Ella Eats: Chicken and pesto with zoodles

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This is one of our favourite mid-week lunches or dinners that is perfect when you’re running short on time. It can be made with leftover roast chicken, or freshly cooked diced meat. The pesto can be pre-made and stored in the fridge for about a week, so
it’s ready to add on the spot.

If you haven’t yet tried zucchini “noodles,” they are amazing. They are fresh and easy to make, full of nutrition and don’t contain gluten, which is high on the inflammatory list. As we explained in the ginger anti-inflammatory tonic recipe, inflammation is necessary for healing, recovery and repair, however, problems arise when the inflammatory response by the body becomes chronic or systemic. It can increase the risk of injury and illness and prevent cycling strength and performance gains.

If you don’t have a spiraliser at home, you can create a similar effect with a peeler, just make thin peels down the length of the zucchini. Carrot works well too.

Chicken and pesto zoodles

(serves 2)

For the pesto:

Ingredients:

  • 1 basil plant or large bunch, large stems removed
  • ¾ cup (177ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large kale (Tuscan cabbage) leaves, de-stemmed and chopped (about 1.5 cups/100g)
  • ½ cup (80g) raw cashews
  • ¼ cup (30g) pistachios
  • 1 tbsp. chopped mint
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Place all the pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Scrape into an airtight jar and keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week (it will also freeze well – I use and ice-cube tray)

For the zucchini pasta

Ingredients:

  • 4 green zucchinis (courgettes)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
  • 2 skinless chicken thigh fillets, quartered
  • ¼ cup (65g) kale and basil pesto (see above)
  • Handful of spinach leaves, to serve

Directions:

1. Place all the pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Scrape into an airtight jar and keep in the refrigerator.

2. Roughly peel the zucchini and chop off both ends. Using a handheld julienne device or vegetable spiraliser, process the zucchinis into noodle-like pasta, discard the core (or use it in your next green smoothie!).

3. Heat the oil in a pan on medium-high. Add the chicken, turning regularly until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the pre-made pesto and stir for 1 minute to coat the chicken.

5. Add the zucchini and stir for another minute. Turn off the heat and dish into bowls immediately to prevent the zucchini from turning soggy.

Lizzy Marsh is a qualified exercise scientist and nutrition consultant. She has worked with a range of both elite and recreational athletes in the areas of performance testing, nutrition, strength and conditioning and holistic health. When she’s not coaching classes at the Melbourne-based gym she owns with her brother, Lizzy loves cycling, yoga, trail running and fly fishing. As an ambassador for Specialized Australia and lululemon athletica, Lizzy is passionate about inspiring more women to ride bikes, get stronger and feel good. You can follow Lizzy on Instagram or read more about her here.

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