Zoodles with Cilantro Pesto & Grilled Chicken

Substitute zoodles for a healthier take on spaghetti night and throw in some grilled chicken for added protein.

Photo: Kris Osborne

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

While we love pasta, zoodles (zucchini noodles) are a perfect way to switch up your weekday dinner. This recipe is well-balanced with fiber-filled zucchini and grilled chicken. If you don’t like cilantro, substitute with parsley or dill.

Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
30 min
70 min


  • 2 large or 4 small 
zucchini, trimmed
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped 
unsalted walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped shallot
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • Zest and juice of 
½ lemon
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz chicken breast tenders
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper


  1. Working one at a time, secure zucchini in a spiral maker and turn crank to create “zoodles,” long strands that resemble spaghetti. (NOTE: Always read directions for your spiral maker as directions vary by brand.) Cut any zoodles that are very long in half. Line a large baking sheet with a double layer of paper towel and spread zoodles on sheet in a single layer. Gently squeeze with more paper towels. Sprinkle with salt; set aside 30 to 45 minutes. Working in batches, transfer to another sheet lined with paper towel; gently squeeze out moisture.
  2. In a small food processor, pulse cilantro, walnuts, shallot, Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, garlic and oregano. With machine running, stream in 1 Tbsp. oil. Set aside.
  3. Place chicken between 2 sheets of wax paper. Using a mallet, pound to 1-inch thickness. In a large skillet on medium-high, heat remaining ½ tsp oil. Season chicken with pepper. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, until cooked through and golden. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest 5 minutes and then slice.
  4. Mist same skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Add zoodles, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Remove from heat; toss with reserved pesto. Divide among plates; top with chicken.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 2 cups zoodles and 1/2 cup chicken
  • Calories 326
  • Carbohydrate Content 16 g
  • Cholesterol Content 66 mg
  • Fat Content 17 g
  • Fiber Content 4 g
  • Protein Content 30 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 3 g
  • Sodium Content 337 mg
  • Sugar Content 9 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 5 g

Trending on Clean Eating