Chicken Peppery Pesto Zoodles

This has been a weird week. Like, bat shit crazy.

The stomach flu hit me like a ton of bricks Friday night. Connor came home with the flu Monday evening, leaving me sleeping on an air mattress in the living room for three nights (true love, folks). Work has been… weird. It’s been busier and more stressful than it typically is, leaving me tossing and turning to Hey Arnold! (quit your judging) every night.

The worst part? The eating habits that come with weeks like these. It doesn’t help that Panera gifted me a month of *free bagels, making their Asiago bagel and veggie cream cheese a staple in my work lunch. But it gets worse. I had McDonald’s twice this weekend. “Had” as in, consumed two quarter-pounders with cheese and large fries. Considering I haven’t had McDonald’s in LITERALLY YEARS, calling it a shock to the system is an understatement.

What I’m getting at is that I was beyond excited to try out another Whole30 approved meal last night and feel healthy if even for a moment. It also didn’t hurt that this one was pretty dang tasty.pesto1

Chicken Peppery Pesto Zoodles

Makes: 2 Servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

You’ll Need:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp spice seasoning of your choice – I used paprika, garlic and red pepper flakes. Check your jars to make sure they’re Whole30 compliant.
  • 1 cup arugula, firmly packed
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2-3 zucchini, spiralized
  • TJ’s mini heirloom tomatoes (optional, but highly recommended because they’re adorable)

Here’s How:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet. Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt, pepper and your blend of seasonings.
  3. When the oil is shimmering, cook the chicken breasts for 3-4 min per side until browned.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, make your “pesto” – combine the arugula, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a food processor. Pulse until it the texture becomes consistent with pesto sauce. Note: This was the perfect job for the Magic Bullet!
  5. Remove chicken from the oil and place onto a paper towel.
  6. Without rinsing, add the zoodles to the skillet and toss with the pesto sauce. Place the chicken on top of the zoodles (add in the mini heirlooms if you’re using them!) and put the skillet into oven to bake for 15-20 or until the chicken has cooked through.

I’ll be honest with you. I was not expecting to really LOVE this dish. Homemade pesto (especially with arugula) sounded bland and I was already cranky from my week. The flavor actually exceeded my expectations and we will definitely make this again. I also really loved the texture of the zoodles when they were baked rather than sauteed. Taking mental note on that one.

Moral of the story is that I might actually be able to do this whole Whole30 thang (not a typo). Let’s just see how I feel post-Mardi Gras when I can’t follow-up these delicious recipes with TJ’s peanut butter salted chocolate truffles (yes, these exist and you should get them now) and a glass of cab. Woof.

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