Edamame Fettuccini with a Spinach and Coconut Curry Sauce (Healthy, Gluten Free)

20160111_224742762_iOSI began this recipe with intentions of serving a healthy interpretation of Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo.  But a can of coconut milk and 1/2 teaspoon of curry later, it became more of a left turn rather than an interpretation!  Albeit, it was certainly a light and delicious left turn.  I didn’t intend for this meal to be of Asian influence, but that is exactly how it turned out!  Pru Thai was brought right into our house the other night!  I really do enjoy the flavor of coconut.  If coconut is not your preference, then this may not be the right recipe for you because not only is it the dairy replacement here, it’s flavor is bold and loud.  It is front and center in this dish.  The curry definitely jazzes it up and brings it to the next level!  Next time I might play with the recipe a little and add some tamarind and some tahini or peanut butter.  Thai food goes so far beyond the traditional and more well known Pad Thai that it leaves it in the dust!  Oh by the way-did I mention that this dish is also gluten free and without the chicken can also be vegan?

My high maintenance blended family is a challenge to feed sometimes because they are VERY critical (with the exception of my 8 year old) and this meal was no exception.  Next time I add coconut and curry to a dish I’m not going to make the mistake of calling it a chicken and spinach fettuccine alfredo-no matter that a twist on that was my first intention.  My fiance Jim has had his horizons broadened in a BIG way ever since he met me and he did his best to not show his disappointment at the prospect of getting a “normal”, traditional dish that wasn’t quite so healthy.  Our meals have been low-glycemic and very light and healthy so I imagine the picture he had in his head was very different!  So like I said-next time I’ll call it what it was-Thai food for dinner!  We have had many successful dinners at Pru Thai, our local Thai restaurant in Clinton, NJ and really this was also-it’s just that I called it something “other”.  Rose, my 11-year old almost-step daughter is quite the little snotty pants and PICKS apart the flavors and food.  Literally.  The only time she doesn’t do that is when something is clearly a plain and simple pasta dish with mozzarella.  Or a cheese pizza.  Brinton, my 16 year old almost step son is a sweetie-he generally likes everything.  He REALLY liked this one.  Rusty, my 8 year old devoured it.  His first bite consisted of a Mmmmmm this is good and I was of course over the moon!!!  So it IS possible to serve exotic and healthy food successfully to a tough family-just don’t disguise it as something else!!!!

20160116_215123721_iOS (600x800)I used Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine. The consistency was nice and firm and held together very well, just like the picture on the package.  And-it has 24 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber PER SERVING so really this is a perfect food for someone craving pasta but is also looking for something nutritious and gluten free!  Combined with the spinach and coconut curry, it made for a great pasta dish.  I also used pancetta bacon.  It lent just the right amount of smokiness to the dish which actually worked surprisingly well with the coconut and curry.  It was quite accidental-like i said my original intention was a healthy take on a spinach fettucine alfredo and bacon pairs beautifully with spinach.  I used a pound of fresh, organic baby spinach by Olivia’s organics.  Regular full grown spinach would have been fine too and I imagine that if fresh is not available, 2 packages of frozen, thawed and drained spinach would also do just fine since it gets chopped and blended up in the processor anyway.

Ingredients  

  • 4 oz package of pancetta bacon
  • Can of coconut Milk
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 packages of Edamame @ Mung Bean Fettucine
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Curry
  • 1/2 Tsp Paprika
  • 1 lb organic fresh baby spinach
  • Salt to taste
  • food processor or blender
  • Red Pepper, julienned for garnish
  • Optional:
    • 1 can of coconut milk
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • 1 pound of chicken tenderloins

Directions

  • Soak chicken in a can of coconut milk and the juice of 1 lime for at least 1 hour.  I managed 3-4 hours ahead of time
  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Brown the pancetta bacon to crispy and set aside
  • Melt the coconut oil in a wide saute pan
  • Add the onion and garlic, lightly salt to taste and cook at medium heat until it is soft and translucent.
  • When the onion and garlic are soft, add in the spinach
  • Add coconut milk and spices
  • Stir until spinach is wilted and spices and milk are combined
  • In small batches, process the mixture in the food processor until all of it is a smooth, creamy consistency
  • Add back into the pot
  • Add the cooked pancetta bacon to the sauce
  • Keep warm until ready to serve.  Meanwhile, grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil or coconut oil spray
  • Line the chicken tenderloins on the sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked.  It may be less than 20  minutes depending on your oven.
  • Cook the Edamame & Mung Bean pasta according to the package directions, and add to a large pasta bowl.
  • Pour the warmed Coconut-Curry Spinach mixture over the pasta and stir.
  • Garnish with the red pepper slices
  • EAT AND ENJOY

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