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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Top with the creamy avocado sauce and give everything a good but delicate stir.
Lastly, stir in the chopped walnuts and fresh parsley.
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.
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”
- 4 medium zucchinis, spiralized
- 350 g 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
- With the help of a spiralizer, turn your zucchinis into noodles and set them aside in a large mixing bowl.
- 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.
- Add the endive and asparagus and continue cooking until the veggies become tender, about 3-4 minutes
- 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.
- 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.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
You can also FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER for more delicious, healthy recipes!
47 Comments on “Creamy Avocado “Pasta” with Chicken and Asparagus”
Omg you just solved the what’s for dinner tonight dilemma !!
Happy to hear that, Connie! Hope dinner was satisfying! 🙂
It was absolutely delicious! My cousin was over for dinner and he was not really sure what to expect, but he loved it too! thanks for yet another great recipe 🙂
Woohoo! So happy to hear! Thanks a bunch for letting me know, Connie! 😀
I just made this tonight and it was A SUCCESSSS!!!
Weirdly enough tho I just got my Mri results back and I got a tore meniscus in my knee as welll
I just wanted an update what happened with ur knee? You went back for a surgery or got it tested with physio!?
This looks delicious!
that is one awesome idea.. ive always wanted to try zucchini pasta before, but i’ve never given it a go. definitely something i need to try. love it!
Thank you Thalia. I hope you love the actual dish as much as you like the idea! 🙂
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 🙂
Oh thank you Kristen, you are giving me so much hope!!! 😀 😀 😀 Tell me, did you train at all during all that time or did you just let your knee rest?
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.
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…
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!
Ouch! That doesn’t sound like fun… Thanks Kristen. Crossing my fingers too! 🙂
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!
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!!! 🙂
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!
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! 😀 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! 😀
What a tasty ‘pasts’! Love the avocado sauce!
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 😀
Haha! Hope you got plenty of veggies in the fridge ‘cuz you’ll want to spiralize just about everything! Have fun Stephanie, and thanks for the link, I’ll definitely take a look at it!
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?!
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! 😉
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 🙂
Sorry to hear about the set back with your knee-
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!
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. 🙂
Awww, thanks Nartasha. I greatly appreciate your kind words and am real happy to hear that my recipes are to your liking! 🙂
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!
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!) 😀
Can you please share where you learned about what you wrote about ketosis in the above post? I’d love to get even more familiar with it as I will be embarking on a keto-journey, if you will, to boost fertility…
Thank you and…LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!
Well, I did a lot of reading on the Internet, of course. Ruled.me is a very good place to start, it’s been my go-to reference for the first few weeks of my journey and I still visit regularly. I also strongly recommend that you get your hands on the excellent Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore. It contains all the information you need and answers pretty much any questions you may have about the diet, in a way that’s extremely easy to understand.
Good luck to you with your own keto journey, I certainly hope that you will have an easier time than I did! If you ever have any questions or need support, please don’t hesitate to ask, I’ll do my best to assist!
And thank you very much for your kind words, I greatly appreciate them! 😀
Had this tonight and it was yummy. Question…there’s endive and then there’s endive…I took it to mean the Belgian endive, yes? Unfortunately my grocery said they haven’t had that in months. So I threw in some shallots because they make everything better. Great recipe!
Is there more than one type of endive? I only know of one: the Belgian endive! Seriously, you grocery store hasn’t had them in months? I would be miserable if that were to happen to me. I LOVE my endives and add them regularly to many of my dishes, and especially salads. Great idea adding the shallots, must’ve been really good! Glad you liked the dish, Fay! Even without the endive! 😉
Well, there is a leafy endive as seen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endive and there’s the Belgian endive. And while the local grocery had the leafy kind, they didn’t have the Belgian kind. Go figure.
HA! Learn something new… I’ll have to keep an eye out for this version. Never seen it in markets around here, but maybe it’s just because I wasn’t even aware of their existence. Bet they’re excellent! Thanks for the info, Fay!
Made the sauce and zoodles, served with some paleo sausage. Very creamy and delicious. Thanks for posting!
Awesome! Thanks for the great feedback, Demi. I sincerely appreciate it! 🙂
I wonder if you could make ahead and freeze?
Absolutely, positively not, Fay. Even reheating isn’t the best idea… this is a dish that is meant to be eaten fresh.
Aha! I’ve always tried to cook my courgette (zucchini) noodles and ended up with a hot mess! I’m going to try not doing that next time. Also, love the sound of that avocado sauce. 🙂
If you’re going to cook your zucchini, Joan, the best way to go about it is to rid it of its excess water first, like I did when I made this Parmesan Chicken Zoodles. This way, all the excess water from the zucchini doesn’t end up in your dish, thus, creating a hot mess… 😉
Since I am into keto eating and I can’t stand shirataki noodles, I’m glad I found this recipe that looks creamy, incredibly fresh and healthy. Thank you!
I made this and have to say it is amazing. I am not an endive fan so I eliminated it. I had enough sauce for another meal and used shrimp and asparagus. I am in love with that pairing! I found that braising really helps bring out the flavor of the meat without adding salt. I light brown the meat then add the veggies, a little water (2 TBS to 1/4 C) and put on a lid for a minute or two. Then remove the lid to reduce the water mostly out. I then removed from heat and added some sauce to the pan to coat as kind of a tempering for the sauce. Add the zoodles to warm through, plate, hit with sauce and OMG.
What can I use in place of the full fat coconut milk? I am allergic to coconuts and also dairy.
I just found it and I can hardly wait to try it. Thank you so much. There is no way this recipe won’t be amazing.
This doodle dish is delicious! I’ve made it a few times and it is so creamy satisfying! Thank you for the recipe! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️