Zucchini Noodles with Fire Roasted Tomato and Crunchy Almond Pesto

gluten freevegetarian

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So what makes a pesto a pesto? It’s a creamy mixture of crushed garlic, basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese (traditionally speaking.)

But when you replace the pine nuts with almonds and add fire roast tomatoes into the mix, is it still a pesto?

I say yes – and it’s my blog so hmph!

To-MAY-to, to-MAH-to, it’s a versatile, scrumptious sauce that you’re going to want to can and keep forever.

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I was actually inspired by this pesto recipe from EatingWell. I made some changes and poured the pesto over zucchini noodles for that Inspiralized effect.

If I could eat pesto pasta every night, I would. My love for pesto goes waaay back. When I was a little girl, I used to beg my Pops to make pesto for dinner. His pesto is the best – he doesn’t measure anything, so if you ask him to write you a recipe, just forget it. It will never turn out the same.

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Pesto is beautiful – and nothing screams summer more than a fresh, fragrant basil pesto.

But alas, we’re in the midst of winter (it’s actually snowing outside as I write this – brr!) and we’re using canned fire roasted tomatoes and as-fresh-as-possible basil. And trust me, this pesto may hold a candle to my Pops’s!

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The crunchiness of the almonds adds such a special, unique taste and consistency to this meal. Let’s call it creamy-crunchy. After I made this, I canned the sauce and saved it for later – it paired beautifully with a roasted halibut and baked chicken. Talk about meal prep!

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With this recipe, you can either have the pesto and zucchini noodles raw or cook both. I prefer the raw version – it’s more refreshing and light (and more appropriate for a lunch.) If you don’t like the crunchiness of zucchini noodles and prefer your meals warm, go ahead – I included instructions for both.

Originally, when I wrote this recipe, it was to go with parsnip noodles, but someone recently asked me to amp up the zucchini noodle recipes. But man, this would be stellar with parsnips!

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Should I keep the zucchini noodle recipes coming? Or stick to more seasonal produce?

Nutritional Information & Recipe



Zucchini Noodles with Fire Roasted Tomato and Crunchy Almond Pesto

Yields 4

15 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • For the pasta:
  • 4 medium zucchinis, peeled, Blade C
  • For the pesto sauce:
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 14 ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 small pinch crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and once heated, add in the almonds, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly.
  2. Transfer the almonds to a food processor and process until ground into chunks. Set aside in a small bowl and then, in the same food processor, add in the olive oil, tomatoes, basil, vinegar, cheese, salt and crushed red pepper. Pulse until creamy, add in the almonds and then pulse lightly until combined.
  3. If you’d like to have this raw: just serve zucchini noodles, topped with pesto sauce!
  4. If you’d like to have this cooked: place a medium pot over medium-high heat and add in the pesto. Cook the pesto, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. While pesto heats, place a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated, coat with cooking spray and add the zucchini noodles. Toss until al dente, 2-3 minutes, or until cooked to your preference.
  6. Serve the zucchini noodles topped with the pesto sauce.

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This looks so good Ali! I need to get myself a spiralizer stat, especially with the wedding coming up!
lynn scarfuto says:
This was absolutely delicious! I made it last night. As I live alone I used only 2 zucchini and should have used 4. I also added a little bit of diced green pepper and some onion sauteed in a nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray. I added that to the pesto - it was awesome! Having leftovers for lunch today!
Thanks so much for trying the recipe, so happy!
april says:
My vote is for keeping with the season (for the most part). I love this recipe though. I will definitely be making this pesto, but probably not until I can get fresh basil. So hard to find right now. I also have so little experience with winter veggies and would love more ideas. Thanks for the blog, it has changed my veggie intake volume tremendously.
Jan says:
This is a great pesto recipe for winter when the basil in the garden is non existent. As a veteran in the kitchen, I have been inspired by Inspiralized and am sharing your site with friends. I learn more and try more recipes when they are presented seasonally so keep up the good work. I'll try this recipe with parsnips and zucchini, thanks!
Annie Reeves says:
Keep the zucchini recipes coming!!! I just got a spiralizer for Christmas and I've already made two of your recipes. Sooooo helpful and so delicious! I cannot wait to make this one as I'm a big fan of anything with pesto :) Have a great day! Annie
Rebecca Hoffman says:
I have found that using basis "fresh" in the package works well in recipes. I can't wait to try this although I am always a little hesitant to use canned tomatoes. Maybe they won't taste canned in this recipe? I'll try to remember to let you know!
Sounds great! Keep the zucchini recipes coming! I do all the spiralizer cooking in our home and I love using spiralized zucchinni.
Ruth Snider says:
Looks fantastic. Do you "can" sauce in the traditional way? To keep the pesto supply going, I purchased the countertop Aero garden ( 3 pod ); pesto grows exceedingly well. It is hydroponic. Your website is a fortuitous find. Thank you for such dedication. ruth
Marla says:
I feel like zucchini noodles are the standard - pretty neutral flavor, easy to make, covered extensively. I'd love to see more recipes with other veggies-as-noodles, particularly when they're in season!
Elizabeth King says:
I live in Canada & we are in a deep freeze right now so I would prefer more seasonal recipes I think but i do save the zucchini recipes for the summer months. Wondering what i can sub for the fire roasted tomatoes as i haven't seen them here so don't know if they are available or not in Canada.
Kim says:
where in canada are you? I live in Ontario and I buy Aylmer Accents fire roasted canned diced tomatoes at real Canadian superstore. most grocery stores carry them.
Carol says:
Love the zucchini recipes. They require less prep times and is always available here in California. Thanks for demystifying pesto! Can't wait to make this recipe.
Joy Keeling says:
Keep the zucchini recipes coming all year. You can always get summer squash of some kind all winter long. The zucchini is very versatile.
Jean Lake says:
Pesto in January sounds delightful to me! I'm good with any kind of deliciousness you think of! Muir Glen has organic, fire-roasted tomato products: diced, non-diced, unseasoned, and adobo-seasoned (which has a nice heat). I like it when you suggest alternative veggies for the noodle component. I live in Texas, but haven't found zucchini large enough in the markets to spiralize yet (... I know...!), so it's helpful to have the suggestion to use parsnips! I'd probably try it with parsnips anyway because I tried & liked them in another recipe, but the suggestions would be helpful for cooks new to spiralizing. Thanks for the innovative recipes, and I don't have an issue about being "seasonally correct"; I look forward to your posts. Have a fabulous 2015!!!
Catherine says:
I like the idea of using seasonal veggies. However, I live in Australia and our seasons are opposite to yours. No real problem, as in Brisbane we can get most vegetables year round. Zucchini is always plentiful and my all time favourite spiralized vegetable. Thank you for your inspiring and inventive recipes. My spiralizer and your recipes have changed the way I eat and I am reaping the health benefits. Love getting your posts.
Barbara says:
Looks delicious and I can't wait to try it. New to spiralizing and love your website. Thank you for great ideas.
Thank you, Barbara - and welcome!!
Cynthia says:
Please please please keep the zucchini and other opposite season recipes coming. Down here in Australia we're having a raging hot summer and I've got more zucchinis, basil and tomato than I know what to do with!!!!! Love your amazing work - thank you! :-)
jesusan says:
When I read the title of this recipe I almost didn't look at it. But I'm glad I did, because it sounds wonderful. (I get real tired of tomatoes…)
Barbara says:
I just purchased the Paderno Sprializer and was dying to try it out. As I live in Montreal Canada, fire roasted tomatoes were hard to find but then I found Aylmer Accents fire roasted tomatoes and it worked out. I made this recipe tonight. It was so tasty and best of all, so easy to make. Thank you Ali. Can't wait to try baked curly fries tomorrow.
Kath says:
We do not have cans of fire roasted tomatoes. Would sundried tomatoes do?
The flavor would be very different. If I were you, I'd use regular canned diced tomatoes and add a little dash of paprika and onion powder to give it that smoky taste!
Alicia says:
Hi Alissandra, I love your site but I have a hard time time trying to figure out your measurements in grams. (We don't do cups here in Europe!) Could you consider adding these in your recipes? I would really really appreciate it! Thank you very much, Alicia
Unfortunately, I don't - but they're easily calculated using online resources!
Terri says:
Love your site. Living in Alaska I do a lot of canning for the winter. And love recipes I can used "canned" items in. Did you hot water bath this and for how long? Cant wait to make a large batch and can it for future convenience!
I bought canned fire roasted tomatoes by Muir Glen! Hello from NJ - I've always wanted to visit Alaska!
Anonymous says:
Looks amazing! Wish the fat grams were not so high.
jackie says:
Jk i see that it serves 4! ;)
They're "healthy" fats, if that helps :)
Ohh this looks delicious, I've made pesto with almonds and other nuts before because pine nuts are so hard to digest, but I've never thought of adding tomatoes to a pesto! Can't wait to give it a try!
Amy says:
Oh my this looks perfect! And it's right on season for your readers (like me) who are in Australia and sweating through summer looking for light, seasonal recipes! Can't wait to try it :)
andrea says:
Just made this tonight and it was delicious! Subbed Manchego cheese instead of the parm (can't do cow's milk) and apple cider vinegar for the red wine just to get that extra goodness in there and it was SO GOOD! Any tips on how to stop zucchini noodles from leaking water all over your plate though? We had this warm... but it was "swimming"...
I have a YouTube video on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mILFcumUbuk
This was delicious! I managed to find fresh basil. We have pecan trees in our yard, so next time I will just use pecans (I liked the crunch of the almonds - I used leftover almonds from a mixed nuts container). I cook for only myself while my husband is working offshore, so this is enough sauce for at least three meals for me. I think when it comes to sharing only seasonal recipes, that can be hard. I have a friend in southern Florida who is still growing tomatoes. Here in South Louisiana, we've got greens, citrus and cabbage-like items. I have no idea what y'all are growing up North. I appreciated this recipe because so many of the items were easy to find (except for the basil), regardless of the season.
Rebecca Hoffman says:
I made this recipe tonight with Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes and they tasted delicious! My husband said this is his favorite so far. I was in a hurry and used the blender (gently) for everything and it turned out great! Thank you for such great recipes!.
Elizabeth Falk says:
Delicious recipe - especially the different take on pesto. I'm feeding my young adult (hungry) vegetarian son, and would like to add some protein to make this more filling. Any recommendations?
Trudi says:
Made this tonight and I think it is one of my favorites! Lots of flavor and quick to make. Having said that, I hesitated to make it due to all the pans/dishes that are involved, increasing the clean up, but it was worth it. However, I do have a few questions about the instructions. 1) Why do you say to use a large skillet to toast the 1/4 cup of almonds? 2) If serving warm it says to add the pesto and "reserved" almonds to a pan. I don't see anywhere to reserve some almonds, only that they are added in to make the pesto, so what is meant by that? 3) To warm the zoodles, it says to use a non stick skillet, but then it says to spray the pan. Is that to add more flavor? (because they don't stick to a non stick pan) Thanks for all your recipes and photos. They help me make the most out of my inspiralizer.
Michele says:
Hi! I am so excited to start using the spiralizer. I am having a super large party and would love to make a dish like this....do you know of another product I can purchase that can produce a larger quantity of noddles at a time? Or an attachment? Thanks for your help! Amazing website and recipes.
Lou Powers says:
My goodness! This was so delicious! I had slow cooked a chicken, so put some pulled chicken on top as well for a bit of extra protein. VERY good!
Hannah says:
This was delicious! I was just feeding the two of us, so before heating the sauce and the noodles, I put half of it in lunch containers. They re-heated beautifully. Thanks for all your work on this website--when I got a spiralizer for Christmas, I was unsure what to do with it. But now I love it! I can't wait for the cookbook to be released (pre-ordered!).
Christina says:
Made this for dinner. Super easy, super quick and absolutely super delicious! Can't get over how delicious the sauce was. Thank you! Can't wait to try more of your recipes!
Audrey says:
Does anyone else find that the noodles sometimes make the sauce too watery? Is there a way to fix this?

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