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Zucchini with Pesto

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Aromatic sauteed zucchini with pesto, an easy-to-make, healthy side dish, or light meal.

Another summer, another glut of vegetables. And these zucchini with pesto are such a wonderful recipe for using many of those extra veggies.

zucchini with pesto recipe

Sauteed Zucchini with Pesto

I didn’t even like these veggies that much in my childhood and youth – the only recipe I really liked then was this one for easy pan-fried zucchini in batter – but I do love them now.

When confronted with so many of them every summer, one has to learn to cook them properly and once you have a few good recipes, you learn to love them, and then there is no stopping: a simple soup, elegant sauteed zucchini with onions, no-noodle lasagna, this amazing pie and so on.

So many recipes and I love each one of them. Oh, and I almost forgot about the many cakes, bread, or zucchini chocolate brownies you could make.

Today’s recipe is a simple side dish recipe, sliced zucchini with pesto and a few sun-dried tomatoes in oil. A recipe reminiscent of hot summer days in Italy, a recipe for times when it is just too hot to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

And although these veggies are meant to be a side dish, or at least this is the way we had them most of the time, they can definitely become a nice and delicious summer lunch with just a piece of crusty bread on the side.

Or some creamy polenta, you should try that version, it’s great. And, of course, stirring them with some pasta would be easy and delicious as well.

zucchini with pesto

If you serve this as a side dish the quantities indicated will serve four people. If you decide to go super healthy today and have them as a main meal with some bread, pasta, or polenta on the side, this recipe will only serve two persons.

If you wish to increase the quantities, I recommend using two large pans or pan-frying the vegetables in two batches. Otherwise, it will become difficult, the slices will be too much for just one pan and they will not fry properly either.

zucchini with pesto in a pan

What do you need?

Zucchini:

  • Choose medium ones. When buying them, you should not have the problem of them being too large, supermarket vegetables are more or less the same size.
  • Thicker and larger ones are fine as well, but in this case, please remove the seeds. The seeds are not nice to eat when there are too many of them, they are rather tasteless and will make the dish soggy.
  • Overgrown zucchini are an issue when you grow them yourself. In this case, halve them, remove the seeds with a spoon, quarter, if necessary, and slice the quarters.
  • And here is THE thing to do when you have a huge piece: Zucchini pickles, sweet sour.
sauteed zucchini with pesto

Pesto:

  • Use homemade pesto of any kind, I often use wild garlic pesto because I make and freeze it every spring. But mint pesto, basil pesto, lemon balm or any other you like is great.
  • If buying it, choose a good quality brand, don’t go for the cheapest version, you will definitely notice it…

Sun dried tomatoes in oil:

  • I used the last sun dried tomatoes in oil that I bought at the market in Venice last year. Super pricey but super good!
  • However, as Italian sun dried tomatoes in oil are a rare luxury, I usually go for a more common brand that I can buy in supermarkets. Again, don’t go for the cheapest jar, when cooking a dish with so few ingredients, you depend on the ingredients of being of good quality.
  • I used julienne sun dried tomatoes in oil. If you only have halves, you will need about 4-5 halves, depending on their size. Chop the tomatoes in both cases.
ingredients for zucchini with pesto

How to make pesto zucchini?

  • Halve and slice the vegetables. If using very large ones, halve them, remove the seeds with a spoon, quarter and slice them.
  • If doubling the recipe, saute them in two batches or using two large pans.
  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil.
  • Pan fry the veggies for 5-6 minutes, shaking the pan often.
  • In the meantime, remove the excess oil from the tomatoes by patting them lightly with kitchen paper.
  • Chop the sun dried tomatoes in oil.
  • Chop the herbs.
  • Add pesto and chopped tomatoes to the pan.
  • Stir well but carefully for 1 minute.
  • Adjust the taste with salt and pepper and add the fresh chopped herbs.
how to make zucchini with pesto

What goes well with this dish?

When served as main dish:

  • Crusty fresh bread on the side.
  • A bed of creamy polenta topped with sauteed zucchini with pesto.
  • Pasta mixed with them.
  • Rice, bulgur or couscous topped with the veggies.
pan fried zucchini with pesto

Serve as side dish with:

close up zucchini with pesto
courgette slices fried in a pan and served on a white plate.

Zucchini with Pesto

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes

Aromatic sauteed zucchini with pesto, an easy to make, healthy zucchini side dish or light meal.

Ingredients

Instructions

    1. If doubling the recipe, saute the zucchini in two batches or using two large pans.
    2. Halve and slice the zucchini. If using very large zucchini, halve them, remove the seeds with a spoon, quarter and slice them.
    3. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet or non-stick pan. Pan-fry the zucchini for 5-6 minutes, shaking the pan every minute or so to make sure that the zucchini slices get fried on both sides.
    4. In the meantime, remove the excess oil from the tomatoes by patting them lightly with kitchen paper. Chop them.
    5. Chop the herbs and set them aside.
    6. Add the pesto and the chopped tomatoes to the zucchini. Stir well but carefully for about 1 minute.
    7. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper and add the fresh chopped herbs.
    8. Serve immediately as suggested above.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 of the dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 96Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 318mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g

Nutritional information is not always accurate.

Thao @ In Good Flavor

Monday 12th of August 2019

Combining zucchini and pesto is such a great idea! I'm loving the combo, and all your serving suggestions sound so good!! Having it with a large chunk of crusty bread sounds wonderful right now as my stomach is growling :)

mjskitchen

Wednesday 31st of July 2019

Summer squash with pesto has always been a favorite of mine, but I've never added sun-dried tomatoes. Those sounds like such a great addition to an already delicious dish. Growing squash again this year, so can't wait to try this.

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