Heather’s Zucchini Noodles with Basil-Pumpkin Seed Pesto

After spending the weekend away at a food conference and arriving home late last night, my brain is spinning. I’m feeling inspired after hearing about nutrition, the newest trends, and innovations because food is one of my favorite topics. Check out The Food Lab next year, fellow foodies, especially if you reside close to New York City.

I’m happy I went, and I’m happy to be back in my own bed and at home with my Cookie girl. This past weekend, I spent the night in a tidy and comfortable dorm room. It brought back memories of my first year of college, when my best friend and I shared a room (we definitely broke the rules), and my semester abroad in France, where we discovered how to keep cheese cold by hanging it outside the window.

I now have a refrigerator and a comfortable queen-sized bed, so I must be doing something well. Right?

Right. I’m sharing a recipe from Pure Delicious, Heather Christo’s gorgeous new cookbook, today. A couple of years ago, Heather and her daughters received a lengthy list of food allergies diagnoses; since eliminating certain foods from their diets, their health has significantly improved. After hearing Heather discuss her experience in her moving book trailer and receiving an invitation from her to send me a copy, I was eager to read the book.

Heather is a skilled chef and an enthusiastic host, so her new cookbook is brimming with straightforward, elegant dishes that are free of cane sugar, gluten, dairy, egg, soy, tree nuts, and peanuts. It is not a novel without any meat, I should point out. I find it wonderful when people discover good health through diet, and this book is a fantastic source of knowledge about coping with food allergies.

Also read: Mega Crunchy Romaine Salad with Quinoa

I had to try her recipe for zucchini noodles with pesto and cherry tomatoes since it looked so vibrant and flavorful, and I wish I had the stuff to make another batch right now! It’s a quick, flavorful summer lunch that only takes a few minutes to prepare. Bam!


Basil-pumpkin seed pesto

  • ½ small yellow onion, roughly chopped*
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (arugula works, too)
  • ½ cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), toasted**
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, to taste (or lemon juice)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt, to taste

Zucchini noodles

  • 3 large zucchini
  • Salt
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (Heather served her tomatoes whole; I halved mine vertically)
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnishing


  1. To prepare the pesto: In a food processor, combine the onion (if using, see notes), garlic, basil, toasted pepitas, olive oil, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Blend until smooth and season with salt, to taste (I added about ½ teaspoon—if the mixture tastes overwhelmingly oniony, don’t worry, it will mellow in a few minutes. I added another teaspoon of vinegar to help balance the flavors).
  2. To prepare the noodles: Spiralize the zucchini with a spiralizer (here’s how), or turn the zucchini into noodles with a julienne peeler, or grate the zucchini the long way on a large box grater. Toss the zucchini with pesto until well coated, and season with salt (I added another ¼ teaspoon).
  3. Transfer the pesto noodles to a large platter and sprinkle with the cherry tomatoes. Tuck the fresh basil in to the corners to garnish.