Lemony Chicken Spinach Pasta — EASY and ready in 20 minutes with comforting pasta, juicy chicken, a hint of lemon, and the PERFECT amount of Parmesan!! Great for busy weeknights and the extra is good for meal prepping!!
Easy Lemon Spinach Chicken Pasta Recipe
Al dente pasta, salty Parmesan, bright lemon, and juicy chicken — this simple pasta dinner has it all!
Even better, the pasta takes less than 30 minutes to make and is easy to customize with your favorite meats and veggies.
And since this recipe feeds a crowd and holds well at room temp, it’s great for picnics, potlucks, and events where you need to feed a group.
What’s in the Lemon Chicken Spinach Pasta?
For this lemon spinach pasta with chicken, you’ll need:
- Penne pasta
- Olive oil
- Sweet Vidalia onion
- Chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon juice
- Fresh spinach
- Parmesan cheese
How to Make Lemon Chicken Spinach Pasta
This chicken spinach pasta recipe is as simple as boiling pasta and while it cooks, to a separate skillet saute an onion with bite-sized pieces of chicken breast. For flavor, add garlic, lemon juice, and ample salt and pepper.
Combine the cooked pasta with the chicken, stir in fresh baby spinach, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and get ready to serve.
So fast, easy, ready in minutes, and although the flavors are simple, everything works really well together and this will be a family favorite in no time!
Can This Recipe Be Meal Prepped?
Yes! Portion out the servings into individual containers and either stash them in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Spinach does oxidize as time passes and while the color is affected, the taste is not.
Can This Recipe Be Made Gluten-Free?
Yes, just substitute your favorite gluten-free pasta for the penne.
Recipe Substitutions to Try
Although my daughter’s cheerleading team, who I made this recipe for, loved this chicken and pasta recipe as is, there are lots of ways to improvise with the recipe, including:
- Add a bit of lemon zest or lemon pepper. In addition to the lemon juice, they will really bring the lemon flavor to the forefront
- Add more Parmesan than I did and stir it into the pasta along when you add the spinach rather than just sprinkling it on top. Do as your waistline prefers
- Garnish with fresh basil
- Garnish with thinly sliced green onions
- Work in more vegetables like lightly steamed broccoli, sugar snap peas, fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, or whatever you’re craving
- Rotini, bowties, small shells, wheels or your favorite small-shaped pasta may be substituted
Pin This Recipe
- 1 pound penne pasta, cooking according to package directions, drained, and set aside
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed; divided
- 1 small sweet Vidalia onion, diced small
- 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1+ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1+ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 ounces fresh baby spinach, or more if desired
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, or more if desired
- To a large pot, cook the pasta according to package directions, drain; set aside.
- While the pasta cooks, to a very large separate deep-sided skillet or pot, add about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, and saute over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, or just until onion begins to soften; stir intermittently.
- Add the chicken, salt, pepper, and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the chicken is done and cooked through; stir and flip intermittently to ensure even cooking.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir nearly continuously.
- Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Turn off the heat, add the cooked pasta, spinach, and stir very well to combine. As needed, add additional olive oil so the mixture tosses easily.
- Taste the dish and if needed add additional salt and pepper. I added about 2 teaspoons total of salt and about 1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper. You're flavoring a very large quantity of food and if it tastes at all flat or boring, it probably would benefit from additional salt/pepper.
- Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan over the top and serve. If you prefer a cheesier dish, stir the Parmesan into the pasta, and add additional to be sprinkled over the top. Serve immediately.
Recipe will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months, noting that although the color of the spinach will oxidize as time passes (especially if frozen), it does not affect the taste.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 258mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 18g
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