Who else loves a good basil pesto?! These Easy Kale & Walnut Pesto Zoodles might just be your new favorite dish! Perfect as a side or light meal, gluten-free, paleo and vegan.
Zucchini had a real glow up a few years ago, didn’t it?
If you’ve tried to make zoodles in the past, but didn’t love it because it was watery or a funny texture, don’t leave now. These zucchini noodles with pesto will definitely change your mind!!
Pesto is one of those things that I never knew I needed in my life, but once I realized how simple it was to make, I’ve been making so many variations.
This homemade vegan version is a delicious spin off of a traditional pesto. Don’t let making pesto at home intimidate you – it’s really hard to ruin it!
Kale & Walnut Pesto Recipe with Zoodles
I’m obsessed with pesto and love that there are so many ways to make it! You just need a handful of ingredients and you can often sub in what you have on hand.
You really just need greens, basil, nuts, olive oil, garlic, and salt… but for this particular pesto sauce recipe, we’re using kale and walnuts.
Vegan Pesto Recipe Ingredients
- kale – love adding kale to this pesto for a nutritional boost.
- basil – basil keeps the flavor of this pesto on the more traditional side
- walnuts – walnuts are so good for you! A great source of omega-3. (Traditional pesto calls for pine nuts.)
- extra virgin olive oil – using extra virgin olive oil will give this pesto a more robust flavor, but you can also use light olive oil.
- garlic cloves – using fresh garlic cloves will give this pesto the freshest flavor, but jarred minced garlic works too.
- nutritional yeast – this takes the place of the traditional parmesan cheese and keeps this recipe dairy free and vegan. It’s not 100% needed but it does add some good flavor, in my opinion.
- salt – adds flavor.
Making Kale Walnut Pesto Zoodles
Have you made your own pesto sauce before? If not I’ll show you just how easy it is…
Step 1 – Make the Pesto Sauce
This kale pesto recipe is really easy to throw together in a small blender (i.e. NutriBullet) or food processor. It literally takes seconds.
- First pulse the walnuts down into a coarse meal.
- Then add the rest of your ingredients – chopped kale, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, salt and nutritional yeast.
- Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl/cup as needed.
That’s it! It takes hardly any time at all and it is sooo delicious.
And now you’re ready to make the zoodles!
Step 2 – Make the Zucchini Noodles
- Chop ends off of zucchini
- Attach to Spiralizer (noodle maker, spiral slicer, etc. – whatever tool you’re using. I use the The Inspiralizer.)
- Select blade thickness (spaghetti style in this case).
- Spin to create the zoodles.
Once you’ve got your zoodles, lay on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
TIP: Make sure to chop the ends of the zucchini flat and even, so when you stick the zucchini on the Inspiralizer, you don’t end up with half moons. You may find you have to adjust the zucchini throughout making the noodles.
Step 3 – Add Pesto to Zucchini Noodles
Now just combine the noodles with pesto, add sliced cherry tomatoes, maybe some extra walnuts and you’ve got yourself a delicious dish!
Now I am not one to say these vegetable noodles taste just like pasta… because that just wouldn’t be right.
But what I AM saying is that vegetable or not, these pesto zoodles are pretty damn good.
Let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a comment and rating below! It helps others learn more about the recipe too! Xx Ashley
- 2 medium zucchini, spiralized
- 2/3 cup roasted walnuts
- 1 cup packed fresh basil
- 1 cup torn lacinato kale
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
- sliced cherry tomatoes
- Prep zucchini noodles and lay on tea towel to absorb excess moisture; set aside.
- Place walnuts in blender cup; pulse just until nuts have broken down into a coarse meal. Don’t overprocess because you’ll process again with the rest of the ingredients.
- Add in kale, fresh basil, olive oil, minced garlic, nutritional yeast and salt; pulse until ingredients have combined and no big pieces of basil or kale remain.
- Toss about 1/4 cup of kale walnut pesto with zucchini noodles, adding more as desired. Serve with sliced cherry tomatoes and top with walnuts.
Store leftover pesto in the refrigerator, use within about 2 weeks.
Some of my favorite jars to use for storing are these weck jars.