Spaghetti Squash Primavera with Basil Cashew Pesto (and a side of the truth)

I’ve talked a lot about FOMO (fear of missing out) on the podcast – you can listen to an episode all about it here – but it keeps coming up again and again. So, I’ll keep talking about it, again and again.

I’m just gonna shoot straight, as if you were right here next to me on a bar stool sitting at the counter. I’m sipping my cold brew with a glass straw because that’s how I roll and you’re having a hard time making food choices that are aligned with your goals because you feel like you’re missing out on “everything” (warning: you just might be manufacturing a teeny bit of drama with that perspective, but I’ll totally let it slide).

So first of all – c’mon – stop focusing on everything you feel like you “can’t have”. Obviously you can have whatever you want, but that’s not the point here.

What DO you want? What IS important to you? What matters most? I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest it’s not cookies and wine but maybe confidence, freedom from food obsession and to look and feel amazing.

Do you realize how dramatically your life and happiness would change if you focused on THAT more than on everything you feel you’re missing?

Do you realize that when you say “yes” to all those things you don’t want to miss out on, you’re choosing to miss out on what you just told me you actually want?

How ’bout some FOMO in THAT direction?

Change your mind an inch and you’ll change your world a mile.

The second thing I’d ask you is, “Are you eating foods you love or are you forcing yourself to eat healthy foods and thinking about all the things you’d rather have?”

I’m gonna keep it real because I’ve been where you’re at – if you aren’t taking the time to identify and prioritize foods you love that are also aligned with your goals, you won’t be able to sustain your approach.

Sure, you might be able to white-knuckle your way to fat loss choking down dry chicken breasts and boat loads of broccoli but you won’t maintain your results.

If you aren’t eating foods you love that love you back, you’re going to struggle. You’ll probably be on-again-off-again and you won’t be very happy. But I think you know that already. The question is, are you ready to do something about it?

Are you ready to change your perspective on FOMO? Are you ready to embrace foods you love that love you back and invest the time in understanding what that means for YOU?

Before you get all tripped out in your head – this does NOT mean you need to buy expensive foods and spend hours prepping and cooking. I certainly don’t! Let me give you an example of a fat loss friendly meal I enjoyed the heck out of (so much so it actually felt like an indulgence and I cannot wait to enjoy the leftovers today!)

Spaghetti Squash Primavera with Basil Cashew Pesto

IMG_8288

Ready for this one? Spaghetti squash primavera with cashew basil pesto & merguez sausage!

It sounds fancy but it’s not. I’ll prove it to you!

Let’s talk about the pesto. First, I made it myself. Second, it took about 5 minutes. I’ve been using it as a salad dressing, mixed into veggies like with this squash and I might be flat out eating it off the spoon when I want a snack.

Here’s what you’ll need for the basil cashew pesto:

  • fresh basil
  • unsalted cashews
  • garlic cloves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

Now, when I cook, I cook for 1 but I also cook to have leftovers (so I don’t cook as often). I’m going to give you ratios for this recipe so you can scale it according to how much you make.

  • 2 parts loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 part extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 part cashews
  • garlic
  • salt

Here’s how I made it

  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 raw garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt

IMG_8267

I tossed all that in my Vitamix blender and then into the fridge. I actually made this a couple days before this spaghetti squash primavera and decided at the last minute that it would add tons of flavor! More on the pesto in a minute.

Spaghetti squash is super easy. I’m not a gourmet cook or a recipe writer but, like I said, we’re just chatting in my kitchen so I’ll happily tell you what I did.

I cut the squash in half length-wise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon then drizzled the inside of the squash with olive oil. After lining a baking sheet with foil (fewer dishes to wash!), I put the squash face down on the foil.

I popped mine in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. If you want your squash more tender, you can cook it longer, but you should probably google it because if you cook a small squash for 25 minutes, it might be mushy. Mine was a big guy and I always kind of wing it. Basically, I take it out when I’m tired of waiting. (I told you! I’m not a cook!)

While the squash was cooking, I had 2 skillets on the stove. In one, I was cooking 1 link of merguez sausage I’d picked up from the farmers’ market. You could use absolutely any protein. Ground beef, grilled chicken, chicken thighs, chicken sausage – whatever your hungry heart desires! Heck, got leftovers? Use that and skip a step!

In the other skillet, I warmed some olive oil before adding 2 chopped cloves of garlic and a sliced sweet onion. I let them cook down, stirring occasionally while the squash and sausage cooked. (I was not tending to this stuff, I was going back & forth into the living room paying far more attention to Netflix than to this low-maintenance dinner prep).

(Yes, clearly this a high-garlic meal. Don’t like garlic? Skip it! Recipes are suggestions, my friends. Just suggestions.)

Once the squash was done, I grabbed a potholder and a fork to scrape it right into my bowl. Yup, I ate one half of the squash all by myself! All the veggies, please! I added about 1 tbsp of the basil cashew pesto to the squash and stirred it all up, the heat from the squash melting the pesto a bit, as it had solidified a bit in the fridge.

I topped the bowl with half of the onion/garlic mixture, then about 6 sliced (raw) cherry tomatoes, the sausage and sprinkled the whole thing with a few garlic chips I had recently bought at a gourmet market (it’s just toasted garlic slices).

It was amazing. I have the other half in the fridge for today, all I have to do is slice up a couple tomatoes and cook another sausage link!

I didn’t feel deprived, I didn’t feel stuffed, every single bite felt like an indulgence.

Did I want dark chocolate afterwards? Yup, I did. I thought about it and asked myself, “just for today, can I pass on that?” Yup, I can.

I asked myself, “When you’re in bed tonight, would you be more glad that you enjoyed the chocolate or more glad that you passed on it?”

I’d be more glad if I passed on it.

Well, I’m in the business of feeling good, making myself proud and eating foods I love that love me back so the chocolate choice was a no brainer!

Here’s to finding foods you love that love you back!

If you enjoy this recipe, let me know!


Want 100 Fat Loss Meal Ideas?

Sign up here to get 100 fat loss meal ideas plus weekly motivation, tips, workouts & recipes!

12 replies
  1. Lee Anne
    Lee Anne says:

    I needed this – both the awesome recipe and the reminder about FOMO. Thanks!
    (Bought 2 heads of cauliflower and diced the bejeezus out of them, & popped them in the freezer. As someone who didn’t eat a veggie that wasn’t steamed or drowned in balsamic until her 30s, I am SO in love with cauliflower! WHO KNEW IT WAS SO VERSATILE ANS GOOD?!)

    Reply
  2. Linda
    Linda says:

    Omg this pesto is amazing!! I stir fried some chicken pieces and threw I’m some onions and tomatoes, in the end a spiralized zucchini, topped it all with the pesto. Yum!! Thanks for the inspiration and recipe! How long does the pesto last in the fridge (I’ll probably eat it all long before it goes bad, but good to know for bigger batches)?

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Benton
      Elizabeth Benton says:

      Hi Linda! I’m so glad you liked it! You could use it in so many days! As for how long it keeps – first, you can always freeze it. I kept it in the fridge for 4-5 days and it was totally fine but beyond a few more days than that, I’d probably toss it in the fridge.

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Spaghetti Squash Primavera with Basil Cashew Pesto […]

  2. […] Spaghetti Squash Primavera with Basil Cashew Pesto […]

  3. […] I’ll make my spaghetti squash primavera with cashew basil pesto or a beautiful burger with bacon & avocado. Either way, I’ll patiently and presently […]

  4. […] Spaghetti Squash Primavera with Basil Cashew Pesto […]

  5. […] Spaghetti Squash Primavera with Basil Cashew Pesto […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *