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!
You know that feeling when you try a recipe for the very first time and after just one bite you can’t wait to make it again and again?!
Well, that’s the feeling you’ll get when you try this dish!
These bite-sized tostone tacos are to die for and super fun to eat. I replaced the traditional taco shell with tostones since they are grain free, gut friendly and so delicious!
Just in case you’re wondering what tostones are, they’re slices of unripe plantains that are fried, flattened, then fried again (in heat stable oil, of course!). Learn more about plantains and tostones here.
You can find plantains at most grocery stores. They look like big green bananas and tend to be located next to regular bananas. I’ve been able to find them at stores like Walmart, Fortinos & Longos.
Do you know of other stores that sell plantains? Let our community know by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.
How to assemble Tostone Taco Bites:
Spread guacamole on tostone.
Add beef on top of guacamole.
Grab with your fingers (or use a fork) and bite into your delicious creation!
This meal is packed with all the good stuff including healthy fats from grass-fed beef and avocado PLUS loads of fiber thanks to plantains and avocados, once again. I highly recommend adding this recipe to your list of “must try”, it’ll be love at first bite!
Tostone Taco Bites
INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 zucchini, chopped (optional)
1 pack mushrooms, sliced
2 large plantains, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices
½ lime, juice only
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
1. Saute onion and garlic in 1 tbsp avocado oil until fragrant, then add in zucchini and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes.
2. Add ground beef and taco seasoning. Break a part meat and cook until liquid evaporates and meat is browned.
3. While beef is cooking, use another large pan to cook the plantains. Cover bottom of pan in avocado oil, heat oil then add plantain slices and fry on both sides until golden (roughly 2-minutes per side). Season with salt.
4. Remove plantains from pan and gently smash until flattened (I smash my plantains between two pieces of parchment paper with a mug or can).
5. Add smashed plantains back to the pan and fry again on both sides until golden brown. Now you have tostones!
6. Mash avocado in a bowl, add lime juice, sea salt, black pepper and a pinch of garlic powder.
7. Place everything onto a dish as shown in photo and assemble your tostone tacos one by one!
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”!
Picadillo (pee-cah-DEE-yo) is an Latin American dish that combines ground or finely chopped beef, vegetables, olives and dried fruit.
Depending on the region and personal customs, picadillo serves as a main dish, often accompanied by rice and beans, or as a filling for empanadas, chiles rellenos, tamales, tacos, stuffed potatoes and more.
Since tostones have been a hot menu item for me lately, I decided to pair this picadillo dish with these delicious golden bites on the side. Tostones not only make this dish hearty, but they also do a great job of soaking up the sauce! A great complement to this dish, if I do say so myself 🙂
Here are a few other healthy ways you can enjoy picadillo:
1. In a pot, heat avocado oil over medium-high then brown meat. Set meat aside in a bowl.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add onions and peppers. Sauté until onions are slightly caramelized. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
3. Add paprika, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and black pepper–stir for a minute until spices become fragrant. Add chicken stock and stir, scrapping off brown-bits at the bottom of the pot. Add in the browned beef, bay leaf, olives and dates. Mix to combine ingredients.
4. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 1-hour. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
5. When the picadillo is 20-minutes from being ready, prepare the tostones (get the recipe, HERE).
6. Serve picadillo in a shallow bowl and place tostones around.