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Friday, February 11, 2011

Zucchini Pesto Recipe

Before you stop reading because you know there is no way your kids will eat it, then think again!  Try it... just don't let them see you make it if you think they will be influenced by seeing all the green stuff going into it! ;)

This one is for my friend, Pat.  She was expressing to me some frustration over trying to fix healthy meals that can also be quick.  She and her husband work together and they don't get home until 8:00 most nights.

This recipe is so easy, so fast, so yummy AND healthy!  You really can't get better than that!

Now, just to let you know, I don't really use recipes.  On the rare occasion that I do use one, I just use it as a template.  I knew I was going to post this recipe on my blog, so this time I did pay attention to all my portions.  That being said, you can use the portions or you can change them up a bit.  The recipe is extremely forgiving.

I have one other quick note before I start on the recipe.  We had this for lunch one day this week and all 3 of my kids had 3 helpings!  Yes, THREE!!  That includes my almost 3 year old.

This recipe will make enough for more than one meal.  I currently have our leftovers waiting in the freezer to eat on a later date.  This will hopefully further help all of you who need a quick meal to turn to... just take it out of the freezer, warm it up and you're done.  Okay!  Enough talk.  Here's the recipe.

Zucchini Pesto
4oz. basil
1 1/2 cups olive oil
4 cloves garlic (I normally put this much in when I make a smaller batch, but I ran out.  Feel free to  put double the garlic.  Just know that the more garlic you put in, the more hot it will be since you won't be cooking it.)
2 zucchini
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste

Before you start getting all those ingredients together start cooking whatever noodles you plan on eating it with.  We used ziti noodles.  If we want to go a healthier way, we use spaghetti squash.  

All you have to do is toss all of these ingredients into a food processor (I used my bullet with the pitcher attachment) and blend it until it is smooth.  Done! 

I start by putting the oil and basil in the pitcher.
I began blending that, just to make more room in the blender.  It really won't blend well, because there isn't enough moisture.  Just blend a few seconds and you're good.  Then I added in the garlic, zucchini, parmesan and salt and blended it until it was smooth.

Here is what it will look like when it's finished:

At this point, you will need to taste test it.  Feel free to add more salt if you'd like.  Also, if you are serving kids that are sensitive to spicy foods and the garlic is making the meal too spicy, you can add more parmesan at this time.  Once it is to your liking, serve over pasta and enjoy!

Cover the pasta as seen in photo below.  It only takes a couple of spoons full.

 Then stir it around until the pasta is completely covered.

Then, if you prefer, top it off with more parmesan!  Yum!

Next, sit down, relax and enjoy!

The following is a list of things you can add to or change about the recipe depending on your tastes:
  • Use spaghetti squash instead of pasta to keep the meal gluten/grain free.
  • Don't have zucchini?  No problem!  Just use basil by itself or add spinach or parsley.  We have tried all of these variations and they are all super yummy.
  • Add pine nuts or almonds.  Most pesto recipes call for pine nuts.  I don't use them.  I'm not against them, I just don't use them.  Mostly because I live in a rural area and it is hard to find.
  • Add more parmesan.  Normally, when I make pesto, I don't put any parmesan in it.  My husband doesn't like parmesan, so I usually omit it.  It is good either way.  If you make it without parmesan, anyone in the house that wants it can just put it on their food individually (like in the picture above).
  • Add more olive oil.  If you want your pesto to be more thin, feel free to add another 1/2 cup or so of olive oil.  Frankly, I just didn't have room in the pitcher for more.
Let me know what you think and how everyone in your house liked the meal.

Have a great day!

4 comments:

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist said...

This is an incredibly creative recipe! I would never have considered zucchini for a pesto sauce. It looks delish! Thanks for sharing with all of us at Monday Mania this week! :)

Some Call It Natural said...

You're welcome! Thank you for providing it. It's a wonderful idea and great place to find 'real food' recipes!! Let me know how your family likes zucchini pesto. :)

Carol And Stacy said...

Your recipe looks so good. I wish I could click my fingers and have some right now on a plate of pasta. I like how you added in spinach. Great idea. I'll have to bookmark your recipe so I can make it once my herb garden gets growing.

Emily @ Baby Dickey said...

Yummm, that looks so good! I love pesto!