Creamy Avocado “Pasta” with Chicken and Asparagus

Some of you might remember that I suffered a knee injury back in February and as a result, was forced to take a break from training for a couple of weeks. I never really talked about it much, because it really bums me out and I’m kind of living in denial, but it turns out I tore a meniscus and will most probably require an operation. How friggin’ awesome is that? NOT!

While my doctor didn’t see any contraindication to my training and lifting weights while I’m waiting (for up to 9 months) for my MRI and eventual operation, my knee had gotten really stiff and my leg was extremely swollen lately so my coach strongly suggested that I give it a good, long rest so it may have a chance at getting better.

GAH! As much as I hate to admit it, the man was right.

Sooooo, since I’m currently not training, i.e. not expending nearly as much energy, I’ve decided to give this keto thing another go. I can’t say that things are going all that well, though.

What exactly is Ketosis?

For those of you not familiar with ketosis, it is a state in which your body runs primarily on fat for fuel, as opposed to glucose. In order to induce and maintain it, one must consume no more than 50g net carbs per day (which is total carb count minus dietary fiber) and protein intake must also be kept in check as 54% of protein is anti-ketogenic, which means it will be converted into glucose before it enters the bloodstream.

That said, keto and I just don’t see eye to eye. Heck, I don’t even know if I consider it to be healthy… cutting back on carbs so drastically, eating protein only in moderation and basically living off fat… I don’t know. There’s something about this whole concept that just doesn’t sit well with me. Plus, fat is such a boring thing to eat. Gimme meat, gimme veggies and tons of ‘em, gimme nuts, gimme fruits, gimme stuff that tastes good! But fat? I mean seriously, you expect me to add coconut oil and butter to my coffee? I think not. Bulletproof coffee makes me gag, literally. I just can’t do it.

Creamy Avocado Pasta | thehealthyfoodie.com

Mind you, I remember a time when I used to think that the paleo lifestyle was nothing short of crazy. I mean, eating all that meat, fat and bacon couldn’t possibly be healthy now could it? I had to actually follow it for a full month to realize that there was way more to it than just eating tons of meat and decide to give it a real go. But even then, I would still be eating egg white omelettes and stick to the leaner cuts of meat. I would say it took at least 6 months before I finally adapted and felt comfortable eating all kinds of meat and healthy fats.

Maybe it’s the same thing with this keto thing. Maybe I haven’t figured out the right things to eat yet. For now, I feel I have to cut back WAY too much on vegetables in order to just stay below the 50g net carb mark. Don’t ask me to go any lower than that, I don’t think I could do it. I might not be in a deep state of ketosis, but at least my body is producing ketones, which apparently is all you need to reap the full benefits of the diet. And yes, I’ll stick to the term diet here, because frankly, I think of a lifestyle as something that one could sustain long-term and I know that ketosis, I could not do for a very long time. I could probably keep at it for a couple of months, at most, to help my body become fat adapted, but no more.

Alright, enough about my stupid busted knee and my decision to go keto for a while. I think it’s about time we got on with the eats around here.

As you probably guessed, today’s fare is going to be pretty low in carbs. In fact, I’ve revisited my Creamy Avocado Pasta, one of my favorite pasta dishes from my not so distant past. I’d really been craving that one lately… and even dreamed about it, seriously.

Of course, I made a few modifications… first, the dairy had to go, and the pasta, well, had to be replaced.

Creamy Avocado Pasta | thehealthyfoodie.com

Unquestionably, zucchini was the perfect substitute. In fact, I’d even say that it did a much better job at being a noodle than the original soba noodles had done.

So, the first thing we need to do is spiralize the zucchinis and then reserve them to a large, and I do mean large, mixing bowl.

Now if you don’t own a spiralizer yet, I strongly suggest that you get one ASAP! They are fairly inexpensive and allow you to make “pasta” out of all kinds of vegetables. It’s just the coolest kitchen gadget ever. You’ll have so much fun spiralizing everything in sight when you initially get it, that much alone is totally worth the investment.

But I’m pretty sure that it’ll also become one of your best allies in the kitchen, even after the initial excitement is long gone.

Creamy Avocado Pasta | thehealthyfoodie.com

Now that your zucchini has been transformed into noodles, it’s time to work on the chicken.

First cut it into tiny strips, then sauté it quickly in a medium sized skillet set over medium-high heat until cooked trough. This shouldn’t take much more than five minutes.

Creamy Avocado Pasta | thehealthyfoodie.com

When your chicken is fully cooked, throw in your vegetables and continue cooking for 3 minutes or so, until they become nice and soft.

Also, while this is happening, make the avocado sauce by processing all the ingredients in a small food processor until creamy. This will only take seconds!

Creamy Avocado Pasta | thehealthyfoodie.com

As soon as your chicken and vegetables are ready, add them to the bowl with your spiralized zucchini. The heat from that alone will be enough to cook and soften the noodles.

Creamy Avocado Pasta | thehealthyfoodie.com

Top with the creamy avocado sauce and give everything a good but delicate stir.

Creamy Avocado Pasta | thehealthyfoodie.com

Lastly, stir in the chopped walnuts and fresh parsley.

Creamy Avocado Pasta | thehealthyfoodie.com

And that’s it. You are ready to serve!

See how soft and pliable that zucchini is? Zucchini is do delicate, it really doesn’t need much heat at all in order to wilt.

Creamy Avocado Pasta | thehealthyfoodie.com

I feel I must warn you, however, that this will not be super hot since both the creamy avocado sauce and the zucchini noodles are cold to start with. If you want your dish to be on the warmer side, you could always heat it up in a skillet set over medium heat, but this will cause your zukes to become much softer and render more water, so your sauce will be a little thinner.

Still super good, though!

Try both versions, see which one you like best…

Creamy Avocado “Pasta”

Yield: Serves 2

NF based on 1 of 2 servings

Creamy Avocado “Pasta”

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium zucchinis, spiralized
  • 350g boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 large endive, shredded
  • 12 fresh asparagus spears, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • For the creamy avocado sauce
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. With the help of a spiralizer, turn your zucchinis into noodles and set them aside in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Melt a little bit of cooking fat in a medium skillet set over medium-high heat and add the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add the endive and asparagus and continue cooking until the veggies become tender, about 3-4 minutes
  4. While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, add all the ingredients for the avocado sauce to your small food processor and process until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add chicken and vegetables to reserved zucchinis and mix well. The heat from this alone will be enough to "cook" the zucchinis and make them nice and soft. Stir in avocado sauce, followed by chopped walnuts and fresh parsley. Toss to combine and serve.
http://thehealthyfoodie.com/creamy-avocado-pasta-chicken-asparagus/

Creamy Avocado Pasta | thehealthyfoodie.com

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Comments

  1. Kristen says

    This looks delicious!! I just had surgery to repair a torn ACL and my MRI had also shown a torn menisci… My surgeon was going to fix both while he was in there, but my menisci had actually healed itself in the time that I waited for my surgery (about 6 months from my MRI to my surgery). there’s always hope! Torn meniscus is WAY better than a torn ligament and may heal itself :)

      • Kristen says

        I’m 3 months post-op right now and I’m just doing light strength training to build my muscle up again (it’s crazy how much atrophy has happened in 3 months!!!). I continued strength training and cycling in the time leading up to my surgery. I had been given two options when I decided about my surgery and one was just fixing the torn meniscus, which I was told it’s about a month recovery time. So my ACL reconstruction is a much more invasive surgery than fixing a torn meniscus would be. But regardless, if you do need surgery try to build your muscles as much as you can in the time leading up (obviously be careful and do knee-friendly stuff, rest lots, etc.) so that the muscle atrophy is not as bad. Have you done any physio? I found that it helped a lot both pre- and post-op.

      • says

        For the time being, all I do is foam roll and stretch as well as do a few rehab exercises. I’m really wanting to start lifting weights again, though, and quite frankly, I fail to see why I couldn’t do that. I can’t see how it would worsen my knee situation. I think I’ll go see an osteopath and see what they have to say! But you are sincerely giving me hope, Kristen. Thank you very much for that! I really wouldn’t mind being able to skip the operation altogether…

      • Kristen says

        Heavy weight may be problematic because with a torn meniscus… if the tear is bad enough it’s possible that the cartilage can get stuck between your bones (this can happen anytime, not just weight lifting, but it could make it worse) and cause immense pain.

        I’ll keep my fingers crossed for no surgery!

  2. says

    I’m not convinced by this keto thing either. I mean, I love me fat but not as much as I love veggies, meat, fruit, etc.
    Still, I can’t wait to read how Sonia’s keto adventure will unravel in due course :)

    Btw Amazing recipe, that creamy avocado sauce is to die for, I can’t wait to try it myself!

    • says

      Well, it is very efficient at burning excess fat, let me tell you that much! It’s also very good at driving a foodie bonkers, but that’s a whole ‘nother story!

      Personally, I can’t wait to read all about your trip to Amsterdam, so hurry up already. Post pictures and stories!!! :)

  3. Emorie says

    I have torn both of my ACLs and meniscuses. I had a surgery within a month of the first tear but had to wait an extended period for the second surgery in order to not miss classes and fall behind.

    Both times, though, my amazing physical therapist had be doing some simple pre-surgery exercises that were meant not only to preserve strength but also to reduce swelling and stiffness. At least in my case, the sooner you can reduce swelling and stiffness, the sooner you can get onto the operating table and into recovery.

    The best exercise was this: Use a foam roller or roll up a towel and place this under the injured knee while sitting on the floor with legs extended straight in front of you. The injured leg should be slightly bent since you have the rolled up towel or foam roller underneath it. Straighten the bent leg by flexing your quadricep muscles as hard as you can. It may be painful but just push through it.

    In addition, leg lifts are a great way to keep leg muscles from atrophying pre-surgery. It’s best to do these from all directions (sitting on your bottom, lying on your stomach, and lying on each side).

    Best of luck with your surgery!

    • says

      Thanks a bunch for that, Emorie! I do all of these exercises and they do not hurt at all, so I guess I’m not in too bad a shape! :D All I still get is a little bit of stiffness. Fingers crossed that I can manage to heal without needing surgery. That would be the best! :D

  4. says

    Sorry about your knee :( wow there were a lot of different diet options up there, maybe you could find your own adaption, I’ve been reading a lot about fat adapted training on this blog (http://www.totkat.org/search/label/LCHF) you might find it interesting. My julienne peeler arrives tomorrow then I can finally get on the coodle (courgette noodles on our side of the pond!) bandwagon! This looks like a perfect place to start :D

  5. says

    Very sorry to hear about your knee :( A few years ago, I tried this whole ketosis thing too. It was a complete disaster. Eating fat 24/7 can get boring incredibly quickly. And, the headaches that came with ketosis were unbearable. Not to mention that I was cranky all the time. I feel bad now for anyone who had to put up with me at the time. Haha. Anyway, soon after that, I came across intermittent fasting. It works on the same principle as ketosis. It was easier than being on a ketogenic diet, though. Well, at least for me. You might find intermittent fasting interesting :) And, you can eat pasta. How cool is that?!

    • says

      I’m not really getting headaches, but I feel very lethargic and brain foggy in the afternoon. I sometimes feel very hungry too and sort of obsess with my next meal, but that probably has more to do with my cutting down on calories a bit. I think that my general food consumption had gotten somewhat out of whack, so I’m trying to bring that back to a more acceptable level, especially since I’m not really expending so much energy these days. The thing is, anyway, at 50g of net carbs and around 75g of protein, I’d have to eat the rest of my calories as fat and eating mayonnaise or coconut oil by the spoonful isn’t really my idea of yum. Nut butter would be an entirely different story! ;)

      As for IF, I have been doing it for the past 6 months now, on a 16/8, 7 days a week basis and I’ll sometimes throw in a full 24 hour fast once a week. This has been working really well for me, although I find that maybe my meals had gotten too big and I would also constantly graze during my feeding window, mostly on nuts. Not good! Still, I really like IF, I think it does good things for me, so I’ll keep at it. But being strictly paleo, pasta is out for me, IF or no IF! ;)

  6. Nartasha Alger says

    Yummo! Can’t wait to try this one out…. I get cravings from time to time for something creamy..er well without the cream.
    I’ve been doing Paleo for a few months now and I’m really enjoying it…I’ve also been mixing it with the 5:2 (last 6 weeks), mainly as my husband needed to drop weight and we were both curious about the science behind it..more effective than when we tried Atkins 2 years ago, which definitely goes into ketone’s.. if you were interested in the documentary it is BBC- horizon by Michael Mosley ‘Eat, fast and live longer'; if nothing else it’s an interesting watch.

    Can’t wait to try out your recipe! thanks for sharing :)
    Tarsh.

    Sorry to hear about the set back with your knee-

    • says

      I’ll definitely look into that documentary, Nartasha. Sounds really interesting…

      And real glad to hear you are enjoying paleo! Hope you like the pasta and that you manage to find a couple more recipes that will inspire you on my blog!

      • Nartasha says

        Ahh you have loads of recipes that I want to try! Have made the stuffed peppers- they are awesome, as are the shrimp courgette fritters and cauliflower rice..

        My next one to try is the sweet potato brownies for my hubby’s birthday and I really like the look of the cauliflower fritters? nom nom nom food heaven. Thanks for sharing your love of food. :)

  7. says

    Oh, come on Sonia – you know you can do it! Fats are amazing to live off of, and the science is there to support it. Plus, fat’s don’t have to be boring – you just have to get creative (which it looks like you’re doing an amazing job at). The more you get into, get used to, and experiment with it, the easier it becomes – I promise :)

    Anyway, I just popped in to say thanks for linking back to my site – it means a lot. I hope you can find some inspiration there for some new recipes to try out!

    P.S. Amazing pictures!

    • says

      Craig! Wow, it’s so good to see you here, and thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. I must admit that I’m finding this keto diet hard, still, but I’m sticking with the program. Your site has pretty much become my go-to reference for information and inspiration since embarking on this journey, so to have you drop by and say hi really means a lot to me! Keep up the good work, my friend! Your site totally rocks (and so do you!) :D

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