fresh basil and sun-dried tomato spaghetti squash pasta

Under the constant and warm Hawaiian sun, my backyard basil plant has bloomed and I can barely eat the bright green, organic leaves fast enough! I feel like I am constantly walking outside to grab some fresh basil to go with my scrambled eggs or to finely chop the leaves into a salad.  My recent favorite has been making homemade balsamic basil dressing (which I will post soon!).  The new puppy seems to love my basil plant too!

As basil naturally lowers blood sugar levels, with my blood glucose issues, I happily consume lots of this natural, fresh medicine!  Basil also acts as a natural detoxifier and normalizes adrenal and stress levels.  Yes, the Italians know what they were doing when they serve appetizers with fresh basil leaves and sauces to accompany your glass of wine.

This spaghetti squash pasta recipe is quick and simple to make for a dinner party or for an easy meal for one!  The fresh ingredients fill your plate with color and leave you satisfied, but this recipe definitely wins for comfort food…without all the harmful carbohydrates of course :)

Serves 2 for a side dish or 1 for a complete meal.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 2 cloves garlic (large), crushed
  • dash of sea salt
  • 2 generous handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • shredded parmesan cheese
  • fresh ground pepper

Directions

  • Heat a sauté pan to medium heat.
  • Melt butter or ghee with crushed garlic.
  • Briefly sauté spinach leaves then add spaghetti squash.  Add dash of sea salt.
  • Continue to sauté until dish is hot, adding sun-dried tomatoes at the end.
  • Plate and sprinkle fresh basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese on top (add fresh ground pepper if desired).

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Tips for cooking spaghetti squash—

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Wash the outside of the spaghetti squash and place on a cooking sheet.
  • Using a knife or fork puncture the squash with small slits as to allow air to escape when cooking.
  • Some people like to cut the squash in half before cooking, but I find the skin too tough to do this.
  • Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the squash.
  • Cut open and allow to cool before removing the inside seeds.  Use a fork to flake the strands of squash like spaghetti.

For more spaghetti squash inspiration see my grain-free chicken parmesan recipe. For more information about cooking spaghetti squash click here!

Arugula Pesto

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There is something about pesto that just makes food taste fresh and great.  Maybe its the salty, buttery combination or maybe its the fact that the bright green hue adds much color and flavor to any dish.  This rich pesto can accompany your morning eggs, evening vegetables or as a spread for your afternoon snack of parmesan crisps.  I must say that because of the arugula, this pesto is better when served raw or as a topping rather than cooked into the food.

Arugula is packed with vitamin A and K, fat soluble vitamins, thus eating arugula pesto with good fats such as walnuts, olive oil, and cheese will ensure that all nutrients are absorbed in your body.  It also contains folic acid, necessary for brain functioning, and minerals—calcium, iron and potassium.

4 cups arugula, firmly packed

1/2 cup fresh basil

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 parmesan cheese

3/4 cup olive oil

8-10 cloves garlic, depending on size

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

dash of freshly ground black pepper

dash of cayenne pepper

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor and enjoy!

Great topping with Parmesan Crisps!

Where to find the best ingredients—

Olive Oil

Sea Salt (Amazon or VitaCost)

Roasted, Crispy Walnuts

Chicken Parmesan with Crispy Kale

Growing up, pasta was always my favorite! I think if I had my choice I could eat pasta and cheesy Italian goodness for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  However, many restaurants serve chicken or eggplant parmesan deep-fried or breaded, on a mound of pasta.

Here is my version of this classic comfort food! Its grain-free and super easy to make for a quick dinner.  Its light and will leave you satisfied but never stuffed! I promise you cannot taste even a hint of almond flour.  I like to serve it on a bed of spaghetti squash with pesto.  You could also serve it with roasted sweet potatoes if you can’t find spaghetti squash in season.

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Ingredients

2 large chicken breasts (cut in half)
3/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons almond flour
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
dash of salt & pepper

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and stir thoroughly.  Cut chicken breasts in half so there are 4 pieces.  Place chicken on a plate and lightly coat both sides with olive oil.  Place the chicken in the mixing bowl and cover with the cheese mixture.
Transfer chicken to a baking dish and sprinkle any extra parmesan cheese mix on top.
Cook at 350 for 30 minutes. Adjust time if chicken breasts are small.
Top with crispy kale crumbles.

Crispy Kale

1 bunch green kale
olive oil
salt & pepper
sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
Wash and dry kale. Cut the vein out of the middle of the kale leaf.  Cut into thin slices (less than 1/2 inch). Place in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with olive oil and spices.  Toss with your hands or a spatula.
Spread evenly on 2 cookie sheets.  Make sure the kale slices are spread out and not on top of each other.  This will make sure they get crispy and not soggy.
Cook for 20-22 minutes.