dinner recipes / gluten-free recipes / skinny eats

zoodles & chicken meatballs w/ avocado pesto

sneaking veggies into small children’s meals can be quite a task…

sneaking vegetables into your 24-year-old boyfriend’s plates requires DEFCON 5 culinary ingenuity.

as we linger in the produce section of the grocery store, i see him physically cringe as i reach for zucchini and avocados. “what are you planning on making with those?” he mutters angrily as he stomps toward the buy 1, get 1 chips.  the battle begins… i continue to sneak gluten-free linguini, fresh basil, and olive oil into our shopping cart. “WHY IS OLIVE OIL SO EXPENSIVE?!” he yells, as the old ladies in kroger stare at us as we engage in a full-on feud in the middle of the canned goods aisle… kidding. sort of.
alas, we are home from our journey to the grocery store and my mission begins.



  • gluten-free linguini
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. powdered garlic
  • 2 zucchini


  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil/minced basil paste
  • 1/8 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs (I used italian style, but panko is also great!)
  • 1 softly beaten egg
  • salt and pepper
  • grated parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Dice chicken breast into bite-size pieces and put on a tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Your food processor will have a much easier time “grinding” the chicken when it is more dense.

    and to think this was once clucking...

    and to think this was once clucking…

  3. Bring pot of water to a boil for your GF linguini and cook noodles to al dente w/ a little bit of olive oil, drain, and set aside.
  4. While your chicken is freezing, we’ll get the zoodles going. An important step to remember in sneaking in vegetables is to move as quickly as possible to keep from getting caught. For my zoodles, I use a Gefu Spirelli Spiral Slicer. It’s about $30 online, super easy to use, and is a must-have for those looking to eat healthier!


    Click photo to purchase!

Spiralize your zucchini into the pot with your GF linguini. Mix noodles and zoodles together with about a tbsp of EVOO, salt, pepper, and powdered garlic.

zoodles + noodles = magic

5. Remove the chicken from the freezer and combine the chicken, breadcrumbs, 1 softly beaten egg, 1/2 cup of parmesan, and S&P to taste in your food processor. Pulse all ingredients until chicken is minced and you see no large chunks remaining.
6. Form small meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Place in a sautee pan with about 1 tbsp. of olive oil on medium heat. I find the best method is to cook on one side for about 2-3 minutes, then flip them to the other side and cook for about 2-3 minutes, then roll them around in the pan to ensure no pink is showing. Make sure to keep your pan well-oiled so that the meatballs do not stick and ruin their shape.

my pan has seen better days…

7. As the meatballs cook, transfer them to a paper towel to drain any remaining oil. Then evenly place meatballs on a baking sheet (sprayed well with non-stick spray). Bake for 5-7 minutes in the oven to ensure they are cooked all the way through.
8. Now that you have your zoodles/noodles done and your meatballs in the oven, it’s time to create the most delicious pesto! Wash out your food processor, then combine avocado, parmesan, walnuts, olive oil, minced garlic, basil, and S&P to taste in the processor. Pulse until smooth.
avocado pesto
9. Time to plate and pray your boyfriend wants to eat in the dark so he doesn’t realize how much green is in this!
it’s green hues make it practically impossible to fool someone but if you’re able to threaten your picky eaters to at least try it- they’ll find that the zoodles maintain the same consistency as the noodles and the avocado creates a creamy, cheesy consistency similar to an alfredo. I garnished with parsley and some more parmesan and i’m happy to say there were finger marks sliding across his plate, trying to lap up the last bits of sauce!


there he is… the world’s pickiest eater 😉

price: $$$$ 15-20 dollars
difficulty: ¤¤¤¤ you feel comfortable with a food processor, mincing your own garlic and creating your own pasta sauces

 cheers, hannah

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