Zucchini Ribbons With Almond Pesto

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Hats off to Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen for this recipe!  I found it in her cookbook while looking for ways to use zucchini, and boy is this one a treat.  It's perfect for those hot summer days when you feel like you break a sweat moving, let alone cooking.

In case you didn't know, zucchini plants can produce A LOT of zucchini.  If you grow it, be prepared to either be the best or the worst neighbor with how much you will give away.  In addition to giving some away, our mountain of freshly picked zucchini begged for creative ways to be used, and this recipe is, for me, among the more unique.

This recipe takes thinly sliced zucchini and mixes it with an almond pesto or dressing that is pretty divine in its own right.  I could have eaten the pesto with a spoon.  This really elevates the zucchini to a whole new level.   It's fresh and light.  It's a perfect side for grilled foods.  It would also be great for a picnic or potluck because it can be room temperature and not spoil.  

This recipe is simple to make and comes together pretty quickly.  It uses a vegetable peeler or mandoline and a food processor, so your work is minimal.  If you have a pile of zucchini silently screaming to be used before it goes bad, try this.  You won't be disappointed.

Zucchini Ribbons With Almond Pesto
from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1/2 cup almonds, toasted and cooled
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed (about 4 medium, thin and longer if you can find them)

Grind almonds, Parmesan, garlic and red pepper flakes in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Add the lemon juice, salt and olive oil and pulse a few times until incorporated. Pour the dressing into a large salad bowl and let it roll up and around the sides.

Peel the zucchini with a vegetable peeler or mandolin and place zucchini ribbons in the dressing-coated bowl. Toss the ribbons gently (your hands work best) attempting to coat the zucchini as evenly as possible. Serve at room temperature.

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