Low Carb Keto Spaghetti with Pesto Sauce. 12g carbs per large serving.
Fancy pasta? Love pesto? Then you must try this super healthy, ketogenic take on an Italian classic: Genoese pesto pasta. And it’s easily changed into a VEGAN recipe.
Much as I may anger Italian purists with yet another of my ketofications, I couldn’t resist it. The original pesto recipe is pretty keto-friendly and healthy in itself, as it consists of herbs, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan. None the less, all nuts (except Macadamia nuts) are heavy in Omega 6 fats, which we generally understand to be pro-inflammatory unless counterbalanced by adequate amounts of Omega 3s. Same applies to cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which, as much as it carries an impressive nutritional profile, is high in Omega 6s. So, by changing the recipe a bit (well, a lot) I’ve shifted the fatty acids balance and created a monster keto recipe that is near perfect in terms of macronutrients.
Super Healthy Ingredients for a Super Healthy Dish.
Let’s take a look at what goodies are in my Low Carb Keto Spaghetti with Pesto Sauce.
Pine Nuts. Low in Omega 3s, but left in the recipe so as not to move away too much from a traditional pesto flavour. Italian pine nuts are by far the best in the world, albeit very expensive. Avoid Chinese exports, they are cheap for a reason – they are small, bitter and nasty.
Walnuts. Much higher in Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), so a good addition, despite being highest in terms of PUFAs , which are bad guys. It’s confusing, I know. Still, I have no intention of boring you with details here. Click on this link if you’re interested in finding out more. But I must warn you: if you then go on to try and figure out which foods are anti-inflammatory, you’ll find a plethora of contradictions. My take? I lean towards natural, unadulterated foods that contain high amounts of omega 3 EFAs. I try to aim for a 1:1 ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 EFAs. But I don’t overdo it with any particular food.
Anyway. I strongly advise you to buy shelled walnuts, they taste way better.
Hemp Seeds Hearts. No husk to break your teeth with and simply gorgeous. Lovely and tender little things with a neutral flavour. Hemp seed hearts are nutritionally brilliant and go really well in everything. They contain an almost optimal 4:1 ratio of Omega 3:Omega 6 EFAs.
Parsley and Basil have remained in the recipe. Highly nutritious and low in carbs. Perfect. Same for Parmesan. I use Parmigiano Reggiano because it has much stronger flavour. Make sure you buy Italian, certified Parmesan, to avoid eating fake, manufactured rubbish.
Flax Seed Oil. High in Omega 3s. Perfect to offset the high Omega 6s content of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Make sure the raw oils you buy are cold pressed, or their health benefits will have been obliterated by the chemicals (often petroleum and/or lab based) used to extract them.
MCT Oil. Medium Chain Triglycerides are the undisputed kings of healthy fats. For instant and prolonged energy, you can’t get better than this, as long as it’s derived from coconut – not palm, oil. The MCT oil I use is THIS ONE. If you’re U.S. based, there’s a product link within the recipe box.
Black Bean pasta. Just like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. I’m in the hate it camp and so is ketohusband. However, it is the best and lowest carb, pasta-like replacement on the market at the moment, so that’s what I cook pasta dishes with. The secret is to disguise its disagreeable taste by adding to it a lot of sauce that carries strong flavours. By all means, if you really cannot stomach black bean spaghetti, you can always use zoodles or shirataki (konjac) noodles instead. If you know of other low carb alternatives for pasta, please let me know in the comments. Meanwhile, I shall continue to experiment with making my own low carb pasta (sadly not going well at all…)
Cream Cheese. Added to increase bulk, creaminess and fat content to Low Carb Keto Spaghetti with Pesto Sauce.
How to Make Low Carb Keto Spaghetti with Pesto Sauce.
It’s ridiculously easy and with hardly any cooking necessary! It will take you minutes to make the sauce, using a blender, grinder, mini chopper or whatever gadget you prefer.
Admittedly, it’s not a recipe that’s shy on calories. But it is a highly satisfying main meal. For less calories, just reduce the quantity of oils and cheeses.
Even if you’re not interested in eating foods that are anti inflammatory, good for your cardiovascular system and highly nutritional ;D , you must give my Low Carb Keto Spaghetti with Pesto Sauce a go. It’s 100% keto, it’s filling and it tastes very similar to traditional pesto. So what is there not to love?
Finally, if you’re vegan, use a dairy free spreadable cheese or dairy free thick cream and a dairy free Parmesan alternative, and voila.
- Servings: 2
- Serving size: 1
- Calories: 971
- Fat: 75g
- Net Carbs: 12g
- Protein: 49g
- 30g hemp seed hearts (hulled) (click HERE for U.S.option)
- 30g walnuts (for U.S.option, click HERE)
- 20g pine nuts
- 1 small garlic clove (minced)
- 10g fresh parsley leaves
- 10g fresh basil leaves
- 60g Parmesan cheese (I use Parmigiano Reggiano)
- 120g full fat cream cheese
- 20g extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 20g flax seed (linseed) oil (click HERE for U.S. option)
- 10g (2 tsp) MCT oil (click HERE for U.S. option)
- 25g coarse himalayan pink salt (click HERE for U.S. option)
- a pinch of fine Himalayan pink salt (click HERE for U.S. option)
- a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper
- 120g black bean spaghetti
- fill a pot with 1.3L water, add 25g coarse Himalayan pink salt and bring to the boil.
- meanwhile, make the pesto sauce: put hemp seeds, walnuts, pine nuts and minced garlic inside a blender/spice grinder; blitz to a powder consistency.
- add washed + dried basil and parsley leaves, EVOO and flax seed oils; blitz again until smooth.
- transfer the herbs/nuts mix to a small heavy-base saucepan and stir in cream cheese, 4 tbsp of water, 40g Parmesan and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper; stir and heat gently until the cream cheese has softened and everything is blended nicely - do not boil; adjust seasoning to your taste and add a little more water if too dense; add the MCT oil as a final step.
- once the salted water starts to boil, add black bean spaghetti and cook for 5 minutes.
- drain spaghetti and serve immediately, topped with the pesto sauce and the remainder of Parmesan.
Don't boil the pesto sauce - the oils used in this recipe should never be heated to high temperature, plus you'd lose the classic raw flavour that characterises pesto.
Metric kitchen scales are an inexpensive yet invaluable gadget to enable accurate measurement of ingredients. Store them upright in a cupboard or over your worktop and they'll only take up a tiny bit of space. Click HERE for the ones I use (UK Link). For U.S. option click HERE.
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