Broccolini Pesto over Spaghetti Squash (And a Little About Snacks)

My sister Lauren and I started another self-created paleo challenge.  Like last time, we have each set our own standards of what we chose to eat and not eat, based on paleo guidelines and our knowledge of which foods make us feel our best.*   I’m on day 11 of 21 and Lauren jumped in on Tuesday and plans to continue for 12 more days.

Whenever we have done this, we try to touch base daily and support each other.  Here are some of our texts from the past 24 hours (edited slightly so we seem like we have a reasonable command of the English language instead of communicating like high schoolers. i.e. “I 4got – R u coming over 2nite?”)

Me: Seriously, this showed up on my desk today.  I am totally hiding it for the next two weeks.

Only the most delicious-looking chocolate bar ever.  Organic Fair Trade Salted Almond Dark Chocolate

Lauren: OMG I have this at home.  Soooooo good. Hide it now.

Me: Done, believe me… How was Day 1?

Lauren: Good.  I can’t seem to get enough to eat though.  I ate every bit I brought to work yesterday.

Me: Snacks rock!  I was low on snacks yesterday.  Not awesome. At all.

Me (again): Do you have more food today? I need to get more snacks.  We are so low on food, it’s crazy.

Lauren: Time to shop, lady!  You should write about 10 best paleo snacks for your blog.

That got me thinking.  What are my 10 favorite paleo snacks? When I wrote “Snacks rock!”, what exactly was I referring to?

After some reflection (yes, I reflect on texts and paleo snacks.  These things are important!), I realized that when I use the term “snacks” – especially during my paleo challenge — I am pretty much referring to eating smaller portions of the same things I would eat for a meal – except that I’m eating at a time that isn’t a traditional meal time.

For example, every day about 4pm, I have a 4 o’clock “snack”, which usually consists of a small portion of meat and vegetables.   My snacks are really the same as my breakfast, lunch and dinner – just less.

What makes my 4pm snack “rock” is that it ties me over between lunch at noon and dinner when I get home, usually around 7pm.  Having a good snack gives me strength to decline the holiday treats that appear in our office each day this time of year.

So, I don’t actually have a great list of my top ten snacks.  But I will share a recipe for something I ate as a snack (and as part of lunch and dinner) for several meals this week.

It contains a little dairy in the form of parmesan cheese – -but when I’m cutting out so many other things, I like to treat myself to a little parmesan.   It’s delicious.  You can leave it out if you don’t want dairy – but it’s better with.

*In case you care in the slightest– I am basically following strict paleo (including no alcohol) plus a bit of dairy minus dried fruit and sweet potatoes.   My goal is to focus on eating more vegetables and less sweet paleo treats.

Broccolini Pesto over Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash, 4 cups cooked

Broccolini, 10 stalks

Garlic, 1 small clove

Olive oil, ¼ cup plus some for drizzling

Lemon juice,  1 tablespoon

Pine nuts, ½ cup

Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional and recommended: Parmesan cheese, ½ cup or more

  1. First, cook the spaghetti squash, using your preferred method.  Here’s how I do it: Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.  Then, place squash face down in a baking pan with ½ inch of water.  Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, until outer shell starts to give slightly when you poke it.  Using a fork, scrape out squash.  Be amazed again at how cool it is that it just forms strands like that.
  2. Then — bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.
  3. Chop stems off florets, saving stems and florets.  Chop stems in half or quarters and remove any leaves.
  4. Drop stems into boiling water. One minute later, add florets. One minute later, remove from heat and dunk into bowl of ice water.  (The ice water will stop it from cooking any more.)  After a few minutes, remove broccolini from water and dry it off.
  5. Add broccolini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese into food processor to create pesto.   Split pesto into two batches of equal size.
  6. Measure 4 cups of spaghetti squash.  Mix half of pesto with spaghetti squash.
  7. To serve, serve a scoop of the squash/pesto mixture.  Top with some of the remaining pesto.  Garnish with a few pine nuts, more parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Makes four 1-cup servings