So, I finally gave in and got a spiralizer before Christmas. We do gifts for ourselves. Next on the list is a trip to Lululemon. I haven’t bought a piece of clothing for myself since August. After months and months of debating whether I need another kitchen gadget and liking all hand spiralizers so-so, I saw a countertop spiralizer at my grocery store for $25. That, my American friends, is a BIG DEAL because in Canada everything is so much more expensive and harder to find than in the US.
Countertop spiralizer is much better than a handheld one. Mine is a knock-off and not Paderno but it is still great. I can’t say I use it on a regular basis but every few weeks. I found it doesn’t take as much cabinet space as I thought. However, I have a big kitchen and own very few kitchen appliances and gadgets. I’m a minimalistic cook.
So, I had pesto zucchini noodles on my mind for a while now. And I wanted to make vegan pesto, with kale and lots of pine nuts and olive oil. I love healthy fats and somehow do not like Parmesan cheese in a pesto itself but would eat it on top of pesto pasta. So, I made vegan kale pesto which turned out fantastic and then mixed with zucchini noodles for myself and whole wheat spaghetti for the boys.
Honestly, I was sceptical. Somehow, zucchini noodles smothered in pesto do not look sexy to me. Like I swear they look like old, sad, sagging, skinny body parts. But having previous tasty experience with zucchini noodles I was willing to try. I also was not excited about zucchini from Mexico in January but a girl got do, what a girl gotta do in January in Canada.
Another dark secret of this pesto chicken zucchini noodles recipe is that above is not chicken but tofu. No chicken in my recipe but you could and you should. I didn’t have chicken and I love tofu, so I used tofu. You could use turkey or ground turkey – whatever you want. Or salmon. Your choice of protein.
I specifically didn’t want to add “tofu” to a recipe’s name because people in 2016 are terrified of eating tofu. I get all these comments with links to websites warning against tofu and hormones etc. People are worried about eating tofu but not loaded with antibiotics and steroids meat. American people are generally terrified of food in 2016 – arsenic in apples and brown rice, heavy metals in cacao powder, cornstarch = death. And gluten, that vicious gluten! Even kale is toxic nowadays.
I have said it many times and will say again – do your own research and look at sources you are willing to trust. There are many trends and diets right now that eventually will die and be considered harmful like low fat and sugar free products years ago. What will never die is consuming a variety of whole foods that our Earth produces because those foods are here for a reason. In moderation and with least human interference into the growing process aka organic food for me if I can.
By the way, I do blood work 2 times a year and I’m yet to see my hormones out of balance. I eat organic tofu and edamame beans every 2-3 weeks I would say. I do not eat other soy products naturally because we do not eat processed foods (with the exception of organic burritos when skiing:)).
So, back to our pesto zucchini noodles. As crazy as it sounded to me, I added toasted slivered almonds. At first, I thought they would just look good and you can’t go wrong with more healthy fats. Honestly, again, I was sceptical but when I took a bite this combo was the bomb dot com. One of the most delicious dinners I have had in the past weeks. And that is all plant-based, my friends.
Kids…Oldest one loved his pasta but said “no offence, mom, but it looks gross”. I kinda agreed because I do not think pesto looks sexy. But he ate it. The 5 year old complained but ate half the bowl for dinnertime. Considering he didn’t ask for a snack after means he wasn’t hungry. Good enough for me.
- 1/2 batch Vegan Kale Pesto Sauce*
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 lb chicken or 1 package firm tofu, cut into 1” cubes
- 1 tsp coconut or avocado oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/4 tsp himalayan pink salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- Prepare pesto. Using a spiralizer, make zucchini noodles. Set both aside.
- Preheat large non-stick skillet on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Add chicken or tofu, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown or chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl.
- Return skillet to low heat and add almonds. Cook until lightly brown, stirring frequently and watching closely not to burn. Push almonds to the side and add zucchini noodles. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Noodles should be just a tiny bit cooked and warmed through.
- Add previously cooked tofu or chicken, pesto and grape tomatoes. Gently toss and remove from heat. Serve hot.
*Pesto will stay fresh refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. I found a whole batch of pesto was too much.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving = 2 cups:
Total Fat: 33.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 373.2 mg
Total Carbs: 18.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.5 g
Protein: 18.3 g
WW Points+: 12