Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Burst Tomatoes

The theme of this week in our house has been clean eating. Since we’ve been traveling so much over the past few weeks, that also meant we were eating out. A LOT. Which I obviously love to do…. but my body certainly thinks otherwise.

Even if we try to order “healthier” things off the menu at most restaurants, there is still such a difference between that and a home-cooked meal. The oil, the butter, the salt, the sugar— it can so easily be overdone in restaurants to bring out the flava! I totally get it, it makes so many foods taste insanely delicious, but after a few days, my body is screaming for some straight up-home cooked-clean eating again.

Ever had that feeling?


Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Burst Tomatoes // pumpkin and peanut butter


Surprisingly enough, this recipe is inspired from one of the dishes I ate out at a restaurant! Yeah, I think I’ve been contradicting myself a bit, but stay with me…

While we were visiting our hometown of Rochester, NY last week, we made sure to check out some of the new vegan/vegetarian restaurants (well, new since we’ve been gone at least). We were shocked at how much the plant-based eating scene has grown since we left the area after high school. Why did Rochester get so cool AFTER we left??? Typical.

Our first stop was at Vive Bistro in downtown Rochester. Vive is a plant-based French Bistro— yes that’s right, vegan French food— right in the center of East Ave (a pretty hoppin’ street in Rochester). The second we walked into Vive, we were so impressed by the modern, yet rustic deco that stood in front of us— comfy couches, a blazing fireplace, and clean, warm colors everywhere. I’m hooked already.

I went with a large group, and we ordered a table full of food ranging from their vegan cheese plate to their chickpea flatbread pizzas to hearty veggie sandwiches on freshly baked baguettes. Taking photos didn’t even cross my mind because the food looked so mouth-watering as soon as it came out. And man, was. it. good.

If you happen to live in upstate NY and have the chance to check out Vive, I totally recommend the cheese plate and the Blanc pizza. They were definitely the group’s favorite by far!


Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Burst Tomatoes // pumpkin and peanut butter


A few days later, we decided to order take out from another vegan restaurant downtown called the Red Fern. The Red Fern has been around the Rochester scene a little longer, but was brand new to us since we moved away. Situated also in the downtown Park Ave area, the Red Fern was tucked away as a little hole-in-the-wall cafe. But once we walked in, we realized how popular they are— the place was packed! Again, a very rustic, yet hipster-y vibe, complete with a wrap around bar lines with bakery cases and bar stools. I. loved. it.

We ordered lots of different wraps and sandwiches from the Red Fern, but I decided to go a little lighter that evening with their Pesto Zucchini Linguini Salad. Thick zucchini noodles tossed with a nutty pesto, balsamic roasted tomatoes, and kale parmesan— I’m drooling.

Needless to say, it was delicious! So delicious that I knew I needed to recreate it at home to share with all you lovely readers. And here’s the best part— it took me all of 20 minutes to make. Throw some tomatoes in the oven to roast, whip up some sunflower seed pesto, spiralize a large zucchini, toss it together and BAM, lunch is served. Plus, it was a great way for Nate and I to continue on our clean eating kick, while still getting in some delicious flavors in a very unique salad.

If you give this salad a shot, let me know what you think! I can’t tell you how much I love seeing your photos on Instagram of recipes you’ve tried from pumpkin & peanut butter 🙂


Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Burst Tomatoes // pumpkin and peanut butter

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Burst Tomatoes // pumpkin and peanut butter

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Burst Tomatoes

Serves 2-3
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad


  • 2 small zucchini, or 1 large zucchini

for the pesto

  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

for the tomatoes

  • 10 grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper


for the burst tomatoes
Step 1
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the cherry or grape tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread over a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, or until just starting to burst.
for the pesto
Step 2
To make your pesto, begin by placing 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds in your food processor or high speed blender. Blend until they are broken down into very small pieces. Add in the garlic cloves and basil leaves, and blend for another minute. Scrape the sides and repeat if the leaves are still large.

Slowly pour in the olive oil (If you can do this while you blend, that's best. If not, pour half in at a time, then blend and repeat.) Scrape and stir the pesto to make sure it is a desired consistency. Add more olive oil if you like a thinner pesto (this is a chunkier kind).
for the pesto zucchini noodles
Step 3
Use a spiralizer to spirals the zucchini into noodles. I used the larger setting to make my noodles thicker, but feel free to experiment with your favorite settings. Place zucchini noodles in a large bowl and toss with the pesto. Plate your pesto zucchini noodles, then top with a scoop of oven roasted tomatoes. Dig in!

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Burst Tomatoes // pumpkin & peanut butter


Hi, I’m Liz and this is my food blog where I share my love of healthy foods and whole ingredients. You will find mostly vegetarian dishes, plenty of sweets, and lots of love from this little kitchen in Durham, North Carolina!


  1. Yes, yes, YES! Home cooked is always so so much better. I don’t know what it is that no matter what I order and how specifically I order it, there always seems to be that “after eating out” feeling! These “noodles” look so good.

    • I couldn’t agree more! And this was the perfect healthy, yet “clean” meal to get my body back in gear!

  2. Oh man, Liz! This looks INCREDIBLE. I’m such a fan of pesto, and I can totally identify with wanting to eat healthy when eating out! It’s tough, but it’s great that you found a dish like this!

    • It took me a while to jump on the spiralizing train too— but let me tell you, it was sooo worth it! My favorite thing to make is homemade curly fries 🙂

    • I totally agree! Such a great way to find inspiration 🙂

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