September 22, 2011

Zucchini pasta with roasted pepper pesto

We recently hosted a family dinner. It was still pretty hot when I was preparing the food (I'm a little behind in reporting, as usual), and I wanted to keep the dishes light and easy to prepare without heating up the kitchen. In addition to a bunch of other cold salads, I wanted to make a spiralized zucchini salad, because I was still a-glow with hyper-enthusiasm over my new spiralizer, and itching to spiralize every vegetable that fell under my gaze. I've calmed down since then, and am using the spiralizer with discretion now, but the zucchini salad I made that night was the most commented-on dish of the evening, so I'm sharing the recipe. Or a close facsimile of what I think is the recipe, because there are still lots of zucchinis to be had at the farmers market, and even if you don't have a spiralizer, you could julienne the zucchini, or shred it — or just use regular noodles.

I was throwing ingredients together at high speed while trying to write it all down, so my measurements might not be exact. The thing is, it probably doesn't matter exactly how much of each ingredient I used, but I believe this is pretty close. I was inspired by Rose's post on noodles and pesto, and started out to make that, but ended up making a roasted pepper pesto, instead.

Roasted pepper and pine nut pesto over spiralized zucchini noodles (or any noodles)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts (toast them in a pan over medium heat, and don't let them burn.)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 roasted green poblano peppers*
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, tough stems removed
  • 3 roasted red peppers from a jar, chopped
  • leafy greens for the salad base
  • olives for garnish
  1. In a food processor, combine pine nuts, garlic, salt, oil, green peppers and orange juice concentrate. Purée.

  2. Wash and trim the basil and roughly chop. Add to the processor and pulse to chop it well, but don't purée it. The basil should have texture and be visible.

  3. Chop the red pepper and add it to the processor. Pulse a couple of times to distribute it evenly but keep it chunky.

  4. Just before serving, toss the pesto with the noodles. Place on a platter or in a large shallow bowl that has been line with a dark leafy green (I used endive), and garnish with olives if you wish.

*note: I found freshly roasted poblano peppers at our farmers market but you could roast your own on the stove or in the oven. When they blacken, cool slightly and rub off the outer skin before using.

Here are the rest of the dinner salads. I'll be linking to the recipes or cookbooks they are from during Veganmofo, except for the chickpea salad which is right here on the blog.

Potato salad with dill and vegan chorizo.

Pasta salad


Chickpea salad


  1. I truly adore zucchini noodles, but I actually leave a puddle when I see photos of macaroni salad!!!!

  2. haha wanting to spirilize every veggie in site. cute. glad you like your new contraption.

    happy you're doing mofo! more entertainment for me. :-)

  3. Get Skinny Go Vegan,
    Well, you've got me at a loss for words. I, too love zucchini noodles, but I may not like pasta salad as much as you do. :)

    Yes, I am quite fond of the new toy.
    As for mofo, I had definitely decided against it because I think it did me in last year, and made me not want to blog anymore — the exact opposite of what I was expecting. Then, all of a sudden, I changed my mind after coming up with a plan I think will be manageable. We'll see ...

  4. That pesto sounds really good; great idea to add orange juice; I love oranges with both basil and peppers. I've been using the spiralizer a lot too, but recently just for raw sweet potato on salad.

    All the salads look totally snarfable. I'm especially drawn to the potato salad with chorizo. Looking forward to the recipes during Mofo.

  5. Wow, Andrea, these all look fantastic! The zucchini one really had great eye appeal. What lucky family members of yours!

    I'm all over that chickpea salad. Thanks so much for sharing all of this!

  6. Alison,
    Thank you — I appreciate that! Anytime you want to come for dinner, you're welcome.

    Now I'll have to try raw sweet potato. That must be really pretty as well as delicious. Adding the chorizo was my idea, (i.e. it wasn't in the original recipe) and I really liked it.

    Thank you. Spiralizing the zucchini does make it look really pretty. The chickpea salad is one of our favorites — easy and delish.

  7. The salad looks beautiful. I love the olives on top. The potato salad with chorizo and dill also sounds so great. Hope the dinner party was fun!

  8. foodfeud,
    Wow, I was just writing on your blog at the exact same time you were writing on mine! The party WAS fun, thanks to the nifty guests. :)

  9. Wow, what a beautiful salad bonanza! A spiralizer is just one more gadget I haven't gotten yet. I'm so behind the times. All of your salads look gorgeous.

  10. Your timing couldn't be more perfect- I just bought a huge jar of roasted peppers because they were on sale, but I had no idea what to do with them. I'm trying this asap!

  11. oh andrea, this looks so wonderful! what great timing--my garden popped out six nice zucchinis this morning, and this weekend i'm going to a big harvest party. this will be the perfect dish to bring. unfortunately i'm without a spiralizer, but i've got a julienne grater that will have to work.

  12. Blessedmama,
    Thanks! Though I try to keep my acquisitions under control, I admit that I'm a sucker for kitchen gadgets.

    In my opinion, you can never have too many roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, olives or avocados.

    I think a julienne grater would be great. I wonder if you could grate around the zucchini instead of down the sides, so the juliennes would be longer. Kind of like when you try to spiral off an apple peel in one piece.

  13. Stroke of genius with the veg sausage in the potato salad...just seems like such a satisfying combo! I can't stop thinking about it.

  14. Looks great! Glad you're enjoying the spiralizer. I haven't had a good pasta salad in ages--that one is calling to me!

  15. Rose,
    Thanks. I did it to make the meal a little more interesting for the omnivores at the table, but I ended up liking it a lot, too. Both the taste and texture were a great contrast to the potatoes.

    I had to put the spiralizer away for a bit but I think I'm ready to get it out again! Too much of a good thing can be, um, overwhelming. :)

  16. I love my spiralizer! I use it at least once a week for zucchini pasta during the summer. I just got more zucchini today at the farmers market today for another meal!


  17. I like your little touches, like the olives and the sausage. I'm looking forward to reading your mofo posts, and I'm glad you didn't quit blogging last year. :)

  18. Go spiralizer...spiral vegetables really are so impressive. And hurray for meals that are all salads. They all look great but that chickpea die for I'll bet; I'll look forward to the recipe.

  19. Courtney,
    Yes I do love it, but I think I overdid it a bit at first. I've got things under control now and will use it with more discretion! I'm sorry that zucchini is going out of season but there are other things to spiralize!

    I think my mofo posts are going to be short and non-taxing this year, but I hope still interesting. Thanks for your vote of confidence. :) (p.s. Your Dallas posts are making me want to go to Dallas, and that's definitely something I've never wanted to do before.)

    There's something about spiralized veggies — the way the color twists and turns on zucchini especially, and the shape in general — that gets people excited. Plus the "noodles" hold sauces so well. Very cool. (The chickpea recipe is already on the blog and linked to in this post.)

  20. I've still got to try zucchini pasta one of these days. All of the food looks so yummy, that must have been one heck of a dinner party. :-)

  21. I am glad I don't own a spiralizer. I would not only spiralize every vegetable, I'd probably spiralize every item in the house. It sounds like a lot of fun.

  22. Chow vegan,
    I can't believe you've never tried it? Just go to any raw restaurant — or make your own with a vegetable peeler. :) Yum.

    Don't think I haven't tried — nothing is safe from my spiralizer!

  23. Wow, for a minute when I saw your post title on my blogroll, I thought we had a near-psychic connection going! Well, maybe we do, but your take is totally different. I had a brown rice pasta with sundried tomato sauce, zucchini on the side. Oh--and on a different day.

    Note: You can also make raw vegetable linguine with an inexpensive mandoline (and there are lots of other uses, so buying one is worth considering).

  24. Alan,
    We had brown rice pasta with zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes recently, too, and the zucchini was sliced and cooked, not spiralized! I'm going to be very sad when the last of my home-dried tomatoes are gone, but maybe a little relieved to say goodbye to the zucchini.

    I do have a great mandoline which I love (and which I found at Good Will!) but it doesn't make the long, skinny noodles that the spiralizer makes. I also think you can make nice shreds with one of the hand-held devices.

  25. This is pretty much my dream...a dinner of salads.

  26. Mo,
    I love salads when the weather is warm, but when it's cold, not so much.


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