15-Minute Cheesy Chicken Pasta and Vegetables
15-Minute Cheesy Chicken Pasta and Vegetables – EASY and ready in minutes!! The cheesy pasta is COMFORT food while all the veggies add a HEALTHIER twist! Family-friendly and perfect for busy weeknights!!
How To Make This Easy 15-Minute Chicken and Pasta Recipe
This recipe is as simple as boiling pasta and adding broccoli and cauliflower florets for a few minutes at the end.
While the pasta cooks, to a separate skillet add bite-sized pieces of chicken breast, shredded carrots, green onions, and garlic.
Combine the cooked pasta, broccoli, and cauliflower with the chicken and carrot mixture.
Then add fresh baby spinach, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese before digging in and devouring.
It’s an easy family-friendly recipe that is perfect for busy weeknights and sneaks in more vegetables than you’d think.
Comfort Food Pasta + Lots Of Vegetables = The Best Of Both Worlds
This time of year, I know we’re all trying to eat more veggies.
But it’s cold outside and pasta tastes so good, especially when there’s melted cheese coating every bite.
Between the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green onions, and baby spinach, there’s plenty of veggies so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating cheesy pasta when you’re trying to stick to those resolutions.
Mix And Match
I use recipes like these when I am trying to clean out my pantry and fridge and this one is very flexible and forgiving.
Some optional tweaks and substitutions include:
- Rather than penne pasta, use rotini, ziti, small shells, wheels. Healthy bonus points if you use whole-wheat pasta variations
- Use a white or yellow onion rather than green
- Swap the baby spinach for kale
- Add fresh basil or cilantro if you have it on hand
- Omit the cheese altogether, use only one kind, or use less of both the mozzarella and the Parmesan
- Add lemon zest, lemon pepper seasoning, or a spritz of lemon juice. If that sounds good to you, try Lemon Pepper Basil Chicken and Pasta
- Up the veggie quotient by adding bell peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, zucchini, or yellow squash
- Add more plant-based protein with edamame, peas, or garbanzo beans
- 8 ounces penne pasta (ziti, rigatoni, rotini, wheels, small shells, etc. may be substituted)
- one 12-ounce package broccoli and cauliflower florets (or all broccoli or all cauliflower)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots, loosely measured
- 4 to 5 green onions, thinly sliced (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup)
- 3 to 5 cloved garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, loosely measured
- 1 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Boil pasta according to package directions in salted water in a very large skillet or pot. In the final 2 to 3 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli and cauliflower florets. Drain but reserve 1/2 cup pasta water in case you need it in step 6.
- Return the pasta and vegetables to the cooking pot; set aside.
- To a large skillet, add the olive oil, chicken, and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add the carrots, onions, salt, pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables have softened; stir and flip intermittently to ensure even cooking.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir nearly constantly.
- Add the chicken and carrot mixture to the large pot with the cooked pasta, broccoli, and cauliflower.
- Add the spinach, cheeses, and stir until cheese has all melted and spinach has wilted. Taste and check for seasoning balance and if necessary, add additional salt and/or pepper. Serve immediately. Recipe will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423 Total Fat: 19g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 86mg Sodium: 781mg Carbohydrates: 25g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 38g
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