Alex's serving suggestion: "This pesto has a lot of body from the zucchini—it's great as a ravioli filling or slathered on fish wrapped in a tortilla."

Makes 1 cup


  • 1 medium zucchini (6 oz)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. (about 5 cloves) chopped garlic
  • 3 cups basil, loosely packed
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 to 2 Tbsp.
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon


Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Split 1 medium zucchini in half lengthwise and brush with 1 to 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on grill and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. In a food processor, combine garlic, basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Pulse until garlic and basil just come together but are not paste-like. With the motor running, slowly pour in olive oil, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. Check the texture and flavor, adding up to 1/4 cup more olive oil as necessary. Transfer pesto to a bowl and stir in Parmesan. Chop grilled zucchini into small pieces and allow to cool. Stir into pesto, adding more salt and pepper to taste. Stir in lemon juice just before serving.

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