Mint, cantaloup and fontina pasta salad and rosemary lavender butter cookie recipe. Grab your garden shears and get harvesting!

my signature which is a drawing of me sitting.

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