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Zucchini Pesto Pasta Salad

Whip up this vibrant Zucchini Pesto Pasta Salad for a refreshing twist on a classic dish. Packed with zesty flavors and crunchy zucchini noodles, it's the perfect side for your next summer gathering.

94% would make again
Zucchini Pesto Pasta Salad


for 4 servings


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 cup fresh parsley (40 g), loosely packed
  • ½ cup fresh chives (20 g), cut into 2-in (5-cm) pieces, loosely packed
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (30 g)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Zucchini Pasta Salad

  • ½ cup vegetable oil (120 mL)
  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced in 1/4-in (6-mm) rounds
  • 1 cup roughly chopped spinach (40 g), loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb penne pasta (425 g), cooked according to package instructions, drained, and still warm
  • 1 medium lemon, zested
  • 1 ½ tablespoons capers
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella cheese (180 g), torn into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves (10 g)

Nutrition Info

  • Calories 627
  • Fat 43g
  • Carbs 42g
  • Fiber 19g
  • Sugar 3g
  • Protein 19g

Estimated values based on one serving size.


  1. Make the pesto: Add the basil, parsley, chives, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend on high speed, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed, until well combined, 1–2 minutes.
  2. Make the zucchini pasta salad: Heat the vegetable oil in a large, high-walled skillet over high heat. Working in batches, fry the zucchini rounds in a single layer for 1–1½ minutes per side, until the outside is golden brown but the zucchini is still slightly crisp. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain, blotting away any excess oil.
  3. Transfer the zucchini to a large serving bowl. Add the spinach and red wine vinegar, and toss gently to combine. Add the penne, pesto, lemon zest, capers, and mozzarella, and fold gently until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Garnish with the basil leaves and serve slightly warm, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Enjoy!
Zucchini Pesto Pasta Salad