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Pesto pasta with zucchini and mushrooms in a yellow bowl

30 Minute Zucchini Pesto Pasta

30 minute zucchini pesto pasta with buttery mushrooms and toasted walnuts. This easy weeknight pasta recipe will be an instant family favorite!
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 490kcal


  • Food processor
  • Large skillet
  • Stock pot or Dutch oven


  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves, roughly chopped divided
  • 3 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt divided
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. pasta of choice (I use casarecce (pictured), shells, or bowtie)
  • 2 medium zucchinis sliced into coins
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 8 oz. baby bella (or cremini) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 6 oz. burrata cheese for garnish (optional)


  • Toast 1/4 cup of the walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Add basil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest, garlic, 1/2 tsp. of the salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to the food processor. Begin blending while gradually streaming in 1/2 cup olive oil; blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water before draining.
  • While pasta cooks, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add zucchini; cook 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 Tbsp. butter. Once melted, add mushrooms and shallots. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden brown. Combine mushrooms with zucchini, and season with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.
  • Add remaining 1 Tbsp. butter and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to the skillet. Cook 5 minutes, until the butter is browned and walnuts are toasted. Season with a pinch of salt, and transfer to a small bowl.
  • Add zucchini and mushroom mixture to pot with pasta, and stir in pesto. Gradually stream in reserved 1 cup of pasta water, stirring constantly, until sauce becomes glossy and begins clinging to noodles.
  • Divide pasta between each of 6 plates. Garnish with dollops of burrata or additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Sprinkle toasted walnuts overtop.


*STORE refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days. 
*MAKE VEGAN by subbing Parmesan for nutritional yeast, and butter for plant-based butter alternative, such as Miyoko's brand. 
*MAKE GLUTEN FREE by using Banza chickpeas pasta or brown rice pasta. 


Serving: 1.2cups | Calories: 490kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 490mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 4g