Upgrade pasta with this simple and healthy zucchini pesto. It is light and creamy and can be ready in 15 minutes!
Whether you have an abundance of zucchini or are looking for a lighter and unique variation, this bright green sauce is sure to become one of your go-tos!
And if you're looking for an extra creamy pesto, try this easy ricotta pesto!
- Zucchini - Grated works best! Use the large holes of a box grater. While you're at it, grate extra to easily add to any of these quick toddler breakfast and lunch ideas.
- Almonds - While I love the marriage of zucchini and almonds, you can swap with walnuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds.
- Parmesan - I've also tried this with cheddar cheese and it turned out delicious!
- Basil - You don't really need to be exact with the measurements here. I like to add a handful. Feel free to add more or less.
- Add almonds, basil, and garlic to a food processor/blender.
- Pulse until finely chopped.
- Add the rest of the ingredients.
Tips for Success
- Be sure to squeeze out as much excess moisture as you can from the zucchini and carrots by using a dish towel or cheesecloth. Otherwise, you will end up with very watery pesto.
- As with any pesto or dips, use good quality extra virgin olive oil. It truly can make all the difference in the world! I recommend cold pressed, organic.
- Once blended, add more cheese or lemon juice to your liking.
Oh there are SO many ways to enjoy this refreshing pesto! Here are some suggestions:
- Toss with some pasta - like this pesto orzo salad
- Add on top of fish, chicken, tofu, or eggs
- Spread on toast, sandwiches, quesadillas
- Use as a pizza sauce like in this pesto flatbread pizza!
- Enjoy as a dip for vegetables - if you have a fussy eater, this is most definitely worth a try!
How to serve pesto to Babies
Click on any of the links above for specific tips and pictures. If serving with pasta, opt for bigger-sized shapes, like fusili or rigatoni.
Here are more tips on serving pasta to babies.
Start with small portions to make it less overwhelming for your baby. This will also help reduce food waste. You can always offer more if they seem interested.
Is your baby 6 months old and up?
Learn all the secrets to starting solids safely while optimizing nutrition!
How to serve to toddlers
It is common for toddlers to reject mixed foods, especially if they weren't introduced to them often as a baby. In this case, don't stop offering! They will need a lot of pressure-free exposure.
For example, serve just a tiny portion of pesto pasta next to plain pasta. Even if your child doesn't eat it, just seeing it counts as exposure. And the more they become familiar, the more likely they are to accept and try in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can add nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor.
Transfer to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Note that the color will darken from oxidation so to prevent this, I recommend drizzling a thin layer of olive oil on top.
Yes! I like to store in single serving portions using this freezer tray so I can thaw just the amount I need. Simply place the tray in the freezer, pop out the molds, and transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. Will keep for up to 3 months.
Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!
Zucchini Pesto with Almonds
- 1 cup loosely packed basil
- ¼ cup (40g) almonds (40g)
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 cups (200g) grated zucchini (measured after squeezing), about 2 small zucchini
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2-3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Grate zucchini using the side holes of a box grater. Squeeze all excess water using a kitchen towel or cheesecloth.
- Place basil, almonds, and garlic in a food processor/blender and pulse until finely chopped. Add zucchini, cheese, lemon juice and zest and blend until combined.
- With the processor/blender running, drizzle in olive oil umtil pesto reaches desired consistency.
- Transfer to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top.
- To freeze, transfer to a ice cube or freezer tray. Will keep for up to 3 months.
The post was first published in 2013.