Zucchini and Pesto Spaghetti

AdobeStock_210055435-659x519-min6 Servings
Serving Size: 2 1/2 cups

Keeping the heat out of the kitchen is a summer priority. Here’s a heart-healthy and tasty recipe where you can use your creativity to add ingredients if you wish. Make pesto ahead of time and have on hand for a last-minute weeknight dinner.


  • Cooking spray
  • 4 medium zucchini, chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil, spinach, arugula, or mint
  • 1 garlic clove, minced OR 1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted walnuts or almonds
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth and 1 to 2 tablespoons fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth as needed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  1. Lightly spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Cook the zucchini over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta using the package directions, omitting the salt. Drain in a colander, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.
  3. In a food processor or blender, process the basil, garlic, walnuts, 2 tablespoons broth, oil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and 2 cups zucchini for 1 minute, or until well blended. Add 1/2 tablespoon broth for a thinner consistency. Process for 30 seconds. Repeat until the desired consistency.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together the pasta, pesto, and 1 tablespoon reserved pasta water. One tablespoon at a time, add the remaining pasta water until the desired consistency.
  5. Top with the remaining zucchini.
Recipe courtesy of American Heart Association

Sign Up for Health Tips

Get our advice and upcoming events about weight, pain, heart and more.

Take a Health Risk Assessment

Our health assessments can help you identify issues and areas to discuss with your doctor.