Mom’s Veggie Chicken Pesto
This recipe is full of water-rich and fibrous veggies, antioxidants from the basil, clean protein and healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s keto, paleo and low-carb friendly if you happen to follow any of those specific diets!
3-4 chicken breasts (450g or 1 lb), cleaned and chopped into bite sized pieces
2 medium broccoli heads, cleaned and chopped into bite sized florets
6 small zucchinis, zoodled
3 cups packed basil leaves, cleaned and dried
½ cup roasted pine nuts + more for topping
¼ - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (sometimes I use less olive oil when making zoodles since the zoodles contain a lot of water and tend to make the sauce thinner)
½ teaspoon salt for the pesto sauce + more for chicken, zoodles and broccoli
1-2 garlic cloves
½ - 1 cup grated parmesan (the amount is based on how cheesy you want your pesto to be)
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon grass fed butter
Roast pine nuts at 200 C until golden brown. Watch them closely as they burn fast! They usually only take about 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can also toast them on the stove in a small sauce pan.
Next, roast broccoli on a sheet pan for 15 minutes at 200 C.
While the broccoli roasts, make your pesto sauce. Add pine nuts, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, some fresh cracked pepper and ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil to a food processor or blender. Once smooth, add your parmesan and basil to reach your desired consistency. Add up to 1/4 cup more extra virgin olive oil if the sauce is too thick. Just keep in mind, the zucchini releases a lot of water so a thicker pesto tends to work well in this recipe. Taste and add more sea salt and black pepper if desired. Set pesto aside.
Next, add one tablespoon of grass-fed butter to a large hot skillet. Add chicken pieces and cook over medium/high heat for a few minutes before flipping. You want to let the chicken get a little golden browned before moving it around the pan. Salt and pepper the chicken while it continues to cook.
While chicken is cooking sauté your zoodles in a pan with a dash of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Sauté at medium heat for 6-8 minutes depending on the doneness you like. I prefer them on the softer side so they’re easier to digest. Drain zoodles once cooked through so your pasta isn’t super watery!
Once the chicken is cooked through add your zoodles and broccoli to the chicken skillet and then slowly incorporate your pesto sauce with the heat turned off. You may find you don’t need to use all of your pesto sauce. Save the rest in a glass jar in the refrigerator and use the next day to fold into eggs, spoon over fish, or just scoop with raw veggies for a snack!
Serve up! Option to place extra pine nuts for crunch and red pepper flakes for heat on the kitchen table.