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This creamy zucchini pesto sauce is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and absolutely delicious. Raw, grated zucchini and fresh basil give this sauce such a fresh taste and a generous serving of veggies in every bite. Serve it with pasta, grain bowls, as a spread, dip, and more!

Overhead photo of creamy vegan zucchini pesto in a small grey bowl.

It’s no secret that I LOVE all things pesto. It’s my go to sauce for just about everything – pastas, proteins, grain bowls, sandwiches…the list goes on. This zucchini pesto version is such a delicious twist on the traditional recipe and adds a generous serving of veggies to every bite!

This recipe is also such a lovely way to use up fresh zucchini (and to reap all it’s nutrition benefits). It truly gives this beautiful, fresh flavour to pesto and also helps to make the pesto more thick and creamy.

As a dietitian, I wanted to give an option that suits many dietary needs and preferences. This easy pesto recipe is vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free. I’ve also shared ways to make it nut-free, if needed.

Want more pasta recipe inspiration? Check out my roundup of 20+ easy, healthy pasta recipes for more ideas!

Overhead photo of a white bowl of rigatoni pasta tossed in vegan zucchini pesto sauce.

Ingredients Needed

All you need to make this easy zucchini pesto pasta recipe are 6 simple, healthy ingredients:

Overhead photo of a wood cutting board with ingredients for cooking on top.

Do You Have To Cook Zucchini For Pesto?

Nope! This recipe uses raw zucchini. All you need to do is shred it in a food processor, squeeze out any excess liquid, and it’s ready to be blended into a yummy sauce.

Bonus – using raw zucchini makes this come together super quickly!

Recipe Modifications & Ingredient Swaps

  1. This recipe calls for walnuts, but you can use other nuts like pistachios, almonds, or pine nuts instead.
  2. If you need a nut-free version of this recipe, simply swap the walnuts with a seed like pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds.
  3. This recipe is dairy-free and uses nutritional yeast for that “cheesy” flavour. That said, you can go the more traditional route and use freshly grated parmesan instead of nutritional yeast if you’d prefer!
  4. While I recommend using fresh basil, you are also welcome to throw in some other leafy greens here. I know that baby spinach, arugula, or baby kale work great in pestos! You could do half the basil and half another green, if desired.
  5. If you’d like to add a touch of lemon, it would work great here too!

My Go-To Food Processor

Ways To Serve This Pesto

  1. The obvious one is, of course, with pasta! Stir this sauce into any pasta shape, or use gluten-free pastas if needed. Feel free to stir in some extra veggies, like tomatoes or a handful of arugula.
  2. Pesto also tastes great with different proteins, like salmon, shrimp, or chicken.
  3. Add a scoop of pesto to your grain bowls or salads for an extra burst of flavour and some creamy, healthy fats.
  4. Use pesto as a dip or sandwich spread to add tons of flavour!
Overhead photo of a large saucepan with rigatoni pasta tossed in zucchini pesto inside.

Zucchini Nutrition Benefits

Zucchini is rich in many micronutrients, like:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin K
  • vitamin B6
  • folate
  • manganese
  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • copper

This summer squash is also a great source of dietary fibre, with one medium zucchini providing 2 grams or 8% of your daily fibre needs.

Like other fruits and veggies, zucchini is also a great source of antioxidants, especially carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin.

Overhead photo of creamy vegan zucchini pesto in a small grey bowl.

More Ways To Use Zucchini

Did you give this Creamy Vegan Zucchini Pesto Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!

If you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Pinterest – seeing your creations always makes my day. You can also subscribe to my email list to never miss a new recipe or nutrition education post!

Get the Recipe: Creamy Vegan Zucchini Pesto

This creamy zucchini pesto sauce is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and absolutely delicious. Raw, grated zucchini and fresh basil give this sauce such a fresh taste and a generous serving of veggies in every bite. Serve it with pasta, grain bowls, as a spread, dip, and more!
Overhead photo of creamy vegan zucchini pesto in a small grey bowl.
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Ingredients

Instructions

  • Wash, dry, and remove the hard ends of the zucchini.
  • Using the shredding attachment of your food processor, shred zucchini.
  • Remove shredded zucchini with a spoon and place it into the center of a paper towel. Gently squeeze out any excess water.
  • Switch to the regular blade of your food processor. Place shredded zucchini inside along with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth, adjusting seasonings to taste.
  • Remove pesto from food processor and serve as desired!

Notes

*STORAGE: leftovers of this pesto recipe will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 5 days.
*NO FOOD PROCESSOR? While a food processor is the most efficient way to make this pesto, you can try making it in a blender as well. Simply grate the zucchini by hand and add all ingredients to a high-powered blender. If it’s having some trouble blending, try adding a bit more olive oil or even a splash of water.
*SERVINGS: this recipe will make about 4 servings if stirring the sauce into pasta. If using it in smaller ways (such as a sandwich spread or adding a small scoop to a grain bowl), you will get more servings out of it!
*WAYS TO USE THIS PESTO:
  • The obvious one is, of course, with pasta! Stir this sauce into any pasta shape, or use gluten-free pastas if needed. Feel free to stir in some extra veggies, like tomatoes or a handful of arugula.
  • Pesto also tastes great with different proteins, like salmon, shrimp, or chicken.
  • Add a scoop of pesto to your grain bowls or salads for an extra burst of flavour and some creamy, healthy fats.
  • Use pesto as a dip or sandwich spread to add tons of flavour!
*RECIPE MODIFICATIONS:
  • This recipe calls for walnuts, but you can use other nuts like pistachios, almonds, or pine nuts instead.
  • If you need a nut-free version of this recipe, simply swap the walnuts with a seed like pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds.
  • This recipe is dairy-free and uses nutritional yeast for that “cheesy” flavour. That said, you can go the more traditional route and use freshly grated parmesan instead of nutritional yeast if you’d prefer!
  • While I recommend using fresh basil, you are also welcome to throw in some other leafy greens here. I know that baby spinach, arugula, or baby kale work great in pestos! You could do half the basil and half another green, if desired.
  • If you’d like to add a touch of lemon, it would work great here too!
  •  

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know by leaving a recipe rating below, or by tagging @walderwellness on Instagram. I love seeing your beautiful creations!

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