Zucchini With Pine Nuts: Spaghetti-Style Celery and Zucchini With Mushroom Sauté and Toasted Pinoli

by DerdriuMarriner

We are acquainted with zucchini thanks to Italian cuisine. An easy recipe features sautéed zucchini, celery, mushrooms, and pine nuts. Favorite variations also are shared.

Spaghetti is a fun food. Everyone likes spaghetti. A dish need not be spaghetti to have the appeal and appearance of spaghetti.

The spaghetti look can be achieved by knives or slicers. With a knife or slicer in hand, the chef can whittle away at thicker foods. The food ends up in many slim, spaghetti-like pieces on the kitchen cutting board.

Spaghetti-style slicing is a fun way to serve a food. It is particularly fun when it is carried out with healthy, nutritious foods. A case in point may be made with the healthy, nutritious, thick zucchini.

Yellow summer squashes, such as crooknecks, straightnecks and two-toned zephyr squashes, substitute well for zucchini in Zucchini With Pine Nuts recipe.
Cucurbita pepo var. torticollia 'Yellow Crookneck Squash', fruit on plant
Cucurbita pepo var. torticollia 'Yellow Crookneck Squash', fruit on plant

Ingredients for Zucchini With Pine Nuts

Here are the ingredients for a dish which involves slicing zucchini into spaghetti-style strips.


2 Tablespoons pine nuts (pinoli)

3 large zucchini (about 1 1/3 pounds)

  • Note: For additional color contrast, substitute one yellow zucchini or yellow summer squash (crookneck, straightneck, zephyr) for the third zucchini

1 head celery

1/2 - 1 pound mushrooms, whole or sliced

  • personal preference:  porcini mushrooms (Boletus edulis)

1 Tablespoon oil: EVOO or sunflower

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Optional: sprinkling of Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese (or any favorite cheese)



Here is what needs to be done:


1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.

  • Add pine nuts to the skillet, cook, and stir often until toasted, about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer toasted pine nuts to a plate and set to the side.

2. With a mandoline (or V-slicer, spiral slicer, or knife), cut zucchini (and yellow squash, if including) and celery into long thin julienne strips.

  • When the seedy center of the zucchini is reached, set it aside. It is often soft and does not julienne well.
  • Note: I save zucchini's seedy center, as well as leaves and bottom of celery stalks, for puréed stews.)

3. Heat sunflower oil and garlic over medium heat. Stir occasionally, for about 1-1/2 minutes, until the garlic is tender.

  • Increasing heat to high, add zucchini, celery, and mushrooms. Stir occasionally. Keep on the burner for about 1 minute, when vegetables are heated but still al dente.
  • Note:  Zucchini becomes mushy if overcooked.

4. Remove from the burner. Add pine nuts and pepper; stir all ingredients together. Transfer to serving bowl or individual plates.

  • Note: If including Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, sprinkle desired amount or allow each diner to determine quantity according to personal choice.)

Serve hot to maximize deliciousness!


lemon zesty zucchini with garlic and toasted pine nuts:  lemon zest as flavorful counterpoint to garlic
lemon zesty zucchini with garlic and toasted pine nuts: lemon zest as flavorful counterpoint to garlic



This recipe allows for infinite variations. Other favorite ingredients which often are added may include:

  • Bamboo shoots;
  • Carrots, filleted, julienned, or sliced widthwise into circles;
  • Eggplants;
  • Lemon zest;
  • Pasta such as penne, rotini, or tagliatelle, which easily are cooked on a back burner;
  • Peppers, julienned (Note: Use a medley of green, red, and yellow peppers for added color.);
  • Radishes;
  • Red onions, julienned;
  • Snow peas;
  • Water chestnuts;
  • Zucchini flowers.


Zucchini flowers may be sautéed with julienned zucchini for additional color in Zucchini With Pine Nuts recipe.
cheery zucchini flower
cheery zucchini flower



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

My special thanks also to Teresa Giudice for generously sharing culinary treasures and family anecdotes in her beautiful cookbook, Skinny Italian.


My recipe is a variation of a popular recipe presented by Teresa Giudice, "Sautéed Zucchini 'Spaghetti' with Pine Nuts," on page 86 of her excellent Italian cook book, Skinny Italian.


Favored in Italian cuisine, porcini mushrooms may vary considerably in size.
Boletus edulis King Bolete
Boletus edulis King Bolete

Image Credits


Cucurbita pepo var. torticollia 'Yellow Crookneck Squash', fruit on plant: Sharib4rd, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cucurbita_pepo_var_torticollia_Yellow_Crookneck_Squash,_fruits_on_plant.jpg

julienned celery: Geoff Lane, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Celery_julienne.JPG

lemon zesty zucchini with garlic and toasted pine nuts: lemon zest as flavorful counterpoint to garlic: ccharmon, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/9439733@N02/1573542210/

cheery zucchini flower: allispossible.org.uk, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/wheatfields/2671517218/

Boletus edulis King Bolete: Karsten Dörre (grizurgbg), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Steinpilz_2006_08_3.jpg

Sautéed shredded zucchini serves as colorful complement to long pasta: K.B.R. (Kristen Bonardi Rapp), CC BY ND 2.0, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/11814497@N00/1052164814/


Sources Consulted


Accademia Italiana della Cucina (The Italian Academy of Cuisine). La cucina: the regional cooking of Italy. Translated by Jay Hyams. New York : Rizzoli, 2009.

Castelvetro, Giacomo. The Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables of Italy (1614). Translated and introduced by Gillian Riley. Devon, England: Prospect Books, 2012.

Giudice, Teresa, with Heather Maclean. Skinny Italian. New York: Hyperion, 2010.

Riley, Gillian. The Oxford Companion to Italian Food. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Serventi, Silvano, and Sabban, Françoise, La pasta: storia e cultura di un cibo universale. Roma:  Edizioni Laterza, 2000.

Serventi, Silvano, and Françoise Sabban. Pasta: The Story of a Universal Food. Translated by Antony Shugaar. New York; Chichester, West Sussex: Columbia University Press, 2002.

Spahr, David. “King Bolete (Boletus edulis and others).” Mushroom-Collecting.com: A New England and Eastern Canada Edible and Medicinal Mushroom Resource.

Available at:  http://mushroom-collecting.com/mushroomking.html

Spahr, David L. Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada:  A Photographic Guidebook to Finding and Using Key Species. Berkeley CA:  North Atlantic Books, 2009.


Zucchini may be shredded, or julienned, to match the stick slim silhouette of long pasta.
Sautéed shredded zucchini serves as colorful complement to long pasta.
Sautéed shredded zucchini serves as colorful complement to long pasta.
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Zucchini Super Farmers, 2011: photography by Matthew Carden

Archival Pigment on paper
collectibles & fine art

Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It - Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too!

Italian recipes by Teresa Giudice with Heather Maclean
Italian cookbooks

Flying Spaghetti Monster - I Want To Believe: black t-shirt

Flying Spaghetti Monster - I Want To Believe
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Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

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DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 02/02/2024, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 10/14/2013

jptanabe, Pine nuts are indeed the crowning touch to this attractive, scrumptious dish. Those who know little about pine nuts and zucchini will turn into the most fervent of fans. They will be motivated to become not only the most enthusiastic of consumers but also the most expert of chefs. It's that popular.
Thank you for visiting and commenting.

jptanabe on 10/13/2013

Mmm, this looks so delicious! I love collections of vegetables cooked together like this, and the addition of pine nuts would be just perfect.

DerdriuMarriner on 10/13/2013

Mira, Can you cozy up to a pine tree and snatch some nuts? I think pine tree nuts must like cats because I have no trouble gathering them from the two trees near the wall where my amiable Maine coon kittycat Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine likes to sit in the sunlight (and in the moonlight in the company of fireflies).
It isn't the same but cabbage can substitute for celery's crunchiness and is a tasty alternative. Also it's a colorful substitute if you select red cabbage.
Is eggplant easy to locate? It would substitute colorfully, texturally, and tastefully for zucchini in this recipe.
Thank you for visiting and commenting.

Mira on 10/13/2013

I love shredded zucchini, and this recipe sounds good. I wish it were easier here to find celery stalks -- or zucchini, for that matter. Pine nuts I can find, but they're expensive.
Anyway, very nice recipe.

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