The zucchini noodle has become a staple weeknight dinner for me (especially during July and August!) and I’ve posted quite a few of my favorite variations – spring pasta with artichokes and leeks, classic pesto zucchini noodles, and pad thai zucchini noodles to name a few.

This summer I fell in love with Ava Gene’s during a trip to Portland and jumped at the chance to make one of their recipes. It incorporates brown rice noodles, making it heartier and more comforting than your average zucchini noodle bowl and the toasted hazelnuts add crunch and pack a big nutritional punch. I swap out the dairy from the original recipe for my parm to make it vegan friendly. I’ll be making this right down to the last day of tomato season!

Barely adapted from this recipe originally published in Bon Appetit. 

Serves 4

½ cup blanched hazelnuts
1 pound mixed cherry + sungold tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
12 ounces brown rice spaghetti
1 beefsteak tomato, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup basil leaves, divided
2 small zucchini (about 8 ounces), julienned peeled or coarsely grated
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegan parm, for topping (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°. Toast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Place cherry tomatoes in a large bowl; season with salt.

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, purée beefsteak tomato, garlic, red pepper flakes, ½ cup basil, 3 Tbsp. chopped hazelnuts, and 1 tsp. salt in a food processor until smooth; add to bowl with salted cherry tomatoes.

Add zucchini, spaghetti, pasta cooking liquid, ¼ cup oil, and remaining ½ cup basil leaves and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.

Divide pasta among bowls, drizzle with more oil, and top with vegan parm and remaining hazelnuts.