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Spinach and Hearts Pasta with Chicken

[GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, LOW-FODMAP]


This dish takes the popular spinach and artichoke dip to the next level. It incorporates dairy-free dip with gluten-free pasta and fresh chicken, and it substitutes FODMAP-friendly hearts of palm for artichokes. These substitutions remove the allergens, but they sure don't remove the flavor! We've definitely added this dish to our favorites list because it is so creamy and delicious.


Our family has always loved spinach artichoke dip, and we made it the traditional way until Lauren got sick. We then went for years without it until I stumbled upon a pasta recipe that was based on the popular dip, and the light bulbs went on. It was easy substituting gluten-free pasta for the traditional pasta. There are also so many good vegan or non-dairy alternatives for cheese dip on the market these days, so finding a substitute was super-easy. What I ultimately struggled with was how to handle the artichokes because they are high FODMAP and can cause digestive distress. Enter hearts of palm.


Hearts of palm is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees. Their flavor is very similar to artichoke hearts, but they have a milder, slightly sweet, less acidic bite with a texture that is a delicious mix of crunch and softness. Because hearts of palm contain 17 different amino acids, they also make for a rich source of protein. They're low in fats and sugars and high in fiber, and they contain a number of healthy vitamins and minerals. If you've noticed the palmini noodle products popping up at the grocery store, they are made with hearts of palm.


For chicken options, you can use grilled chicken, breaded gluten-free chicken, or shredded chicken. When I made this dish, I was in a rush (as always), so I purchased some shredded rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I think grilled or breaded chicken would have given the dish a richer flavor, but I'll just say that the family devoured it with the shredded chicken, so any option should work well. This dish is a great throw together and mix dish, which I like when I'm short on time. The flavors gel so well together that no one can tell I use substitutions. My boys, who love their dairy products, can't tell the difference!


Spinach and Palm Hearts Pasta with Chicken


Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of gluten-free rotini pasta

  • 4-6 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken - can be grilled, breaded (gluten-free), or shredded

  • 2 Tbsp garlic-infused olive oil (use regular if you don't have the garlic version)

  • 1 Tbsp chives

  • 1 5-ounce package of baby spinach, chopped

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 4-6 ounces of vegan sour cream or vegan cream cheese - we used the sour cream because we like the taste of it better

  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

  • 3/4 cup of vegan parmesan cheese, shredded

  • 1 14-ounce can of hearts of palm, rinsed, squeezed dry, and coarsely chopped

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

  2. Heat garlic oil in a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted.

  3. Add the sour cream and almond milk and stir until melted.

  4. Add the parmesan cheese, chives, salt, and pepper, and stir until combined.

  5. Add the pasta, chicken, and hearts of palm and mix well.

  6. Top with additional olive oil and cheese (optional).

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