Dairy free and gluten free, this creamy cajun chicken pasta is a lightened up version of a comfort food classic! A cozy recipe that’s perfect for any night of the week. Healthy (but still so delicious!) and full of Cajun flavor! Gluten free, dairy free, vegan option.
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 12 ounces gluten free pasta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1/2 a large red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/2 a large yellow or orange pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- Pinch or two of cayenne (optional)
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning instead of onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, and thyme
- 1 1/2 cups broth, chicken or vegetable broth both work well
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
- Parsley, to garnish (optional)
- Before you start cooking – in a heat proof bowl, cover raw cashews with just boiled water for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour. If you’re in a hurry you can simmer the cashews on the stove top for about 10 minutes until they are pale and plump.
- Start a large pot of lightly salted water to boil for the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Reserve about 3/4 cup cooking water. Drain and set aside.
- In a small bowl mix together all the dried spices – onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, thyme, and cayenne (if using) until well combined.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. When the oil is hot, add the chicken breast pieces and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning mix. Cook, turning each piece of chicken so it cooks on both sides, until cooked through. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add the additional tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet with the diced onion, bell peppers, and chopped garlic. Sauté veggies for 3-4 minutes – until tender. If the bottom of the skillet gets too dark, add a tablespoon or two of water to release the brown bits and reduce the heat slightly.
- Add the tomato paste and remaining Cajun seasoning. Cook for another minute, stirring frequently, until spices are aromatic and tomato paste has darkened slightly. Remove from the heat while you make the pasta sauce.
- Drain soaked cashews and add to the blender with broth, nutritional yeast, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Blend on high for at least a minute – until super smooth and creamy.
- Return skillet to the stove top over medium low heat. Add cooked pasta, cooked chicken, and the cashew cream sauce. Stir to combine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for a minute or two, until sauce coats the pasta and chicken. As it simmers, add the reserved pasta water a bit at a time to thin the sauce until desired consistency is reached. If you need more liquid or if you didn’t reserve any pasta water you can also use broth or water. The more liquid you add the softer and creamier the sauce will be.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with fresh parsley if desired and serve!
Refrigerator: This dairy free pasta with chicken will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days in a sealed container.
Freezing: I would not recommend freezing this pasta. I haven’t tried it but I think that the texture of the pasta and sauce would not hold up well when re-heated.
To re-heat: The cashew cream sauce will thicken as it sits in the refrigerator. To re-heat, warm the pasta on low in a skillet or in the microwave, and add water, unsweetened nut milk, or broth to the sauce a little bit at a time, stirring in between, until desired consistency is reached.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: dinner
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: american
Keywords: pasta, cajun, chicken, dairy free, bell peppers, weeknight dinner, gluten free