lunchbox life: spaghetti squash with chicken and arugula pesto

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I’m back!  After three weeks away, I’m giving you a new lunchbox delight for your work week.  The last two weeks have been jam-packed with meetings, a conference in Athens, and community events, and blogging just didn’t happen!  Luckily, this recipe should make up for the absences.

I’ve written before about my affinity for spaghetti squash before, so I’ll just reiterate here how great it is.  If you haven’t tried it, it’s super easy to make and works well with many different spices and flavors.  This weekend was full of social gatherings: Friday night in Athens for not one, but two parties with friends, the Run or Dye 5K Saturday morning, a rockin’ bachelorette party in Atlanta last night for my friend Brooke, then brunch in Atlanta this morning before we made our way back to Macon.  This next week is also busy, including Halloween in the neighborhood!

Here’s the take on this recipe: you’ve got to try arugula pesto.  If you like basil pesto (and who doesn’t?!), you’ll love this sharper, snappier version.  The peppery arugula mixed with the bright lemon juice is a great combination, and while it would be great with spaghetti, it’s also fantastic with its lower-GI friend–the spaghetti squash!

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Arugula Pesto

2 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise

olive oil

3 chicken breasts

3 cups arugula

5 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 cup almonds (I used Trader Joe’s marcona almonds with rosemary, but you could use any variety)

3 Tbsp. olive oil

juice of 2 lemons

2 tsp. garlic powder

red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Halve the squash lengthwise.  Using a spoon, scrape the seeds out of each half, drizzle lightly with olive oil, then massage it into the flesh of the squash to make sure that it’s covered.  Season with 1 tsp. garlic powder, salt, and pepper, then place flesh side up on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes.

While the squash is cooking, spray the chicken breast with cooking spray, then season with the other tsp. of garlic powder, a dash of red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Place in a baking dish and put in the oven; cook for about 30 minutes, then take out and let cool.  Chop into bite-size pieces.

In a food processor, combine the arugula, parmesan, almonds, garlic cloves, and some salt and pepper.  Pulse until mixture is evenly chopped, then while the processor is on, slowly add about 2 Tbsp. of olive oil.

When the squash is done, use a fork to scrape the strands into a mixing bowl.  Add the juice of the two lemons, salt, and pepper.

In five separate containers, evenly distribute the spaghetti squash, chicken, and pesto.  When you’re ready to eat, reheat the bowl in the microwave and stir to combine the pesto and chicken with the squash.

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