Often when we go out to dinner I see something on the menu like Cajun Pasta. 100% of the time it is Cajun Pasta with Chicken, and usually when I ask for no chicken, it is brought to my attention that the chicken has already been cooked in with the sauce. Major fail. It would be so easy to make the sauce and chicken separately, and substitute something like broccoli or mushrooms in place of the chicken. No dice. Most places are happy to add chicken or meat to anything, but often find it difficult to serve without it. This also reminds me of a time when I found a delicious sounding salad, Blue cheese, pine nuts, cranberries, spinach leaves, and filet. I really wanted to order the salad sans filet, but I couldn’t justify ordering a $17.99 salad when leaving off the costliest ingredient. Oh well, is the life of a vegetarian. There are tons of delcious vegetarian restaurants and menu items out there, so I shouldn’t complain…but it just shouldn’t be so hard to leave the chicken/meat out!
Enter ‘Cajun Chicken Pasta’. I love The Pinoneer Woman. Her recipes always look super appetizing and amazing. I found this recipe on pinterest and I knew I had to make it. Cajun spice? LOVE. Spicy pasta? LOVE. Peppers, onions, garlic? LOVE. This dish was after my heart. With chicken being the main ingredient, I knew I had to sub it with something. I am guessing it would have probably been good just leaving it out, and using the onions/peppers as the featured ingredient, but I decided that broccoli could be a good replacement. Who doesn’t love broccoli in pasta? Come on. I also made the recipe a tad healthier by subbing half and half in place of heavy cream, and using a bit less oil while cooking. I think for a pasta dish this is fairly healthy.
This dish turned out so well that my husband ate about half of it in one sitting. It was so flavorful and it had the perfect amount of spice to get your tongue tingling. It wasn’t difficult to make, however there was a bit of prep work, and the outcome was well worth all the work put into it. Since this recipe did have meat originally, you could obviously use meat in your recipe. Pioneer Woman recommend chicken, sausage, shrimp, or crawfish. You can find her recipe here. For the meat free take on this recipe, continue down.