Creamy Chicken, Spinach, & Artichoke Pasta | GF, DF


In high school and early college days, pasta was a main food group.  Anyone else??  I had about a dozen (or more) variations I would whip up and honestly, they were all amazing!  Super easy, different combinations of proteins & veggies & sauces.  


But once I started being a little more mindful about how what I was eating made me *feel*, I started to identify which foods made me feel bloated and like I basically had a rock sitting at the bottom of my stomach.  You know the whole "food baby" thing?  And I realized that food babies weren't necessarily normal - or at least they shouldn't be!


I still LOVE me some pasta, and some days it's totally worth it!  But now that there are so many different varieties on store shelves, I'm getting my pasta game back - without the food baby!

Recipes like this get me excited because you can do them however works best for YOU and your dietary needs.  Swap out the pasta for a grain/gluten free version like we do (we love Banza which is made from chickpeas) or try a brown rice pasta (I've heard great things about Jovial Foods!)

Gluten not a problem for you?  Go with your favorite pasta and enjoy.  


This recipe is dairy free, with a cashew-based cream sauce that tastes like the richest restaurant Alfredo sauce, but is so dang easy to make.  It's done in the blender - "throw it all in" style!  I use coconut milk in most of my recipes because I like the creamy texture and the mild flavor.  If you're a dairy person or almond person... that totally works too!  It's not an exact science here.  Just take the flavor profile & mix-in ideas and do your own thing with it.  Use this as a guide!  That's all recipes are anyway.


Hope you enjoy this rich & creamy pasta dish as much as we do!  It was a very welcome throwback to the pasta days for us, and will be going in the "go-to recipe" rotation!

PS:  Trust your girl on the nutmeg, and don't skip it!  It adds the *best* balance and warm, nutty flavor to any white cream sauce - and even the small 1/4 tsp just adds something so necessary.  Trust!!!


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb dry rotini pasta*
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
  • 12 oz jar artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • Cashew Cream Sauce
    • 1/2 cup raw cashews
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
    • 1/2 cup mayo
    • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    • salt & pepper to taste


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease a large baking dish (about 9 x 13", or smaller is fine if you want less surface area browned) and set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
  3. Add all of the Cashew Cream Sauce ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Drain the pasta, then return to the pot.  Stir in the cooked chicken, artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic, and cream sauce until just combined.
  5. Transfer to the baking dish and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the edges bubble and the top begins to brown.  Serve hot, and enjoy!


*Notes:

  • Our favorite grain free rotini pastas are by Banza (made from chickpeas) and Califlour Foods (made from cauliflower).  Both have a taste/texture very similar to a typical pasta - you could easily trick your family!  ;)  Check out their websites for store locators to find their products near you, or purchase online.
  • For the artichoke hearts, I use marinated ones from Trader Joe's that come in a glass jar.  The ingredients are good and I love the added flavor.  
  • Use any milk you like - cow, goat, almond, coconut, cashew, etc.  Any will do.
  • I buy nutritional yeast in the baking section at Trader Joe's, online from Amazon, or in the bulk department from other grocery stores.  It gives a cheesy/nutty flavor but is dairy free.



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