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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- If you’d like to have this raw: just serve zucchini noodles, topped with pesto sauce!
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve the zucchini noodles topped with the pesto sauce.