Creamy Pesto Zoodles with Chicken
These Pesto Zoodles with Chicken are a light, healthy, and low carb meal you will want to make immediately. Between the creamy pesto sauce, tender zucchini noodles, and tender chicken - it's a meal everyone loves.
Creamy Pesto Zoodles with Chicken should move to the top of the list when you are looking for a low carb pasta dish. If you are a zucchini noodle love, you will also want to try these Asian Zucchini Noodles and Pesto Shrimp and Zucchini Noodles.
There are so many ingredients out there from which to choose when making a recipe, sometimes it's nearly impossible for me to settle on what to put with what. You all know I love veggie noodles, especially zoodles.
It doesn't bother me in the least that they're not "real" pasta, and in fact, I might love them even more that they're not for the simple reason that I can eat tons of them and not feel guilty about it in the least.
Top those noodles with a lean protein like chicken and some heart-healthy, homemade pesto and you've got yourself a five-star meal. I think that these Creamy Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Chicken are just so good.
The pesto is bright and full of the fresh flavors of basil, lemon, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. Then this is all tossed with zucchini noodles, a garlicky chicken breast, and cream cheese that makes a rich, creamy "pasta" dish that you will never believe is less than 400 calories.
That's right — less than 400 calories. And that includes a ton of zoodles. You won't feel the least bit jipped when you see the huge helping and savor the delicious flavors of one of my favorite chicken dishes.
What Makes This Creamy Pesto Zoodles with Chicken Healthy?
So many things make this veggie-packed dish healthy!
- Basil is a delicious herb that you can grow right on your windowsill. It is a good source of manganese, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K. It also has some calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Basil's essential oil is used as an antiseptic.
- Parmesan and reduced fat cream cheese are both good options if you want to use low-calorie and low-fat cheeses (and added calcium) but still have the desired cheesy effect — in this case the nutty Parm and the gooey cream cheese. Perfect together. Plus, the protein in them helps keep you full.
- Pine nuts are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids and they are a good source of iron, copper, and vitamins K and E. In short, pine nuts (like most other nuts) are good for your heart!
- Olive oil is one of those healthy fats you should definitely have in your diet, plus it's full of antioxidants. It is a great all-purpose cooking oil that you should use instead of vegetable oil, butter, or lard.
- Garlic is a low-calorie way to add lots of flavor to just about any dish, but it's particularly used in lots of Italian-inspired dishes. It is also a good source of vitamins C and B6, fiber, selenium, and manganese.
- Lemon juice and lemons are a good way to get in your daily intake of vitamin C. They are also a great source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. And, it's good for your teeth — bonus!
- Onions are the perfect start for just about any recipe (okay maybe not ice cream) and they contain a decent amount of vitamins C and B6, iron, folate, and potassium and are anti-inflammatory to boot.
- Boneless chicken breast is a great source of lean animal protein, a building block of muscle.
- Zucchini is a great summer squash and it has a very low calorie count — almost the lowest of any vegetable. Zucchini also has vitamins C and A, folate, iron, and potassium. It also contains zero cholesterol and almost no fat, plus it's low-carb and contains lots of water to keep you hydrated.
Side Dishes to Serve With Creamy Pesto Zoodles with Chicken
This dish is great alone or with a few other dishes I'd recommend, like:
- Healthy Kale Caesar Salad is one of my favorite side salads. It's okay — you can never have too many veggies!
- Crispy Baked Broccoli is another great dish to complement almost any meal.
- A nice crusty roll or slice of sourdough bread goes great with this dish.
- Try steamed asparagus or Super Simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts on the side.
- Try a side of fresh tomato bruschetta on a thinly sliced baguette.
- A fresh caprese salad on the side is another one of my go-tos.
How can I use leftover Creamy Pesto Zoodles with Chicken?
The leftovers of this dish are great! I'd suggest if you're going to make the zucchini noodles that you make them fresh every time you want them or they tend to get a little limp and soggy. If that's not possible, no worries — just be sure to drain any excess water before reheating.
This chicken is great sliced up on a bed of lettuce with your other favorite veggies or added to a wrap. You can also add the chicken to some whole wheat pasta with the basil pesto for a new twist on a pasta salad. Add in some sliced cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onions, and artichoke hearts. Or, cut the chicken into strips and add it to a panini or quesadilla.
Creamy Pesto Zoodles with Chicken
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- 1 cup basil leaves, packed
- 4 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 tbsp. water
- 1/8 cup pine nuts
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1.33 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4 zucchinis (or more if small)
- 4 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
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Add the garlic and chicken. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the zucchini. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and zucchini is cooked to your liking – about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cooked pasta, pesto, cream cheese, and water to the pan. Stir together everything and serve.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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