Zucchini pasta salad with creamy cashew sauce

Bringing back wacky out-of-the-box salads with this zucchini pasta salad.

Zucchini pasta salad with creamy cashew sauce

Even though, let’s be real, they’re around our house pretty much every day 😉

During the summer, I tend to get a little overzealous with the produce options and create some pretty interesting salad combos. Sometimes they’re home runs, and other times, they’re FGO (For Ginas Only). This one was particularly amazing, and I’m excited to share the recipe with ya.

The secret is the noodles….

Bowl of zoodles

or “zoodles.” 😉

bowl of zoodles

There was a bit of the reunion with the spiralizer this weekend -lots of embracing and Bruno Mars songs were shared- and I couldn’t wait to spiralize some zucchini from the co-op. (PS. The co-op here is pretty incredible; you pay a $15 annual fee to receive member pricing and the produce selection is always abundant.) 

How to Use the Spiralizer to Make Zoodles

The key with the spiralizer is to make sure you cut the zucchini into 3 chunks.

zucchini chunks

Place into the spiralizer prongs:

Zucchini in spiralizer

and whirl away to noodle glory.

zucchini noodles

(A few people have asked about the spiralizer I use. It’s the Joyce Chen model, which is $22, and I absolutely love it! Think it’s five years old now?)

I’ve also learned that it’s important to tell other people that they’re “zucchini noodles.” Don’t try to play it off like regular pasta… it doesn’t turn out well.

For this batch of zucchini noodles, I made a creamy vegan sauce

vegan cashew sauce in the blender

and added marinated artichokes, sundried tomatoes and fresh basil.

Zucchini pasta salad with creamy cashew sauce

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try! This one is completely vegan, mostly raw, but would also be wonderful with grilled tempeh strips or diced chicken mixed in.

Hope you enjoy! <3

Zucchini pasta salad with creamy cashew sauce


Zucchini pasta salad with creamy cashew sauce

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A creamy, savory summer salad using zucchinis as the noodles. Feel free to customize with any mix-ins! Cashews provide the texture for the dressing, and this recipe is gluten-free and vegan

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 70
  • Yield: 2 1x


  • For the “noodles:”
  • 2 large zucchini, spiralized or sliced with a veggie peeler

For the sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


  • 3 heaping tablespoons sundried tomatoes
  • 6 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade cut


  1. Place the zucchini noodles in a large bowl.
  2. Next, make the dressing by combining the sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and taste to adjust seasonings as necessary.
  3. Pour the sauce on top of the zucchini noodles and stir to coat. Mix in the sundried tomatoes, artichokes and top with the basil to serve.


  • This recipe also tastes fantastic the next day! (I wouldn’t go two days though; it would get a little soggy)
  • Nutritional yeast is found in the supplement section or bulk bins of many health food stores. It’s a great source of protein and B vitamins with a rich, cheesy flavor.


  • Serving Size: 2

Any interesting salad combos lately? Where do you usually get your produce? We shop at Trader Joe’s for almost everything, but I’m also a huge fan of organic meats and berries from Costco.

Hope you have a wonderful night!



More of my favorite salads:

The best pasta salad ever

Fruit salad with orange and honey

Balsamic chicken caprese

Avocado chicken salad

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  1. brittney on July 15, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Dang! Looks amazing.

  2. lois on July 15, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Hi Gina! Long time reader of your blog. Have you ever shopped at Sprouts? They have a great and fresh organic produce/veggies section and meats section. I like to call it a more affordable Whole Foods. 😀 I believe there is one in Point Loma??

    • Fitnessista on July 15, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      yep, i’ve been to that one! i like the selection at people’s even more though

      • Fitnessista on July 15, 2014 at 6:34 pm

        (and thank you for reading for such a long time!) 🙂

    • Lori on July 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      My favorite place for organic produce is Frazier Farms in Oceanside and Vista. Another is EarthGrown in Oceanside. Organic cherries $1.99 lb last week.

  3. Anne @ CandyCrazedrun.wordpress.com on July 15, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Yum that looks incredible! I am obsessing over spiraled recipes right now.
    I have a mandolin which I manage with but I really want a spiralizer as that is the only function I use my mandolin for!

  4. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on July 15, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    FGOs makes me laugh. My husband makes fun of the weird combinations of veggies I throw on a pasta dish. I don’t care what kind of veggie, I’m pretty sure it will taste good on pasta with marinara sauce. Random creations are fun!

  5. Domi @ Eat, Pray, Lift on July 15, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Holy faceplant. That looks divine. Maybe I need to ask for a spiralizer for my birthday… 😉
    I usually get my produce at Sam’s Club, Winco, and TJ’s. A visit with mister Joe can get dicey for my pocketbook, though, when I get my hands on allthesnacks!

  6. Traci on July 15, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    I feel like having a spiralizer would change everything for me. <Dramatic statement, but seriously, I need to make recipes like this!

  7. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on July 15, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    I really need to get one of those spiralizers! I’ve been wanting to buy one for a long time.

  8. Diana on July 15, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    thank you so much for the spiraler recommendation! Ive been searching for one forever!! 🙂 This looks incredible!!

  9. Dakota C. on July 15, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Have you ever done a “What you buy” at Trader Joes post? I love to see what everyone’s favorite staples are there!

    • Fitnessista on July 16, 2014 at 1:05 am

      i have, but i think it was a few years ago? i can definitely do an updated one! 🙂

  10. Danielle on July 15, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Oh my gosh, I really want to make this but am allergic to cashews. Any different nut(s) that you think would make a good substitute?

    • Fitnessista on July 16, 2014 at 1:04 am

      what about coconut meat?? or macadamia nuts?

      • Danielle on July 16, 2014 at 5:15 pm

        Thanks! I’ll give them a try!

      • Dianna on July 16, 2015 at 9:18 am

        Can I use roasted cashews? Do I have to soak them in water?

  11. Erika on July 15, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    I LOVE zoodles…I eat mine w/a red wine meat sauce and it’s delish! I bought a fancy mandolin but have only used it for zoodles…a spiralizer would def be better….but I’m pretty sure I don’t “need” another kitchen gadget…hahaha!

    I love going to TJ’s, BJ’s, Costco & HMart (Korean/Asian grocery store) for fruits and veggies….it varies based on what and how much I need.

    Agree w/Dakota C…a “what you buy from TJ’s” post would be awesome!

  12. Faye Holloway on July 15, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I’m going through SSU withdrawal. Particularly because I have a huge question I wish I could ask the group – I’ve never done a half marathon before and can’t really run a straight mile at a time, but I can run/walk. On Monday I did intervals of running 3 minutes walking 2 minutes (12 times), which was 5 miles. I’m wondering if I could be ready to do a half as soon as October 19 or if that would be ridiculous. I’m also curious if anyone has ever done the Nike Women’s Half and what they thought of it. I should make a decision by tomorrow but I get so nervous when I think about it.

  13. Annalisa on July 16, 2014 at 2:41 am

    I’ve been wanting a spiralizer for awhile now! I loved your comment about giving people a heads up that it wasn’t pasta because I’ve been wanting to surprise my husband with zucchini noodles (we make pasta a lot because he is Italian) and was hoping he wouldn’t notice the difference. okay, I know he would but I was just hoping that maybe he wouldn’t.

    • Fitnessista on July 16, 2014 at 10:28 am

      oh, he totally will. haha

  14. Lisa @ Life as Lisa Knows It on July 16, 2014 at 5:32 am

    Yum, that looks DELICIOUS!! 🙂

    By the way, thank you so much for your San Diego recommendations you gave me a few weeks ago. My husband and I just got back from vacation last weekend. We both LOVED San Diego and can’t wait to go back one day!! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on July 16, 2014 at 10:28 am

      so glad you had an awesome time!! 🙂

  15. Runner Girl Eats on July 16, 2014 at 6:10 am

    At first I was skeptical of this but after reading the recipe it sounds delicious! Might have to give this a shot soon 🙂

  16. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on July 16, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I literally just bought a spiralizer yesterday afternoon! I purchased a smaller handheld one, so hopefully I can actually figure out how to use it 🙂

  17. Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit on July 16, 2014 at 7:55 am

    This sounds awesome. I’ve always wanted to try a cashew cheese sauce. It sounds easy enough and pretty delish!

  18. char eats greens on July 16, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Seriously looks like a winner!! Need me some zucchini noodles back in my life!

  19. mary on July 16, 2014 at 10:34 am

    It’s funny, I see the spiralizer stashed under the banquette sometimes, probably used 3 times in 5 years, and think, “Well, Gina never uses hers anymore, either!” LOL

    • Fitnessista on July 16, 2014 at 10:37 am

      hahah! seriously. i think i was a little overzealous at first and burned out. the zucchini noodles were awesome, so let’s see if i decide to bust it out again next week 🙂

  20. Sara on July 16, 2014 at 11:25 am

    This looks delicious! I have been wanting a spiralizer and this may just push me to order on amazon 🙂 I hope to make this asap

    • Fitnessista on July 16, 2014 at 11:26 am

      let me know if you give it a try!

      • Sara on July 16, 2014 at 12:52 pm

        OK, I just ordered a spiralizer…I should have a mountain of zoodles by friday evening 🙂 Looking forward to this recipe…the frozen breakfast burrito one was great!

  21. Carolyn on July 16, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    That looks SO good! Thank you for taking and sharing pictures of how to make the zoodles. I had always wondered how people did that!

  22. Alex @ Kenzie Life on July 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    For the life of me I don’t know why I have a Vitamix but I don’t have a spiralizer. And I have more zucchini than anyone needs in my fridge waiting to be turned into pasta. Checking Amazon now…

  23. bri on July 16, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    LOL @ zoodles!

    I MUST buy the spiral slicer! Any time I’ve made zucchini noodles, I’ve painstakingly sliced them with a knife >_<

  24. Tracy on July 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Oooh this sounds delicious! I love the artichoke hearts/sundried tomato combo! I’m thinking some kalamata olives would be a nice addition, too. The lazy me usually makes a sauce out of thinned hummus which works great in a hurry…this sauce sounds like it’s worth the extra effort though.


  25. Tracy on July 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Oh and salad combos… Have you tried TJs cruciferous blend (shredded kale, cabbage & brussels sprouts)? It’s great mixed with salad greens!

  26. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen on July 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Yummmm that sauce sounds right up my ally!

  27. Susie @myhealthybeginnings on July 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    This looks sooo delicious! Your photos truly capture this meal! I’ve been on the verge of purchasing a spiralizer for awhile, and I think I might just to be able to make this!

  28. Cassie on July 18, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Excited to try this one!

    Speaking of FGO salads, whenever I make a not so appealing salad combo, my default is to just cover it in Sriracha and go with it 🙂

  29. Holly on July 18, 2014 at 10:10 am

    This looks amazing! Beautiful photos as well! I’ve noticed a change in your photos in your last few recipes. Care to share what you are doing different? Love it!

  30. Deanna on July 19, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Looks sooo yummy!

  31. april on July 19, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    as a huge lover of zucchini and cashews, this looks absolutely delicious to me!

  32. Anna on July 20, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I made this today and it was delicious–the basil and marinated artichokes really made it the dish! As a side note: I wasn’t a huge fan of the dressing on its own–it was bland and really chunky in my vitamix so I had to add about a 2/3 cup of water and some olive oil to get it to a consistency I liked. Just a head’s up in case someone else tries it and runs into dryness problems!

    • Anna on July 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Hey! I wanted to stop back by and say that I liked the dressing MUCH better on the second day! The flavors were much more vibrant and creamy after sitting in the fridge. I’ll definitely make this again.

      • Fitnessista on July 21, 2014 at 7:04 pm

        i liked it even better the next day, too! so happy you enjoyed it 🙂

    • wes on February 25, 2015 at 9:56 am

      yes cashew cream sauce needs liquid. I did like the lemon zing to it though.

  33. wes on February 24, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Did you forget to add water to the cashews? 1/2 lemon wasn’t enough at all to make it creamy for me. Or are you relying on the water for the zucchini noodles?

    • Fitnessista on February 24, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      i think i would have noted it. what type of blender did you use? you could definitely add a little water if you need it!

  34. wes on February 25, 2015 at 9:53 am


  35. Elizabeth on May 14, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    This is a winner! I’ve tried other Alfredo recipes but they tasted too much like nutritional yeast. I didn’t have any of the mix-ins, but it tastes fantastic without them. I used it on “zoodles”, then the next day I had it on a side dish of corn, cauliflower, and broccoli. Thanks for this keeper recipe!

    • Fitnessista on May 15, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      so happy to hear you liked it!

  36. Dee Snyder on June 24, 2016 at 9:29 am

    What is the nutrition content on this….mostly the carbs, protein, fat and fiber that I am interested in.

  37. Mary on February 27, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    I loooooove this, it’s so tasty! Setting aside the sauce means it can last longer and I can make it for multiple days or even freeze it by just making fresh zoodles anytime and adding sauce to single servings. I had to add a lot of water to get mine to blend up in my Vitamix.

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