I’ve been on this 5:2 Diet for well over a year now and I have a pretty good handle on what specific foods are low in calories, and what foods are high in flavour for little volume.
It’s funny then that this recipe idea hasn’t crept into my head beforehand. Zucchini has 17 astonishingly low calories per 100 grams – A super food for diet day cooking. Garlic, Parmesan, Basil pesto & Chili flakes all pack flavour punches for very little calories because they can be used sparingly. I’ve had Basil Pesto pasta before and it delicious, so it wasn’t a huge leap to replace the Spaghetti with Zucchini Pasta.
I only had enough Zucchini to make about 300 grams of the pasta, so this recipe doesn’t deliver enough food to satisfy 2 people for lunch. You can increase the Zucchini Past to 600 grams and add another 1/2 tablespoon of Pesto and clove of garlic if you want this as a meal on its own for two if you wish. As it stands the recipe tips the scales at only 121 calories per portion. I’m serving this with a couple of grilled chicken tenderloins per person to bring the calorie count for the entire lunch to 200 calories each. Prawns would work just as well.
The small sample I’ve just eaten is so packed with flavour, I won’t need to add any additional seasoning to the tenderloins apart from the usual Salt and Pepper. I’ve also mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating, 100 grams of raw chicken tenderloin is only 85 calories, so we are having just over two tenderloins each!
The Garlic and chili are added to 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a cold pan which is heated until the Garlic just starts to sizzle then the heat is turned off. The Garlic keeps cooking and becomes crispy and brown – delicious if slightly bitter. It wasn’t my original intention to have crispy garlic, but it was a pleasant mistake.
Garlic Parmesan & Pesto Zucchini Pasta
300 grams Zucchini cut into pasta ribbons
1 tablespoon Basil Pesto
5 grams grated Parmesan Cheese
2 cloves Garlic roughly chopped
1/4 tsp Dried chilli flakes
1 tsp olive oil
Put the pasta ribbons into a warm oven (140 C) on a flat tray to dry out. You only want to remove a little of the moisture not cook the Zucchini – 15 minutes should be fine, but keep an eye on it. Remove and allow to cool.
Add 1 tsp of olive oil to a cold frying pan. Turn the heat to high, and add the garlic and Chili Flakes. Cook until the garlic starts to Sizzle, and turn off the heat. Leave the Garlic and Chili to cool in the pan.
In a bowl, add the Zucchini, the cooled Garlic/Chili the tablespoon of Pesto and grate over 5 grams of fresh Parmesan, I use electronic scales and a Zester, eyeball a couple of tablespoons if you can’t weigh the Parmesan.
The verdict? This was delicious. I wish I’d had more Zucchini and had just of bowl of it for lunch. It got the thumbs up from her indoors as well.