Whole Wheat and Zucchini Spaghetti with Broccoli Pesto and Burrata is such a great way to satisfy that carb craving we all have, without all the guilt. Instead of a bowl-full of pasta, we did an even ration of zucchini noodles to whole-wheat pasta. Each strand is twirled with an easy broccoli pesto and parmesan pesto, and then topped off with creamy burrata cheese.
Whole Wheat and Zucchini Spaghetti with Broccoli Pesto and Burrata
I don’t know about you, but just because the snow melts from the ground and the sun is pretty much a permanent fixture in our daily lives, it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about my one true love. Pasta.
Even in the heat of summer, I still crave carbs, and I crave them something fierce. Which can be a problem. This healthy-meets-indulgent pasta is the answer to all of those problems.
With an even ratio of silky zucchini and whole-wheat noodles, this leaves me feeling light and nimble, but fills up my seemingly bottomless stomach very nicely at the same time. Always a win when it comes to pasta.
After each set of noodles is cooked, they’re simultaneously twirled in a ridiculously easy (and also healthy!) broccoli pesto (very similar to this I made a few years ago), and then splashed with a little bit of extra pasta water to thin out the sauce a bit.
And then comes the best part…Burrata. Creamy, luxurious, burrata. What I like to do is plate all of the pasta, and then top off each portion with a generous amount of creamy burrata. You have to be sure to evenly cut it in half, because every person needs an equal amount of that silky-smooth cream center.
This is one of those meals that upon first glance, looks seriously impressive, but is honestly really easy to put together, which makes it one of my favorite summer meals of all time.
Broccoli Pesto Ingredients
- Broccoli (Heads and stems!)
- Parmesan cheese. Plenty of it.
- Olive oil. Also plenty of it.
- Lemon Juice. Because all pestos and spring/summer pasta need acid.
- Spinach. Why wouldn’t you want a virtually tasteless boost in health??
- Pine nuts. It’s a personal preference, but I just can’t live without a little bit of texture in my pestos.
- Garlic. No explanation here.
- Salt and pepper. Always.
As you can see, the ingredient list is eerily similar to a traditional pesto, but because of the broccoli, it takes on an entirely different taste, in a good way! Don’t get me wrong, I am all about a tradition pesto, but sometimes, it’s nice to switch things up a bit, plus I love that my family is getting a disguised version of veggies I’m not force-feeding.
How to make Whole Wheat and Zucchini Spaghetti with Broccoli Pesto and Burrata
- Use a spiralizer to turn your zucchini into spaghetti strands.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season with salt. Cook pasta until just under aldente. Reserve about a cup of pasta water.
- While the pasta cooks, add broccoli, spinach, lemon juice, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is pureed. Scrape the sides of the mixture down with a spatula. Turn the processor on and drizzle in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet to a medium heat. Add a little bit of olive oil. Add zucchini noodles and season with salt and paper. Cook until they start to wilt, about 2-3 minutes.
- Once the zucchini has started to wilt and the pasta is aldente, add the pasta and the pesto to the zucchini noodles along with about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Toss the noodles in the pesto. If needed add more pasta water to loosen the sauce up. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the pasta to a giant serving bowl, and top with two balls of burrata.
- Garnish with parmesan cheese.
What if I don’t have a spiralizer?
If you don’t have a spiralizer or you just don’t feel like making your own noodles, you can buy pre-spiralized noodles. I can find them at pretty much any grocery store these days, but I know they have them at Trader Joe’s, Whole Food, and for locals, HyVee.
Do I have to use spaghetti?
Angel hair or bucatini would also work, but I think spaghetti has about the same width as most zucchini noodles, so it’s really what works best.
Can I cook the broccoli before??
Yes! Since the broccoli only partially cooks out while you toss the pasta, if you aren’t into the raw taste of broccoli, you can absolutely roast it before. I actually have a similar recipe for broccoli pesto we posted a few years ago, so I’d reference that if you have any questions.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Feel free to swap out the spinach for basil. Or just add basil in addition to everything else.
- You can use almonds or walnuts instead of pine nuts if that’s what you have on hand.
- Be sure to reserve PLENTY of pasta water. It’s what makes the sauce!
- Do not overcook the whole-wheat pasta or the zucchini noodles. When you add the pesto and the pasta water, you’ll continue to cook everything for five minutes or so, and you don’t want both the whole-wheat and zucchini noodles to turn to mush.
Other Pesto Recipes
- Easy Basil Pesto
- Whole-Wheat and Zucchini Spaghetti with Basil Almond Pesto and Blistered Tomatoes
- Grilled Prosciutto Chicken with Pesto Cream Sauce
- 2 large zucchini (should equal about 4 cups packed zucchini noodles)
- 1/2 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti
- 4 cups chopped broccoli (heads and stalks)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 2 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 3 tbsp. pine nuts
- 1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
- 2 balls burrata
- Turn zucchini into noodles using a spiralizer. See instruction on spiralizer.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season with salt. It should taste as salty as the sea.
- Add pasta to water and cook until just under aldente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of pasta water.
- While the pasta cooks, add broccoli, parmesan, lemon juice, pine nuts, and salt to a food processor. Turn the processor on and mix until everything is combined and pureed. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.
- While the mixer is one, drizzle in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Scrape down sides one more time and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet to a medium heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoon olive oil. Once oil is hot, add zucchini noodles. Cook until slightly softened, 2-3 minutes. Add cooked pasta, broccoli pesto, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the zucchini noodles. Toss until combined. If needed, add more pasta water to loosen the sauce up. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer pasta to a serving bowl. Top with burrata and garnish with parmesan cheese. To serve, evenly divide between four bowls. Cut burrata in half, making sure to reserve keep the soft center in tact. Dig in!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316 Total Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 22mg Sodium: 677mg Carbohydrates: 35g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 5g Protein: 16g