Chicken Courgetti with Macadamia Nut Pesto

When I first removed simple carbohydrates from my diet, pasta was one of the foods I missed most. However, with this recipe, I can still enjoy the zingy, creamy combination of pesto and chicken but am not left bloated / feeling like a beach ball thanks to the low carb pasta alternative.

This fresh dish is full of nutrients due to the macadamia nuts, courgettes and extra virgin olive oil. To maximise the benefits minimal heat is applied to the pesto, ensuring the unstable fats aren’t oxidised.albumtemp-1

Serves 4 or 2, using the leftovers for a delicious, easy lunch the following day.

Approximate total nutrition per serving: 515kcal / 43.4g fat / 8.7g saturated fat / 8.3 total carbs / 3.9g fibre / 4.4g net carbs / 22.7g protein.

Ingredients:

Nutrition per ¼ recipe: 179kcal / 9.4g fat / 3.6g saturated fat / 3.4g total carbs / 1.1g fibre / 2.3g net carbs / 20.2g protein.

  • 4 organic, free-range chicken thighs
  • 500g courgette
  • 1 tbsp grass-fed butter / ghee / coconut oil
  • Lemon wedges and a few fresh basil leaves to serve
  • Optional: a few rocket leaves

For pesto:

Nutrition per ¼ recipe: 336kcal / 34g fat / 5.1g saturated fat / 4.9g total carbs / 2.8g fibre / 2.1g net carbs / 2.5g protein.

  • 100g macadamia nuts
  • 50g fresh basil
  • ½ clove of garlic
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of sea salt

Method:

  1. In a food processor, blitz the macadamia nuts until they resemble a rough crumb. Add all the other ingredients to the nuts and blend until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into strips.
  3. On a medium heat, melt the butter in a large, deep frying pan and add the chicken, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t catch.
  4. Whilst the chicken is cooking, spiralise the courgettes to create ribbons that resemble tagliatelle. Alternatively, use a potato peeler or grater.
  5. When the chicken is cooked, add the courgettes and gently combine in the pan.
  6. Once warmed through, turn off the heat and add some pesto, about three tablespoons.
  7. Stir until the pesto has coated all the ingredients and has mixed with the juices from the chicken to create a thin sauce. If using, add a few rocket leaves to taste.
  8. Serve with fresh basil, lemon wedges and the remaining pesto in a side dish.

Leftover pesto will keep in the fridge for about 3 days.

Top tip: If you don’t use all the pesto, it works well with salmon, stirred into soup or as a salad dressing with added extra virgin olive oil.

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