Pesto Zucchini Noodles just scream summer! They're coated in a delicious, creamy pesto and topped with bacon and tomatoes for a fresh low carb, paleo and whole30 meal.
Can you tell I'm ready for summer? Bring on ALL the zucchini recipes, like these pesto zucchini noodles and of course my gluten free zucchini bread.
As much as I love traditional pasta (helloooo bacon parmesan pasta), I also adore low carb options, which is when zucchini noodles really come in handy.
- Quick! Ready in about 15 minutes
- Incredibly fresh and light
- Gluten free/paleo/whole30-compliant, and could easily substitute mushrooms or a different vegetable for the bacon to make this plant-based as well
Zucchini: 2 medium
Bacon: Or substitute pancetta. Don't eat meat? Try subbing mushrooms instead!
Tomatoes: Preferably grape or cherry because they're easiest to roast in a skillet.
Pine nuts: Can sub almonds or walnuts; pine nuts are great because they create a smooth, creamy consistency, but they're a little more expensive so other nuts will work too.
Basil: No substitution -- you need basil for the pesto!
First: Make the pesto. Add all of the pesto ingredients (basil, garlic, pine nuts, spinach, olive oil, water, and lemon juice) to a small blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
Second: Spiralize the zucchini. Next, slice the ends off of both zucchini, then run them through your spiralizer to create zucchini noodles.
Third: Cook the bacon. Add the chopped bacon to a large, deep skillet, then cook it completely over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir for 2 minutes until they're slightly blistered.
Fourth: Combine everything together. Add the zucchini noodles to your skillet and use kitchen tongs to toss them so that they're warm, but not soggy. Pour the pesto over the noodles and stir until they're coated, then remove from the heat.
Tips and tricks
-If you're having trouble getting the pesto to blend, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. You don't want the pesto to be watery, but you do want it to be smooth and creamy.
-Make sure to use a large enough skillet that will fit the bacon, tomatoes and zucchini noodles.
-If you're NOT keeping this Whole30, you could use a combination of zucchini noodles and regular (or gluten free) spaghetti to make this a bit heartier.
-If you want to try one of my other pesto recipe, be sure to check out my kale pesto and/or my sun-dried tomato pesto.
How should this be stored?
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I don't recommend freezing this; however, you can make the pesto in advance and freeze that. But, in my experience, zucchini noodles are best fresh.
Can I add more ingredients?
Yes! This is a very simple recipe, so if you want to give it a little more "oomph", try adding sautéed eggplant, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, and/or yellow squash.
More zucchini recipes:
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Pesto Zucchini Noodles
- 2 zucchinis
- 12 oz. grape tomatoes
- 2 slices bacon chopped, see notes for substitutions
- salt and pepper to taste
for the pesto:
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 ½ cup fresh basil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup spinach
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or more to taste
- Start by making the pesto: add all ingredients to a small blender or food processor and pulse until smooth (add more water 1 tablespoon at a time if needed); set aside.
- Next, add bacon to a large skillet and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes. While those are cooking, run the zucchini through your spiralizer to create zucchini noodles.
- Add the zucchini noodles to the skillet and use kitchen tongs to stir so that they're warm but not soggy, 1-2 minutes. Pour the pesto into the skillet and toss until the noodles are coated.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in August 2017. It was updated with new text and photos in April 2021.
Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food says
I love the idea of zucchini noodles, but every time I eat them it's just not enough food for me! I think using both is a good plan. I've tried chickpea pasta and love it! It actually tastes like normal pasta, which I can't say about all the other kids out there.
I agree! I've been loving the chickpea and lentil pastas lately. And yes! I love me some zoodles buuuut we usually eat them with regular pasta noodles too, if only to fill us up more.
Lucia Wright says
I have...a confession. I've never tried zucchini noodles. The mushy texture of cooked zucchini reaaaaally throws me off but I really do want to try them! Haha. This looks so good! I can't believe summer is over!
Ok I actually get that.... but! All you have to do is cook them for about a minute in the skillet, no longer. That way they're warm but not too mushy (I can't stand mushy foods either!).