Chicken “Alfredo” With Quinoa, Pancetta And Peas

Cauliflower and I weren’t always good friends.

Looking back, I was too judgmental of cauliflower. I didn’t like the way cauliflower “looked” or smelled. I would see it and audibly turn my nose up at it. 

Then one day I finally caved. A friend and I were out to eat and the trendy Buffalo Cauliflower was on the menu. She  said we just had to order it. I wasn’t so sure, but I also will eat just about anything covered in buffalo sauce. So I gave it a whirl. And wouldn’t you know it…it was delicious!

From there I took baby steps to fully liking cauliflower. Mashed cauliflower, cauliflower rice and finally good ol’ plain roasted cauliflower. It’s safe to say cauliflower and I are buds now. Sorry it took me so long to come around, dear cauliflower.

So now that me and cauliflower are tight, when I saw recipes for Cauliflower Alfredo popping up I was all, “Oh, I have to jump on this train!” And you guys…this is definitely a train you want to be riding.

chicken alfredo with quinoa

One of my favorite guilty pleasure dishes is pasta with grilled chicken, pancetta and peas. All covered in wonderful, creamy alfredo sauce. So when making Cauliflower Alfredo, I only thought it appropriate to pair it with a healthier version of this pasta dish. Hi quinoa! 

chicken alfredo with quinoa

Quinoa and Cauliflower Alfredo give this dish a deliciously healthy makeover, but it does NOT skimp on flavor. This alfredo sauce is just as creamy and cheesy tasting as it’s not-so-artery-friendly cousin. 

chicken alfredo with quinoa


Are there any vegetables that you used to hate, but now you love?

Chicken "Alfredo" With Quinoa, Pancetta & Peas
Serves 4
Creamy cauliflower alfredo sauce and quinoa creates a healthier version of the original pasta based dish.
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Total Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 4 chicken breasts
  2. 1 cup dry quinoa
  3. 1 cup pancetta, diced
  4. 1 cup frozen peas
  5. 2 TBSP olive oil
  6. Salt & Pepper
For the sauce
  1. 1 head cauliflower
  2. 5 garlic cloves
  3. 1/2 large yellow onion
  4. 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  5. 1/2 cup chicken broth
  6. 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  7. 1 TBSP olive oil
  8. Salt & Pepper
  1. Prep ingredients. Cut end off of cauliflower and cut into florets. Remove skin from onion and slice thin. Remove skins from garlic cloves, leave whole. Dice pancetta.
  2. Add quinoa to small saucepan with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Stir then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Set aside and keep covered until ready for use.
  3. While quinoa cooks make sauce. Add cauliflower to small saucepan and cover with water. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain pot and set cauliflower aside.
  4. Heat oil in pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion. Saute until onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  5. To blender, add cauliflower, garlic, onions, milk and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Wipe pan used for garlic and onion. Heat oil on medium high heat. Add pancetta and peas and cook until pancetta is fully cooked, about 8 minutes. Put in a bowl and set aside.
  7. Wipe pan clean and heat oil on medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and add to pan. Cook 6-8 minutes per side or until center reaches 165 degrees. Move chicken to cutting board.
  8. Add quinoa to pan along with pancetta and peas. Mix until incorporated. Add 2 cups of sauce and mix until combined. Add more sauce if desired.
  9. Slice chicken into 1/2 inch slices. Spoon quinoa mixture into a bowl and top with chicken.
  10. Enjoy!
  1. The quinoa will absorb the sauce quickly. If you have leftovers I suggest adding a bit more sauce before heating up!
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