ZOODLES WITH MEATY PESTO


When you’re craving the comfort food that is pasta, remember this glorious recipe. Using zucchini for the pasta makes for a guilt-free way to savor the flavors of Italy without destroying your blood sugar levels. Even whole wheat pasta will result in blood sugar spikes, but the “zooders” will not. Lean ground turkey and bell peppers give this dish a low-fat but filling flavor profile.

One does not have to look far to find doctors and other medical sites recommending diabetics eat whole wheat pasta. This “conventional wisdom” is poor nutritional advice at its best. Reading the label of any whole wheat pasta will show carbohydrate amounts as high, or higher, than white pasta. The higher the amount of carbs, the greater your blood sugar will spike. Whole wheat pasta can also hide countless low-quality ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), sugar or cellulose, a filler made from sawdust. Avoid the marketing health claims on packaged products and go directly for whole foods, like zucchini, to avoid being duped.

Allergens and substitutions: To avoid dairy omit the parmesan cheese and replace the butter with olive oil.

 

HEALING BENEFITS

Turkey is an excellent source of lean meat. A 4 oz (1/4 lb) piece of turkey meat can provide 65% of your daily protein needs. Turkey has vitamin B6 and B12, selenium and tryptophan. Since tryptophan is one of the building blocks for serotonin, it can cause sleepiness after eating. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and believed to be a contributor to our well-being and happiness. Only buy turkey (and poultry) that is raised without antibiotics to get truly healthy meat.

 

Bell peppers deliver on flavor, vitamin C and digestive fiber. This nightshade vegetable also has beneficial antioxidants for good heart and eye health. All bell peppers are heavily fertilized which is why they are on the Dirty Dozen list, so only buy organic. Here it is worth the extra money to reduce your intake to potential toxins.

 

PUTTING IT ALTOGETHER

Follow the instructions below to make this healing meal. Browning the meat in a pan with some butter will develop deep, complex flavors. This meal packs well as a lunch or is easy to reheat for dinner. It’s such a quick recipe since it uses a high-quality, premade pesto sauce that it has become one of our easy “go-to” weeknight meals. Trader Joe’s sells an affordable and delicious packaged pesto sauce. Look for it in the refrigerated section by the cheese and salami.

The hardest part of this easy meal is finding quality meat. You have to read the labels completely, since meat gets a lot of marketing words, most of which mean nothing. Ground turkey, whether from light or dark meat, should be from poultry grown without the use of antibiotics. This is the most important thing to look for on the label. If you do not see these words on the label, it is safe to assume that it was grown with the use of antibiotics. A great substitution for turkey is 100% grass-fed ground beef. Most of the beef in the US is “conventionally” raised on corn and antibiotics, producing cheap, low-quality ingredients. We buy a 1/4 steer every year and have pounds of 100% grass-fed beef in our chest freezer. Buying meat in bulk from local ranchers is the most affordable road to finding quality meat. Check out Local Harvest to find a rancher near you.

It’s good practice to pull out all the pots and pans you need before cooking. Likewise, pulling out the ingredients you need to measure or chop beforehand will simplify your cooking. The French call this practice mise en place which translates to “putting in place”. It is practiced in restaurants and taught to chefs in culinary school.

Zoodles Turkey Pesto Zucchini Ingredients

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is warm, add the butter or ghee to melt for 15 seconds. Add just the ground turkey to the pan. You can use a potato masher or wooden spoon to break the meat into smaller pieces while it browns.

Meaty Zucchini Noodles ii

While the turkey or beef is browning, you can prep the zukes. You can spiralize all 6X of the zukes and store for later use. Typically, I will reheat the meaty pesto sauce in one pan then lightly sear the zucchini noodles (zoodles) in a separate pan with ~1 tbsp of butter or olive oil. These gourds release a fair amount of water that needs to be cooked off before combining with the sauce. You can skip the two pan method and just add the zoodles to one pan with the sauce, but expect a watery bowl of pasta/soup.

If you do not have a spiralizer you can use a julienne peeler or just a plain potato peeler. A potato peeler will make something more like a ribbon noodle or fettuccine. While Dr. Valerie always points out that my spiralizer is a one-trick pony, I always argue that we use it at least once per week, so it justifies it’s space in the cupboard. Store your zoodles in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Zoodles Spiralizing Zucchini

After the meat has browned for 7-10 minutes, add the pesto sauce and optional red chili flakes. Stir to mix and cook for another 3-5 minutes in the pan. The pesto is made with different spices, so there’s no need to add more salt or pepper. The heat from the red chili flakes add good heat to the meal. Heat from spicy peppers opens up blood vessels and can increase the circulation of blood throughout your body – that’s a good thing! Another stealth benefit of the pepper heat is that it can greatly slow your eating pace. The slower that we eat, the lower our blood sugar spike will be soon after.

Mix the zoodles into the meaty pesto sauce to combine. Place in a bowl and top with the diced, raw bell peppers. Sprinkle your meal with the optional parmesan cheese and enjoy. Eating a gluten-free, egg-free lean pasta dish will both satisfy and nourish your body. Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days in a covered container.

 

ZOODLES WITH MEATY PESTO
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
When you’re craving the comfort food that is pasta, remember this glorious recipe. Using zucchini for the pasta makes for a guilt-free way to savor the flavors of Italy without destroying your blood sugar levels. Even whole wheat pasta will result in blood sugar spikes, but the “zooders” will not. Lean ground turkey and bell peppers give this dish a low-fat but filling flavor profile.
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 30 oz
Ingredients
  • Zucchini 6X
  • Turkey, Ground, NO ANTIBIOTICS, 1lb (Sub 100% Grass-Fed Beef)
  • Red Bell Peppers, ORGANIC, Diced, 2X
  • Pesto, 7oz
  • Butter or Ghee, 3 tbsp
  • Olive Oil, 1 tbsp
  • Optional: Red Chili Flakes, ½ tsp
  • Optional: Parmesan Cheese, Shredded, 4 tbsp
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is warm, add the butter or ghee to melt for 15 seconds. Add just the ground turkey to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat into smaller pieces.
  2. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the meat is no longer pink.
  3. Spiralize or julienne the zucchini noodles.
  4. In a separate skillet, lightly sear the zucchini noodles in a separate pan with ~1 tbsp of butter or olive oil over medium heat. Cook until the water releases then cooks off.
  5. Add the pesto sauce and optional red chili flakes to the meat. Stir to mix and cook for another 3-5 minutes in the pan.
  6. Mix the zoodles into the meaty pesto sauce to combine. Place in a bowl and top with the diced, raw bell peppers. Sprinkle your meal with the optional parmesan cheese and enjoy.
  7. Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days in a covered container.

 

Photo by  Sharunas Jurevic.[/two_third]

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