Dairy-free Alfredo Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

Why Dairy-free?

Today's recipe is a dairy-free Alfredo sauce made from a couple simple ingredients--mostly cashews and water (no dairy or wheat or any other thickeners!).

I'm not always an advocate of dairy-free diets. Quality dairy from pasture-raised cows is an excellent source of rich fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, as well as a good source of protein. Raw milk also contains a variety of beneficial enzymes and bacteria that are good for your health.

However, there are times when limiting your dairy consumption might be for the better.

Should you go dairy-free?

I've written a full blog post about whether or not dairy is good for you so you can read all about the ins-and-outs of milk and why it might be both good and bad for you, largely depending on what kind of cows you get it from. Each individual is different, so you might need to experiment with a few different dairy products before deciding whether or not to avoid it forever.

Pasteurized, homogenized, conventionally-produced milk is pretty much bad for everyone. In my post on whether or not dairy is good for you, I wrote

When we pasteurize milk we destroy [the] enzymes. We kill the beneficial bacteria. We damage the immune-boosting white blood cells. Essentially, we deaden the milk. This way, when put on the shelves, pasteurized milk lasts longer because enzymes and bacteria don't change the taste of the milk.

So if your only options are the cheap, ultra-pasteurized milk products sold at your local grocery store, dairy-free is a good idea. Avoid conventional milk products. Always. They are inflammatory and tremendously difficult for any person to digest.

If you suspect a damaged gut or an autoimmune disease, try an elimination diet and exclude all dairy for at least 3 weeks, watching to see if your symptoms improve.  Dairy products tend to aggravate these conditions. Most people, however, find that they can tolerate certain types of dairy products once they have healed their digestive system. Homemade kefir, yogurt, sour cream, or other fermented dairy products digest very easily and provide immune-boosting ad gut-healing nutrients.

Dairy-free Options

If you find that your symptoms improve after removing dairy, don't fret. There are lots of ways to still enjoy your favorite foods with healthy, dairy-free options while you focus on healing your gut.  My self-paced, online course will guide you through performing an elimination diet and walk you through the steps you need to take to heal your gut if you suspect damage to your gut. And, after healing your digestive system, many people find they can return to eating quality milk products like homemade yogurt or sour cream.

This recipe uses cashews blended with water to make a creamy sauce. Cashews are much softer than other nuts and create a creamier product than almonds or other nuts Avoid store-bought soy, rice, almond, or other milks as they contain added thickeners, flavors, and sugars which will further damage the gut.

Now. Drumroll please.... the recipe!

(Sorry, no fancy pictures today.. I didn't have time to take some legit photos but thought you'd enjoy the recipe anyways!)

Dairy-free Alfredo Sauce with Zucchini Noodles, Chicken, and Veggies

Aaaaaand I absolutely forgot to add the asparagus sitting on the counter, ready to be cooked and throw in! The original recipe is with asparagus, but I forgot to add it when I took these photos. So add it if you like, or leave them out! Up to you! This recipe will work with a lot of vegetables you have on hand or that are in season. If you don't have shallots, add red onions. Don't have bell peppers? Add tomatoes instead. Be a creative chef! It's your kitchen!

dairy-free Alfredo sauce with zucchini noodles

dairy-free Alfredo sauce

Dairy-free Alfredo Sauce with Zucchini Noodles, Chicken, and Veggies
Author: Amy MoffatPrep time:15 minCook time:15 minServings:2

Ingredients

1 cup raw cashews
2 cups filtered water
1/2 lb chicken breast
1 medium zucchini
1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c mushrooms, chopped
1/2 shallot, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried parsley
Sea salt/pepper
Butter or ghee for sautéing

Directions:

Add cashews and enough water to cover in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Simmer for 13-15 minutes or until cashews are soft. (you can start cooking the chicken while this is simmering)
Drain and rinse cashews.
Add the 2 cups of filtered water and cooked cashews to a high speed blender and blend until you have a smooth, creamy sauce.
Set aside.

Spiralize or julienne zucchini into noodles and set aside.
Slice chicken into 1 inch strips or cubes.
Heat butter or ghee over medium heat, add chicken and cook until browned on each side and no longer pink.
Remove from heat and set aside.

In a skillet, heat butter or ghee over medium heat.
Add the garlic, shallots, peppers, mushrooms, and carrots.
Sauce until fragrant and bright colors, about 4-5 minutes.

Add 1 cup of the cashew sauce, adding more as desired. Then add parsley, salt, and pepper.
Bring to a light simmer, adding more water if it is too thick.
Simmer lightly for 3-4 minutes.
Add the cooked chicken and zucchini and cook until heated through. (The zucchini will cook very quickly, there is no need to cook it longer than just a couple minutes).

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

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