Penne Alla Vodka

These days you can find a wide array of grain-free pastas with genuinely delicious flavor and texture. If you like the taste of pasta but want to limit the pasta carbs, add meat and veggies so less pasta goes further in the dish. Chicken thighs are a great choice to this end. Experiment with adding in veggies like spinach, baby broccoli, mushrooms or bell peppers, and create a variety of versions to your own taste.

For the sauce, use a full-fat coconut milk for the richest flavor, or use traditional full-fat dairy milk or your favorite milk substitute along with our new Primal Kitchen® No-Dairy Vodka Sauce.

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1.5 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen® Avocado Oil or Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1.25 cups chopped Yellow Onion
  • 4 cloves Garlic, grated
  • ½ cup Full Fat Coconut Milk (or other dairy/non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 1.5 cups Primal Kitchen No-Dairy Vodka Sauce
  • 1 box Chickapea Penne Pasta
  • 2-4 Tbsp. Reserved Pasta Water
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Shredded Basil
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat. Sprinkle the boneless chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and add them to the pan once it is hot. Sear for 2 minutes on each side, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the thighs from the pan and allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing or cutting into chunks.

In the same pan (or another, whatever you prefer) add the remaining oil and heat it over medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped onion. Stir with a wooden spoon for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is browned and soft. Add in the grated garlic and heat until the garlic is fragrant. Add in the Vodka Sauce and coconut milk and reduce the heat to medium low. Stir for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and come together.

Prepare the Chickapea pasta according to the directions on the box, but boil the pasta to be slightly undercooked. Drain the pasta, reserving about ¼ cup of pasta liquid. Pour the drained pasta into the pan with the vodka sauce and stir over medium-low heat until the pasta reaches your desired doneness. Add in the chicken and stir. Add the reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until the sauce reaches the thickness of your liking. Top the pasta with a pinch of red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and the shredded basil. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information per serving (1/4 of recipe):

  • Calories: 547
  • Total Carbs: 50 grams
  • Net Carbs: 40 grams
  • Fat: 21 grams
  • Protein: 40 grams

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8 thoughts on “Penne Alla Vodka”

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  1. For cheat days, I’ve taken to liking the 3-minute pastas from ronzoni. They make a penne shape, and I combine them with vodka sauce regularly. These are still conventional wheat pastas, but the reason they cook in 3 minutes is simply because they are much thinner. End result is fairly close to a conventional pasta dish, but with about a third less noodle material by weight (by my estimation). It is great that Mark has started making this pre-made vodka sauce, and that they were able to include real vodka in the ingredients, which changes the aromatic quality of tomatoes noticably.

    1. For most of us, cheat days can’t include wheat at all. I personally get sick if I eat wheat. So if I’m to have pasta, it would have to be gluten free, and without sorghum/millet/oats/corn/buckwheat as ingredient. There are plenty rice pastas, and bean pasta types.

  2. Instead of pastas of any kind, I have begun putting things like red sauce and meatballs or sausage over cooked shredded cabbage, or spiralized or ribbon-sliced zucchini, or just right over broccoli raab. Delicious!!

    1. I second this! Barely sauteed cabbage has a very fettuccine like mouthfeel. I usually add onions and apples for extra yum. I like it better than spaghetti squash. Though I still like the squash too. It’s just a new option now.

  3. For a cheat day – unless you’re coeliac – you might as well just eat some decent Italian pasta (i.e. bronze-extruded, durum wheat semolina). Slightly undercooked (the way it should be), you’re not getting THAT many carbs in, and you’re getting the pleasure and satisfaction of eating the real thing.

  4. Tell me about the chick pea noodles. Aren’t those legumes? How do you reconcile that? Are they prepared in a way that makes them okay? I typically have a lot of trouble with beans.

    1. I personally do way better with beans that I do with grains. Legumes have been discussed on this web site and if they were cooked in high heat, they’re usually ok. Also, if you’re eating them from cans, make sure you rinse them well before you consume them. The water is the one that contains the lectins and antinutrients.

  5. I agree about the cabbage pasta substitute. I saute cabbage in olive oil and coconut oil and add whatever other ingredients are around. Nice food.