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Pesto Zoodles with Broccoli and Bacon

These zucchini noodles are laced with fresh basil pesto and bacon. Because bacon always makes things better.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Broccoli and Bacon | zucchini recipes | paleo recipes | gluten-free recipes | Whole30 adaptable |

You may have guessed that those “noodles” aren’t really pasta, but julienned zucchini. Zucchini noodles are a great alternative if you’re eating paleo, gluten-free, or low-carb. I feel like I’m the last one in the blogosphere to try them out.

Why did I wait so long? A mandoline, my friends. I was holding out for a mandoline. After asking around on Twitter doing some serious research, I found one that I liked, and after multiple uses, I still like it. If you’ve never used a mandoline slicer, you’re missing out on some seriously cool slicing action. And perhaps having a finger nearly sliced off. Given my track record with sharp objects, I probably shouldn’t be allowed to use a mandoline. I’ve been good about using the guard, though. No blood shed. . . yet.

At the end of 2015 I finally got this spiralizer, and I’ve been happily using that instead of the julienne attachment on my mandoline.

To prepare the “noodles” I used a technique I saw in Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells where she sprinkled the julienned zucchini with salt and let it rest in a colander to extract the moisture. In that particular recipe, she just tossed it with a simple creamy dressing and was finished. I squeezed it out a little, then threw it in a pan for a few minutes to warm up.

I was surprised at how the texture and appearance of the zucchini resembled actual pasta. I think I even giggled a few times. My kids were hesitant (I’m still trying to get them to like zucchini. Tonight we made some progress!) but I think after a few tries they’ll be slurping up those “noodles” like nobody’s business.

Especially if it’s got bacon sprinkled in it. Bacon is my insurance if I’m not sure if something will turn out well. Throw a little bacon in and a mediocre dish will rise to “pretty good” status. Instantly.

I really don’t think I needed the insurance with this, though.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Broccoli and Bacon | zucchini recipes | paleo recipes | gluten-free recipes | Whole30 adaptable |

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Pesto Zoodles with Bacon & Broccoli

Pesto Zoodles with Bacon & Broccoli

Yield: Serves 4
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

If you're new to zoodles, this is a perfect intro. The bacon is there for insurance, but it really stands on its own!


  • 4 medium zucchini, julienned thinly (mandoline slicers are great for this)
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 6 slices of uncooked bacon
  • 1/2 cup green onions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2-3 T prepared basil pesto
  • Fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese, for garnish


  1. Place zucchini strips in a colander over a bowl or in the sink. Sprinkle zucchini with salt and toss to combine. Let the zucchini sit for 15 minutes while the salt extracts the moisture. Drain excess water, squeezing zucchini, if necessary.
  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, turning frequently. Remove bacon to a stack of paper towels to drain. Crumble bacon. Remove all but 2 T of bacon drippings from the pan.
  3. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the green onions and broccoli, stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add zucchini and 2 T of pesto, tossing to combine all ingredients.
  4. Taste and add more pesto, if needed. The mixture only needs to warm up, so 2-3 minutes of cooking ought to do it. Serve with bacon crumbles and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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Amanda L

Monday 11th of July 2016

I am really wanting to try this recipe but I do not have a mandolin! I do however have the kitchen aid spiralizer attachment. Do you think that would serve the same purpose? 

Thanks! This recipe looks incredible.

Natalie Perry

Monday 11th of July 2016

Oh you don't need a mandoline. I posted this before the spiralizer craze, so spiralize away with your attachment! Enjoy!

Laura Mitchell

Friday 12th of September 2014

Tried this last night and really liked it. I will definitely make again. Using the mandolin took the most time; everything else was a snap. I was very cautious, though. My mother hurt herself very badly on one when she tried to use it without the guard - won't make that mistake!


Wednesday 16th of July 2014

We tried this recipe today, and we absolutely loved it! I altered it a bit - we didn't use broccoli (as it isn't in season and I can't find it anywhere), and added thin slices of sundried tomatoes. My boyfriend was thrilled - we will certainly make it again! A winner!


Wednesday 16th of July 2014

I might add we're on a keto diet, and we live in Italy, where most people eat pasta every day, and for me this is a lifesaving substitute for all those carbs, and a great way to add extra fat in a dish, with lots of cheese,olive oil and butter fried bacon :)


Sunday 6th of July 2014

Just wanted to let you know I made this for my husband and myself tonight and it was wonderful!!! I didn't use bacon (for health reasons) so I sliced up some cherry tomatoes and mixed them with olive oil and garlic and roasted them, then also chopped some portobello mushrooms up and sautéed them in place of the bacon. Just tossed it all together in the end. It was delicious, although I'm sure the bacon is 1000x better! But we'll definitely be having it again!

Thanks for the awesome recipe! I'm bookmarking your page! :-)


Monday 26th of May 2014

i made this tonight it was delicious. what a great base for pasta dishes!

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