Zucchini Pesto Roll Ups

I think it’s about time I hire someone who will make up recipe names for my blog. I suck ass at it. I’ll pay them nothing, but I’ll feed them. Roll ups just remind you of fruit roll ups when you were a kid doesn’t it? Then gross you out since these have sausage in them? Same. Why did I ever like fruit roll ups? They never had a chocolate roll up. What was I thinking? Sometimes I hate my child self.

These are bomb though. Grilled zucchini + pesto + basil = why the hell wouldn’t it taste good? Duh. These would be perfect for a little appetizer. If I hosted parties, I’d totally make these for it. Instead I just eat all of them by myself. Life.Is.Good.

These kinda look like sushi rolls. I wish I liked sushi.

I went to the store yesterday and bought men’s clinical strength deodorant. Men’s. And I was opening and smelling every single kind. What smell was I looking for exactly? I’m trying to get dates, dates who are men. Most likely they aren’t going to be intrigued by the hue of man odor I leave behind while hugging them. Dating sucks.

Anywho, going back to life being good, I’ve been trying to be more positive lately. If you’ve read my blog much, you know I complain about petty sh*t constantly. Like the size of my ass. It’s annoying. Sometimes slightly humorous, but mostly annoying. I apologize. So I’ve been on the up and up train lately (whatever the sh*t that means) by writing a little more. I sometimes write in my gratitude journal (yes, that’s a real thing) and then I just sometimes write my feelings out for the world to see when I write for Again Faster. And that’s what I did last week. You can check out my latest article with them here.

So sweets have entered back in my life a bit. I know, I know. I don’t need to hear it. But I’m going to have to say goodbye to them once again. I’m trying to get a date here and if I eat even a teaspoon of honey, my body puffs up. No joke. I get a zit and I have a puffy stomach. What the sh*t is that. Dislike button right there. And the amount of things I’ll be cooking for my cookbook is going to be out of control. So I NEED this date so I have one more person to feed all this food to. A good looking one. Who CrossFits. And is funny. Eff you sweets. I don’t need you.

My brain is so weird.


Zucchini Pesto Roll Ups

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 1x


  • 2 zucchinis, ends removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick lengthwise
  • 4 italian sausages (I used Boulder Sausage brand)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • 3 extra tablespoons olive oil to cook your zucchini with


  1. Heat up your grill.
  2. Slice your zucchini with a knife or using a mandoline.
  3. Place your zucchini in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder then use your hands to mix it and coat the zucchini.
  4. Place your italian sausages on the grill along with your zucchini.
  5. While the zucchini and sausages are cooking, make your pesto.
  6. Add your walnuts, garlic clove, and basil to the food processor and turn on. Then begin to add your olive oil while the food processor is still running.
  7. Then add your lemon juice and salt and pepper. Taste to see if you need more basil or lemon or salt and pepper. I think more lemon juice goes a long way.
  8. After your zucchini have cooked for about 4-5 minutes and have begun to show grill marks, flip them. Be sure to keep an eye on them because they will burn rather quickly.
  9. Once your zucchini are cooked through and sausage are completely cooked through, remove them to let cool.
  10. When your zucchini are cool to the touch, use a spoon to spread the pesto down the center of the zucchini strip and cut off an inch or so piece of sausage.
  11. Place the sausage in the middle of the zucchini so the cut sides are facing towards the outer ridges of the zucchini. You’ll figure it out.
  12. Wrap the zucchini around the sausage and use a toothpick to hold it in place.
  13. Serve to others or eat by yourself while watching the food network.


Makes 11-12 rolls

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


89 thoughts on “Zucchini Pesto Roll Ups”

  1. These look BOMB! Just added to my recipe list on phone shopping list!! So making these this weekend!

  2. This doesn’t have anything to do with this post really but I just wanted to say that you inspired me to do the 21DSD. I probably should have waited for post-ice cream season. It’s been hard with marathon training (I know marathons are stupid but I like them for now) and a husband that has ZERO- like negative zero interest in joining me, or paleo, or any nutritional awareness when eating at all.
    I’m on day 12 and wanted to ask how your body has adjusted to taking in sugar again, which you brushed on in this post and I think is interesting. I totally cannot wait to have a ripe banana or a date again. In the meantime though I do feel pretty awesome so thank you for being my motivation to try this (and annoy everyone in my life that can’t understand why I’m trying this)

    1. Michelle,

      Congrats on taking on the 21DSD. I have been doing the paleo thing for over a year now, and until last month, had yet to complete a Whole30 or sugar detox of any kind. I always ended up giving up near the end. Like Juli, I cut out all nuts and sugar during the detox (I didn’t have any fruit at all). After I finished (yay!) my husband and I celebrated my success with tgipaleo.com’s double layer chocolate chip brownie. OMG rich. The next day I ate way too many masala banana chips, and I can’t tell you how gross I felt. Personally, at the end of the 21DSD I felt freaking phenomenal. I was probably as lean as I’d ever been, and my performance in the gym did not suffer. Immediately after going back on sugar, I broke out super bad (also due to the fact that I had a wine/cheese night that weekend) and felt lethargic, unmotivated, unsexy, etc. So even now that I’m not officially on a detox, I haven’t had any added sugar over a week, and I’m back to feeling on top of the world again. I’m not necessarily shying away from fruit now either. We have apple trees in our backyard which are becoming more delicious by the day. I’m also making coconut milk ice cream tonight with roasted peaches and blackberries (no sugar added though). I think after the detox, you’ll really be able to listen to how your body feels when you reintroduce those things. I hate foods that make me feel like an addict (masala banana chips, TJ’s 70% dark chocolate). For me, I’m kind of an all or nothing person. I have no stop button. Wish I did, but until then, I just don’t eat things that have the Pringles side effect: once it pops, you just can’t stop. Good luck!!!

      1. Thanks Meaghan.
        Yeah I’m so curious to see what I’ll feel like after 21 days. I feel so much better now just after 12 and honestly my favorite ice cream has been in my freezer and not even tempting me (although for some reason the ice cream stand at the beach is *much* harder to resist)
        I will probably follow suit and add back minimal fruits and see how that goes. I’d love to continue feeling how I feel now but honestly, I know I will have to have my bananas on Sept.1 🙂

        That’s interesting that you’ve had those instant reactions to adding even natural sugars back. I’m hoping to have a greater appreciation for what sugar does to me and how it makes me feel, and that will be my motivation to continue to cut or minimize sugar in what I eat after 21 days (hopefully).

        I have to say even though it bores everyone around me (so I don’t talk about it much) I have really enjoyed making all sorts of recipes and dessert alternatives (boiled/mushed carrots and cinnamon with some almond milk are awesome) and the change I feel. I would never have thought I’d get this far. Thanks again for sharing your experience and on what to possibly expect when I’m done.

        1. Sounds awesome, Michelle. I just made coconut milk ice cream last night with roasted peaches and blackberries and a sprig of rosemary (weird but awesome). No added sugars except what was in the fruit. My husband and I had a small bowl and it was amazing. It’s amazing how after a few weeks, your taste buds can actually detect the natural sweetness in things like carrots and potatoes. (mashed oriental sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon) 🙂

  3. Zushi

    Recipe looks good, Was thinking of making it but then remembered my 3 and 5 y/o’s will pick these apart because they won’t fit in their mouth. Maybe next time it’s only adults around I’ll put some out, they look great.

  4. These could easily go full size with eggplant, and then you could call them eggplant rollatini, which is a real name of a real dish. I’ll definitely be making these, by the way. These are very appealing and will be my very impressive, give no credit to Juli, impress everyone at my box, end of paleo challenge potluck dish. Well, I’ll probably admit it’s your recipe. Maybe.

  5. They did make a chocolate fruit roll up when we were children! I remember being pretty young and not liking it one bit. Imagine a stickier tootsie roll. yeah. not-so-much.

  6. I can relate to the honey. I had some last night. My face looks like a pizza and my stomach is the size of a small basketball!! Thanks for your recipes! I absolutely Love them!!

  7. These look amazing. I have a couple zucchini that need to be used tonight and chicken sausage in the freezer. Bingo! Dinner solved…..

  8. Incredible! Your photo’s made me hungry even though I’ve just had lunch! By the way, your post on ‘Again Faster’ was wonderfully written and has made me eagerly anticipate the end of work so that I can go to gym.

    Keep up the tasty and delectable dishes! 🙂

  9. As much as I don’t want you to puff up, I’m so glad sweets are back in your life. I was at the gym a couple weeks ago and told a girl wearing some PaleOMG gear that I liked her head band. And almost simultaneously (<– thank god for spell check) we were like "OMG I can't wait for her sugar detox to be over!" That was a lame story. I apologize.

  10. Juli,

    Just curious. Your last couple recipes have seen nuts on the stage again! How are you feeling with that? I haven’t had them since before the 21DSD, and my face is looking better than ever. I just started the OCM this week (before that I was just using coconut soap from TT and moisturizing with coconut oil). Or are they just so delicious it’s worth it? Thanks!!

  11. How can you not like sushi!?
    Also, can you please work on a chocolate rollup? That would be the bomb. Hold it together with some almond butter! I just have no idea what to roll it with. HMMMMMM

  12. This is AWESOME!!!!! I LOVE YOUR RECIPES, so creative, creativity is key when doing the 21 day sugar detox (day 7) holla!!!

    1. @ Javier: I was just about to post that they were rollatini but your whole description is MUCH more delightful and specific!!! Grazie

  13. Hi JB! Those are quite pretty, I shall serve to myself while watching others use buns! I just found you yesterday, I am inspired and want to try some recipes for a couple weeks to see if I feel/look better. Spaghetti meatball bites, jambalaya, green chile, Brazilian curry, sticky apple bites, carrot cake pancakes, coconut everything! I am soooo amped!

  14. Oh I definitely think the classy names need to go and you can instead call them “pinwheels”. Wayyyy cooler.

    These would make a GREAT breakfast or lunch to take to work. I fully intend on making them this week. Maybe even with some chorizo… mmmmm….

  15. Men’s deodorant is the bomb. It smells amazing…I wear it all the time 🙂 (Clinical strength does nothing for me, so if you are looking to curb sweating, go totally toxic and use Certain Dri)
    I’m totally making these tonight too…YUM!

  16. If that clinical strength deodorant doesn’t work, talk to a doc and get an Rx for drysol solution. It feels like bee stings but it keeps your pits dry for at least a few days at a time with no manish hue.

    We’re working through and loving all the recipes, thanks for posting!

  17. Recipe looks fantastic, you’re a genius, blah, blah, blah. The point of me posting is to say that I am glad we don’t live each other and aren’t friends. Based on the deodorant and dating comments, I think I would rather hang with you than a guy and I would end up growing old and crocheting matching “Mommy and Me” outfits for the 20 cats I’m sure I’ll end up with eventually. LOVE THIS BLOG and I am going to try this recipe tonight!

  18. These sound and look amazing. As I was reading it, all I could think of was that they would be good placed in a casserole w/tomatoe sauce. I’m gonna have to try them both ways now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. I switched to deodorant (from antiperspirant) and it changed my life! I didn’t actually sweat a ton, but I sweat a lot less now. Also I hated how when I would sweat a little around the anti-perspirant, I would end up with sweat smell and the deodorant smell that is supposed to mask that. Anyway my body adjusted to not sweating as much when I use just deodorant, and the deodorant catches the smell right away, so there isn’t the sweat stink and weird deodorant smell. It took a little while, but I’m a convert to Tom’s natural. Maybe try it when you have some time that people won’t notice extra pit sweat so you can adjust…

  20. These look really good and I can not wait to try them out. Also, they did have chocolate roll ups in the 80s. They were very tasty too. I think they were called pudding rollups.

  21. If you find a SINGLE good looking guy who crossfits and is funny (I feel like they are always taken), let me know if he has a brother.

  22. Those look great, thanks for the inspiration! Pesto, is in high season in my garden these days.

    OK, seriously though – women’s deodorant sucks ass. Like why don’t they make gel stick deodorant for women, seriously? So I just use my husband’s. F*ck that wet roll-on stuff (what, like I have time to air dry my pits?), and f*ck that powdery white solid women’s stick deodorant that just ends up smelling like powdery BO and flakes white all over my clothes. Wow, why’d I just get so worked up about deodorant… Anyway, pesto zucchini roll-ups – totally didn’t think of fruit roll-ups, I think the name works.

  23. JB! I think you’re awesome, I love reading your blog, and your recipes are pretty amazing too. So amazing that boyfriend now likes my cooking… I digress…what’s up with your product website being down? get back at’cha girl!

  24. This post made me giggle….out loud….at work…..and people stared. 🙂 Cooking this for dinner tonight with turkey “italian” sausage. Thanks, as always, for keeping it real.

  25. That last ingredient – I’m assuming that’s 3 extra tablespoons of olive oil?

    Looks deLICious! I can’t wait to try it! In fact, I’m going to get the ingredients I don’t already have tomorrow so I can make it.

  26. you and I need to become BFFs. Gosh, I so dislike “BFF”. First time I’ve ever typed it, I swear. But seriously. I don’t have a blog. I just love food & travel. I stumbled on your blog this evening quite by accident. Yer funny. Thanks for sharing. Oh, and gotta tell ya…. my mom was a chef…. has a copyrighted cookbook. Yeah, we should visit. She could cook, I can write. I just don’t apply myself. Happy endulging!


  27. Zucchini come from flowers so technically they can considered a fruit. Based on that I think you should call them “fruit roll ups”. You. Are. Welcome. Now feed me.

  28. Hey, did you read that article on Mark’s Daily Apple about why women store fat the way they do? It was really interesting, and made me feel a little happier toward my thighs, which I usually loathe. If you wanted to take a break from hating your thighs, read that article. It was good. It made me think of your battle with your thighs/cellulite etc, which is the same battle I have too. Anyway, yes the rolls do look like sushi! They’re pretty! And great idea to make them for appetizers. 🙂

  29. Yum! I made these with a capsicum/tomato/garlic paste instead of the pesto. Planning to use these as a snack. Thanks Juli!

  30. Make your own deodorant! It’s super paleo.

    2 heaping T coconut oil, 3 heaping T corn starch, 1 level T baking soda. Stir. Adjust oil to starch ratio to your liking. Add feminine scent of your choice. I like lavender essential oil and tea tree oil. Store in adorable jar and apply with fingers 1-2 times daily. Let it soak in before dressing. Alternatively fill an old deodorant container and store in the fridge.

      1. Eating corn starch is not paleo, no. But applying it to the outside of the body is fine, as it merely sits on the surface and absorbs moisture. Its certainly more natural than aluminum tetra-[insert deodorant variation here].

        I’ve taken paleo a step further and applied “caveman” to body care as well, to lessen toxic loads. This is a great way to use up corn starch from pre-paleo days!

        Thanks for speaking up, I should have chose my wording more carefully 🙂

        1. Hi Kate,
          I am in the medical profession as well as owner of Primal Life Organics, a paleo skincare company. I just want to clarify that it is no different which route chemicals and toxins enter the body- via the mouth or absorption through the skin- they do the same harm. Yes, applying lotions to the skin DOES get absorbed. MANY medications are prescribed this way- nitroglycerin for example, which when applied topically, causes vasodilatation of the blood vessels. It is proven that what you apply to the skin DOES get absorbed. If you think the things that you apply to your skin do not matter, think again. A toxin is a toxin and it does not matter how it enters the body- it will have the same toxic effect. Do your body a favor and leave out the corn starch… especially if it is genetically modified. Thanks for the discussion. Education about paleo skincare is my passion because most skincare products contain numerous chemicals and many are still very unaware how this effects their efforts at the paleo lifestyle.

          1. Trina:

            Corn starch particles are too large to be absorbed through the skin. They are visible solids and will sit on the surface. It doesn’t dissolve in water or oil (unless the water is boiling in which case it forms a suspension). While it is true that many things applied to the skin will absorb directly into the blood stream, this is not true of corn starch.

            I am not trying to step on toes or take away from your business, I see you have good products. Just offering up a friendly recipe, because it’s fun to experiment.

  31. O M G! Just made it a few hours and I am speechless. This is one of the easiest and best recipes I’ve ever tried. I’ve been on the zone-paleo diet for half a year now and it is so hard to find recipes that actually tastes good. I am definitely making these again! Thank you for making a blog dedicated to healthy food! I am going to try your lemon poppy seed waffles next 🙂

  32. you are my new best friend. I started doing a Paleo diet about 6 weeks ago. LOVE the icecream and this is great since the squash is coming quickly from the garden!
    This rocks.

  33. these look yummy, and I’m there with you on the dating thing! i live in NYC and it seems like EVERYONE is either married or in a relationship… 🙁 I can’t make anything last more than a couple of weeks ( and that is high praise /andy sanberg voice as nick cage) I have the problem of the waist line and the fact that I”m not like other girls — anyway god speed to your sugar will power and date efforts

  34. Juli, when you find your crossfitting, paleo eating hottie make sure he has an equally hot, crossfitting, paleo eating brother/cousin/friend and send him my way!
    Recipes are delicious, just finished eating your chocolate mug cake recipe…so good!

  35. OMG!!! The zucchini/pesto/sausage roll ups are AMAZING!! Made them for dinner tonight w/
    zucchinis and basil out of our garden. MMMMM. Glad there are some leftover.

    Thanks for these great recipes.

  36. Juli-
    so, not putting an ‘e’ at the end of your name is weird for a gal with an older sister named Julie.
    My face is so F’d up right now with pimples and it’s just gross. Disgusting. Taking a long break from sugar and coffee. Suggestions? Advice? I really should have done the 21DSD with you, but I was too chicken.
    I just hate my face so much right now. =[

  37. This recipe was AWESOME! It is my first time cooking something from this website and I am so excited to try everything now! The pesto sauce was absolutely delicious!

  38. this was linked to the foodee project today… i read the first sentence and thought `this sounds like Julie from paleomg… sure enough, lol.

    you`re awesome, so are your recepies. keep up the great work!

    do you really need a date to feed all that food to? any friend .. stranger… acquaintances could do right? Cause I can totally sacrifice myself and help you eat all that food. just saying 🙂

  39. Being single already stinks enough some times, right? Alfalfa make Grokette smell good. Make Grok want. Best thing for BO is chlorophyll. Seriously the best discovery of the year next for me next to eating paleo. Have been able to switch back to the natural non-chemical no almuninum no parabens stuff since taking two of those two times a day. Give it a few days to kick in and then enjoy the awesomeness of scent-free sweat.

  40. Juli, you inspired me to start the 21DSD – on day 2 and I planned out my meals for the week from your suggestions. Just made this tonite and amazed at how good it was! You’ve inspired me to try so many different things – THANK YOU!! Just wish i had made a triple batch – this would be a great breakfast. Thanks!!

  41. These were SO DELICIOUS. I ate them with chicken apple sausage and I want them in my mouth for all eternal throughout the universe in perpetuity. Thank you for blessing the world with your food and web presence!

  42. Here is a cute paleo-kids story concerned with fruit roll ups! My 4 year old daughter was on her first t-ball team this last summer, and we got placed into a rather interesting group families. Anyways, each family would take turns bringing snack for the team each practice, and one day a parent brought fruit roll ups. My children have NEVER had them. These particular ones were colorful and had little pictures stamped all over them. So my daughter began to play with it! She had NO idea what it was…. one of the snotty moms told her she shouldn’t play with her food, and my daughter looked at me quite confused, held the fruit roll up between the tips of her fingers (much like a dirty, stinky sock) and said “Mom, is this FOOD?” ha ha ha the look on the other mom’s face was absolutely priceless. Why do people think we are so weird for feeding our children fruits and vegetables instead of high fructose corn syrup??? Why are WE the WEIRD ones? So proud of my big girl! (And she didn’t eat it, she gave it to another kid)

  43. I looove your recipes, I’m slowly going through them and cooking the ones I like like a creeper. It would make life so much easier if you had a “pin it” button to post recipes to pinterest though…anyway thanks for all the yummy food!

  44. Oh Good Grief this is good!! I was rolling and popping these while I was making. Ate half the dish before I sat down to dinner. WOW! Best part was, I had been dreaming up this dish, wondering if it would work and just thought to check if you’d ever done it and there it was! YUMMM! (I wanted to use up some hamburger meat so mixed that with some hemp pesto I’d made and added some goat gouda and manchego to make the filler yummy (I miss sausage). Delicious!!

  45. Hey! I realise this post is a bit old, but have you ever tried clinical strength women’s antiperspirant? Those are the ones I use…a bit pricey but I try to get them on sale at wallmart once in a while.
    There are 3 or 4 brands who sell them here in Canada; it’s pretty mainstream.
    Otherwise, my sister also uses men’s antiperspirant, she picks the pine scent because she’s outdoorsy.

  46. Had these for dinner tonight and my husband sad they were the sh*t! We both loved them! BTW, that’s the highest compliment you can get from him! Thanks for all your great recipes!

  47. We made these for a party last night and they were not a hit… they are really messy and difficult to eat, so most of them remained untouched on the platter. They would be better for just dinner for two with a knife and fork. Maybe even just skip the rolling part!

  48. Made these today and they were great! I added some spinach to the pesto for extra green. I think they’d be great for a party finger food.

  49. These are great, made them today. I was more interested to find out if you got a date, I love reading your blogs, youre very funny. Hey, Id take you on a date anytime, but unfortunately Im in the UK, so next time youre here, give me a shout haha x

  50. I haven’t made this yet. I’m doing it as soon as I can get my lazy ass off the couch and get ready for the 30+ people who are about to come over because I hate myself inside but feel the need to overcompensate with my parties.

    I’m nut free (grow up) and will make a radish leaf versions of the pesto – but I think this will be delicious.

    Your blog is hysterical and I appreciate this recipe. Now my friend can eat something at this godforsaken clusterfuck of a party.

    Happy New Year!

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