Trying to cut down on carbohydrates but just can’t seem to give up those delicious big bowls of steaming pasta? Well, now you don’t have to, thanks to this simple culinary creation transforming the humble old zucchini into a nice pile of nutritious noodles! Gluten free, “paleo-friendly” and packed full of flavour, this meal is a winner all round!
Zucchini Noodles with Pesto Chicken and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Serves 4 people
– 4 medium zucchinis
– 500g chicken breast, fat trimmed
– 250g tub cherry tomatoes
– 1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
– 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
– Extra virgin olive oil
For the pesto:
– 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
– ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
– 2 tbsp water
– 1/4 cup pine nuts
– 1/4 walnuts
– juice of 1 lemon
– salt and pepper
What to do:
To make the pesto, simply place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until well combined. Check the balance of flavours and add extra seasoning or lemon juice or olive oil as required. Cover and set aside.
NOTE: Although your regular basil pesto is usually just made on pine nuts or cashews, I also added some walnuts into mine to add some extra heart healthy omega 3 fats without compromising on flavour! I also left out the parmesan cheese to cut down on saturated fats and calories, and I can promise you, you wont even notice the difference! 😉
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees. Next take a large baking dish, line with baking paper and fill with the chicken breasts and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle over the sliced garlic and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cover with alfoil.
Place in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes. Remove the alfoil and cook for another 5 mins or until the chicken is cooked through and the tomatoes are soft and are starting to blister. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into thin slices.
Next place a large saucepan of water on the stove and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, use either a peeler, julienne peeler or mandolin to prepare your zucchini noodles. For wide fettuccini style “pasta” use a standard vegetable peeler. Spaghetti-like noodles can be achieved using a julienne peeler or mandolin.
Whichever you choose, cut the ends off the zucchinis and start peeling lengthways. When you approach the seeds, turn the zucchini and continue slicing. Discard the middle section with the seeds, as they will prevent the noodles from holding together. Once you have finished, pop the noodles into the boiling water to blanch for 1 minute and then drain.
To serve, divide the noodles into pasta bowls and top with the sliced chicken breast, cherry tomatoes and pesto.
Garnish with the toasted pinenuts and some fresh sprigs of basil. You could also add a sprinkling of good quality parmesan cheese for a slightly more authentic Italian experience.