dairy-free chicken alfredo sauce with zucchini noodles

Dairy-Free Chicken Alfredo

You’ll never know that this alfredo sauce isn’t the real thing! It’s made with cashews to give it a creamy texture and tastes just like a classic alfredo sauce. Keep it low carb and grain free by using zucchini noodles instead of pasta, and you have yourself a paleo, whole30, keto-friendly Italian feast!

My husband has Italian heritage and grew up eating delicious classic Italian meals. When we decided to transition to a healthier lifestyle, he begrudgingly gave up his beloved pasta. Up until recently, this surprisingly hasn’t been too much of an issue (mostly because my cooking is so delicious he doesn’t miss it as much as he thought he would *wink*). But with our upcoming trip to Italy in October and a recent cheat meal with pasta, his cravings have come back full force!

He looked at me the other night and in a very sad, mournful voice he said “I miss the pasta dishes we used to eat. Even if I have to eat zucchini noodles, I want more Italian pasta dishes!” If you know my husband, it was very dramatic…

Say no more, babe! I got you!

Easier said than done, though. Very few things about Italian cuisine aligns well with paleo — bread, pasta, cream, cheese, wine (sigh), etc. I’ve seen cashews used before to make creamy sauces so I thought maybe I could make that work as my cream. A quick search of the internet to confirm, and this dairy free, paleo alfredo sauce was born!

In case you’re wondering, I’m happy to confirm that this satisfied my husband’s pasta dish cravings. We both practically licked our plates clean! Don’t tell anyone, but we even shaved some fresh parmesan on top. We couldn’t help it!

dairy-free chicken alfredo sauce with zucchini noodles

My only tip for this one is to keep extra chicken broth on hand. Oddly, the cashew cream thickens up very quickly, so you’ll likely have to add additional broth to keep it a saucy consistency. Be careful not to over cook the sauce! It really just needs to be heated.

I used raw zucchini because the heat of the sauce cooks it just enough for me, but feel free to sauté the zoodles. If you’re meal prepping, I highly recommend keeping the zucchini raw because it will cook when you reheat it. Otherwise they will become sad and mushy zoodles.

Hope you enjoy this one as much as we did!

Dairy-Free Chicken Alfredo

There is no dairy in sight in this delicious, creamy chicken alfredo! It tastes just like the real thing, only healthier!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: alfredo, chicken, dairy-free, zucchini noodles
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 4 chicken breasts or thighs (I used bone-in, skin on chicken thighs)
  • 1/2 cup compliant chicken marinade (I used The New Primal's Classic Marinade & Cooking Sauce)

For the alfredo sauce & zucchini noodles:

  • 2 large zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup chicken broth + additional 1 cup as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (re-hydrated if needed)
  • 1 tbsp cooking fat
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

For the chicken:

  • Place raw chicken in a plastic bag or container and pour marinade over the chicken. Allow to marinate for at least 30 min to 1 hour. The longer the better!
  • Pre-heat the grill to medium-hight heat. Place the chicken skin side down and cook for 10-15 minutes. Reduce heat to meat, flip and cook an additional 10-15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165*F. (see below or oven instructions)

For the alfredo:

  • Using a high-powered blender or food processer, mix the cashews, 1 cup chicken broth, garlic cloves, lemon juice, 1 tsp fresh rosemary, salt, and pepper. Blend for about 1 minute or until the mixture reaches a smooth and creamy consistency. Add additional chicken broth as needed.
  • Heat cooking fat in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and broccoli. Cook covered until the broccoli is soft, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Add sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary, and cashew alfredo mixture. Mix to combine.
  • Continue to cook just until the cashew alfredo mixture is hot, about 1-2 more minutes (it does not need to be cooked). It thickens quickly, so add additional chicken broth as needed to maintain a saucy consistency. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Place raw zucchini on a plate and pour over the alfredo. The alfredo will slightly cook the zucchini while maintaining an al dente texture.
  • Top the alfredo with chicken and rosemary garnish. Enjoy!

Notes

To cook the chicken in an oven:
  • Preheat oven to 375*F.
  • Line a baking sheet or dish with parchment paper.
  • Bake chicken for about 45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165*F.
  • Switch oven to high broil until the skin reaches desired crispiness (about 1-2 minutes). Watch the chicken closely during this part!
To re-hydrate sun-dried tomatoes:
  • Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Allow to sit for about 10 minutes. 
  • Drain tomatoes.

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