This Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta is total comfort food and can be easily thrown together for a simple and hearty dinner. Easy to pack with vegetables, it's a healthy meal that the whole family will love. Melt in your mouth tender chicken pieces and iron rich spinach in a creamy sauce make this a tasty and nutritious pasta dish.
It doesn't get much more comforting than a big pan of creamy pasta. This pasta dish is filling and protein packed, with a green veggie boost from the spinach. When you want a comforting and family friendly week night meal, give this a go. It also freezes well, making it perfect for bulk cooking.
Why should you try it?
- Veggie packed comfort food
- Family friendly
- Freezes well
- Easy to adapt
What you will need
- Pasta - You can use any pasta in this dish, just make sure that is cooked to the package instructions. We used penne in the finished shots, but conchiglie pasta in the video to show you some variety. You could also use spaghetti/tagliatelle to make this, as the creamy sauce will cling really well to it.
- Chicken breast - This is what makes the dish protein packed. We used chicken breast, however you can swap these for boneless and skinless chicken thighs.
- Milk - This helps to loosen the sauce a little, but it could be left out if you prefer a really thick sauce.
- Greek yogurt - This combined with the cream cheese is what makes the sauce really creamy. Use full fat for the best flavour.
- Cream cheese - You can use reduced fat cream cheese, however we find that full fat has the best flavour. Add more flavour to this pasta dish by used a garlic and herb cream cheese.
- Onion and garlic - Fresh is always best, however you could save time by using a lazy garlic in a jar, and frozen onion.
- Spinach - This is what gives the dish a real green veggie boost. We used fresh, however you could use frozen (and thawed)
- Tomatoes - You can use salad tomatoes or cherry tomatoes.
- Sun-dried tomatoes - This gives the dish a real burst of tomato flavour and a little splash of the oil from the jar adds extra flavour too.
- Artichoke hearts - Not only do these add flavour, but some extra chunky texture to the dish.
- Shredded mozzarella - You can swap this for a mature cheddar or Parmesan.
Step by step
One: Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
Two: Heat some oil in a pan and fry the chicken until it is cooked through. Set aside.
Three: Heat some more oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Saute until softened.
Four: Add the spinach, cream cheese, milk, yogurt and salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock here if using (see tips for details).
Five: Drain the pasta and add to the pan along with the chicken, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes.
Six: Stir in the grated mozzarella.
Creamy pasta sauce
Creamy sauces are the best when it comes to pasta dishes, but it doesn't mean they have to be heavy and calorific. We have made a creamy sauce using light cream cheese and some yoghurt and then melted some cheese in to the pasta. It tastes far more indulgent than it actually is and lowers the fat of the dish compared to other creamy pasta dishes.
How to adapt
A pasta dish like this is really easy to adapt with different vegetables and cheese, making it a great way to use up whatever you have in your fridge. When you are cooking the chicken, you can fry up some diced mushrooms, bell peppers, courgette and aubergines too. You could also swap the spinach for kale, or use half of each.
We used mozzarella, but you could swap it for a mature cheddar or some parmesan. Some goats cheese crumbled on top would make it really creamy too.
What to serve it with
This is a really hearty and filling pasta dish, so it doesn't really need anything to go with it. However, if you were serving it to a few people and wanted some sides to go with it, then we have a few options. A big green salad is always a good option - mix it up a big by using different salad greens like spinach, kale and rocket.
Homemade garlic bread always goes well with a pasta dish. Slice up a French stick and spread some garlic and herb butter on it and put in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp up. Our Roasted Cherry Tomatoes go well with this too.
The great thing about this is that you can use any pasta you like. Just cook it according to the package instructions and mix it with all the other ingredients before putting it in the oven.
Yes, you can use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Use boneless and skinless chicken thighs - they will be much juicer, however nutritional info will change. You could also use leftovers of a roast chicken and shred it up.
You can store leftovers of this dish in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it in a freezable container for up to 2 months. The texture of the sauce can change once it has defrosted. To reheat, make sure it is fully defrosted and then reheat it on the hob for 2-3 minutes or in the microwave for 1 minute.
- You can swap fresh spinach for frozen (and thawed) spinach and it will still work just as well.
- To make this dish gluten free, you just need to swap the pasta to your favourite gluten free version.
- Cook the pasta al dente, as it will carry on cooking a little more in the oven. To cook pasta al dente (which means “to the tooth” or firm to bite), cook pasta for about 2 minutes less than indicated on the package instructions.
- Add some extra flavour to this pasta dish with some cooked chopped bacon.
- You could make this creamy chicken and spinach pasta even easier by using leftover shredded chicken and stirring it in at the same time as the spinach.
More pasta recipes
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DON’T FORGET TO RATE THE RECIPE ↓
Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta
- 200 g Pasta
- 300 g chicken breast cut into chunks
- 300 g spinach finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes diced
- 1 onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 75 g light cream cheese
- 100 ml skimmed milk
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp creme fraiche
- 100 ml chicken stock
- 40 g sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- 80 g artichoke hearts chopped
- 80 g mozzarella grated
- 1 pinch sea salt and black pepper
- Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
- Heat some oil in a pan and fry the chicken until it is cooked through. Set aside.
- Heat some more oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Saute until softened.
- Add the spinach, cream cheese, milk, creme fraiche, mustard, chickens stock and salt and pepper.
- Drain the pasta and add to the pan along with the chicken, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes.
- Stir in grated mozzarella.