Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta

This is my go-to creamy sauce recipe, cooked with chicken and served over low carb spaghetti. Prepare to have your pasta cravings satisfied.

Serves 4

Ingredients

500g chicken, evenly cubed.

2 packs Slendier konjac spaghetti*

2 tsp oil (to cook the chicken)

For the sauce

2 cups fresh basil leaves**

2 large (or 4 small) cloves of garlic, crushed

1/4 cup olive oil

60g pine nuts

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

2 cups full fat cream***

salt & pepper to taste

Pesto

Method

Prepare your konjac spaghetti by giving it a good rinse to get rid of any smell. Put it in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 1 minute, then drain and set aside.

Add the basil and garlic to your food processor

Turn it on, start whizzing and add your oil very slowly in a thin stream. Stop to scrape down the sides if you need to.

Process until the mixture starts to emulsify, usually takes about 45 seconds.

Add the pine nuts and parmesan and blend until evenly combined. Should take about a minute.

Put your pesto aside and warm your oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat. When using oil to cook meat, use one with a high smoke point like rice bran oil. Check the smoke points of common cooking fats here. 

Place your cubes of chicken into the pan in a single layer. The pieces shouldn’t touch each other. If you have too much chicken for one layer, cook in two batches or risk accidentally boiling your meat. Gross.

Cook one side until golden brown, between one and two minutes.

Flip the chicken over and cook the other side in the same way.

Keep turning the chicken for a further four to six minutes, or until all sides are sealed and the largest piece is white all the way through.

Turn off the heat and remove the chicken from the frypan.

Add the cream to the still hot pan and stir.

Add the pesto, salt and pepper to the cream and stir to combine.

Return the chicken to the pan, followed by the pre-prepared konjac spaghetti. Combine everything well.

Turn the heat back on, keeping it low. Re-heat gently, being careful not to boil. Once heated through, serve. 

3.2g active carbs per serving

pestopasta

Slendier is a brand of konjac noodles and pasta. You can now find it on shelves in most Australian grocery stores. Check the health food aisle. Konjac noodles are insanely low calorie and carb. They have the texture similar to rice noodles and are as easy to cook as regular pasta, if not easier.

** The difference between fresh picked basil and the stuff you buy from the shops is huge. Basil loses flavour rapidly after being picked. The fresher the better.

*** Creams vary wildly in carb count, so shop around. I use Sunnydale Dairy heavy whipping cream (0.9g carb per 100g) or Gippsland Dairy pure double cream (1.9g carb per 100g.)

Brandspesto

Broccoli and Pancetta Salad

For me, the words ‘Broccoli’ and ‘Salad’ never conjured up images of mouthwatering meals. Until this recipe came along. It was inspired by a Broccoli salad from a local IGA. A few tweaks made it more keto friendly and, if I can blow my own trumpet here, a lot tastier. It’s a great dish to take to a bbq.

Serves 6 (or 4 very hungry people)

Ingredients

For the salad:

1 medium head of broccoli (≈ 300g of florets)

4 spring onions (≈ 50g)

2 large celery ribs (≈ 120g)

150g flat pancetta (or bacon)

100g toasted pine nuts*

For the dressing:

1/3 cup mayonnaise**

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar***

1 Tbsp water

salt & pepper to taste

 pancetta

Method

 

Toast the pine nuts in a 180 ºC oven for about 8 minutes or until golden. You may need to toss them midway to prevent burning. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Fry up your pancetta (or bacon) until all the fat renders and the meat is nice and crispy. Put aside on some paper towel.

Make sure your broccoli is really clean. Since you won’t be cooking it you’ve got to wash all the crap off.

Slice the broccoli finely. Aim for small bite-sized pieces. Don’t worry if some of the florets crumble.

Very finely slice the spring onions. Use only the white and light green parts.

Very finely slice the celery ribs. A mandoline makes this a lot quicker.

 Crumble the pancetta

Throw all these ingredients into a bowl and toss to combine.

For the dressing add the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, water, salt and pepper to a bowl and whisk to combine.

If the dressing is not the desired consistency, add water to loosen or mayonnaise to thicken.

Dress the salad to your liking (I use all of it…) and serve! Goes great with chicken.

3.6g active carbs per serving

brocsalad

*Google’s carb count for pine nuts is much higher than that on the packets of any I’ve used. It’s possible we have different nuts here in WA (I use Stirling Foods pinenut kernels,) or the labels could be wrong. If you’re worried, substitute toasted pine nuts for toasted slivered almonds.

** Not all mayo is created equal. Some brands are loaded with sugar. Go for the brand with the lowest carb count and the simplest ingredients. Our fave is Doodles Creek mayo, but Paul Newman’s Own Whole Egg Mayonnaise is on most shelves and also a great option. Failing that, Praise Real Whole Egg mayo is good, easy to find and tasty, if not a little higher in carbs.

*** You’ll find a lot of red wine vinegar still has a good deal of sugar in it. I use Maggie Beer Aged Red Wine Vinegar. It clocks in at less than a gram of carbs per 100ml.