Chicken · dinner · keto · Squash September

Spaghetti Squash Pesto Primavera

Pesto is one of my favorite kitchen pantry staples. If you open my cabinets, you’re 90% likely to find a few jars of pesto.

I’ve made my own pesto many times, but it’s just so much easier to have some already prepared so you can dump it in a recipe and go. Plus, pine nuts are hella expensive. I prefer my pesto with pine nuts, too, so it’s not like I can sub out the nuts for pecans or walnuts. No thank you.

I’ve had this idea for spaghetti squash rattling in my brain for years. I think I first got the inspiration from a Facebook video three years ago. I kept trying to remember using it for Squash September, but without fail—I would always forget.

While researching what to do for this year’s chapter of Squash September, I made it a point not to forget this one. I figured it would even be one of the first recipes I made so I could go ahead and get it out of the way.

I’m glad I finally made it. This recipe is everything. My love affair with all things Italian really hits a high note here. It’s a combo of two of my favorite dishes: the vegetable laden primavera, and the basil-heavy pesto. I could go back for seconds for forever.

I added some chicken and some cream to make it even better. I wanted the pesto to be more saucy, so I took the inspiration from my pesto chicken skillet I made a few weeks ago. The sauce was heaven.

My primavera veggies: zucchini, red bell pepper. and broccoli. I wanted to keep it simple and light. You could add tomatoes, garlic and onions—but it might overpower the dish. The triple threat of the zucchini, pepper and broccoli really rounded out the dish. And hey, it’s a double-whammy for Squash September: spaghetti squash AND zucchini!

Spaghetti Squash Pesto Primavera

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

A light Italian meal with a twist: pesto covered veggies and chicken baked inside of spaghetti squash.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. chicken breast, cubed
  • 3 TBS. olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 zucchini, cut into half moons
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 jar prepared pesto
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeds scooped out
  • Grated parmesan, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush one tablespoon of olive oil over the spaghetti squash sides (where the seeds were) and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until squash flakes easily with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt, pepper, basil, oregano, garlice powder and crushed red pepper. Add chicken to skillet and cook, stirring, for about 4-6 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and heat. Add broccoli, zucchini and red bell pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes until crisp-tender. Add chicken back to pan.
  4. In a measuring cup, stir together pesto and cream. Pour in with chicken and veggies and toss to coat. Remove pan from heat.
  5. Flake spaghetti squash with a fork and add to veggies and chicken. Toss everything together and then transfer back to spaghetti squash shells. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve with Parmesan.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush one tablespoon of olive oil over the spaghetti squash sides (where the seeds were) and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until squash flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt, pepper, basil, oregano, garlice powder and crushed red pepper. Add chicken to skillet and cook, stirring, for about 4-6 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken to a plate and set aside. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and heat. Add broccoli, zucchini and red bell pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes until crisp-tender.

Add chicken back to pan. In a measuring cup, stir together pesto and cream. Pour in with chicken and veggies and toss to coat. Remove pan from heat. Flake spaghetti squash with a fork and add to veggies and chicken. Toss everything together and then transfer back to spaghetti squash shells. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve with Parmesan.

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