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Zucchini-Basil Pistou Recipe

A delightful blend of summer's finest produce, this zucchini-basil pistou is a bright, fresh addition to many dishes. The key elements of this recipe are zucchini, basil, and garlic, enhanced with olive oil and lemon juice. This dish brings a vibrant and aromatic touch to pasta, sandwiches, or as a delightful dip.

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Photos of Zucchini-Basil Pistou Recipe

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While most of the ingredients in this recipe are everyday staples, fresh basil is a key element that requires special attention. It's best to buy it fresh from your local supermarket or even better, from a farmer's market. It's not only about the freshness but also the aroma and flavor that fresh basil brings to the dish. Similarly, choose zucchini that are small to medium-sized as they are less watery and have a sweeter flavor.

Ingredients for Zucchini-Basil Pistou

Zucchini: A summer squash that's versatile and filled with nutrients. Its mild flavor allows it to be a great carrier for other flavors.

Extra virgin olive oil: Adds a rich, fruity flavor to the pistou. It is also used for its health benefits.

Garlic: A classic flavor enhancer, it adds a bit of warmth and depth.

Basil leaves: They provide a fresh, peppery flavor and a sweet aroma that's integral to this recipe.

Lemon juice: It cuts through the richness of the oil and provides a bright, citrusy element.

Kosher salt: Enhances the flavors of all the other ingredients.

One reader, Jeannine Kimball says:

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This zucchini-basil pistou recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are fresh and vibrant, and the texture is just perfect. It's a great way to use up zucchinis and basil from the garden. I love how versatile it is - I've used it as a dip, spread, and even as a pasta sauce. Highly recommended!

Jeannine Kimball

Techniques for Crafting Zucchini-Basil Pistou

How to prepare zucchini: Cut the zucchini into 1-inch pieces after halving and removing the seeds.
How to make pistou: Combine the zucchini, olive oil, and garlic in a saucepan, bring to a boil, add basil leaves, then blend with lemon juice and salt to create a chunky purée.
How to freeze pistou: Store the pistou in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.

How To Make Zucchini-Basil Pistou

This pistou recipe yields a delightful French cold sauce made of fresh basil, garlic, and olive oil. Serve this over savory dishes to level up your meals!

Preparation: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes



  • 1⅓lbszucchini,(2 to 3 pieces, depending on size)
  • 6tbspextra virgin olive oil
  • 2garlic cloves,thinly sliced
  • ½cupfresh basil leaves,plus more for garnish, if desired
  • 2tsplemon juice,fresh
  • 1tspkosher salt


  1. Halve the zucchini crosswise and cut off the ends so they stand flat. Cut off the outer flesh of the zucchini, leaving the inner seed cores behind. Discard the cores. Cut the zucchini into 1-inch pieces.

  2. In a small saucepan, combine the zucchini pieces with the olive oil and garlic and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the basil leaves, stir, and cook for 1 minute.

  3. Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the lemon juice and salt. Pulse to a chunky purée.

  4. Transfer the pistou to a small bowl and serve warm. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

The pistou can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.


  • Calories: 1249.19kcal
  • Fat: 124.60g
  • Saturated Fat: 17.56g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 88.77g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 13.71g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.72g
  • Fiber: 9.59g
  • Sugar: 23.21g
  • Protein: 12.17g
  • Sodium: 2490.44mg
  • Calcium: 196.92mg
  • Potassium: 2474.36mg
  • Iron: 4.79mg
  • Vitamin A: 138.24µg
  • Vitamin C: 174.34mg

Pro Tip for Perfecting Pistou

When making the zucchini-basil pistou, it's important to use fresh basil leaves rather than dried ones. Fresh basil will give your pistou a vibrant color and a more intense flavor. Additionally, when blending the ingredients, pulse in short bursts instead of blending continuously. This will help you achieve the desired chunky texture. Remember, the goal is a rustic, hearty pistou, not a smooth puree.

Time-Saving Tips for This Recipe

Prep ahead: Chop the zucchini and garlic in advance to save time when you're ready to cook. Store them in airtight containers in the fridge until needed.

Use a food processor: Instead of chopping the zucchini and basil by hand, use a food processor to quickly and evenly chop the ingredients for the pistou.

Double the batch: Make a larger quantity of pistou and freeze the extra in small portions. This way, you'll have it ready to use for future meals without the need to prepare it from scratch each time.

Organize your workspace: Before you start cooking, gather all the ingredients and kitchen tools you'll need. This will streamline the cooking process and save time.

Substitute Ingredients For Zucchini-Basil Pistou Recipe

  • zucchini - Substitute with yellow squash: Yellow squash has a similar texture and mild flavor, making it a suitable replacement for zucchini in this recipe.

  • extra virgin olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a high smoke point and a mild flavor, making it a great alternative for sautéing the zucchini and garlic.

  • garlic - Substitute with shallots: Shallots provide a milder, slightly sweet flavor compared to garlic, adding a different but complementary taste to the pistou.

  • fresh basil leaves - Substitute with parsley: Parsley can provide a fresh and herbaceous flavor similar to basil, adding a vibrant touch to the pistou.

  • fresh lemon juice - Substitute with white wine vinegar: White wine vinegar can offer a tangy acidity similar to lemon juice, balancing the flavors in the pistou.

  • kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for kosher salt, providing a similar level of salinity to the dish.

Presenting Zucchini-Basil Pistou

  1. Elevate the zucchini: Slice the zucchini into thin ribbons using a mandoline or vegetable peeler to create delicate, elegant curls that add visual appeal to the dish.

  2. Garnish with basil oil: Drizzle a vibrant green basil oil in a circular motion around the edge of the plate to add a pop of color and a burst of fresh herb flavor to the dish.

  3. Artful arrangement: Carefully arrange the zucchini-basil pistou in a circular motion on the plate, creating a visually stunning presentation that showcases the vibrant colors and textures of the dish.

  4. Use edible flowers: Adorn the plate with edible flowers such as nasturtiums or pansies to add a touch of elegance and a subtle floral note to the dish.

  5. Incorporate microgreens: Sprinkle a handful of delicate microgreens over the zucchini-basil pistou for a burst of freshness and a visually appealing finishing touch.

  6. Accent with lemon zest: Grate fresh lemon zest over the dish to add a bright, citrusy aroma and a pop of vibrant color, enhancing the overall presentation.

  7. Serve on artisanal tableware: Present the zucchini-basil pistou on a beautiful, handcrafted ceramic plate to elevate the dining experience and showcase the dish as a work of art.

Essential Tools for Making Pistou

  • Blender: A kitchen appliance used to blend, purée, or emulsify food and other substances.
  • Small saucepan: A small cooking pot with a single, long handle, often used for heating or preparing sauces.
  • Knife: A tool used for cutting and preparing ingredients.

Storing and Freezing Zucchini-Basil Pistou

  • The zucchini-basil pistou can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Simply transfer the pistou to a clean, dry container with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the fridge.

  • To freeze the pistou, spoon it into ice cube trays or small freezer-safe containers, leaving some space at the top for expansion. Once frozen solid, transfer the cubes or containers to a labeled freezer bag or container. The frozen pistou will keep for up to 3 months.

  • When ready to use the frozen pistou, remove the desired amount from the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can microwave the frozen pistou on low power in short intervals, stirring between each interval, until it reaches the desired consistency.

  • To reheat the thawed or refrigerated pistou, transfer it to a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. You can also microwave the pistou in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds, until heated to your liking.

  • If the pistou appears too thick after freezing and thawing, you can thin it out by stirring in a small amount of warm water, olive oil, or lemon juice until it reaches the desired consistency.

Reheating Zucchini-Basil Pistou Leftovers

  • Reheat the zucchini-basil pistou in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through and slightly simmering. This method ensures the pistou retains its vibrant color and fresh flavor while gently warming it to the desired temperature.

  • For a quicker reheating option, transfer the leftover pistou to a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the pistou is heated through. Be careful not to overheat, as this may cause the zucchini to become mushy and the basil to lose its bright color.

  • If you have frozen the pistou, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Once thawed, follow either the stovetop or microwave reheating method mentioned above.

  • To add a fresh twist to your leftover pistou, consider stirring in some freshly grated Parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving. These additions can help brighten the flavors and give the dish a new lease on life.

  • If you find that the leftover pistou has thickened after refrigeration, you can thin it out by stirring in a small amount of warm water, olive oil, or vegetable broth until it reaches your desired consistency.

Interesting Fact About Zucchini-Basil Pistou

The zucchini-basil pistou recipe is a versatile sauce that can be used as a spread, dip, or topping for various dishes. It is a great way to use up an abundance of zucchini and basil from the garden. This pistou can be frozen for up to 3 months, making it a convenient option for preserving summer produce. It's a delicious and healthy addition to many meals, adding a burst of fresh flavor.

Budget-Friendly Zucchini-Basil Pistou

This zucchini-basil pistou recipe is highly cost-effective for households. The main ingredients, zucchini and basil, are affordable and readily available. With just a few simple ingredients, this recipe offers a burst of flavor and versatility. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $8-$10, making it a budget-friendly choice. The overall verdict for this recipe is a solid 9/10, considering its affordability, ease of preparation, and delightful taste.

Is This Zucchini Dish Healthy?

The zucchini-basil pistou recipe is relatively healthy, as it primarily consists of nutrient-dense ingredients. Zucchini is low in calories and rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as dietary fiber. Basil is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, while garlic offers numerous health benefits, including boosting the immune system and reducing the risk of heart disease. The use of extra virgin olive oil provides healthy monounsaturated fats, which are essential for heart health and brain function.

However, the recipe does contain a considerable amount of olive oil, which, although healthy, is still high in calories. Consuming too much oil can lead to excess calorie intake and potential weight gain.

To make this recipe even healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of olive oil used in the recipe to lower the overall calorie content. You can start by cutting it down to 4 tablespoons and adjust according to taste and consistency.
  • Add more vegetables to the pistou, such as spinach, kale, or peas, to increase the nutrient density and fiber content of the dish.
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices to enhance the flavor profile without relying on excessive amounts of oil or salt. Try incorporating mint, parsley, or red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
  • Serve the pistou alongside lean proteins, such as grilled chicken or fish, and complex carbohydrates, like quinoa or whole-grain pasta, to create a well-balanced meal.

The Editor's Take on Zucchini-Basil Pistou

This zucchini-basil pistou recipe offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The use of fresh basil and lemon juice adds a refreshing and vibrant touch to the dish, while the zucchini provides a subtle earthy flavor. The method of boiling the zucchini with olive oil and garlic before blending creates a rich and aromatic pistou. The freezer-friendly option makes it convenient for meal prep. Overall, this recipe is a wonderful way to showcase the natural flavors of zucchini and basil in a simple yet elegant dish.

Enhance Your Zucchini-Basil Pistou Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Create a creamy and flavorful side dish by adding roasted garlic to your mashed potatoes. The roasted garlic adds a delicious depth of flavor to the classic side dish.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest: Elevate your asparagus by grilling it and adding a sprinkle of fresh lemon zest. The charred flavor from the grill combined with the bright citrusy zest creates a perfect side dish for any meal.
Honey Glazed Carrots: Add a touch of sweetness to your carrots by glazing them with honey. The natural sweetness of the honey enhances the flavor of the carrots, making them a delightful side dish for any occasion.

Similar Recipes to Zucchini-Basil Pistou

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Mango Salsa Chicken: A refreshing and tropical twist on traditional chicken, featuring a vibrant mango salsa with fresh ingredients like mango, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice.
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup: A velvety and comforting soup made with roasted butternut squash, onions, garlic, and a touch of cream for a luxurious finish.
Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad: A light and elegant salad that showcases the sweetness of grilled peaches, creamy burrata cheese, arugula, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a burst of flavor.
Chocolate Avocado Mousse: A guilt-free and decadent dessert made with ripe avocados, cocoa powder, and a hint of sweetness, creating a silky smooth mousse that's perfect for any occasion.

Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Zucchini-Basil Pistou

Stuffed Mushrooms: Delight your guests with these savory stuffed mushrooms, filled with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. The perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal.
Bruschetta: Satisfy your guests' taste buds with these delicious bruschetta bites, topped with a vibrant mix of tomatoes, basil, and garlic. A refreshing and light appetizer to start off any gathering.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder for an elegant and decadent dessert.
Berry Parfait: Layer vibrant and juicy mixed berries with creamy yogurt and crunchy granola for a refreshing and satisfying parfait that is perfect for a light and healthy dessert option.

Why trust this Zucchini-Basil Pistou Recipe:

This zucchini-basil pistou recipe is a trusty choice for your culinary adventures. The use of fresh zucchini and basil leaves ensures a burst of vibrant flavors. The addition of garlic and olive oil brings depth and richness to the dish. The touch of lemon juice adds a refreshing zing, while the pinch of kosher salt balances the flavors perfectly. With these high-quality ingredients, you can trust that this recipe will deliver a delightful and satisfying experience.

Want to share your experience making this Zucchini-Basil Pistou Recipe or discuss variations and serving suggestions? Join the conversation in the Recipe Sharing forum section!
What can I serve the zucchini-basil pistou with?
The zucchini-basil pistou can be served as a flavorful topping for grilled fish, chicken, or even as a dip for crusty bread. It also works well as a sauce for pasta or roasted vegetables.
Can I make the pistou ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the pistou ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
Can I use dried basil instead of fresh basil?
While fresh basil provides the best flavor, you can use dried basil if fresh is not available. Use 1 tablespoon of dried basil in place of ½ cup of fresh basil.
Can I adjust the consistency of the pistou?
Yes, you can adjust the consistency of the pistou by adding more olive oil for a smoother texture or reducing the olive oil for a thicker consistency.
What are some variations I can try with this pistou?
You can customize the pistou by adding other herbs such as parsley or mint for a different flavor profile. You can also experiment with adding a touch of chili flakes for a hint of heat.

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