Thursday, June 27, 2013

Low Carb Tomato Pesto "Pasta"

Guilt-Free, Low-Carb Deliciousness!!!
As you’ve probably noticed from my previous posts, I am a big fan of the tomato-basil combo. I mean really, these two yummy, fresh ingredients paired together…how can you possibly go wrong? Which is why when I first saw this recipe, I fell in love.
I adore pesto, and throwing tomatoes into the mix not only beefs up the health factor, it boosts the flavor as well. And any excuse to use my handy-dandy julienne peeler is a special added bonus.  

My favorite non-electrical kitchen gadget of all time.

I strayed a little from the original recipe. For starters, I used pine nuts instead of almonds. I also opted for real tomatoes rather than the canned variety. More basil and garlic are always better in my book, so I increased those amounts as well. Finally, I cut back on the olive oil, omitted the salt, and used veggies instead of pasta for the carb watchers out there. And thus, Low Carb Tomato Pesto "Pasta" was born. Here’s what I came up with.

Low Carb Tomato Pesto “Pasta”
Serves 2-3
3-4 zucchini squash
2-3 yellow squash
½ cup pine nuts
1 cup fresh basil
1½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes (or 1 large whole tomato)
1/3 cup shaved parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Dash freshly ground black pepper
Water (if needed)
Olive oil spray

Use a julienne peeler or spiralizer to cut the zucchini and squash into thin, spaghetti noodle-like strips. (Here’s a quick YouTube video I found on how to use the peeler!)
Combine pine nuts, basil, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil, and pepper into a food processor or blender and pulse until mostly smooth. Add a little water to thin if desired.

Spritz a medium-to-large skillet with olive oil spray and add “noodles.” Heat over medium-high heat until the vegetable strips become flexible, about 3-5 minutes.
Add tomato pesto sauce to the pan and stir well to combine. Continue cooking until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, plate, and garnish with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, a few pine nuts, a dash of pepper, and a basil leaf, if desired.
Ohhhhhh. Maaaaaaaa. Gawd!!! I seriously didn’t think vegetables could ever taste this good! If you want the indulgence of a delicious Italian dish—without any guilt—give this recipe a try.

I’ve made this three times now and it just gets better every time. I serve it with a little crusty fresh-baked bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping sauce (you know, to make up for the carbs I cut out by not using pasta) and it’s one of my favorite new meals.
You can also use the pesto on top of whole wheat pasta or as a dip. I’m pretty certain it would be amazing on top of a grilled chicken breast too.

I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe as much as my family and I do. It’s a keeper!
Until next time,

P.S. I can hardly believe it but Recipes by Ryann turned one year old this month! WOOHOO!! I know I’ve been posting fewer recipes lately but life has been busy. I’m getting ready to start back at work part time but I will do my best to post healthy, delicious, family- and waistline-friendly recipes as often as I can. Thanks for reading and cooking with me. XO