Pesto Spaghetti Squash, Chicken & Zucchini Bowls (GF)
I am in love with the Pesto flavor of this spaghetti squash bowl! Crushed pine nuts, fresh basil, and dried goat cheddar make a wonderful paleo-friendly sauce, if I do say so myself.
Add this pesto to some spaghetti squash, onion garlic chicken, and some roasted zucchini and you’ve got a delicious “pasta” bowl full of vegetables and protein at your fingertips.
I wanted to quickly clarify why I labeled this meal “paleo-friendly.”
Goat cheese is not strict Paleo (everything else in this recipe is though!). Some consider goat cheese primal. And many like goat milk products because they are easier to digest.
At the end of the day, you just have to listen to your body and follow the best diet for you.
I consider the occasional goat cheese to be a part of my Paleo diet and consider this meal to be “paleo”, but I know that not everyone does, hence the paleo-friendly label.
If you want more info on what is or isn’t Paleo, I really like Eat Drink Paleo’s “Paleo Food List” and her approach to a healthy lifestyle.
Anyways, back to the recipe! And just a warning, this is a step-by-step post– so if you are looking for the recipe, just scroll down.
But if you love food photos as much as I do or if you want to make sure it looks right as you make it…. enjoy the plethora of pictures! 🙂
To start, I cut the spaghetti squash in half, removed the insides, coated it with some olive oil, and placed it face down on some aluminum foil.
Then I put it into the oven and let it cook for 40 minutes.
Then, I put some goat cheddar and pinenuts into a food processor and mixed them until it was all ground up.
(I’ve also made this with parmesan and it was amazing, the choice of cheese is yours, :P)
Next, I added a large handful of fresh basil and some olive oil to the food processor and mixed it until smooth.
At this point the pesto is done and can be set aside.
Then, I minced some onion and garlic, cooked them until transparent and added the chicken to the pan.
I cooked the chicken until it was nice and golden.
After that, I sliced the zucchini, halved each slice, and roasted them until they were soft.
By this point, the spaghetti squash was done and so I took two forks and used them to rake against the inside of the squash, until the insides looked like “spaghetti”.
Once I raked up all the spaghetti squash, I put the “spaghetti” into a large bowl and mixed the pesto into it.
Since it was still warm, it all melted into each other. Um– yum!!
I added some pinenuts, fresh basil, and salt to the bowl and gave it one final toss before serving the Pesto Spaghetti Squash, Chicken and Zucchini Bowls.
They are also husband/fiancé/boyfriend approved (my fiancé ate three bowls of it!).
Pesto Spaghetti Squash, Chicken and Zucchini Bowls (GF, paleo-friendly)
- 3.5 pound spaghetti squash
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheddar ( I like the Montchevré brand)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- a large handful of fresh basil, ( add more to taste)
- 2 Tbs + 2 tsp olive oil, , divided
- 3 cloves of garlic, , minced
- 1/4 of a medium white onion, , minced
- 1 pound of all natural thin sliced chicken breasts
- 1/4 tsp rosemary
- 1/4 tsp + 1/2 tsp salt, , divided
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 2 medium sized zucchinis, , sliced and halved
- Keep some pine nuts and fresh basil handy to use as decoration and extra seasoning
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cover a cookie sheet in aluminum foil.
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the mushy core with a spoon. Then cover the surface with some olive oil and evenly "paint it on" with a silicone basting brush.
- Lay the squash face down on the aluminum paper.
- Cook the spaghetti squash for 40-45 minutes and then remove it from the oven and let cool.
- While the spaghetti squash is cooking, put the 1/4 cup of goat cheddar and 1/4 cup of pine nuts into a food processor and mix until the mixture looks like "crumbles". Add the large handful of basil and 2 Tbs of olive oil to the food processor and mix until everything is smooth and well mixed. At this point the pesto is done and can be set aside.
- Put the minced garlic and onion into a large frying pan with 2 tsp of olive oil, over medium-high heat. Cook for 3 minutes, while mixing with a spatula from time to time.
- Lower the heat to medium, and add the sliced chicken breasts to the frying pan. Top the chicken with 1/4 tsp of rosemary, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper and 1/4 tsp of dried basil. Cook the chicken for 4 minutes and then flip each chicken breast. Let them cook for another 4 minutes and then flip them again. Cook for 2 more minutes and then remove the chicken from the pan to let cool. Based on the thickness of your chicken, you may need to vary the time of cooking. When you cut the chicken, the inside should be white and the outside should be golden.
- Then use the same pan that you just cooked the chicken in to cook the zucchini. This will add nice flavor to the zucchini. Cook the zucchini over medium heat for 7-9 minutes, making sure to mix fairly often.
- While the zucchini is cooking, cut the chicken up into bite sized pieces and set them aside.
- By this point, the spaghetti squash should be done. Using two forks, "rake" against the inside of the squash until the insides looked like “spaghetti”. You should be able to rake them until you almost reach the skin of the squash.
- Then, put all of the spaghetti squash into a large bowl.
- Mix the pesto into it by tossing the whole thing with a large spoon and fork. Make sure the pesto has fully mixed into the spaghetti squash.
- Add the bite sized chicken, the cooked zucchini, and 1/2 tsp of salt to the large bowl and mix again with a large spoon and fork.
- At this point, add a handful of pine nuts and some fresh cut basil to the bowl and give it one last toss. To get the max basil flavor, roll the basil leaf up into a cigar shape and cut small into small slivers.
- Serve into smaller bowls and enjoy.
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