Grilled Zucchini with Parmesan Pesto

Spring has arrived, and a few of my favorite things include longer days, warmer weather, and Farmer’s Markets!! Without fail, the first market of the season always sells big, delicious, fresh zucchini. I love it because farm-fresh zucchini are normally available throughout spring and summer, so you have months to enjoy them many different ways.

Make room for this nutritional powerhouse. Zucchini is low in calories, and a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.  It is also a good source of carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are excellent antioxidants, and important for fighting off diseases.

Here’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy zucchini, and not only do you get the nutrition from the zucchini, you also get the healthy fats from the pesto.


1 cup basil leaves

1 small garlic clove

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

½ cup olive oil

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and black pepper, to taste

6 zucchini with more olive oil


You do want to use the food processor, but first do initial rough chops of all your ingredients and rely on the food processor to merely mix together the basil, garlic, nuts, and olive oil. Grate the cheese on a fine edge box grater, or with a microplane, and mix it in by hand once everything else has been combined. The pesto should be very thick, and it’s ok if it’s chunky. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper, as desired.

If you don't want pesto, luckily zucchini is very versatile and can be paired and topped with a variety of options: pesto, cream cheese, and green or black olive tapenade, to name a few. 

Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise; brush lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper. Grill until marked on both sides and tender (about 1 minute per side); remove and cool. Spread about 1 teaspoon of pesto on 1 side of each grilled zucchini slice; roll up and secure with a toothpick.


Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods


Recipe courtesy of Grilled Zucchini with Parmesan Pesto

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