A simple but classic dish of pasta and pesto is hard to beat, especially when you are pushed for time and want something quick, easy and tasty for dinner. You will be pleased to know that there is a Paleo friendly alternative to pasta in the form of vegetables. The most popular option is to create spaghetti out of courgettes; affectionately know as “courgetti” and I can officially confirm that it tastes delicious. By replacing pasta with vegetables you are increasing your nutrient intake and filling you body full of goodness instead of flooding it with toxins.
The texture of the courgette is a great pasta imitation and you really wont feel like you are missing out. You can combine it with any of your favourite pasta sauces (Paleo friendly of course) and it is ready within minutes. If you wanted to add some protein to this dish then chicken and bacon would work well or parma ham and poached eggs adds a luxurious touch.
I often don’t even bother cooking my courgetti as I love the fresh crunch that it has when eaten raw; plus it makes a really quick dish as you can just mix it with the pesto straight away. When I do cook it I like to make sure it still has some bite so it only takes a few minutes. If you prefer it to be softer then add a couple of minutes onto the time provided in the recipe.
The pesto is really simple to make and with barely any preparation needed it will be ready within minutes. Any extras can be stored in the fridge in an air tight container. Your pesto will keep for longer if you add a layer of olive oil to the top after each use. In this recipe you need to add the olive oil to the pesto mixture by hand as using a food processor or blender can cause the olive oil to taste bitter due to the heat generated whilst blending.
A few things to note…
The concept of using vegetables to create a pasta substitute is a Paleo staple and if you are new to this then you are in for a treat. To create the courgetti you will need to invest in a spiralizer which will give you the ability to create vegetable pasta within minutes. You will be able to play around with different textures and flavours and incorporate ribbons of vegetables into a variety of meals whether it be salads, soups or simply as a Paleo friendly alternative to your favourite pasta dish. You could also use a vegetable peeler to cut the courgette into long strips as an alternative but you will lack the long spaghetti effect that a spiralizer provides.
I recently bought a new spiralizer and I am loving it. It comes with three attachments so you can create different shaped ribbons and works perfectly everytime. A photo of the spiralizer in action can be found in the recipe for Lamb Ragu with Butternut Squash Linguine. I would really recommend that you get one for your kitchen!
PIN THE RECIPE FOR LATER:
Servings: 2 people
- For the courgetti:
- 4 courgettes
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Sea salt
- For the pesto:
- 120g fresh basil leaves
- 50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
- Slug of extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Blend the basil, pine nuts and garlic into a paste.
- Place into a bowl and slowly pour in the olive oil making sure you mix it all together as you go.
- Once you have stirred in enough oil to your taste you can season and then set aside.
- Using a spiralizer cut the courgette into ribbons.
- Place between two sheets of kitchen roll and press to get rid of any excess water.
- If you prefer to have your courgetti raw then you can simply toss with the pesto and serve.
- If you would like to cook your courgetti then heat the coconut oil in a frying pan or wok on a high heat.
- Add the courgette and season with a pinch of salt.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the courgette is soft but still has some bite. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the pesto to taste.
- Add any additional seasoning if required and enjoy.
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