Spaghetti Squash with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

After many months of planning, my husband and I traveled to France and Italy in early September. My husband had visited a few of the cities we were going to before, but it was my first time going. We had a few priorities while we were there, and I’m sure you can guess what one of mine was… enjoy the local cuisine! And, we did!

In addition, we did a TON of walking which kept us active and healthy on our extended trip. One of our favorite walks was in Cinque Terre between two of the villages. It was breathtaking.

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In Italy, dinner time is an event. There is no such thing as a quick meal, and it was so enjoyable. At first, it was almost strange to have two (or more) hour meals with multiple courses, but by the end of our time there, we found ourselves completely indwelled in the dinner time culture. It was a perfectly timed reminder that to-do lists may seem never ending, but they can wait.

Dinnertime there consists of multiple courses – appetizers, first course (or pasta), second course (typically protein/ meat), and dessert. My husband and I would usually split a first course, each have our own second course and then have either an appetizer or dessert to share each night. This way, we were able to try a variety of dishes without eating too much.

Another aspect that I truly enjoyed about meals in Europe was how fresh the ingredients were. Whether it was a fresh fruit smoothie at a market in Rome, fish that was caught that morning and served for dinner, homemade pasta or fresh herbs from a local garden, there was hardly anything processed.

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Pesto was everywhere in Italy, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to recreate one of my favorite pesto’s: sun-dried tomato! I decided to make my “noodles” out of spaghetti squash to create a lower carb entree, and this ended up being the perfect dish. I also used the leftovers for lunch and froze the remaining sun dried tomato pesto for future meals!

To prepare the pesto, combine the sun- dried tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, almonds, garlic, salt and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add additional olive oil until you have reached a pesto like consistency. Set aside.

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Making noodles out of spaghetti squash can seem daunting, but it’s actually a very easy process!  In order to soften the squash to make it easier to cut, microwave the squash for 6 minutes. Allow the squash to cool, slice lengthwise and spoon out the seeds from the middle. Fill a pan with about 1/2 inch of water and lay the squash with the inside part down in the water. Cook at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, until tender.

Once the squash has baked in the oven and cooled enough to touch, flip the squash over and use a fork to drag along inside. You will immediately begin to see “noodles” forming. Continue until all of the squash is used.

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Mix the pesto (1 Tbsp at a time) with the spaghetti squash noodles. You may need to mix in small amounts of warm water to thin out the pesto. Enjoy!

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Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 6.7 ounce jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (you can also use ~1 cup of the dried version and rehydrate them)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 4 garlic cloves, (more or less to taste)
  • ½ tsp. salt, to taste
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. To prepare the pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  2. Add additional olive oil until you have reached a pesto like consistency.

 

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