This Zucchini Noodle Caprese Salad is a fun spin on your favorite summer classic. Made with summer staples like zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, burrata and fresh basil walnut pesto, this salad is sure to brighten up your lunch break. This recipe is easily made vegan by leaving off the burrata and using nutritional yeast in the pesto recipe!
One of my favorite summer staples is a caprese salad. It’s my go-to side dish to bring to a summer BBQ. Nothing beats a late summer heirloom tomato topped with fresh mozzarella and basil. I’m not sure why it never hit me to make a lunchbox version but I’m glad it finally did!
This version of the caprese salad is getting a major upgrade that will have you counting down the minutes until lunch time. We’re adding zucchini noodles (“zoodles”) and a homemade fresh basil walnut pesto to the traditional tomatoes and burrata to create this zucchini noodle caprese salad.
This is one of my favorite salads, and I also want to share another favorite: my Summer Pesto Pasta Salad.
Why you should choose lunch
While some of us are head-over-heels for lunch recipes, over 50% of American’s don’t think about what they are going to eat for lunch until they realize they are hungry. Most of us are also scrolling through social media or checking the news and eat lunch sitting at our desks. I know I am totally guilty here.
That’s where the California Walnuts Choose Lunch Campaign comes in. California Walnuts is encouraging us to recommit to lunch by taking a midday break from work and distractions, and eating a meal that nourishes both the body and mind.
By taking a proper lunch break, it allows us to refocus and re-energize for the rest of the day. I’m so excited to partner with California Walnuts to help spread the word about the benefits of taking a step away from your desk midday, so join me and #ChooseLunch! Head to the California Walnuts Choose Lunch page to learn more!
The benefits of walnuts
Walnuts are a nutritional powerhouse. They are a great source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and are the only nut that contain a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids (2.5 grams per 1 ounce serving). Walnuts can also help maintain cholesterol levels and decrease blood pressure, two of the major risks for heart disease.
What is so great about walnuts is that they can be easily incorporated into any meal. Add them to salads for an extra crunch factor, grind them into sauces, or sprinkle them on top of yogurt or oatmeal.
How to make zucchini noodle caprese salad with walnut pesto
I love this recipe because it truly does come together in minutes. It is also perfect for these warmer summer days because it requires no stove or oven.
First, make your walnut pesto. Add all ingredients to the food processor or blender and blend slowly until combined. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times while blending.
Next, make your zoodles! I used a spiralizer to make my zucchini noodles, but you can also use a vegetable peeler. Another option would be to purchase pre-made spiralized noodles from the grocery store.
Add half of the pesto to the zoodles and toss until well combined.
Place your sliced tomatoes, burrata, basil leaves, and walnuts on top sporadically. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with remaining pesto if you wish!
This blog post was sponsored by California Walnuts. All opinions are my own. I am so thankful to work with wonderful partners who help to keep this blog afloat!
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment below and let me know how it was! Also tag @erinliveswhole on Instagram and use the hashtag #erinliveswhole so I can see it and feature you!
If you liked this recipe, you’ll want to try these!
For the salad:
- 1 large zucchini
- 3 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 8 oz burrata
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts (toast in 350F oven for 8 minutes)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
For the Walnut Pesto
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Make your pesto by combining all pesto ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender.
- Blend slowly, scraping down sides as needed until reached desired consistency. Set aside.
- Spiralize your zucchini. I used an Inspiralizer but you can also use a handheld one or a vegetable peeler.
- Add half of the pesto to your zoodles and toss until combined.
- Optional: serve with remainder of pesto on top.
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