Creamy Cajun Pasta with Chicken
and bell peppers / spinach
Blackened chicken tops a creamy Cajun-spiced pasta that's loaded with savory peppers and onions in this quick dish. We add a generous portion of greens to make this a healthy, though indulgent, weeknight dinner.
- Onions, yellow - 1/2, chopped
- Bell peppers, red - 1/2, chopped
- Bell peppers, green - 1/2, chopped
- Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
- Chicken breasts, boneless and skinless - 1 lb, halved
- Spinach, baby - 3 oz, chopped
- Pasta, fusilli (or other fun shape) - 6 oz
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
- Tomato paste - 3 Tbsp
- Heavy cream - 1/2 cup
- Paprika, sweet - 1 Tbsp
- Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
- Thyme, dried - 2 tsp
- Cayenne pepper (opt) - 1/8 tsp
- Make Cajun spice mix - Combine paprika, garlic powder, thyme and cayenne pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Onions / Bell peppers / Garlic - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Chicken - Halve and then season and tenderize. Rub both sides with Cajun spice mix. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
- Chop spinach. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
- Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Salt generously and add pasta. Cook until al dente, tender but not soggy. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup (118 mL) of pasta water (for 4 servings; adjust accordingly if customizing).
- While pasta cooks, heat a skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add first part of cooking oil and then chicken. Cook in batches until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and return pan to the burner.
- To the hot pan, add second part of cooking oil and then onions, bell peppers and garlic. Saute until tender, ~4 minutes. Add spinach, tomato paste, heavy cream and reserved pasta water (if pasta is still cooking, just use a measuring cup to scoop water out of the pot) and stir to combine. Simmer until liquids reduce to a thick sauce and spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss in pasta and stir until sauce coats pasta. Season with some salt and pepper.
- Slice chicken and serve over pasta. Enjoy!
Doubled up on spice as I've learned a thing or two over the years of using CookSmarts. Phenomenal meal! Very filling and absolutely tasty.1 Helpful
Very good recipe. I baked the chicken while chopping everything and used pan drippings to cook the onion etc. Easy weeknight recipe.0 Helpful
Easy to make and flavorful0 Helpful
Really quick and easy! Very tasty. Doubled the onion and added lots of salt and pepper. Didn’t have any Cheyenne pepper, so used hot pepper flakes instead—definitely gave the chicken some kick! Store out of fun gf pasta so used fettuccine and put sauce on top rather than mixing the two.0 Helpful
The chicken was excellent. The pasta was good.0 Helpful
Super simple meal, very tasty! I'd definitely make this again. Just a pile of sauteed veggies plus chicken, but it was hearty and yummy. (I used premade Cajun spice mix since I had it on hand already.)0 Helpful
subbed spinach for the zucchini0 Helpful