Paleo Pasta with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

After one wonderful week in Vancouver for a friend’s wedding, a long weekend in Paso Robles for my 1-year wedding anniversary, and a week in the Midwest for my husband’s cousin’s wedding, I definitely need to reboot my body! I ate lots of cheese (lactaids in hand, always), lots of gluten free breads and cookies, tons of sugar (‘cause it was vacation!), and my fair share of wine. Needless to say, when we returned from the last trip last week, I decided to go completely Paleo for at least one month. This means no grains, dairy, starchy carbs, sugar, or alcohol. I am already probably about 90% Paleo most of the time anyway, but how I felt last week made it clear that I needed to be super strict to feel wonderful again. It has been almost a week, and I feel GREAT. The first time I did strict Paleo (Whole30) a few years ago it was REALLY HARD. The sugar cravings were monstrous. This time, especially because I always try to limit my sugar, it has been much easier. When I refrain from sugar, I not only feel fantastic, but my skin looks amazing. It’s definitely worth it! So, for the next month, my posts will be Paleo-driven. Do not fear: this does not mean that I (and you) can’t have sweet treats! I will share some great treats made without any sugar at all. You’ll love them.

This dish is perfectly Paleo. The pesto is creamy and bright. The tomatoes are sweet and tart. The zucchini noodles make you feel like you are eating pasta. This dish is filling and will leave you feeling great!

You can certainly add in any protein you would like to this dish. Shrimp or chicken are both great with it! I cooked up some organic chicken tenders in olive oil with salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence. It was fabulous! It can also be vegan if you do not cook any meat protein to go along with it! You could certainly use tofu as well.

I used some of the leftover pesto the next morning with my eggs for breakfast. It was so delicious! If you don’t want leftovers, just cut the pesto recipe in half.

Have you ever tried Paleo? How did you feel? Do you have any tips to share? Comment below!

Paleo Pasta with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Serves 2-4 (but, seriously, the 2 of us ate all of it.)

Pasta:

1 package organic zucchini, 1 lb (Trader Joe’s)

1 lb cherry tomatoes (I used heirloom because they are so pretty!)

Extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch or two crushed red peppers

Sea salt and fresh pepper

Pesto (makes about ½ cup, perfect to use with leftovers!):

1 cup packed arugula

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

½ cup nuts of choice (almonds, walnuts, pinenuts…I used cashews, which made the pesto creamy!)

*1/3 cup nutritional yeast

**2 medium garlic cloves, peeled

¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

*this is a great product which gives food a yummy cheese-like flavor! It’s vegan, and it has lots of vitamins and minerals. Score! If you can have cheese, you can sub in parmesan cheese. Adding cheese in will no longer make the dish Paleo.

**if you have IBS or a very sensitive tummy, leave the garlic out. It is not worth feeling terrible all evening! I made mine without, and the pesto was flavorful and very tasty.

–another option is to use pasta in this recipe as well. If you are doing Paleo, then, of course, leave it out. You could use flax and quinoa pasta, which is very tasty. If you do, I would cook about 8oz of it and add it in with the rest of the ingredients. It would really bulk up the dish and serve many more people. At least 4-6. Four if it is me and my husband eating it…

Instructions:

Make your pesto: in a food processor or blender, add all ingredients except your olive oil. Pulse while drizzling in your olive oil until combined. That’s it!

Using a spiralizer, julienne peeler, or a vegetable peeler, peel your zucchini.

(Non-Paleo) Cook your gluten free pasta, if using, according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat up a swirl of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add your cherry tomatoes, a couple cracks of sea salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes, and cook until they start to brown and burst, around 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a wooden spoon or spatula and gently push them down, opening them up a bit.

Other option: roast your tomatoes on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400F for 15-20 minutes

Add in a few tablespoons of your pesto (eyeball the amount you want) and your zucchini noodles to the pot with the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes to soften the zucchini and meld the flavors, stirring well. Add in any additional sea salt and pepper to taste. Add in your gluten free pasta, if using, in the last minute. Enjoy!

photo 1 (17)

photo 2 (11)

inspired by Cookieandkate.com