Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken Pesto Veggie Toss

This meal gave me the chance to test out zucchini "pasta," a very versatile ingredient for any recipe that calls for regular pasta. Zucchini is one of those vegetables with a pretty mild flavor that can work with a variety of ingredients or sauces. I used pesto for this dish, along with chicken and a variety of vegetables. You could also toss it with a little olive oil and seasonings and serve it with your favorite meat. Or try it with red sauce and reminisce about the days when you used to eat pasta. Any way you make it, enjoy! (Just be sure to keep an eye on the zucchini, it can go from al dente to overdone in a matter of seconds.)

1 lb chicken tenders
1 can quartered artichokes, drained
1/2 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes ( I used Bella Sun Luci bagged tomatoes.)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp pine nuts or raw almonds, toasted, divided (If you use almonds, chop them after toasting.)
1 lb (4 small) zucchinis, ends trimmed
1 small red onion, sliced
5 oz baby spinach
1/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil + 1-2 Tbsp more to saute
1 large bunch (2 oz) fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
3 small or 2 large cloves garlic
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Zucchini Ribbons
  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rinse basil leaves and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Toast pine nuts in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until browned.
  4. Put tomatoes in a bowl and add 1 cup of very hot water. Set aside.
  5. While pine nuts toast, prepare the zucchini by shaving one side with a peeler (I use one like this OXO Y-peeler) or mandoline (like this OXO slicer). Discard (or compost) the outer layer and continue shaving long, thin strips until you reach the seedy core. Flip the zucchini and repeat the process on the opposite side. When you reach the center, repeat the same process on either side until all you have left is the core. Save the core to chop up and mix in with your eggs in the morning. 
  6. Slice onion very thin using a mandoline or sharp knife.
  7. Pulse garlic in food processor a couple of times, then add 1/4 cup pine nuts and basil. Pulse about 10 times until everything is finely chopped. With processor running, slowly add 1/3 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Season chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Saute in 1-2 Tbsp olive oil until just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  9. Add onions and zucchini to pan and saute until just softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  10. Add spinach, in batches, and saute until wilted, but still bright green.
  11. Add in chicken, drained sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and pesto (add pesto to taste and reserve the rest). Toss gently, over low heat, to combine. Serve topped with reserved pine nuts.


  1. This was SO very good!! Thanks for this sharing your recipes. I can't wait to try some others!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, withknowledgecomeschoices. Thank you for the nice comments. I hope you give some other Paleo Table recipes a try and let me know how they turn out!

  2. Could you use spaghetti squash?

    1. Absolutely, ernie! You could use them as a sub for the zucchini or in addition to it. If subbing, just skip step 5, cook the spaghetti squash in the microwave, and add it in after sauteing the onions, but before the spinach.