Chicken Pesto “Spaghetti” is not only delicious, but it’s also a quick meal to whip up during the busy work week.
This dish is a great way to put fresh basil (or that batch of pesto you have sitting in your freezer) to use.
If you’re looking for a healthy pesto recipe, I definitely recommend my homemade dairy free pesto. I usually make a large batch of it at a time, freeze what I don’t use (ice cube trays are great for this), and defrost the pesto for dishes like this one. The end result is easy and delicious weekday dinners.
In addition to being delicious and easy, this dish uses spaghetti squash, making it perfect for those living a gluten/grain free, paleo, low-carb or keto lifestyle.
Spaghetti squash is great whole food alternative to processed spaghetti
Nutrition facts: spaghetti squash vs. processed spaghetti …
Spaghetti squash – 10 grams of carbs/cup & 42 calories/cup + mother nature’s nutrients
Processed spaghetti – 43 grams of carbs/cup & 220 calories/cup + a carb crash after consumption
I recommend replacing processed spaghetti with spaghetti squash if you;
want to lose weight (lower carbs & calories + more nutrients = weight loss)
have IBS or gut issues (since gluten and grains can aggravate symptoms)
have diabetes (lower carb foods = better blood sugar levels)
follow a paleo, keto or low-carb diet
3 simple ingredients for Chicken Pesto “Spaghetti”
Chicken Pesto "Spaghetti" is not only delicious, but it's also a quick meal to whip up during the busy work week. It's the perfect spaghetti recipe for those living a gluten/grain free, paleo, low-carb or keto lifestyle.
Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds with spoon. Sprinkle flesh with sea salt.
Bake at 400 for 30-40 min (first 10-min bake with flesh down, then turn so skin is down for remaining time). Fork should pierce skin easily when squash is cooked. See notes for cooking spaghetti squash below.
Use a fork to scrape out the strands of squash.
For the chicken pesto
Using a stovetop pan, cook chicken over medium to medium-high heat. Use a spatula to break a part meat. Season with sea salt.
Once chicken is fully cooked, reduce heat and add pesto. Combine chicken and pesto until fragrant.
Place spaghetti squash noodles at the bottom of a bowl or plate then top with chicken pesto. Enjoy!
Notes on cooking spaghetti squash
Cooking time varies depending on the size of the squash. Check regularly to avoid overcooking the squash. You want the noodles to be ‘al dente’.
Time your spaghetti squash so that it’s done cooking around the same time as your chicken pesto, so your noodles don’t cool.
Don’t you hate it when you forget to take frozen meat out of the freezer the night before your planned dinner?
Or maybe you decide on a recipe (like this one) last minute, but your ground chicken is frozen solid?
These scenarios are not uncommon in my world. There’s been numerous times where I forget to take meat out of the freezer with enough time to thaw out in the fridge OR I decide on a recipe last minute with only frozen meat on hand.
I’m assuming I’m not alone with my frozen meat problems, so I decided to give you some quick tips for thawing out frozen ground meat safely!
The first method is best, BUT the second method comes in handy for those who forget to thaw out their meat using the first method or are last minute planners.
THE LONG THAW METHOD: If you have 12 to 24 hours…
If you know ahead of time that you want to use your ground meat, thawing it in the refrigerator is the safest way to do so. It takes about 24 hours to fully thaw one pound of ground beef in the refrigerator.
THE QUICK THAW METHOD: If you have 30-minutes to 1 hour…
With less than an hour to go before dinner and a pound of frozen ground meat in your hands, you can defrost it in a bowl of cold water. Make sure the frozen meat is in a sealed package, then submerge it in a bowl of cold tap water. Important note: DO NOT use warm or hot water since this will heat the outer layer of meat too quickly, risking the growth of bacteria. For this reason, you should also change the water to keep it from getting too warm. One pound of meat will take about one hour to defrost in a bowl of water, then it should be cooked right away.
Now that we’ve solved your frozen meat problems, it’s time to try this super delicious Chicken Green Goddess Plate!
This is one of my favourite go-to dishes during the busy work week. It’s super quick and easy to prepare and it’s packed with so much great flavour!
I used cabbage as a base for this recipe since I always have it on hand–it lasts long in the fridge and is super versatile. If you’re not a fan of cabbage feel free to substitute it with riced cauliflower, spaghetti squash, salad or another base of choice.
Green Goddess Chicken Plate
INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)
1 lb ground pastured chicken
1 small green cabbage or half large, thinly sliced
2 tbsp avocado oil
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
GREEN GODDESS DRESSING:
1/3 cup almond or coconut milk, unsweetened
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh parsley, basil or cilantro
1/4 cup chives or green onions
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1. For cabbage: Using a deep stove-top pan heat 2 tbsp avocado oil, add cabbage and season with sea salt. Cook at medium heat, mixing occasionally, until cabbage is tender and begins to brown slightly. Remove from heat and mix in olive oil.
2. For chicken: While cabbage is cooking, cook chicken in another stove-top pan. Break meat apart, season with salt and pepper and cook until meat browns slightly.
3. For dressing: Add all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend/process until smooth.
4. Place sauteed cabbage on plate, add chicken on top then drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!
DID YOU KNOW? Cassava flour is a good choice for those with gluten intolerance symptoms and sensitive digestive systems or disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Cassava flour is derived from cassava root (also known as yuca or manioc), a starchy, high-carbohydrate tuber – similar to yam, taro, plantains and potato.
Starchy tubers tend to be safer for people with gut issues since they contain more soluble fiber and less insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can be soothing for the gut, whereas consuming large amounts of insoluble fiber when your gut is inflamed can aggravate IBS symptoms.
Once a month (OK fine, every two weeks ?) the BF and I experiment with different pizza toppings for this cassava flour pizza crust. You can find the original pizza crust recipe created by Otto’s Naturals, here.
We’ve nailed down another great recipe which was inspired by my little Jen days. I could always count on a sausage & rapini pizza from Caruso’s Pizza when I would visit my dad on the weekends. This pizza put all others to shame! Looking back, I’m truly grateful my dad was hopeless in the kitchen or else I wouldn’t have got my weekly dose of this pizza ?
So, if you’re looking for a gut friendly pizza with a whole lot of Italian love, this is the one for you!
INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-4)
½ cup warm water (roughly 105-110 F)
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp honey
1 cup cassava flour
1 tbsp coconut flour
5 tbsp arrowroot flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
¼ cup avocado oil
1/2 cup plum tomatoes, drained and crushed
20 whole mushrooms, sautéed
1 bunch rapini, boiled & sautéed
1 cured Italian sausage, sliced
Sea salt to taste (mix into tomatoes)
1. Prepare yeast mix: In a small bowl, add warm water and honey. Mix to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast in. Mix to dissolve. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate. It will get foamy on top.
2. Mix dry: Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl to combine.
3. Mix wet: Lightly whisk eggs and olive oil together in a small bowl.
4. Mix together and form a dough ball: Add egg mixture and activated yeast to the dry ingredients and form a dough ball. Transfer ball to an oiled bowl, cover with dish towel and set aside in a warm place (70-80 F is ideal) to rise for 1 hour. It will not double in size, but it will rise a little.
5. Prep toppings while dough rises: Remove stems from rapini, boil until tender and drain. Grab two stove-top pans and saute 1 sliced garlic clove in 2 tbsp avocado oil, in each pan. Add rapini to one pan and mushrooms to the other. Season each with sea salt and coat in oil and garlic. After a few minutes remove rapini and set aside. Add some red or white wine (other liquids work too) to the mushrooms and cover for a few minutes. Remove when liquid evaporates and mushrooms are cooked. Set aside.
6. Once dough has risen, preheat oven to 550 F. Preheat pizza stone, baking sheet or metal pan.
7. Roll and shape dough: Place the dough on parchment paper. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough (if necessary) and shape dough with your hands by pushing down (on top of parchment, so it doesn’t stick) and roll with rolling pin. Flatten your pizza about 1/8-1/4 inch thin. Roll the crust thick or thin (to your liking) by shaping with your fingers and rolling the edges. Use extra cassava flour if dough is sticking. NOTE: Split the dough in half before rolling it out to make two smaller pizzas.
8. Add toppings: Add tomatoes, rapini, mushrooms and sausage onto the dough. Lift the whole piece of parchment paper with pizza on top and transfer to the preheated baking sheet.
9. Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes until dough is firm and slightly golden, pulling out halfway and removing parchment paper. For a crispier golden crust, allow a few more minutes. Allow more time if cooking at lower temperature.
Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish traditionally made with penne pasta, vodka, heavy cream, crushed tomatoes, onions, and bacon or pancetta.
This dish became very popular in Italy and in the US around the 1980s, but the origin of the Penne alla Vodka recipe has been disputed between Italy and the United States: both claim the creation of this recipe.
According to The Ultimate Pasta Cookbook, penne alla vodka was invented in the 70s at Dante, a restaurant in Bologna, Italy.
The Williams Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook states that it was invented in the 1980s by a Roman chef for a vodka company that wanted to popularize its product in Italy.
To support the creation of this dish in the United States, we have two tales: Luigi Franzese, the Italian American chef of Orsini Restaurant in New York and James Doty, a graduate of Columbia University.
As you can see, it’s not clear whether or not Penne alla Vodka is an authentic Italian recipe. BUT based on the ingredients, the technique, and the mark it left on Italian cuisine, the answer should be yes!
Since this dish is liked by many (including me), I decided to put a gluten & dairy free spin on it so those with dietary restrictions can enjoy these amazing flavours of Italy (or the US ?♀️).
This recipe is also great for those following a low-carb, keto or paleo diet.
INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)
1 large spaghetti squash
200 g pastured bacon or pancetta
1/2 cup vodka
1 shallot or small onion
12 oz tomato passata
7 oz full fat coconut milk , canned
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
For the spaghetti squash:
1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds with spoon.
2. Bake at 400 for 30-40 min (first 10-min bake with flesh down, then turn so skin is down for remaining time). Fork should pierce skin easily when squash is cooked. Note: Cooking time varies depending on the size of the squash. Check regularly to avoid overcooking the squash. You want the noodles to be ‘al dente’.
3. Use a fork to scrape out the strands of squash.
Time your spaghetti squash so that it’s done cooking around the same time as your sauce, so your noodles don’t cool.
For the vodka sauce:
1. Finely slice the shallot or onion and place in large frying pan with olive oil. Saute for 2-minutes over medium heat.
2. Slice bacon into small chunks and add it to the pan. Cook over low heat until the bacon becomes slightly crispy.
3. Raise the heat to medium-high and pour in vodka. Let the alcohol evaporate. This may take a few minutes.
4. When alcohol is completely evaporated, add tomato passata. Season with salt, stir and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat without a lid, stirring occasionally.
5. When the sauce is cooked, add the coconut milk and cook until you get a fairly thick and creamy vodka sauce. Turn off the heat and let it rest.
6. You can add spaghetti squash strands into the pan with vodka sauce and coat OR place spaghetti squash strands into a bowl and top with vodka sauce.
Over the past 6-months, the BF and I have gone wild creating healthy versions of different Asian-inspired recipes–and we just added another one to the list!
This version of Chang’s Spicy Chicken is a gluten, grain and soy free paleo recipe that uses whole food, high-quality ingredients, PLUS heat stable oil for frying. A true guilt-free pleasure for those with IBS and those trying to lose weight.
These recipes are not only super yummy, but they’re fun to create! So, gather your family or significant other and plan a date night in the kitchen where you can have some fun creating the most delicious Asian-inspired recipes you’ll ever taste!
For the Sauce:
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp organic ketchup
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 tbsp pineapple juice
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp arrowroot starch/flour
Sea salt to taste
1. Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes and place in a large bowl with arrowroot flour, salt & pepper. Toss until chicken is coated. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients (or use a blender to combine ingredients). Set aside.
3. Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with avocado oil and heat until it begins to sizzle. Add coated chicken cubes to the hot oil. You may need to do this in two batches if your frying pan is not big enough. Cook each batch for about 10 minutes, turning mid-way through, until all sides are golden. Set chicken aside.
4. Once all chicken is browned, add back into the hot skillet. Whisk sauce once more & pour into the skillet with chicken. Add 3/4 of the green onions (save the rest for garnish) & cook, stirring until sauce thickens & chicken is well-coated.
5. Top with remaining green onions and enjoy on its own, with steamed veggies or on top of cauliflower “rice”!
This paleo tuna pizza is absolutely delicious and the perfect recipe for your next pizza night! It’s gluten, grain & dairy free, making it the ideal pizza for anyone following a paleo diet.
The health benefits of paleo tuna pizza with cassava flour crust
DID YOU KNOW? Cassava is high in resistant starch, a type of starch that bypasses digestion and feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which can support digestive health.
There are hundreds of different species of bacteria in your intestine. In fact, the bacteria in your intestine outnumber the body’s cells 10 to 1 — WOW!Science has discovered that the number and type of bacteria can have a profound impact on your health.
Whereas most foods feed only 10% of your cells, fermentable fibers and resistant starches feed the other 90%. Resistant starch not only feeds the friendly bacteria in your intestine, but it MAY bind to & expel “bad” bacteria, having a positive effect on the type of bacteria as well as their number.
In addition, resistant starch has also been studied to for its ability to contribute to better metabolic health and reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. This is due to its potential to improve blood sugar control, in addition to its role in promoting fullness and reducing appetite.
NOTE: Products made from cassava, such as flour, do contain resistant starch, but the levels are lower than in cassava root that has been cooked and then cooled in its whole form.
The best cassava flour pizza crust
This cassava flour pizza crust was created by Otto’s Naturals, one of the leading suppliers of cassava flour. You can get the original recipe here or check out the recipe below.
The texture and taste truly resembles regular pizza crust. The BF and I have been super excited to come up with different toppings for this awesome crust. We created this Paleo Tuna Pizza Mediterranean Style this past weekend and absolutely loved it! Let us know what you think in the comments section below 🙂
This paleo tuna pizza is absolutely delicious and the perfect recipe for your next pizza night! It's gluten, grain & dairy free, making it the ideal pizza for anyone following a paleo diet. The texture and taste of cassava flour pizza crust truly resembles regular pizza crust, so you won't be disappointed by yet another gluten free pizza.
Prepare yeast mix: In a small bowl, add warm water and honey. Mix to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast in. Mix to dissolve. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate. It will get foamy on top.
Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl to combine.
Lightly whisk eggs and olive oil together in a small bowl.
Add egg mixture and activated yeast to the dry ingredients.
Mix to form a dough ball. Transfer ball to an oiled bowl, cover with dish towel and set aside in a warm place (70-80 F is ideal) to rise for 1 hour. It will not double in size, but it will rise a little.
Once dough has risen, preheat oven to 550 F. Preheat pizza stone, baking sheet or metal pan.
Place the dough on parchment paper. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough (if necessary) and shape dough with your hands by pushing down (on top of parchment, so it doesn’t stick) and roll with rolling pin. Flatten your pizza about 1/8-1/4 inch thin. Roll the crust thick or thin (to your liking) by shaping with your fingers and rolling the edges. Use extra cassava flour if dough is sticking. NOTE: Split the dough in half before rolling it out to make two smaller pizzas.
Season tomatoes with half the garlic and sea salt then spread over the rolled out dough.
Break up the tuna in a bowl then add 1 tbsp olive oil, remaining garlic and thyme & rosemary. Combine ingredients then spread over the tomatoes. Add hot pepper flakes, capers, and strips of red pepper. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the entire pizza.
Lift the whole piece of parchment paper with pizza on top and transfer to the preheated baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes until dough is firm and slightly golden, pulling out halfway and removing parchment paper. For a crispier golden crust, allow a few more minutes. Allow more time if cooking at lower temperature.