The Perfect Colorful Weeknight Dinner: Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto With Zoodles
While summer is winding down, it's been a great growing season with just the right mix of sunny rays and generous sprinklings of water.
Sure, zucchini is great raw, but steaming long, curly strands of spiralized zucchini produces a lovely alternative to pasta and allows you to transform a healthy, low-calorie, low-carb vegetable into a giant bowl of yum.
In this recipe, the zucchini are steamed for only two minutes—enough time to soften them while still maintaining most of their nutrition.
Top with my delectable, pungent Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, basil, pine nuts, and cherry tomatoes. Shop at your local farmers market for zucchini, and look for varieties like "Romanesco" (green striped) and "Gold Rush" (bright, acid yellow).
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto is bursting with umami flavor. Umami is known as the "fifth taste" after sweet, sour, salty, and bitter and is characterized by its savoriness.
Zucchini Noodles With Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
Ingredients for Pesto
Makes 1¼ cups
- 1 cup sun-dried tomato halves, 3 ounces
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ¾ cup shallots, peeled, ½-inch dice
- 3 medium fresh garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, off the stem
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon hot chili flakes, or marash pepper
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted, divided
Ingredients for Zucchini Noodles
- 2 medium zucchini, one green, one golden, spiralized or peeled into noodles
- 2 tablespoons small basil leaves
- ½ cup colorful cherry tomatoes, halved
1. Slice the sun-dried tomatoes into julienne strips. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 10-inch skillet. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat until golden around the edges and caramelized, about 5 minutes.
2. Lower the heat, Add sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Cook over low heat to blend the flavors and soften the sun-dried tomatoes, 3 minutes. Take off heat, add the vinegar, give a stir.
3. Add sun-dried tomato mixture to a food processor with the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons of pine nuts and pulse to make a coarse pesto. Add more olive oil if you desire for the right consistency.
4. To serve, top the Zucchini Noodles with ½ cup of the pesto. Top with remaining toasted pine nuts, small basil leaves, and cherry tomatoes. Delicious warm or cold the next day as flavors will blend well.
Store in a clean glass container and add a film of oil to cover the pesto.