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5-Minute Quinoa Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Author - Alyssa Rimmer

Quinoa Pesto Zucchini Noodles - the perfect way to use up all your zucchini this summer!

ZOOOODLES! (read zucchini + noodles = zoodles) smothered in a dreamy vegan pesto sauce. On the menu tonight and ready in 5 minutes.

Dinner in 5 minutes? I'll take it. Any day of the week.

BUT especially after coming back from a two week vacation with little to no motivation to cook, while also carrying around a few extra pounds (who doesn't after vacay, right?) and craving/needing something super healthy. And yes…while it would have been easy to order takeout, in the amount of time it would have taken me to place my order, I whipped up a delicious, veggie-filled summer meal.

Now THAT I can handle.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Quinoa (vegan + gluten-free)

If you haven't become a zucchini noodle groupie yet, now is your chance.

All you need to turn that gorgeous green veggie into noodles is a spiralizer or julienne peeler. In moments you'll have a giant bowl of healthy noodles ready to be devoured.

Spiralized Zucchini - the easiest and healthiest way to eat pasta

And while zucchini noodles might be the star of today's dish, the quinoa pesto sauce surely can't be ignored.

Because inside that little jar of green goodness is where all the magic happens. We're talkin' bursts of flavor from the basil, lemon and garlic, with a hint of salty cheese (but without the actual cheese) and  a mild heat from red pepper flakes.

Then to give the whole thing a little extra boost, I stirred in quinoa.

Easy vegan pesto sauce with quinoa and pine nuts

Adding quinoa to your pesto might sound little crazy but 1) by now you should I like to add quinoa to everything and 2) it helps give the dish more umph. Meaning with the added protein of the quinoa, you don't have to worry about getting hungry later and needing to make something else.

(because remember, I promised you only 5 minutes for dinner tonight!)

Zucchini Noodles with Quinoa Pesto | www | gluten-free + vegan

Pesto pasta has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. And I say guilty because the greenness can be quite deceiving.

Traditionally this dish would be packed with cheese, drenched in oil and trashed up with some glutinous pasta. So while it might seem like you're ordering one of the “healthy” meals on the menu, you'd probably do better with a bowl of pasta marinara.

But for a pesto lover like me, marinara just won't cut it. So these pesto zucchini noodles are my solution: they're quick and easy, I use nutritional yeast instead of cheese, I went light on the oil and there's no gluten in sight. Rather it's a big bowl of veggies smothered in a protein-rich sauce.

And it tastes better than the “real” thing.

Healthy Pesto Zucchini Noodle with Quinoa | | the best weeknight meal EVER! It only takes 5 minutes to make

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Healthy Pesto Zucchini Noodle with Quinoa | | the best weeknight meal EVER! It only takes 5 minutes to make
5 from 1 vote

5-Minute Quinoa Pesto Zucchini Noodles

ZOOOODLES! (read zucchini + noodles = zoodles) smothered in a dreamy vegan pesto sauce. On the menu tonight and ready in 5 minutes.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword homemade pesto, zoodles
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 481 kcal
Author Alyssa



  1. Slice the ends off both zucchinis and run them through the spiralizer on the "spaghetti" blade. Trim the noodles into smaller pieces and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add basil, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice and spices into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse two or three times until the ingredients start to break down. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides as necessary until you have an almost smooth pesto. Pulse in quinoa.
  3. Pour pesto over zucchini noodles and toss to coat.
  4. Garnish with additional pine nuts, nutritional and/or torn basil leaves. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
5-Minute Quinoa Pesto Zucchini Noodles
Amount Per Serving
Calories 481 Calories from Fat 360
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 40g 62%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Sodium 611mg 25%
Potassium 948mg 27%
Total Carbohydrates 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 6g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 48.8%
Vitamin C 51.5%
Calcium 10.3%
Iron 22.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Other Healthy Pasta Recipes:

Healthy Pasta Recipes |

Vegan Caesar Pasta Salad (Simply Quinoa)
Vegan Quinoa Meatballs with Zucchini Pasta (Simply Quinoa)
Spicy Shrimp with Pesto Noodles (Pinch of Yum)
Zucchini Linguine with Green Olives (Inspiralized)

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  1. I made this tonight for my husband and I and we both loved it!! I stir fried some thinly sliced onions, some more minced garlic, tossed in some cherry tomatoes and let that cook for a few minutes. Then I added the zoodles already tossed in the pesto and let that warm through. Topped with extra pine nuts and it truly was amazing!! Thank you so much for the recipe!! Will definitely be a new favorite to add into the rotation. Thanks again. 🙂

    • yvonne marie: You don’t need to cook zucchini noodles because they will get just soft enough when you pour sauce on it that is heated up. What I don’t get about this recipe is why it doesn’t include heating up the sauce. Cold pasta dish? Hmmm…

      • Hi Christine – I actually really love cold pesto noodles, but you’re more than welcome to heat it up if you’d like. It’s really personal preference!

  2. You don’t need to add oil in the pesto sauce, no-oil vegans! It is yummy and works without it. If you need a little more liquid, use a little vegetable broth (preferably unsalted) instead.

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