I Can’t Believe It’s Not Pesto!

Zucchini Pesto Pressure Cooker RecipeDon’t tell the picky eater in your household that this pasta sauce is a vitamin-charged Zucchini puree’- at least not until after they take the first bite. Only then should you fess-up to the secret-ingredient!

bItalians often eat thick vegetable puree’s that have small minestrone-type pasta or rice floating in it- it’s almost like a chowder. Since these puree’s usually have a mix of veggies they’re often brown.  About a month ago, as I was preparing this puree with just zucchini and coming up with a compelling argument to get my children to eat it, I realized that the puree is thick and velvety like a pasta sauce.  With a heavier hand of basil and a touch of fresh garlic at the end I had a very, very close facsimile to a creamy pesto sauce.

We tried various combinations, like replacing the water with veggie stock, but arrived at this final recipe for it’s clean flavors and very delicate  zucchininess – according to my children it’s almost pleasant.  Almost… they insist, to keep their anti-zucchini position untarnished, while they spear the pasta with feverish gusto.

This sauce is the perfectly suited for cooking in the small  pan that often comes with a pressure cooker set. The water for spaghetti boils in the stock pot cooker, while the sauce pressure cooks in the small pressure pan.

Don’t have a pressure cooker set? Don’t worry – this recipe will also work in stockpot-type cookers.

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
3 L or larger none 3 min High(2) Normal

5.0 from 3 reviews
Zucchini Pesto - pressure cooker pasta sauce
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Serving size: 1 portion
  • Calories: 71.4
  • TOTAL Fat: 4.7
  • TOTAL Carbs: 7.5
  • Sugar Carbs: 2
  • Sodium: 586.4
  • Fiber Carbs: 2.3
  • Protein: 1.2
  • Cholesterol: 0
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Make the sauce while the water for spaghetti is coming to a boil, so when you toss in the pasta the sauce is nearly complete.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1½ pounds (750g) zucchini, roughly chopped
  • ½ (125ml) to ¾ cup (185ml) water
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 bunch basil, leaves picked off
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  1. In the pre-heated pressure cooker, on medium heat add the oil and onion and saute until the onions begin to become soft (about 4 minutes).
  2. Add the zucchini, salt and water (1/2 cup for stovetop and ¾ cup for electric cookers).
  3. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  4. Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 3 minutes at high pressure.
    Stovetop pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 3 minutes pressure cooking time.
  5. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal release - release pressure through the valve.
  6. Toss in the basil leaves and garlic.
  7. Using an immersion blender puree' the contents of the pressure cooker until all of the garlic and basil are fully incorporated.
  8. Mix with freshly strained pasta and serve immediately with a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil-.
    Yeilds enough sauce for 16oz (500g) pasta package.
This recipe provides 29% recommended daily values of Vitamin A, 15% of Magnase and 13% of Vitamin C per serving - based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

WMF Pressure Cooker

Zucchini Pesto Pressure Cooker Recipe