Paleo “Spaghetti” alla Vodka is a spin on a classic Italian penne alla vodka dish. Spaghetti squash is the perfect gluten free & low-carb base for this dish– and coconut milk, tomato, bacon & vodka come together to make a delicious dairy free sauce to go with it!
Penne alla vodka is traditionally made with penne pasta, vodka, heavy cream, crushed tomatoes, onions, and bacon or pancetta.
This dish became very popular in Italy and in the US around the 1980s, but the origin of the Penne alla Vodka recipe has been disputed between Italy and the United States: both claim the creation of this recipe.
According to The Ultimate Pasta Cookbook, penne alla vodka was invented in the 70s at Dante, a restaurant in Bologna, Italy.
The Williams Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook states that it was invented in the 1980s by a Roman chef for a vodka company that wanted to popularize its product in Italy.
To support the creation of this dish in the United States, we have two tales: Luigi Franzese, the Italian American chef of Orsini Restaurant in New York and James Doty, a graduate of Columbia University.
As you can see, it’s not clear whether or not Penne alla Vodka is an authentic Italian recipe. BUT based on the ingredients, the technique, and the mark it left on Italian cuisine, the answer should be yes!
Since this dish is liked by many (including me), I decided to put a gluten & dairy free spin on it so those with dietary restrictions can enjoy these amazing flavours of Italy (or the US).
This recipe is also great for those following a low-carb, keto or paleo diet.
"Spaghetti" alla Vodka is a spin on a classic Italian penne alla vodka dish. Spaghetti squash is the perfect gluten free & low-carb base for this dish-- and coconut milk, tomato, bacon & vodka come together to make a delicious dairy free sauce to go with it!
Shrimp Pad Thai is absolutely delicious and will soon be one of your favourite weekly dishes! This recipe combines shrimp with spaghetti squash noodles, vegetables for texture and flavor, and is coated with the most delicious creamy lime almond butter sauce! It’s gluten & grain free, paleo and low-carb.
Quick fact about me … I had a BIG crush on Pad Thai during my university days–and since I lived in Toronto at that time, I always gravitated towards Thai restaurants when I ate out. To this date, there’s just something about the combo of spices and flavours in Thai cuisine that I find magical!
Unfortunately, when I changed my diet to better serve my body, Pad Thai was one of the dishes I had to give up (teardrop).
Luckily, I eventually realized that I didn’t really need to give up my favourite dishes in order to feel good, I just needed to get creative and modify them. Ergo, I created this flavourful paleo version of Pad Thai that I could easily make whenever a craving hits–and let me tell you, I’ve made this recipe way more times than I can count!
Typical take-out Pad Thai can be loaded with lots of unwanted ingredients – crappy oils, sugar, MSG, and lots of sodium. However, this healthy Shrimp Pad Thai is made with shrimp, eggs, veggies, and uses spaghetti squash noodles instead of rice noodles to keep it lower carb & paleo.
Check out this delicious Shrimp Pad Thai with simple and clean ingredients. It’s one of my favourite recipes to date!
Want more healthy Asian recipes? You’re going to love these …
Shrimp Pad Thai is absolutely delicious and will soon be one of your favourite weekly dishes! This recipe combines shrimp with spaghetti squash noodles, vegetables for texture and flavor, and is coated with the most delicious creamy lime almond butter sauce! It's gluten & grain free, paleo and low-carb.
2tbsp.pine nuts or crushed almonds, lightly toasted
Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds. Bake at 400 for 30-40 min. Fork should pierce skin easily when squash is cooked. Use a fork to scrape out the strands of squash. Set aside. (I suggest preparing the other ingredients as the squash cooks).
Finely chop carrots and green onion by hand or in a food processor. Set aside.
Using a large pan over medium heat, sauté garlic and ginger in 1 tbsp. avocado oil until fragrant. Add carrots, onion and enoki mushrooms and continue to cook until carrots are tender. Season with salt.
Create a space in the middle of the pan, add eggs and scramble with fork. Mix in with vegetables and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine all sauce ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Turn heat to low, add cooked spaghetti squash and sauce into pan and mix all ingredients together until sauce coats everything.
Add in cooked shrimp (see instructions below) and gently combine all ingredients until warm.
Plate the Pad Thai and garnish with nuts and cilantro.
Shrimp: (can be cooked at the same time as Pad Thai)
In a separate pan, cook shrimp in 1 tbsp avocado oil over medium heat. Season with salt and black pepper. Turn shrimp halfway through cooking.
Once shrimp are cooked, set aside until ready to add to the other pan.
*You can easily replace shrimp with chicken if you'd like. Just cut 1lb of chicken breasts or thighs (boneless, skinless) into bite-sized pieces and cook as you would the shrimp.
“Spaghetti” alla Puttanesca is absolutely delicious and super quick & easy to prepare! It’s a great go-to meal during the busy work week since most ingredients (like olives, capers, tomatoes and anchovies) can be easily stored. You’ll fall in love with this gluten free & paleo spin on a classic Italian dish!
So, I was going to talk about the health benefits of this flavourful Italian dish, BUT got sidetracked by some other interesting facts when I was doing recipe research …
DID YOU KNOW? Spaghetti alla puttanesca literally means prostitute’s spaghetti!
And that’s why we’re not talking about health today – and instead learning about how this dish got its name.
Some believe this was the easiest dish prostitutes could prepare between customers because the low cost, easily stored ingredients required little shopping or preparation.
Others believe it was was created by Sandro Petti, the co-owner of the restaurant Rangio Felon. The story goes that some customers arrived late to eat and because the restaurant had run out of many fresh ingredients, they asked Petti to prepare ‘una puttanata qualsiasi’, which literally translates as ‘a whore’s any’ but means any rubbish/ garbage. So Petti created a dish with what he had left in the kitchen. The resulting pasta dish was liked so much by the customers that Petti put it on the restaurant menu calling it ‘spaghetti all puttanesca’.
Moral of the story (whichever story you choose to believe): Spaghetti alla puttanesca is not only quick and easy to whip up, but it’s also a great go-to meal during the busy work week since most ingredients (like olives, capers, tomatoes and anchovies) can be easily stored in your kitchen.
Now check out my gluten free & paleo spin on a classic spaghetti alla puttanesca.
"Spaghetti" alla Puttanesca is absolutely delicious and super quick & easy to prepare! It's a great go-to meal during the busy work week since most ingredients (like olives, capers, tomatoes and anchovies) can be easily stored. You'll fall in love with this gluten free & paleo spin on a classic Italian dish!
Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds with spoon.
Bake at 400F for 30-40 min (first 10 min bake with flesh down, then turn so skin is down for remaining time). Fork should pierce skin easily when squash is cooked.
Use a fork to scrape out the strands of squash.
In a large pan, sauté garlic, anchovies and red pepper flakes in 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-low heat. Break apart anchovies.
Once garlic is lightly golden, add tomatoes and crush with a fork. Add some salt and cook at medium heat until tomatoes break down, roughly 10-minutes.
Add in olives and capers and let simmer on low heat for another 10-minutes.
Add cooked spaghetti squash into the puttanesca pan with 1 tbsp. olive oil and coat noodles with sauce.
Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve!
For spaghetti squash: Cooking time varies depending on the size of the squash. Check regularly to avoid overcooking the squash. You want the noodles to be ‘al dente’. Time your spaghetti squash so that it’s done cooking around the same time as your sauce.
Not a fan of anchovies? Try tuna or chicken instead.
Make this dish plant-based by replacing anchovies with beans.