Shrimp Pesto Zucchini Pasta
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup walnuts, crushed
1 large clove garlic, diced
1 tsp Olive oil
I love pasta. I mean, I am Italian so of course, I love pasta but I feel like we all do right? As much as I love it, it can be heavy and can sometimes cause digestive issues. It makes me feel a little bloated and I just feel sluggish. Lately, I have been really loving swapping it out for zucchini noodles. I have been really putting my spiralizer to good use these days. I have been using these zucchini noodles in everything from tomato basil pasta to Thai soup. I picked up a little hand-held spiralizer from HomeSense for $20, and it was money well spent.
This a pasta dish that you can feel good about. A guilt-free indulgence that tastes as good as it looks. Did I mention it is good for you? Zucchini is nutrient-rich and both low in carbohydrates and calories. They are a good source of potassium and vitamin C. In fact, one serving of zucchini makes up about 25% of your daily potassium needs. The vitamin C will help lower your cholesterol levels and repair blood vessels, connective tissues, skin and bones. These zoodles (zucchini noodles) have only .36 grams of fat in a cup and rich in calcium. But most of all, they are delicious!
Freshly made pesto really takes this dish to another level. It is so flavourful and aromatic. I am putting up the recipe for my pesto here and I highly recommend you give it a try! I know, it is a lot of work, but if you want to treat yourself to something that is other-worldly delicious that is mostly healthy but entirely delectable, this is the dish. The mortar and pestle may be a little more work than you want to do, I get it. I have been there. On a day where I am feeling really lazy, I would sooner make my pesto with a food processor than get store bought pesto. I promise once you make the pesto yourself, you will never be able to go back to ready-made pesto. They are entirely different things.
By adding the cherry tomatoes and little pieces of walnuts it gives this dish a more complex flavour profile and makes for a colourful plate. I find the addition of those few bits of walnut gives a delightful added texture. You can choose to serve this dish with raw noodles for a more al-dente consistency. But I prefer to quickly give them a little sauté in the leftover oil and garlic from the pan where the shrimp have been cooked. I like it when the noodles are hot, but you don't want them to get too soft.
I will add as a cautionary recommendation, that you take the time to strain the zoodles before serving them (raw or cooked). Zucchini is very hydrated and will provide a ton of moisture. I have learned that using paper towels to absorb excess moisture will keep you from ending up with a zoodle soup instead of a pasta. Josh and I have experienced this and I promise you this little added step will save you.
In a pan on medium heat put olive oil and diced garlic. Once the garlic is soft add the shrimp. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper.
While the shrimp is cooking, cut cherry tomatoes into quarters and put aside.
Spiralize the zucchini and place over paper towels. Then place another paper towel over the top of the bed of zucchini pressing down (not too hard) to remove excess moisture.
When the shrimp are cooked, remove them from the pan and put them aside. Put the zucchini noodles in the pan for a little bit just to soften them up.
Using tongs place the zucchini pasta in a bowl leaving any moisture in the pan. Then add the pesto to the hot zoodles and mix it in.
Top the dish with some shrimp, tomato, a little parmesan and a sprinkle of walnuts.
Vegan? You can substitute the shrimp for mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms with olive oil and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. The pesto has dairy so you'll want to find a dairy-free option. I really like this one by the Minimalist Baker, I am a big fan!