When I started paying close attention to the foods I ate, I thought that creamy pastas would be out the door forever. I never imagined I could follow a (mostly) paleo lifestyle and still eat a creamy cajun chicken pasta. But, this recipe, you can eat without guilt!
One of my favorite things to do is find the most appealing, but unhealthy, dishes on a restaurant menu. When I get home, I’ll try to recreate the meals myself – but a healthier version. Sometimes it works out, other times, it’s a total fail. However, through all this experimentation in the kitchen, I’ve found a couple of ingredients that are wonderful substitutes. One of my favorites is coconut milk.
This recipe is inspired by a creamy chicken pasta dish my mother in law ordered at a restaurant. It was delicious, but it was made with lots of butter and heavy cream. In an effort to recreate a healthier version, I started with the classic New Orleans’ “trinity” – onions, peppers, and celery. Next, I layered both traditional and non-traditional ingredients. That non-traditional ingredient, coconut milk, is what makes it satisfyingly creamy.
See the Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe below for the other ingredients.
Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta (Dairy + Gluten Free)
First, you want to make the “trinity”. This recipe will make more than you need, but you can freeze the remainder for future recipes. Roughly chop the celery, onion, and pepper, and place in a food processor. Puree until finely minced and well combined. Set aside one cup of the trinity for the recipe. You can freeze the remainder.
Meanwhile, fill a large stock pot with water and bring to boil.
Next, dice the chicken tenderloins into 1 inch pieces. Pour olive oil in large saute pan and turn to medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add chicken and saute until nicely browned on each side. Remove chicken from the pan.
Turn down heat to medium; add the trinity vegetables you set aside to saute pan. Stir in garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add chicken back to pan, along with the coconut milk and cajun seasoning (add more seasoning if you like). Turn down heat to medium-low, cover, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
While chicken is simmering, water should have come to a boil. Cook pasta according to instructions on box, minus about 2 minutes. Drain and combine with chicken + sauce. Simmer for about 2 minutes, and top with green onions.
Serve immediately. I promise, you won’t miss the gluten or dairy!