This is pasta dish with chicken and vegetables that is complete meal in itself. This recipe is inspired by Chicken Penne Alfredo, but made dairy free and more wholesome. The sauce is lightly creamy and flavored with herbs and a touch of heat. 30 minutes is all it takes to make this. How is that for weeknight dinner?
A meal like this is easy to make even on a busy week night. Get the pasta going in one pot while everything else gets done in a skillet at the same time. The meal is wholesome – you have carbs , veggies and protein – and a whole lot of flavors as well.
Sure there are 2 dishes to clean instead of one, but to be honest there is not much of a cleanup here. And no fancy gadgets are needed either !
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These are the basic ingredients you need to make this dish – pasta, coconut milk/cream, vegetables, spices and chicken.
Dry pasta is a life saver, and for me it is a must have in the pantry. That and frozen veggies some jarred sauce and pickles makes life so much more pleasant when the schedule gets crazy. from. I like to make this with penne but spaghetti or fettuccine works as well too.
Creamy pasta dishes are something of a favorite of my kids, and we make different versions. This is one that is a little different, but an absolute favorite of mine. It is entirely dairy free.
My preferred “cream agent” is coconut milk, because that is something that always seems to be there in my pantry and I and the rest of the family love it. Use almond milk or soy milk if you like, but if using these you may need some thickeners (corn starch or all purpose flour).
The protein of choice is chicken – chicken breast to be exact . These cook fast and the thinly sliced portions absorb the flavors really well.
When it comes to vegetables, there are many choices. Often times I use frozen veggies but fresh asparagus or french beans work well in this recipe too. Frozen spinach it is added to the sauce along with the chicken. If I were using fresh spinach it will be stirred in and heated through once the chicken is cooked .
Here are the steps to make this dish
- Heat oil and add season with red pepper flakes garlic and Italian seasoning
- Add the coconut milk and the chicken.
- Add frozen veggies
- Cover and cook for 10 minutes
- Open and add the cooked pasta
- Mix and finish the dish with coconut cream
Creamy Chicken and Veggie Pasta
- 8 oz Penne
- 8 oz Frozen Spinach Notes
- 1 lb Chicken Breast
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- ¼ Tsp Red chili flakes To Taste
- 1 Tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 Can Coconut milk About 13 oz
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 2 C Grape tomatoes
- 1 C Chicken or Vegetable Stock / Water
- 1 Tbsp Corn Starch Optional See Notes
- Slice the chicken breasts thin about 1 cm thickness and 2 inches in length. Mince the garlic. Rinse the tomatoes and halve the large ones.
- Bring salted water to boil and cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking heat a heavy bottomed skillet.
- When hot add 2 tbsp olive oil. Keep the heat at medium and add the minced garlic, chili flakes and Italian seasoning. Let it cook for 30 seconds or till the flavors to infuse the hot oil. Add 1 C coconut milk and ½ tsp salt and cook the sauce until it is beginning to boil , about 1 minute.
- Stir in the chicken and top with the frozen spinach . Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Open the lid, stir and check to see make sure that the chicken is cooked through. If more sauce is preferred add 1 C stock or pasta water. Mix 1 tbsp corn starch to 2 tbsp cold water and mix into the sauce. Lower the heat to simmer and add the drained pasta.
- Top with the grape tomatoes . Gently stir so that the sauce coats the pasta.
- Cover the skillet and tun off the heat. Let the pasta rest for 5 minutes , drizzle ½ C coconut milk all over and serve.
- Use your favorite pasta in this dish - penne, linguini, or fettuccine
- When using corn starch it is important to let the sauce come to a full boil after adding it. This ensures that all the cornstarch is cooked and reaches its full thickening potential.
- AP Flour can be used in place of corn starch. Use 2 Tbsp of AP Flour and make sure that the sauce comes back to a boil after adding it.
- The grape tomatoes gets warmed through while the pasta is resting. They still hold their shape.
- Do not forget to drizzle the coconut milk in the end. This releases fresh aromas.
- For a more creamier richer sauce use 2 cups of coconut milk in the sauce .
- Fresh spinach can be used as well. Add the spinach to the sauce after the chicken has been cooking for 5 minutes.
Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.
Don’t forget to drizzle coconut milk to finish the dish. The coconut milk on top gives the dish the extra luscious feel and releases fresh aromas.
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