Monday, July 23, 2012

Grilled Zucchini with Basil-Walnut Pesto

Thanks to everybody for making last week's Meatless Monday Twitter Party rock!

So summer continues unabated. We've had a heat wave recently in Los Angeles. And that means one thing: I've been firing up my grill. A lot.

But this is great for you!

It means lots of fabulous summer grilling recipes.

Zucchini is one of my favorite things to throw on the grill, especially super-sized late summer squash. This zucchini came from my friend Jeff's garden. They were huge—two different heirloom variaties—and so fresh and sweet and tender when grilled. I finished them with a little bit of homemade Basil-Walnut Pesto and some Parmigiano Reggiano. 

The result was so fabulous that I can't wait to make it again. This dish works as a side dish to a meal, but it's filling enough and tasty enough to be a main course too.

Grilled Zucchini with Basil-Walnut Pesto

Serves 4 people if main course; about 6 people if side dish
Vegetarian (but easy to veganize); gluten-free
Cooking time: about twenty minutes


2 pounds zucchini, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
parmigiano reggiano for garnishing

for basil-walnut pesto:
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1 cup packed basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled
squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat the grill.

2. Meanwhile, make the Basil-Walnut Pesto. Place the walnuts in a mini food processor (or you can make a larger batch in a bigger one). Process until finely chopped. Add the basil and garlic, and pulse until incorporated and no big pieces of garlic remain. Add the lemon juice and pulse again to incorporate. Lastly, with the lid off and the motor running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

3. Toss the zucchini with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Quickly grill over medium heat for a two to three minutes on each side, until tender. Larger slices may take longer.

4. Place the zucchini on a serving platter. Check seasoning for salt and pepper and adjust if needed. Spoon pesto over the zucchini and top with grated parmigiano. Enjoy!


  1. Look good. Maybe I can get my family to like zucchini as much as I do.

  2. Wow - this looks tasty, and it's got all my favorite stuff in there. I do love zucchini, and it's so abundant right now, too. Thanks for the recipe.