Flavorful pesto spaghetti sauce is adaptable to many diets

Pesto-Olive Spaghetti Sauce

Pesto-olive spaghetti sauce, January 2014

As I write this I’ve been eating according to an autoimmune protocol (AIP) for a couple of weeks. 

The diet is a variation of the paleo diet, but it also excludes potentially inflammatory foods such as eggs, nuts, tomatoes, and coffee. It’s a personal experiment to learn how these foods affect me when I reintroduce them after 30 days.

How’s it going? Well, I haven’t seen marked health benefits, but I don’t feel too deprived. OK, I do miss my morning coffee, and I’ve had to improvise on-the-go snacks, because nuts were my go-to for quick energy. But I haven’t felt hungry, and we are eating very well, having already had dinners of cream of chicken soup, lamb chops roasted with root vegetables, and tomato-free meat sauce over spaghetti squash “noodles.”

Here is the recipe for pesto-olive meat sauce. Depending on the pesto you use, the sauce can be adapted to diets that do include dairy and nuts by using traditional pesto, which you can make yourself or  purchase in the deli case at most grocery stores. To make the sauce AIP-friendly, I used a nut- and cheese-free spinach pesto. Make a batch and freeze the extra to use in soups or stews or to toss with noodles.

Pesto-Olive Spaghetti Sauce
5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Main
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
This meat sauce includes pesto, which can be purchased or homemade and may or may not include nuts and Parmesan cheese. A large batch can be made ahead and frozen in an ice cube tray. Serve over spaghetti squash "noodles."
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives (about 1/2 of a 6-ounce can)
  • 1/4 cup pesto (if you wish, nut- and cheese-free pesto)
  1. In a large skillet, warm oil over medium heat. Add ground beef, Italian seasoning and salt. Cook and stir, crumbling the beef, until no longer pink.
  2. Raise heat to medium high, cooking and stirring for a minute or two, until any water cooks away and bits of the beef are dark brown and slightly caramelized.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in olives, then pesto. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash "noodles."
Calories: 338; Fat: 20g; Saturated fat: 5g; Carbohydrates: 2g; Sugar: 1g; Sodium: 608 mg; Fiber: 1g; Protein: 36g; Cholesterol: 108mg.


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7 Responses to “Flavorful pesto spaghetti sauce is adaptable to many diets”

  1. Sara Beth says:

    My family loved this recipe! Delicious. I’m sharing with other friends too. Thank you for a Paleo, nightshade free meal. I added garlic powder and onion powder, plus a little black pepper. Fresh onion and garlic would be delicious too. I doubled the recipe but didn’t need to double the pesto.

    • ebaran says:

      Thanks for letting me know, and for sharing, Sara Beth–I’m so happy you liked it!

      Unfortunately, my husband can’t tolerate onions, garlic powder, or pepper, thus my minimalist ingredients. Your additions would taste great.

  2. This looks great, and I look forward to hearing about your progress with the auto-immune protocol! Good luck and hope it helps.

    Thanks so much for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, I’ve pinned it 🙂

  3. Amber says:

    Simple, elegant recipe! Thank you for sharing with us on AFW. I’m featuring this recipe this week. 🙂

    Be Well,

  4. Erin says:

    Yum! This sounds absolutely delicious 🙂 Pinning to my AIP board!

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