Healthy Pasta Alternative: Pesto Squash Pasta

A couple weeks ago, I got home late from work and was dragging my feet on making dinner.  You know the drill… busting your butt all day and the idea of doing just ONE MORE THING is enough to make you want to just curl up on the couch and order in. Well, I fought the urge to do that, because I really wanted to try out this healthy pasta alternative.

Pesto Squash Pasta
Pesto Squash Pasta

I’m so glad I did!  This ended up being super easy to make, was done in 20 minutes, and was a real crowd-pleaser.  Dish load was low, too – I only used a cutting board, frying pan, knife, spoon, serving plates and utensils. 

Now, your average internet foodie blog would tell you that you must mince your own garlic and really should make your own pesto, too, but WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT?  My philosophy is all about making healthy meals both EASY and QUICK… so, yes, I use pre-minced garlic and jarred pesto.  No shame in my game.

Pesto Squash Pasta

Serves: 2

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 medium to large yellow or green squash (I prefer green because of its smaller seeds)

1 clove garlic or 2 teaspoons pre-minced garlic

2 handfuls cherry or small heirloom tomatoes (optional)

15 jumbo shrimp, thawed and deveined

2 tablespoons jarred pesto

  1. Peel shrimp and rinse under cold water
  2. Mince garlic (as necessary)
  3. In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic
  4. Once garlic begins to sizzle and brown, add shrimp and sauté approximately 2 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat and set aside
  5. Wash, chop off ends, and peel squash
  6. Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin slicer (note: my mandolin slicer scares me, so I went with the veggie peeler!), peel squash lengthwise into long, thin strips.  As squash pieces get small, peeling becomes difficult – just try to get the pieces as small and thin as possible so they cook evenly.
  7. Return shrimp pan to medium heat and add squash, stirring occasionally, until squash is heated thoroughly (approximately 5 minutes)
  8. Wash and chop tomatoes in half
  9. Stir in pesto and tomatoes, remove from heat, plate, and serve

You can serve with a nice green side salad for some extra veggie power and shrimp can be replaced with chicken, if that floats your boat.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.

In the comments, tell me what you think of using squash as an alternative to pasta.  Do you have any other go-to pasta alternatives?