Say hello to a healthy-ish version of creamy chicken and broccoli pasta! Super creamy pasta are great but you know what's also great? Creamy pasta on the lighter side that's loaded with lots of (really good for you) chicken and broccoli!
Ready in just under 30 minutes, this simple pasta is sooo yum and easy to make! Unlike many creamy/alfredo pasta recipes, this one is on the lighter side. No butter.
- Fusilli pasta or spiral pasta works best for this recipe.
- Chicken stock is used here. Vegetable stock works really well too.
- Thickened cream/heavy cream thickens when cooked which is perfect for this pasta! Single cream/pouring cream is okay too but it will just be a little runnier.
- Parmesan cheese I ALWAYS grate my own parmesan cheese rather than buying pre-shredded ones. I find it just tastes so much better and melts easier when mixed with pasta.
- Chicken breasts cut into small strips, into similar size to the spiral pasta. Feel free to substitute chicken breasts for thigh meat or tenderloins.
Step by step instructions
- STEP 1. Put the kettle one, cook pasta according to packet instructions. Make sure to salt the pasta cooking water before you drop the pasta in. About 1 tablespoon will do.
- STEP 2. Whilst the pasta is cooking, quarter a head of broccoli and boil/steam broccoli in a small pot. You want to half boil, half steam the broccoli so use enough water so that it just reaches the broccoli halfway. Like image #2 above. Only put broccoli in once the water is boiling. Cook on high for 2 minutes, lid on. Like pasta, season the water with some salt before adding broccoli.
- STEP 3. Drain cooked broccoli and cut into bite-sized florets. Careful, it'll be hot! I use a pair of tongs to hold the broccoli in place to cut. Like image #3 above.
- STEP 4. In a large skillet/pan, saute finely diced onions and minced garlic with olive oil. Cook on medium heat until soft and fragrant.
- STEP 5. Add in chicken breast strips and saute on high, adding colour onto the chicken (flavour!) About 2 minutes will do the trick.
- STEP 6. Add broccoli florets, stock, cream, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly for about 10 seconds. Bring up to boil.
- STEP 7. Mix through cooked pasta. Here comes the important part: continuously mix and toss the pasta for about 3 - 4 minutes on medium heat until the creamy sauce has been mostly absorbed by the pasta. Give the pasta and sauce a taste, adjust seasoning if necessary. More pepper? More salt?
Here you have it! Not too rich, but definitely delicious and satisfying creamy, healthy-ish chicken and broccoli pasta.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Freshly grated vs pre-shredded parmesan cheese
Did you know that most pre-shredded parmesan cheeses have added preservatives? I had no idea until recently. Since this is a healthy-ish pasta, let's skip the additives and use the good stuff!
Ideal pasta to use
My first preference is the fusilli (spiral) pasta. It's similar-sized to the broccoli florets and chicken strips which makes it really easy to eat. The spiral shape also collects cream/parmesan cheese really well! But, at the end of the day, use whatever shape (such as linguine, bow tie, penne and etc) you like! They'll all taste delicious!
Love pasta? Here are some more!
- Easy garlic prawn/shrimp pasta - super quick, 15-minute meal
- Spaghetti bolognese - a classic, allow plenty of simmer time for the perfect bolognese
- Creamy chicken and mushroom pasta - another creamy pasta on the light side!
Thank you for checking out my recipes! Let me know what you think and/or if you have any questions, drop me a note in the comments section below. 🙂
Healthy-ish chicken and broccoli pasta
- 400 g / 14 oz chicken breast cut into strips (about 2 breasts)
- 300 g / 10 oz broccoli cut into small florets (about 1 large head)
- 300 g / 10 oz fusilli pasta aka spiral pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion brown, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup chicken stock vegetable stock is fine too
- 1 cup thickened/heavy cream (note 1)
- salt and pepper to taste
- parmesan cheese to serve freshly grated
- Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Season the water with salt (about 1 tbsp) prior to adding pasta in.
- Whilst pasta is cooking, quarter the whole head of broccoli and steam/boil in a small pot, lid on. Cook for 2 minutes. (note 2)
- Once broccoli is cooked, drain and cut into small, bite-sized florets. Set aside.
- In a large skillet/pan, saute onions and garlic with olive oil on medium heat until soft and fragrant.
- Add chicken strips and saute for 2 minutes on high. Browning the chicken will add flavour to the overall dish.
- Now add broccoli florets, chicken stock, cream, salt and pepper. Bring up to boil.
- Turn heat down to medium and add in cooked pasta. Thoroughly mix and toss for 4 minutes or until majority of the creamy sauce has been absorbed by the pasta.
- Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.