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Grilled Zucchini Fettuccine with Walnut Pesto {vegan}

Zucchini ribbons, cooked till they get a nice char around the edges, mixed into tender-firm pasta noodles, all bathed in a savory walnut and lemon sauce—this grilled zucchini fettuccine with walnut pesto is stick-to-your ribs comforting—just what we need on these chilly fall evenings.

Grilled Zucchini Fettuccine with Walnut Pesto | Letty's Kitchen

Happy Autumn! The days might be getting shorter, yet gardens are still giving us fresh veggies. Here’s an easy way to use the last of this season’s zucchini. Light up the grill!

While the grill heats up, get out the food processor. Finely chop walnuts with shallots, lemon zest and thyme, stir in fresh-squeezed lemon juice and walnut and/or olive oil to make the pesto sauce. Set that aside.

ingredients for Grilled Zucchini Fettuccine with Walnut Pesto | Letty's Kitchen

Next, slice the “zukes” lengthwise into wide thin ribbons. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Pop them on the grill. Just before you’re ready to eat, cook the fettuccine in plenty of boiling salted water, until the pasta is al dente, tender to the tooth. Stir a bit of pasta water into the pesto to loosen it up, and then toss everything together. This super simple supper is just fancy enough to serve to company.

Not too long ago, I grilled zucchini strips and made walnut pesto, winging it as a last minute appetizer. We all stood at the kitchen counter, spreading large dollops of pesto on the zucchini, eating with our hands. The combo was so yummy no one cared, and besides, what’s a little savage eating among close friends?

The point is–grilled zucchini and walnut pesto together pair well, even without the fettuccine noodles. If you eat gluten-free, or you’re watching your carbo intake,  spiralize the zucchini into zoodles and coat them with this walnut pesto sauce.

Pasta or no pasta, run with it. Today, for this grilled zucchini fettuccine with walnut pesto, our noodles are wheat. All is good.

Grilled Zucchini Fettuccine with Walnut Pesto | Letty's Kitchen

Grilled Zucchini Fettuccine with Walnut Pesto recipe notes:

  • Walnut pesto marries well with other lightly grilled veggies, all kinds, you name them—eggplant, corn, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, and red onion, as well as the omnipresent zucchini.
  • I used an inexpensive hand-held mandoline slicer to cut 1/8-inch thick zucchini ribbons. If you want to make “zoodles”, use a spiralizer, like this one. See how to cut veggies into noodles in this roasted asparagus and sweet potato noodle recipe.
  • Delallo fettuccine, which doesn’t contain eggs, keeps this recipe vegan.
  • Robbie was out of town when I shot the photos for this post. I ate my share right then, and froze the leftovers–we had them for dinner a month later. To my delight, thawed and gently reheated with a touch of water, dinner was as good as new!
  • You might want to try this easy basil walnut pesto with pasta and grilled veggies too.
  • Loosely adapted from a recipe torn from Food & Wine Magazine in 2010.

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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Grilled Zucchini Fettuccine with Walnut Pesto
Grilled zucchini fettuccine with walnut pesto is stick-to-your ribs comfort food.
  • 1 shallot , cut in 4 pieces
  • 1 cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon plus ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil , or a mix of the two
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds zucchini , 3 or 4, depending on size
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil , as needed
  • 8 ounces fettuccine pasta
  • Thyme leaves and torn basil , for garnish
  1. Make the walnut pesto: With the motor of the food processor running, mince the shallot by dropping it through the feed tube. Add the walnuts, thyme, lemon zest, the first ¼ teaspoon salt, paprika, and lemon juice. Pulse until the walnuts are chopped, but not ground, scraping the sides of the work bowl, as needed. With the motor running, pour in the walnut and/or olive oil, all at once. Scrape into a bowl and season with a generous grind of black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the grill. Trim the ends from the zucchini. Slice lengthwise, thinly, about 1/8-inch thick. Toss with olive oil, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and more freshly ground pepper.
  3. On a vegetable grilling accessory tray, grill over high heat, turning until lightly charred on the edges and limp tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  4. Cook the pasta in well-salted water, following to package directions. When the pasta is almost done, mix about 3 tablespoons of the pasta water into the walnut pesto.
  5. Drain the pasta and immediately toss with the walnut pesto and grilled zucchini.
  6. Serve hot, with a sprinkle of thyme and basil leaves.
Recipe Notes
If you wish, serve with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese at the table.

***This recipe is an update of one I posted in July 2009, and migrated over from my old blog.

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