Artichoke Lemon Pesto Chicken “Pasta”

Photo from PaleOMG -- way prettier than mine turned out! As usual!

Photo from PaleOMG — way prettier than mine turned out! As usual!

My friends Corey, John and I made this recipe from PaleOMG and none of us knew before trying it that artichokes, when sautéed and blended up in a food processor, taste luxuriously creamy and when garlic and herbs are added in there, it forms what I can only describe as the lovechild of alfredo sauce and pesto. So yeah…wrap your Paleo-lovin’ head around that and get ready for the satisfaction of a creamy pasta dish without the ensuing bellyache. This also comes together pretty quickly so it’s a good weeknight option!

Artichoke Lemon Pesto Chicken Pasta, from the awesome Juli Bauer at PaleOMG

Ingredients

  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (or chicken thighs if you prefer)
  • 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise (get a BIG one)
  • 12-15 artichoke hearts, cut in half (I used jarred artichokes that were in olive oil for more flavor)
  • ⅓ cup walnuts
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-5 cups of spinach (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 405 degrees.
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, place cut side down on a baking sheet, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until squash gives when you poke the outside of it.
  3. While the squash is baking, make the pesto and chicken.
  4. Place a large pan over medium-high heat, add a splash of fat and 1 minced garlic clove. As soon as the garlic becomes fragrant, add the halved artichokes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let cook until slightly browned and tender on all sides.
  5. Once artichokes are browned, add them to a food processor along with the walnuts, olive oil, vegetable broth, and second garlic clove. Puree until smooth.
  6. Then add the parsley, basil, lemon, and salt and pepper. Puree once more until smooth. Taste and add more lemon and salt and pepper to your preference.
  7. Once pesto is done pureeing, add the chicken to the same pan that you sautéed the artichokes in.
  8. Cook chicken over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
  9. Once chicken is cooked through, add in about ¼ of a cup of the pesto to the chicken along with the spinach, in the pan and mix well to coat. Cover and let cook for 2-4 minutes or until spinach is wilted.
  10. When your squash is done, use a spoon to remove the excess seeds, then a fork to thread the strings from the squash and make your “spaghetti.”
  11. Then add the threads of spaghetti squash to the pan (or a large mixing bowl if you need more room). Mix spaghetti squash, pesto, and chicken all together.
  12. Serve with some fresh basil on top.
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