Friday, October 10, 2014

Paleo Pesto, Chicken & Bacon "Spaghetti" Bake


Improvisation can be mighty tasty. I had intended to adapt PaleOMG's buffalo chicken "pasta" recipe, but didn't realize until pulling out ingredients that I didn't have enough hot sauce. I looked at my chicken and spaghetti squash and decided to wing it.

I made some pesto, using baby spinach because it was what I had on hand. I decided to work some bacon into the mix because bacon usually makes nearly everything better, and got to cooking.

The pesto is particularly bright green due to the spinach; you could use basil to make a more traditional pesto if you'd prefer. You can also keep it dairy-free by simply omitting the cheese I sprinkled on top just before baking.


Paleo Pesto, Chicken & Bacon "Spaghetti" Bake

1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
6 slices nitrite-free bacon, cut into pieces
1 lb. chicken, cut into chunks
salt & pepper
1 cup pesto (below)
grated mozzarella or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Place squash cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until beginning to crisp. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Drain excess fat and return meat to pan.

Once spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, pull inside into threads with a fork. Stir squash into meat in skillet. Mix in pesto. Sprinkle with cheese, if using.

Return to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is a bit crisp. Finish off under the broiler for 1-2 minutes if desired.

paleo spinach pesto:
3 cups baby spinach
3 tbs. raw walnuts or almonds
3 tbs. olive oil
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
salt & pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Taste for seasoning.

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