So, I’ve just come back from a few weeks away, having spent a week in New York for both business and pleasure, and then a few days in Toronto to catch up with friends. After those two stops, it was off to Jamaica for a friend’s wedding. While these three destinations don’t have too much in common, the thread that wove through all of them was my enthusiasm for rich food and plenty of drink, as well as an aversion to any considerable exercise.
Back to my daily routine at home, I’ve tried to squeeze in some healthier eating between the trip and the upcoming holidays, where I’m destined to engulf any snack table that gets in my way. The thing is, I’m still harbouring a taste for richer fare, and it was a creamy pasta that I had a hankering for the other day. I’d been out running errands and saw an ad on a bus shelter with a plate of fettuccini Alfredo on it, and that’s all it took. I decided I needed to have something of the like for dinner. (I can’t believe I’m even sharing this, it doesn’t sound too pathetic, does it?)
As I stepped into a supermarket, I was recalling a “pasta” dish I’d had (in Berlin, of all places) at a vegetarian restaurant where they substituted ribbons of zucchini for the noodles. A quick Google of what I had in mind led me to this Creamy Chicken Zucchini Fettuccine recipe from The Healthy Foodie. I bought the necessary ingredients, went home and fired up the stove.
It’s a gluten-free, dairy-free dish, which uses blended-up cauliflower and chicken stock (along with a little Dijon mustard, fresh lime and nutritional yeast) that results in quite the creamy sauce! For real: if I didn’t know there wasn’t dairy in it, I would have totally thought it was a cream sauce. Realistically, if you ditched the chicken and just used the recipe’s mushrooms, and substituted vegetable for chicken stock, the dish would be vegan!
It really hit the spot, and I can hardly wait to make it again. The best part is that it was completely healthy, nutritious and won’t add to the muffin-top I’ve been rockin’.
I’m also happy to report that you in no way have to simplify the wine you’d normally pair with a creamy pasta dish. A nice Chardonnay, bursting with flavour and even a good lashing of oak will go along swimmingly as long as there’s decent acidity to cut through the dish’s richness. Think Flat Rock Cellars’ Rusty Shed Chardonnay or the 2012 vintage from Tantalus.
The image with this post is indeed the result of my efforts. I deviated only slightly from the recipe by adding a few crushed walnuts on top, I like what it did texture-wise. It’s an easy recipe to follow and you’ll be delighted with the outcome.
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. He’s not half as fancy/boring as that sounds. He Tweets and Instagrams @KurtisKolt.