Lightened Up Creamy Sundried Tomato Pasta (gf + df option + vegan option)

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Pasta will always be my favorite comfort food. I love finding ways to make my favorite pasta dishes a little more health-conscious and light. My inspiration for this recipe came from one of my all-time favorites, penne alla vodka. The combination of tomato sauce, creamy coconut milk and just enough parmesan creates perfect texture and taste without being overwhelmingly heavy.  The coconut flavor from the milk doesn’t really come through, yet the milk adds a lot of body to the sauce. The chunks of sundried tomato and fresh herbs brighten up the whole dish and add the perfect finishing touch.*serves 5-6Ingredients:2 tbsp olive oil2 white onions4 garlic cloves1 – 16 oz can tomato sauce2 – 16 oz cans lite coconut milk1 – 12 oz jar sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and rinsed½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese (sub nutritional yeast for dairy free and vegan)⅓ cup chopped fresh basil¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon (or ½ tsp dried tarragon)Salt and pepper to taste2 chicken breasts12 oz brown rice penneOptional: marinate chicken for 30 mins before cooking in ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, sprinkle of garlic powder, salt and pepper. This takes a little extra effort, but makes the chicken super moist! Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425⁰F. Marinate (if you want to) and bake the chicken breasts for about 25 minutes, or until they reach 165⁰F in the center.
  2. While cooking the chicken, prepare the sauce and boil the pasta.
  3. For the sauce, sauté the onion and garlic with olive oil in a saucepan at medium heat until slightly browned and soft.
  4. Add in the tomato sauce and coconut milk and keep at low heat to bring up to temp.
  5. Chop the sundried tomatoes and add to the sauce.
  6. Once the sauce is hot, mix in the parmesan and spices until the cheese is melted.
  7. Chop the cooked chicken and add to the sauce.
  8. Mix the pasta into the sauce and serve immediately.