In light of National Nutrition Month, our Wellview Health Dietitians are taking over Menu Monday Blogs for the month of March. I work with many participants who are looking for healthy dinner ideas and ones that make leftovers, to boot. Additionally, many individuals state that they try to limit pasta intake for various reasons, which may or may not be necessary depending on the individual and considerations like portions and preparation method, but thought this pasta "alternative" would be a welcomed answer to many people's weeknight dinner rut.Spaghetti squash will lower the meal's carbohydrate and calorie count when compared to traditional pasta. Additionally, spaghetti squash is a nutrient-dense choice, meaning you'll get a hefty dose of health-promoting micronutrients such as potassium and Vitamin A. It is also an easy way to "sneak" veggies into your family's menu. Trying to eat healthier as a family? Let the kids get involved in the prep. Kids will love to help scrape the squash after it is cooked and see the spaghetti come to life. Most kids will have an increased interest in trying new foods if they have helped in their preparation. Pair with a non-starchy green to round out the meal like broccoli, asparagus or a side salad. I hope you enjoy branching out and bringing new flavors to life in your kitchen this week. Need more weeknight meal assistance? Schedule a consult with any of our Registered Dietitians; we are here to help.Bon appetit!
White Bean and Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 50 minutes | Servings: 6 servingsIngredients
- 1 med/med-large spaghetti squash
- 3/4 cup pesto (store-bought is fine, or you can make your own if desired)
- 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts thinly sliced or pounded to 1/2" thickness
- 2 Tbsp olive or canola oil to sauté the chicken
- Sea salt pepper, and onion powder to season chicken
- 1-16 oz. can of reduced-sodium white beans, rinsed
- First, roast the squash (you can do this step a day ahead of time, or during your meal prep and simply store the cooked squash in the fridge until ready to use.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment.
- Cut the squash in half, lengthwise using a large sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds and strings, then place face-down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Add a bit of water to the baking sheet to prevent from drying out and sticking.
- Roast in the 425 oven for about 20 minutes or until the squash can be pushed from the outside a bit with your finger. Do not overcook or it will be mushy! Once you remove the squash, lower the oven to 400 degrees.
- Allow the squash to cool enough to handle, and, using a fork going lengthwise down the squash, remove spaghetti strings from both sides of the squash and place in a large bowl.
- To drain the "spaghetti", squeeze once or twice between paper towels to absorb excess moisture. This step is important to get the texture of the dish right, no mushy, watery spaghetti squash.
- While the squash rests, cook the chicken. Heat a large skillet over med/med-hi heat and add your cooking fat. Sprinkle the chicken lightly with salt, pepper, and onion powder on both sides, then add to the pan and cook about 3 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove from pan to a plate, and allow to cool a bit. Once cool enough to handle, slice or chop into bite-size pieces.
- In a casserole dish, gently toss the spaghetti with the chicken and pesto to fully coat, toss in white beans.
- Put the casserole dish in the oven for about 10 minutes, or enough time to fully heat through and blend everything. Remove and serve!
- Additional delicious add-ins lightly roasted cherry tomatoes or chopped basil.
- Calories: 420 cal
- Fat: 20g
- Saturated fat: 6g
- Cholesterol: 75mg
- Sodium: 570mg
- Fiber: 8g
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