Zucchini Spaghetti with Walnut and Parsley Pesto

Zucchini spaghetti with walnut and parsley pesto

Zucchini spaghetti with walnut and parsley pesto

Regular readers of this blog might have come to the conclusion that over at Château Paleovirtus we quite like Indian food. Bit of an understatement, actually, that.

We flipping well adore Indian food!

We also firmly believe that you can have too much of a good thing. Chalk one up for being brought up Lutheran / Methodist.

A change is as good as a rest, though, as they say, and sometimes the old taste buds need a short break from being constantly bombarded by pungent, robust flavours. Sort of the culinary equivalent of a roll in the snow or a dip into an ice-hole at regular intervals during a sauna, if you follow.

Today was, by mutual consent, deemed to be such a day.

So there I was, idly flicking through cookbooks, looking for inspiration. Eventually I came to a cookbook I hadn’t looked at for quite some time – “Delia Smith’s Winter Collection”.

Ms. Smith’s halo has slipped of late, thanks to her championing the use of such abominations as frozen mashed potato, but back in the 90s she was arguably at the top of her game – Winter Collection was proclaimed “Book of the Year” in the UK in 1996.

I’d forgotten just how dependent on booze and dairy the recipes in that particular tome were, but just as I was about to return it to the shelf, something caught me eye – a pesto made primarily from walnuts and parsley.

“Ooooh”, I thought , “I bet that’d go down a treat with zucchini spaghetti!”

It did!


Zucchini Spaghetti with Walnut and Parsley Pesto

Serves 3 – 4


  • 300g walnuts
  • 60g fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Blitz the walnuts in a food processor until very finely chopped, but not so fine they end up as walnut flour.
  • Add the garlic. Process until well incorporated.
  • Repeat this process for the parsley.
  • Now comes the tricky bit. After seasoning the pesto to taste, with the processor running slowly add olive oil until you achieve the consistency you prefer. We, for example, prefer a slightly “drier”, less oily pesto, whereas some prefer it quite runny and visibly oily.
  • That’s it. You’re good to go. Serve with zucchini spaghetti (see notes).


  • Clan Paleovirtus are true garlic fiends. If you’re less keen on the stinking rose, you really should consider scaling back the garlic content somewhat.
  • I prepare zucchini spaghetti with my trusty Westmark Spiromat.
  • As an experiment, we tried blanching the zucchini spaghetti in boiling, salted water for 60 seconds, something that was agreed by all to have been a smart move, making them eat a whole lot better. We’ll be doing this by default in future.
  • Update – 6th. November 2014. We now microwave the zucchini noodles for approx. 45 seconds to 1 minute instead of blanching them. We found that you get all the benefits of the blanching, i.e. a hot rather than a cold noodle that takes on a sauce far better, but without any tendency to become watery, or any loss of volume or bulk.

8 thoughts on “Zucchini Spaghetti with Walnut and Parsley Pesto

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  3. givemommyabeer

    HI! Found your blog on OM’s meet and greet. Love it. Started following. One Question about the zucchini noodles–how many zuchs/person would you say you need? I’ve tried making zucchini noodles before. While they are quite delicious, I’ve found they cook down quite a bit if you blanch them. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. paleovirtus Post author

      Hi there. Thanks for the kind comments, as well as the follow… 🙂

      I know exactly what you’re talking about! In fact, Mrs. P. and I were discussing it this very morning over breakfast. Odd, true, but it sure beats Ebola and terrorism.

      If you **don’t** blanch them, then it’s roughly (for our tribe, anyway) 1 medium zucchini per person. As you’ve found out, if you **do** blanch them, you lose quite a bit of volume. The problem is, in the raw state they don’t take on the sauce as well, and can sometimes feel just the wrong side of “al dente”. Depending on the dish you’re using them in it can also feel a bit odd eating them cold, too, can’t it?

      The trouble is, because they’re all different as far as water content goes, I don’t think you can give a one size fits all answer about blanching times. I’m starting to think that immersion in water isn’t going to give you the fine control needed – by the time you get them out, drain them, and try a bit, they can have overcooked.

      To be honest it might be that zapping them in the microwave is the best solution – you’re not adding more water than necessary, and you can give very precise amounts of heat, a few seconds only if needs be.

      It seems that some people are getting good results from stir frying them if using them in Asian style dishes too… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. paleovirtus Post author

    Bit of an update…tried microwaving them last night for about 45 seconds. Spot on. That’s going to be our preferred method of choice from now on.

    I’ll put it this way – Paleovirtus Jr., who’s about as picky as a Panda, thought they were not only edible now, but actually **nice**, which is an extraordinary victory… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons

    Thanks for the tips. I have a spiralizer but have not been so happy with the zucchini in the cold, raw state. I’ve stir fried them, that works fairly well. I’ll try your microwave technique. So far I’ve had to make two meals each time, regular pasta for my guys and zucchini for myself.


    1. paleovirtus Post author

      I’ve found that with zoodles you have to be careful how much you heat them – too much and they’ll end up watery and a bit soft, not quite “al dente” .

      They’re definitely a “grower” – Paleovirtus Jr. was not impressed at first, but now she’s a convert… 🙂



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