Zucchini “Pasta” with Coriander and Cashew Pesto

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This fragrant summery coriander pesto makes for a wonderful dressing for shaved zucchini “pasta”. Quick to make, gluten-free, Paleo and no cooking required! 

Zucchini Noodles Pasta and Coriander Pesto

I’m proud to say that I’ve reserved enough pre- and post-nap time this holiday season to read the book I’ve been meaning to read for ages: Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries II almost in its entirety. What a wonderful storyteller he is and his recipes, woven into the narrative of his daily life, evoke the simplest of comforts. Nigel and I agree on a lot. Be it the abundant use of cream in many dishes or cooking with real butter. We both enjoy black pudding. And it is nice to see too that we share a similar philosophy on using “a little of the good stuff, instead of a lot of the mediocre”. Great book and a thoroughly recommended one.

Indeed, a few of my goals for 2014 are in one way or another related to cookbooks. I will be developing recipes for a few, testing for some and shooting for others. The Smoothie eBook will be out next week, too! But I really want to get into reading a few. Nigel’s books sound an absolute must and I am adding a couple to the wishlist.

Zucchini Noodles Pasta and Coriander Cashew Pesto

Speaking of simple comfort food, I was once again thrown into the wonderful whirlwind of all-day shooting for Sarah Wilson’s IQS Program last week and one of the dishes, Zucchini Spaghetti caught my eye. The recipe required thin strands of grated summer squash to be blanched, but I skipped that step because they are so fragile and, to be honest, I enjoy the “al dente” crunch. Leftover coriander, Parmesan and raw cashews from the shoot made a more perfect than basil pesto base.  A handful of pine nuts and a small half-eaten packet of almost mismatched goat’s cheese hiding in the depths of the post-Christmas fridge, completed the mise-en-place of our zucchini “noodles”.

Zucchini Noodles Pasta and Coriander Cashew PestoI am being told by a dairy-free friend, Parmesan has one of the lowest counts of lactose so can be enjoyed from time to time by those who are lactose-intolerant. Apparently, nutritional yeast flakes can be used instead of Parmesan cheese for making pesto if you need to completely avoid dairy or are vegan. Oh and if you’ve ever wondered why your homemade pesto tastes bitter, it could be the olive oil. It can turn bitter when processed, so opt for macadamia oil or cold pressed sunflower oil instead.

Zucchini Noodles Pasta and Coriander Cashew Pesto

Coriander Pesto
Recipe type: dressing, pesto, gluten-free, vegetarian, Paleo, vegan
Cuisine: Italian, Asian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
I am being told by a dairy-free friend, Parmesan has one of the lowest counts of lactose so can be enjoyed from time to time by those who are lactose-intolerant. Apparently, nutritional yeast flakes can be used instead of Parmesan cheese for making pesto if you need to completely avoid dairy or are vegan. Lastly, olive oil tends to go bitter when over-processed so I use macadamia oil instead.
  • 2 bunches fresh coriander (about 2 packed cups once chopped)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 red long chilli, seeds removed
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese (you could use nutritional yeast flakes)
  • ½ cup macadamia oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes
  • good gring of black pepper
  1. Chop coriander leaves, stems and roots roughly and place in a food processor (or jug if using a stick blender). Add garlic and chopped chilli, cashews, Parmesan, oil, salt and pepper. Process until semi-smooth.
  2. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for upto 2 weeks. Makes approx 1½ cups.

Coriander Pesto Zucchini Pasta
Recipe type: vegetarian, gluten-free, raw, grain-free, Paleo, vegan
Cuisine: Paleo
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Zucchini Pasta is a quick and no-cook meal, perfect as a summer dinner option. I imagine shredded barbecue chicken would go here nicely, too. I used two large zucchinis, but found that the seeds are a little prominent in the middle and don't grate as well as those in smaller ones, so my recommendation is to use those. A julienne grater is the perfect accessory for this.
  • 4-6 (450g / 1lb) small zucchinis
  • ½ cup coriander pesto (see recipe above, or your favourite pesto)
  • 2 tbsp pinenuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup goat's feta
  1. Wash zucchinis and trim both ends. Grate, using a julienne grater, lengthways to make "pasta noodles". Place grated zucchini in a bowls and drizzle with dressing. Using your hand, toss the strands to coat with the dressing.
  2. Divide "pasta" between serving bowls and serve sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and goat's feta.


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23 Responses to Zucchini “Pasta” with Coriander and Cashew Pesto

  1. Mel A says:

    Happy New Year Marty! Oh, I love the sound of this pesto. Scrummy. PS I hope that perhaps this year will see you launch your own cookbook?? I’d buy one for sure, and one for my sister who has just moved out of home and is in desperate need of healthy cooking!

  2. Lizzy says:

    I’ve read Kitchen Dairies and loved it too, was just thinking – like Mel, that your blog stories and recipes would make one fine kitchen Dairies cookbook. Good luck in all your ventures. Fantastic recipe as always. xo

  3. Bryn says:

    Pure genius! Cilantro is my all time favorite herb so this is right up my alley. Thanks for sharing.

  4. sallybr says:

    Perfect timing… it’s interesting that I just made last week a zucchini “pasta” using my spiral cutter thingie, but decided to blanch the strands. Big mistake, you were right in using it raw. I guess if I had just passed them briefly in boiling water would have been fine, but in the end they stayed for about 3 minutes, way too long. Tasted good, but… texture was wrong

    I am pinning this for sure!

  5. Anne says:

    You’ve been quite busy with the IQS clan of late. I like your approach a little better though because it’s a lot more social. Keep up the good work. Nice recipe to file away, yet again.

  6. Seriously what kind of cook am I, when I don’t have a julienne grater!!!??? I have been wanting to make this, and your recipe looks delish. I will have to buy a julienne grater ASAP 😉

  7. What a great refreshing pesto you’ve made there Martyna. I love pesto and always need a little inspiration for a new one. I have to say I have the complete opposite view of Nigel Slater. So much so I have written to the BBC about him wasting my licence fee. His latest series revolves around him using leftovers out of the fridge and making another “amazing” sandwich. You know the sort you make when you get back from a night out and need some stodge to soak up the alcohol. Love his narrative but the content lately is terrible.

    • Hi David, thanks for your lovely comment. I adore pesto and fresh herbs tend to go to waste if not used within a couple of days so it’s a great way of preserving them. As for Nigel, I’ve heard mixed reviews of his shows and even a very unfavourable review of his book on British cuisine, Eating for England. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the Diaries II and have been told that the one I should definitely add to the list is Toast. We have a holiday planned for May – might get it for then. Thanks for stopping by and hopefully your petition sees some changes to the content.

  8. I literally just got back from the store and have bought zucchini. Now I have a completely different way of preparing them for dinner tonight. What a great idea, thanks.

  9. Martin K says:

    Just finished eating this for dinner and can I say, fantastic recipe and idea for heatwave like today’s. The pesto is so tasty – it ALL tastes like summer.

  10. maureen ritchie says:

    We are low cheese consumers, even parmesan and so with pestos I simply replace cheese with lemon juice, has a great flavour.

  11. chewtown says:

    As an Italian who finds it hard to forgo pasta and an abundance of cheese – even I would happily try this. Looks great!

  12. We made zoodles a lot with our Spirooli machine and so do many of our Spirooli customers so we’ll be trying this pesto recipe for sure and sharing on Fb for our followers, thanks 🙂




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