Zucchini Pasta with Avocado Pistachio Pesto and Shrimp

Zucchini Pasta with Avocado Pistachio Pesto and Shrimp  Serves 4

This is one of my favorite easy veggie “pasta” dishes.  It’s light and satiating at the same time — it feels like the perfect spring dish!

5-6 medium zucchini (2¼-2½ pounds total), trimmed or bought pre-spiralized.
1 teaspoon salt, divide
1 ripe avocado
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup unsalted shelled pistachios
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound raw shrimp (21-25 count), peeled and deveined, tails left on if desire

Place the zucchini “noodles” in a colander and toss with ½ teaspoon salt. Let drain for 20-30 minutes, then gently place a paper towel on top and squeeze down to remove any excess water.  If you are spiralizing your own zucchini:  use your spiral vegetable slicer or a vegetable peeler and cut zucchini lengthwise into long, thin strands or strips. Stop when you reach the seeds in the middle (seeds make the noodles fall apart). 

Meanwhile, combine avocado, basil, pistachios, lemon juice, pepper and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse until chopped.   Add ¼ cup oil and process until finely chopped (I like there to some visible pieces of pistachio in it) or smooth if that is more to your liking.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add shrimp and another ¼ tsp salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the drained zucchini noodles and gently toss until hot, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl, add the pesto and gently toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to your taste if needed.

Adapted from Eating Well

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