Spaghetti Squash with Lemon Artichoke Pesto

This dish is having an identity crisis but in the best way possible. It's not sure if it belongs with fall recipes or summer recipes. But the reality is that it is a perfect blend of autumn squash and summer freshness! It's great because you can pretty much make it year round as long as you can find spaghetti squash. And if you can't, you could easily sub with zucchini noodles or any other spiralized veggie of choice. This dish is pretty simple and makes a lot so it's a great meal prep option. The dish would also probably be really tasty with shrimp instead of chicken!

I used all of the sauce in my dish and I felt like it was the perfect amount. However, feel free to adjust to your tasting. You can use less of the spaghetti squash if you like your dish super saucy.

I didn't use a large amount of basil, so if you want this to taste even more like a pesto, feel free to use 2 cups of basil leaves instead of 1. I personally thought it had plenty of basil flavor, and I wanted to make sure you could taste the artichoke as well. This dish would taste great with asparagus as well if you're making it in the fall. You can definitely adjust the vegetables depending on what time of year you're making it!

Ingredients:

1 medium-large spaghetti squash

Chicken:

2 large chicken breasts

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp lemon pepper

Veggies:

1 lb mushrooms, sliced

1 cup canned artichoke hearts, roughly chopped (save liquid)

2 cups spinach

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp lemon pepper

Sauce:

1 cup artichoke hearts

1 cup fresh basil

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon juice

1 clove garlic

2-3 tablespoons artichoke juice

pinch salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Cut end with stem of spaghetti squash off, then cut squash in half

3. Remove seeds and guts from squash (you can cook the seeds if you'd like for a yummy snack)

4. Place open side face down on baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or aluminum foil will do) and bake for 40-55 minutes, depending on size of the squash (it's done when the "spaghetti" is easily removed with a fork)

5. While squash is baking, cut chicken breasts in 1'' cubes

6. Heat large pan with 1 tablespoon coconut oil and place chicken in pan with remaining "chicken" ingredients

7. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until no longer pink; remove from pan and set aside

8. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the pan and add the veggie ingredients to the pan; cook until veggies are cooked through, about 10 minutes

9. Add chicken back to pan and place on lowest heat (just to keep warm)

10. In a food processor, place all sauce ingredients besides artichoke juice. Slowly add 1/2 tablespoon of juice at a time until sauce resembles consistency of a pest or a little runnier

11. Remove squash from oven when done, and carefully shred the "spaghetti." I like to do this with two forks and place in a large mixing bowl

12. Add chicken and veggies to the squash and then add the sauce

13. Mix well and enjoy!

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