Somewhat ironically, this raw zoodles recipe was one of the first things I made after I finally got an oven and stove at my new place. With Baltimore temperatures hovering around the high 90s, getting out my spiralizer sounds a lot more appealing than turning on my stove, so these avocado pesto zucchini noodles have made a couple of appearances recently.
As also demonstrated by my recipes for roasted vegetable avocado garden wraps and avocado macaroni salad: avocado and lemon is a match made in heaven. I might enjoy it even more than I enjoy guacamole… so expect even more lemony avocado recipes in the future. (But please note that both avocado+lime and avocado+lemon are top tier combos as far as I’m concerned).
In this particular recipe, we make a luscious pesto-inspired sauce for the zucchini noodles by blending the avocado and lemon with fresh basil, garlic, just a touch of olive oil, and some miso for umami flavor. For those of you with soy allergies, chickpea miso seems to be popping up in more and more stores around my neck of the woods, or can be ordered online. I think it’s pretty delicious and actually prefer it over traditional soy-based miso.
In the noodles pictured here, I subbed in a cucumber for 1 of the 3 zucchini, based on the contents of my fridge that day and how refreshing it sounded. It came out fabulous with that swap! You could even go with 2 cucumbers, 1 zucchini. I recommend using at least a little bit of zuke, though, because its texture holds up a little bit better than cucumber’s does.
Like many avocado-based dishes, I recommend eating this right away if possible; that being said, the leftovers are edible. Most recently, I made them for dinner and then had them the following morning as a post-run snack (cold zoodles pair nicely with the sunrise!) and didn’t find them lacking. However, that evening, aka 24 hours after preparation, both the avocado and the noodles themselves had started to degrade a little bit.
Don’t fear the salt. Your periodic salt reminder from Shannon: as with other recipes of mine that involve rich sauces or dressings (exhibit A: one pot creamy garlic pasta), the flavor won’t pop until you’ve seasoned the dish with plenty of salt. Those little salt crystals will bring the basil and lemon flavors of these avocado pesto zucchini noodles to life. Trust. If you taste as you go, you’re not going to oversalt the zoodles, so there’s nothing to be afraid of!
These noodles are saucy. Add another zucchini if you think that based on the pictures, this looks like too high of a ratio of avocado goodness per noodle. (Nope, that definitely wasn’t a biased statement).
I hope you give these avocado pesto zucchini noodles a try. If you do, tag me on Instagram with @yupitsvegan or #yupitsvegan. I adore seeing your recreations of my recipes!
Avocado Pesto Zucchini Noodles
- 3 medium to large zucchini cut into noodles with a spiralizer or ribbons with a vegetable peeler
- 1 ripe avocado pitted and peeled
- 1 heaping cup loosely-packed fresh basil leaves (about 0.75 oz.)
- 1 tbsp miso
- 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
A while before you want to eat, take the spiralized zucchini noodles, salt them generously, and place them in a strainer over a bowl. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the avocado pesto, combine the avocado, basil, miso, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add (plenty of) salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast (if using) to taste.
Rinse the zoodles, squeeze them very gently to remove excess liquid without breaking them, and pat them with a clean towel to dry the surface.
Fold the avocado pesto into the zucchini noodles. Also fold in the cherry tomatoes if using. Serve cold, as soon as possible. These avocado pesto zucchini noodles really taste best when eaten within 2 hours or so of being prepared, but if necessary, keep leftovers in the refrigerator in a loosely-covered container for up to 24 hours.
I recommend also placing the avocado and lemon in the refrigerator a little while before making the avocado pesto, so that the whole dish is nice and cold right when you prepare it.
For an even more refreshing variation, substitute a cucumber for 1 or 2 of the zucchini noodles.
To make this recipe strictly paleo and/or soy-free, omit the miso and add another umami ingredient (such as chopped sundried tomatoes folded into the sauce), or increase the olive oil to 1 tablespoon.
Recipe inspired by Rawcology. Avocado lover? Try these other avocado recipes from my site: