Creamy Cajun Pasta with Chicken
and bell peppers / spinach
Smarts: The bell peppers are added at the end of cooking so that they retain some crunch. If you’d like them more tender (or if they are in large pieces), you can add them at the beginning of cooking with the garlic.
- Jerk or Cajun seasoning - 1 Tbsp
- Brown sugar - 1 tsp
- Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
- Soy sauce, low-sodium - 1 Tbsp
- Vinegar, red or white wine - 1 Tbsp
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Chicken breast, boneless and skinless - 1 lb, halved to thin
- Pasta, any fun shape - 8 oz
- Bell peppers, any color - 2, diced
- Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
- Green onions - 2, chopped, green and white parts separate
- Limes - 1, wedges
- Tomatoes, diced and preferably fire-roasted (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 can, drained
- Butter - 3 Tbsp
- Flour, all-purpose - 2 Tbsp
- Milk - 1 1/2 cups (sub stock but the sauce will be less creamy)
- Jerk or Cajun seasoning - 2 tsp
- Baby spinach - 5 oz
- Make marinade - (Skip if chicken was cooked on Monday.) Whisk together Jerk seasoning (portion for chicken), brown sugar, cinnamon, soy sauce, vinegar, and cooking oil. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Chicken - (Skip if chicken was cooked on Monday.) Slice in half to thin. Combine with marinade. Tenderize with a fork. Marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 day. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Pasta - Cook pasta according to package directions. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Bell peppers / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Green onions / Limes - Chop green onions, keeping green and white parts separate. Slice limes into wedges.
- Tomatoes - Drain well.
- If chicken wasn’t cooked ahead, heat a grill pan or skillet over medium heat. Brush with some cooking oil and add chicken to heated oil (discard marinade). Cook chicken on both sides, seasoning with some salt and pepper as it cooks, until cooked through (165F / 74C degrees).
- Transfer chicken to a cutting board and slice or chop.
- Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add butter. When butter melts, add flour, white parts of green onions, and garlic. Saute until no dry spots of flour remain, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Slowly pour in milk while whisking. Bring milk to a simmer, whisking constantly. Once mixture is simmering, simmer for 2 minutes to allow sauce to thicken slightly.
- Stir in Jerk seasoning, drained tomatoes, spinach, and bell peppers and stir until spinach wilts, 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Fold in pasta and green parts of green onions.
- Taste pasta and season with some salt and pepper and / or more Jerk seasoning. If you’d like some tart flavor you can squeeze juice from some of the lime wedges into the pasta.
- If chicken was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
- Fold chicken into pasta or serve it on top. Serve pasta with lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!
It is good and comforting, but it’s missing something. I think next time i would either add miso paste, or make it the sauce with tomato paste instead of diced tomatoes and white wine and then milk. I’ll try both :)1 Helpful
easy and filling. my two teenage sons devoured it.0 Helpful
Ok, I have to brag on this recipe! Even after three days, the leftovers are still creamy! I can see how some may say it’s not very flavorful but I thought it was just right with a little Cajun seasoning. Oh, and my husband added a little honey lime glaze to the chicken when he grilled it. The sauce is so simple to make and the recipe comes together quickly. Absolutely going into my weeknight cookbook.0 Helpful
Not our favorite. Either we needed a more potent seasoning blend or more salt or somthing but it was just SO bland.0 Helpful
Loved how many veggies were in this pasta, made it feel really nutritious. The marinade made this chicken so good! We used bowtie pasta, and this dish was very colorful and visually appealing!0 Helpful
3.5 Tasty chicken, but the sauce was bland.0 Helpful
Have now made the paleo and original versions of this dish, both were excellent in their own way. A real hit!0 Helpful