This chicken alfredo recipe is paleo, gluten-free, grain free, dairy free and low-carb. One serving of this dish is about 22 g net carbs.
I initially came up with this recipe probably 10 years ago after first getting into paleo when I was really struggling to come up with recipe ideas that still excited me just as much as the food I used to eat.
So as you can imagine, once I started down the path of cleaning up my diet, my highest priority was basically replicating all the same rich food that I was eating and “healthifying” it.
Cashews are a fantastic alternative to dairy based cream sauces. I also use canned coconut cream instead of milk to help make this low carb alfredo sauce super creamy.
This is a great recipe that the whole family can enjoy!
Chicken breast substitutions: Instead of using chicken breast you can use chicken thighs, or a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. You can also use any other type of meat such as shrimp or bacon.
Roasted salted cashew substitutions: Instead of using roasted salted cashews, you could also use raw unsalted cashews. Cashews make for a really creamy sauce but dairy-free cheese has also come a long way in the last few years. There are many cheap grocery store cheese alternatives if you want to swap it out.
Canned coconut milk substitutions: Instead of canned coconut milk, you could also use coconut milk from a carton. Alternatively, you could also swap it out for any other type of lower carb dairy free milk such as almond milk, cashew milk etc.
Fresh garlic clove substitutions: Instead of using fresh garlic cloves, you could swap it out for 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
Fresh squeezed lemon juice substitutions: Instead of freshly squeezed lemon juice, you could also use lime juice. Or you can use store-bought lemon or lime juice.
Spaghetti squash substitutions: Spaghetti squash is fantastic but if you want to use another “pasta” alternative, there are tons out there. You could use spiralized zucchini noodles, sweet potato or butternut squash. You could also use konjac or shirataki noodles. Or if you are not doing low carb, you could also use gluten-free fettuccine or even regular whole-wheat fettuccine. Aside from pasta alternatives, cauliflower rice would also work great.
Vegetable substitutions: Like most pasta, you can add any vegetables and herbs that you have in your fridge. Fresh broccoli, green beans, spinach, onions, red peppers, fresh parsley or other Italian seasoning herbs like oregano are all good in this. Use your personal preference and intuition to guide you! If you want a little kick, you can add some zip by adding 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes.
Black pepper alternatives: Instead of black pepper, white pepper also works great.
Make this recipe lower calorie/fat: Instead of using full fat canned coconut milk, swap it out for a lighter dairy free milk – generally found in tetra packs. You can also reduce the amount of sauce that you use in each serving of this dish.
Make this recipe vegan: Omit the chicken and substitute it for tofu, mushrooms, or a veggie meat alternative.
Make this recipe lower FODMAP: Omit the garlic entirely. Cashews are generally not considered low FODMAP, but some people tolerate them okay in small amounts. You could also try using a smaller amount of sauce with each serving of this dish if you find it causes you gas or bloating.
Make this recipe low acid/gastritis diet friendly: Omit the lemon juice, pepper and garlic cloves.
Make this recipe low histamine: Omit the lemon juice and make sure to use fresh chicken.
Make this recipe low oxalate: Swap out the roasted salted cashews for roasted salted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
Make this recipe keto: Swap out the dairy free cheese and cashews for a classic homemade creamy alfredo sauce using heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream), cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, and/or parmesan cheese. Another killer option is blue cheese! Keto alfredo sauce is easy because all you have to do is leave out the flour. Just make sure you stick to low carb veggies if you’re adding any!
Pro tips for this recipe:
Make sure to use a high-powered blender or food processor: It can be hard to completely break down the cashews into a smooth sauce if you are using a lower quality, lower power unit. Make sure to blend it on the highest setting for at least 2 to 3 minutes to get it as smooth as possible.
Frequently asked questions:
Is store bought alfredo sauce keto friendly?
Even though most store bought alfredo sauces are cream, butter and/or cheese based, watch out for added thickeners such as white flour or cornstarch. Generally though, you will likely be able to fit store-bought alfredo sauce into your keto diet. Just make sure to check the label to see how many carbohydrates there are per serving, and what the serving size is. Homemade alfredo sauce will always be the best way though!
Which pasta is keto-friendly?
There are many keto-friendly pastas including spiralized vegetables such as zucchini, butternut squash, and kohlrabi. Spaghetti squash is also great, and as a bonus it comes out already shaped like pasta. There are also a number of different konjac or shirataki based pastas you can buy that are very low in carbohydrates as well as calories. Check the produce section and the natural foods aisle of your grocery store.
Is there a no carb pasta?
The closest you will probably get to a no carb pasta is either konjac or shirataki based pasta. Generally 1 serving will only amount to 1 net carb.
Tried this recipe?
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If you like this recipe, you might also like my other low carb recipes:
Low Carb Chicken Alfredo (Paleo & Gluten Free)
- Large skillet
- 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 large spaghetti squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Cut the spaghetti squashes in half, scoop out the seeds and brush the insides with olive oil. Place them face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Put the whole chicken breasts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast both spaghetti squashes and the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes (don't overcook your chicken if you want tender, juicy chicken).
- Meanwhile, blend all remaining sauce ingredients in your blender or food processor until smooth – roughly 2 to 3 minutes.
- Because the sauce isn’t heated, you can throw it into a skillet (frying pan) on low heat to warm it up slightly before mixing it together with the chicken and spaghetti squash.
- Scrape out the cooked spaghetti squash into a large bowl and pour the sauce on top and mix thoroughly.
- Serve with sliced up roasted chicken breast and chives for garnish if desired.
- Store any leftovers in a container and freeze for next time.
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Tara Klippert is a Registered Health and Nutrition Counselor and holds a diploma in Holistic Nutrition and Health Coaching. She shares her gluten free, dairy free & allergy friendly recipes.