Monday, May 25, 2015

Dairy Free Creamy Garlic Calamari with Wilted Fresh Spinach over Fettuccine

Yes, that's a tiny bit of organic Parmesean on top.
Leave it off for 100% dairy-free.
Oh my. This was SO good. Well... I can pretty much say that about any food I end up posting here because I only post the really good stuff!

When I was in my mid-20s I gave up dairy totally for about a year or so. At the time, it wasn't as easy as it is today because there were so few alternatives, and almost no one writing dairy-free recipes online. But when I gave up eating all forms of dairy, I noticed my seasonal allergies completely vanished, almost like magic. I felt better and didn't miss it - too much.

Milk was an easy thing. I did rice milk at the time and it didn't take much getting used to. It was similar in texture to skim milk. So that one was simple.

But then, there was cheese. Glorious creamy, melty, flavorful, cheese. The substitutes SUCKED. It wasn't even worth it to eat the fake, plasticy, artificial-tasting sort of lookalike.  Cheese did me in.

There was the Parmesan cheese I missed putting on my pasta.

And the creaminess of a beautiful bowl of mac-n-cheese.

And a slice of swiss on a turkey sandwich.

And pizza. Oh yes. Pizzzzzzaaaaaahhhhh.

So I slowly went back to dairy.

Now that I'm cleaning up my diet and looking at foods that "bother" me, of course, dairy is tops on that list. So when I cook, I seek to eliminate as much dairy as possible. When I *do* use dairy, it's organic and I use it sparingly. Or I go all-in and know I'm going to be in pain later. But it's becoming less and less worth it for the pain.

My kiddos wanted calamari (they're foodies). I was feeling like a little creaminess. And this is what I came up with:


Dairy Free Creamy Garlic Calamari with Wilted Fresh Spinach over Fettuccine


4 Tablespoons Olive oil, separated
1 onion, chopped (I used organic vidalias)
7-8 cloves garlic, minced, separated
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
1/2 cup cashews
Juice of 1 lemon
4 Tablespoons Brewers yeast
3 tsp Salt, separated (or to taste)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 bag fresh spinach
1 lb raw frozen calamari
1 package gluten free fettuccine noodles, cooked according to package instructions
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


Prepare noodles. While water comes to a boil and noodles begin cooking, prepare the sauce and calamari.

Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil to skillet. Saute onion on medium heat for several minutes until translucent. Add about half the garlic and raise heat to medium high until both are slightly browned.

While onion and garlic are cooking, to high speed blender (like Vitamix or Blendtec) add wine, water, cashews, lemon juice, 1 tsp salt and basil. When onion and garlic are ready, add to blender and blend on high about 3-4 minutes.

After pasta boils, drain in colander in sink. Put pot back on the stove over high heat, add remaining olive oil and heat for 20-30 seconds. Add calamari and garlic and sauté about 1 minute until calamari is cooked. DO NOT OVERCOOK unless you want to eat rubber band-like fish. Toss in spinach and season with 1 tsp salt and stir for about 20-30 seconds until just starting to barely wilt.  Add sauce and warm through, about 30 seconds. Add pasta to pot and stir to coat.

Serve immediately garnished with red pepper flakes to your taste and with leftover chilled white wine in a lovely glass on the side.