This keto chicken and zucchini noodle recipe is one of our favorite ways to brighten up a keto or low-carb meal plan. With plenty of freshness from perfectly cooked zucchini noodles and kale and basil pesto, this yummy low carb keto chicken dish is a sure-fire winner when a high-fat keto meal just isn’t what you’re looking for.
Keto Chicken and Zucchini Noodles Recipe
Calories: 630 Fat: 32g Protein: 60g Carbs: 17g
- 2 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed, loosely packed
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for sautéing zucchini
- Splash of white wine vinegar or squeeze of lemon juice, to taste
- 4 large zucchini, spiralized or peeled into thin strips
- 4 cooked chicken breasts, sliced
- In a food processor, combine kale, basil, garlic, pumpkin seeds and salt.
- Pulse until finely chopped. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil, and process until smooth but still a bit chunky.
- Heat skillet with enough oil to thinly coat over medium heat.
- Add zucchini and pesto and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, until just warmed through and zucchini is still crisp.
- Transfer to serving bowl.
- Top with sliced chicken.
Is Chicken Okay on a Keto Diet?
Low carb and especially keto dieters can sometimes find that fat-rich meals can be a bit much, day in and day out. Especially without the option of the low carb diet’s beloved weekly cheat meal, people trying to remain in ketosis have figured out some creative ways (we’re looking at the invention of low-carb fat bombs here) to get in more fat when they crave a healthy, lean meal once in a while. Enter our delicious keto chicken and zucchini noodles!
Because chicken is such a lean meat, it’s not often pushed to the forefront of a keto diet guide. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be part of a well-rounded keto meal plan. Especially on a day when you’re looking to lighten things up, this keto chicken and zucchini noodles recipe can be just the satisfying and fresh, low-carb meal you’re looking for.
What Meats Can You Eat on a Keto Diet?
Fat is such a large part (think 70%) of your diet when you’re on keto that fattier red meats, fish, and bacon are often highly encouraged. But you can also add other sources of protein like chicken, turkey, and eggs when you’re able to supplement the dish with other healthy sources of fat like olive oil, heavy cream, and butter.
Are Zucchini Noodles Healthy?
Zucchini noodles, or zoodles as they’re called these days, are an excellent substitute for pasta in a low-carb recipe like this one. They’re spiralized, ribboned, or even julienned bits of zucchini that provide an extra shot of vitamin-laden veggies rather than carb-loaded noodles to your meal.
When raw, zucchini weighs in at only 3 grams of carbs (per 100g serving) and is a super low-fat, low-calorie food—largely due to its high water content, which can also help keep you feeling full longer. Zucchini contains plenty of potassium, folate, vitamins C and A, and iron as well. Zucchini noodles will also give you a good dose of calcium, rounding the summer veggie out as a great addition to any healthy meal.
Do Zucchini Noodles Taste Like Pasta?
One of the nice things about zoodles that makes them similar to pasta is that they are a great carrier of the flavors they’re served with. Whether you’re sauteing (as in our keto chicken and zucchini noodles recipe below), baking, or even preparing them raw, your zucchini noodles are a great vehicle for anything from a light vinaigrette to rich creamy sauces to heavier cheese dishes like zucchini noodle lasagna.
That said, you can’t fully expect a light, watery summer squash to taste the same or have the exact texture of a traditional noodle. The key is to go in knowing it’s a changeup from your basic spaghetti noodle and expecting something new and delicious to add to your low carb or keto meal plan.
How Do You Avoid Soggy Zucchini Noodles?
This is probably the top question amongst new zoodlers. Because zucchini is such a water-dense vegetable, it makes sense that the water may cause an issue during the cooking process.
Here are some great tip to avoid soggy zucchini noodles:
- Cook zoodles quickly and leave them al dente.
- Cook zucchini noodles first, then add your sauce.
- Drain in a colander and even pat them dry, if not adding sauce immediately or serving with a warm sauce.
- Add other veggies or ingredients (like eggplant or breadcrumbs) to your dish that absorb moisture and flavor.
- Eat right away to avoid water seeping out as the zucchini noodles rest.