The Can-Do Candida Diet: Pasta La Vista, Baby: Faux-fettuccine is a Candida Can-Do
Can-Do Candida © Isabelle Burden 2013 All rights reserved

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pasta La Vista, Baby: Faux-fettuccine is a Candida Can-Do

Pasta, Pasta, Pasta: you might think you have to kiss this dinner goodbye on the Candida Diet, but here’s a tip – you don’t! 

Craving rustic Italian foods, but find that all the comfort food staples are no-nos?
My asparagus pesto pasta dish is made with mung bean noodles.  Mung bean noodles are made only out of ground mung bean flour, which means as a starch they are perfectly permissible.  And since they’re full of protein they make a great meal that has a more complete nutritional makeup than wheat pasta or even rice noodles. 

This lean, bean, protein machine is a Candida Can-do!

The traditional herbaceous flavors of the pesto work with the asparagus, an earthy vegetable.  The noodles themselves have an al dente mouth feel that holds up well to the mixing of flavors in this simple but satisfying pasta.  

Many gluten free recipes use rice noodles, but while it may work for a celiac diet, rice starch will still feed candida in the system, and should not be eaten on a Candida Diet. 

The mung bean noodles I used in my tender asparagus pesto pasta are not the thin, cellophane noodles common in Asian cuisine, but a specific product called “mung bean fettuccine”.  Made by a company called Explore Asian, I purchase these noodles from my local health and whole food store, but you can also find them for sale online.   

When cooked, this faux-fettuccine keeps a texture and shape similar to conventional pasta.  It’s such a great substitute that after a few bites you will forget there’s any difference at all! 

Remember that since this is not a baking recipe, there is no need for exact measurements.  Think of this as a guideline to flavor, and feel free to be a little creative with it!  Once you discover these noodles for yourself, I guarantee you will have a whole slue of ideas that spring to mind.  After all, you can finally have pasta again – celebrate it! 

Make sure to salt your water first, then bring it to a boil and drop your noodles in. This pasta boils up in a quick 10-15 minutes, about the same timeline as wheat pasta.  After about ten minutes, taste test the noodle to make sure it’s cooked to a consistency you like.  They can stay a little underdone, since they will cook further when they go back on the stove a little later.     

Once your pasta is done, drain the excess water over the sink using a colander.  Set your pasta aside for now. 

Wash a small bunch of fresh asparagus; the bundle should be about six inches in circumference, assuming you’re working with a slender-stalked variety.  Cut off the last inch of each asparagus, as this part can be tough to chew.  Then cut each asparagus into thirds, chopping on a horizontal.  Each piece should be about 1-2 inches long. 

Next, chop one small white onion, and mince three cloves of garlic. 

Place a skillet on medium heat.  Coat the pan with olive oil, then throw in your onions and garlic.  Add salt and pepper, and let the onions and garlic cook down until the garlic is lightly browned and the onions are starting to appear translucent. 

Once you’ve reached this point, add in your chopped asparagus.  Deglaze the pan with three-quarters of a cup of organic chicken stock.  Then add your strained mung bean fettuccine noodles into this skillet full of veggies and stock.

Crumble in about a tablespoon of goat cheese.  This will make the sauce thick and creamy, but won’t add enough dairy to aggravate candida. 

Candida Alert:  At this juncture, I also added about a teaspoon of grated parmesan in addition to the plain goat cheese.  A little parmesan will go a long way to making this sauce feel richer than it is, and will add a nice Italian inspired sharp cheese taste, but be advised that it is not a candida diet approved cheese.

Let this simmer away until the stock has cooked down to resemble a thicker, more sauce-like consistency, and the noodles and vegetables move around the skillet as one incorporated entity.  If you’re not afraid of fats, you can add a tablespoon of butter (I sure did). 

Lastly, a minute or so before you take this pasta off the fire, add your pesto.  I used my mother’s homemade basil pesto, but you can use whichever brand you prefer if you don’t feel like making your own. 

Add pesto to taste, depending on how much you want to come through.  Basil pesto is a scrumptious flavor, but it can easily become a dominant one as well.  Start with a teaspoon and stir it to mix it evenly throughout your pasta, adding more until you achieve the balance you want.

Take off the heat and serve with a side salad or a few sliced tomatoes for a pop of color and fresh sweetness. 

Candida Alert:  Tomatoes are fruits, so they will count for your Candida Diet one-serving-per-day rule.  They have plenty of fruit sugar in them – that’s why they taste so good! 

This dish is seasonal and elegant, and the recipe can be easily modified to produce a large quantity or a single serving.  

It makes a beautiful presentation for a Candida Diet dinner party, so invite some friends over.  This is one Candida Can-Do that is easy to serve to dieters and non-dieters alike!    

Buon Apetito!

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