Grilled Salmon Over Pesto Zoodles, Tomatoes, and Butternut Squash – Plus My Paleo(ish) Weekend

Zoodles. Zoooooodles. zOoDles. If anyone knows of a word that is more fun to type or say than this, please let me know. But good luck, because I can say with pretty high certainty that it doesn’t exist. “Zoodles”=zucchini noodles  AKA paleo pasta made from a food spiralizer (my new obsession). I just got my spiralizer and am already excited to try it next with carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. It’s easy to use and was pretty affordable at about $30 on amazon. I had this unrealistic expectation that in going from whole zucchini to zoodles by use of a blade and simple hand cranking rotation, the end product would somehow taste like real noodles and not like raw zucchini. But alas, no magical pumpkin-to-stage-coach Cinderella story…it needed to be drained and above all, it needed sauce. More specifically, some fresh pesto to make this Grilled Salmon over Pesto Zoodles, Tomatoes, and Butternut Squash.

The pesto recipe I used was from Against All Grain (I have a slight girl crush on Danielle) and it was delicious and really easy to throw all of the ingredients in my food processor (could use a mortar and pestle too). Food processors are amazing since there’s almost always no chopping, slicing, or dicing. Just dump everything in and press a button. My kind of cooking. The only thing I wish I would have done differently would be to at least double, maybe even triple, the recipe and freeze most using tiny jars or an ice cube tray (google how if you’re interested). Nothing beats the taste of fresh pesto and the next morning it gave my eggs a fresh-from-my-garden taste. My garden…which exists only as a figment of my imagination.

Now would be an opportune time to introduce my BFF, George. George does all my grilling for me (guys just seem to be better at grilling {sexist blanket statement, sorry if you’re a great female griller}) so I’m glad to have him around to grill what I want, when I want. And he doesn’t say much, but he’s a great listener…does it get any better that that? It’s likely due to the fact that George is actually an electrical appliance, also known as my George Foreman grill. Gottcha, LOL! But in all seriousness, I use my George on the regular (~3X a week) and is a great item to have if you’re starting paleo. It’s the easiest (and fastest) way to cook any meat. My favorites to cook on it include fish, chicken, burgers, steak, shrimp, and pork chops. It’s even great for throwing on veggies like zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and onions. For this, I bought a pound of salmon (around $10, about 4 servings) and drizzled some olive oil/rubbed in some cracked peppercorn seasoning before throwing it on the George for about 4 minutes. Delish. Everyone could use a little George in their lives.

Grilled Salmon Over Pesto Zoodles, Tomatoes, and Butternut Squash
Serves: 4

Paleo Pesto (recipe from Against All Grain):

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup packed basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Directions:

Toast the pine nuts in a medium-heat skillet for 5 minutes. Place all ingredients (except olive oil) in food processor (or crush all ingredients using mortar and pestle). Add in oil slowly while processor is running, until becomes a smooth paste. Blend for an additional 15 seconds. Makes 1/2 cup.

Zoodles with Tomatoes and Roasted Butternut Squash:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3-1/2 cup pesto
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • butternut squash, cubed

Directions:

Put zucchini through spiralizer and lightly salt/drain in colander for 10-15 minutes (to removed excess liquid). Roast squash in oven at 375 degrees F for 30-35 mins (or until lightly browned), tossing after 15 mins. Combine zoodles, pesto, tomatoes, and squash. Makes about 4 servings.

Grilled Salmon:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb salmon
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • seasoning of choice (I used cracked peppercorn)

Directions:

Drizzle oil and rub seasoning on salmon. Cook on George Foreman grill for ~4 minutes, or until flakes with a fork. Makes about 4 servings.

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My Weekend, Paleo Style

This weekend I went to hang out with my besties in College Station for the last Aggie home game. Staying paleo on the weekends is a big concern for a lot of people so I thought I would share how I made it work (90/10 style, obvi). For breakfasts and snacks, I packed Quest bars, a jar of almond butter, apples, and mixed nuts/fruit. Knowing how to order at restaurants (and being willing to feel slightly annoying while ordering), it is possible to eat paleo virtually anywhere!!

Friday night: dinner at La Bodega (Mexican)

No, sorry, but I didn’t order paleo queso. Because it doesn’t exist (as far as I know)…but I’m ready for someone to discover a good alternative. Really  ready. I ordered the “healthy shrimp tacos” (sans the tortillas and cheese, and requested grilled instead of fried shrimp) which came with a red cabbage slaw and pico. I was still hungry so I ordered a side of guac and ate it with a fork, sorry to be an embarrassment to my friends. To get my drank on: the 1/2 sangria (red wine, brandy, fruit), 1/2 mexican martini shaker (asked for no sweet and sour). I also get skinny margaritas at restaurants (but I try and steer clear of agave for the most part) but the skinny marg at Bodega tastes awful. Just awful. And, unless you are a serious tank, one shaker there usually does the job (good bang for the buck, and they have a 2 shaker max).

Saturday day: fraternity tailgates

IMG_6502

My friend Cameron with the sacrificed little piggie. Gig em!!

 

Tailgates are actually usually paleo-friendly since there is a LOT of grilled/smoked meat. This weekend I grubbed on some smoked chicken and some pork (yes, that’s a whole pig…doesn’t get much more paleo than that). No, the beers aren’t mine, duh…packed a water bottle of grapefruit vodka (wassup college days) and mixed it with ice and water.

 

 

Saturday dinner: Chipotle

Chipotle is paleo heaven. I go there lots when I’m too busy to cook, so next time I’ll have to snap a pic. I get a salad (no dressing), with carnitas, pico de gallo, medium salsa, guac on the side (they give you more when you order it on the side), cilantro, and red onions (you have to specially request the last two). Confession: I got fro-yo with my friend Kristin afterwards…and I enjoyed every bite. Even though it was the gluten-free, dairy-free Only 8 brand, it’s a far cry from paleo. YOLO, livin’ my life. Sorry ’bout it.

 

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