This recipe is an adaptation of one of my absolute favorite dishes- Chicken, Broccoli and Ziti. I am not trying to replace or improve that recipe with this one, this is just an alternative for when you're looking to save on some fats and carbs! It is everything with love about the original- garlicky, creamy and PASTA.
The creamy sauce is ironically made with no cream!
Instead it is cauliflower based, flavored with plenty of garlic and thinned out with non dairy milk. I add a little bit of parmesan because I love cheese but this can totally be omitted or replaced with nutritional yeast to keep it dairy free and vegan!
My favorite part of chicken, broccoli and ziti has always been the broccoli... I know weird. To the point where my sister and I used to split it at restaurants she'd eat mostly ziti and chicken and I'd go for mostly ziti and broccoli. Obviously I've graduated to eating my whole entree and then some and have rediscovered my love of chicken since then but I still have my love of broccoli. That's why I love to add extra broccoli and even a bit of zucchini but feel free to cut back on the veggies if you're not as into them as I am.
For this lightened version I used #banza pasta. This pasta is made from chickpeas but tastes just like regular pasta! It is a great way to pack in extra protein and cut back on carbs while still filling you up with yummy pasta. It is definitely slightly more expensive than traditional pasta so I only use it every once in a while. Another option would be to choose whole grain pasta or a lentil pasta variety!
Chicken, Broccoli and Banza Pasta with Cauliflower Alfredo
4 Servings | Cook: 20 minutes
Notes: a lighter take on the classic chicken, broccoli and ziti!
12-16 oz chicken breast, diced
2-3 heads fresh broccoli, cut into florets
8 oz banza rotini (or other pasta)
Salt and pepper
Optional: 200g zucchini, diced
Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce:
1 tbsp butter, olive oil or yogurt butter
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 10oz bag frozen cauliflower florets
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup unsweetened original almond milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Optional: 2 tbsp parmesan (can be omitted or replaced with nutritional yeast)
Heat a large pot of water over high heat with a steam basket of fresh broccoli over top. Bring the water to a boil.
While the water is heating, melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the chopped garlic to the skillet and sauté until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes, be careful not to burn the garlic. Remove the garlic and add to the bowl or blender of cauliflower.
To the same skillet, add the diced chicken to cook. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Tossing the chicken every few minutes, cook until completely cooked through and no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes but will depend on size of diced pieces. Remove chicken and set aside in a separate bowl.
Pour 1/2 cup of the chicken broth to the skillet and use a spatula to deglaze the pan, scraping up any chicken, garlic or butter flavor stuck to the bottom. Pour the skillet of chicken broth over the cauliflower and garlic.
At this time the water under the broccoli should be boiling. Season the water generously with salt and pour in the pasta. Turn the heat down to medium and boil according to box instructions.
Check if the broccoli is fork tender. If not, continue to steam over the pasta until it is fork tender.
Once the broccoli is done, dunk it in an ice bath to maintain the bright green color. Strain and set aside with the chicken.
Add remaining sauce ingredients to the blender: almond milk, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder and optional parmesan. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth as needed to reach desired consistency.
When complete, rinse and strain the pasta and return to the pot. Add chicken, broccoli, and Alfredo sauce to the pot and toss to combine.
Serve warm topped with additional parmesan and alongside yummy garlic bread if you so desire- I know I do.
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Nutrition Facts are provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used. Nutrition facts provided for Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce by itself and also for the entire dish (tossed with chicken, broccoli and rotini). Chicken, broccoli and rotini with no sauce are also provided separately for convenience.