09 Sep Pasta with broccoli and chicken
This delicious, creamy pasta with broccoli and chicken dish is made with a creamy sauce that will trick you into thinking you’re eating lots of calories. In reality, this dish is a filling and easy option for a quick weeknight meal. We combine lean protein, carbs, veggies and low fat dairy products to make an excellent meal that will be popular with the kids as well as the adults. Are you ready to add a new, excellent pasta recipe to your repertoire? Let’s do it!
Which ingredients do you need to make pasta with chicken and broccoli?
- Chicken breast fillets
- Red onion
- Reduced fat creme fraiche (or full fat!)
How to make pasta with broccoli and chicken
Boil pasta in a pot following package instructions. Meanwhile, cook the onion and garlic in a pan. Add diced chicken, and cook until the chicken is halfway done. Add broccoli florets. When the meat and broccoli is almost ready, add the creme fraiche, and season with some oregano, salt and pepper. Heat the sauce and let the ingredients finish cooking through. When the pasta is ready, drain off the water and add the pasta to the sauce. Stir to combine. You want to make sure that the pasta is completely covered in the sauce. Ready to serve!
What type of pasta is good for this dish?
When it comes to pasta, you can usually use whichever shape you prefer. I like to mix it up to keep meals more interesting. This time I have used conchiglie, which is a seashell shaped pasta. You can use spaghetti, fusilli, or any other shape that you have available. I use dry pasta in my recipe, but you can also use fresh or homemade pasta. Simply boil it according to the package instructions, and add the pasta to the sauce when it’s done.
Can you have any side dishes with this recipe?
Pasta is a pretty complete meal on its own. If you would like to serve it with a side dish, I think simple salads are a great fit. I love a good Tomato and mozzarella salad or a Tomato and cucumber salad. To make it even easier, serve it with some spinach or rocket with a simple Lemon pepper vinaigrette.
Tips and substitutions
Chicken – I use chicken breast fillets for this recipe. You can also buy diced chicken breast or chicken thighs, in which case you want to allow for about 300g chicken. I would not recommend bone-in chicken, or chicken with skin for this recipe.
Broccoli – You will get the best results from this recipe by using fresh broccoli. Frozen broccoli and be used, but it will add more water and less flavor to the dish. I like to cut the broccoli into very small florets to make sure that they cook well in a short amount of time. I use 1/2 broccoli, but you can add more if you want.
Creme fraiche – In this, and most other recipes where I use creme fraiche, I always opt for the reduced fat version. It’s much lower in calories, but almost identical in flavor and texture when compared to the regular full fat version, which makes it a great alternative. The fact that I use the reduced fat variety is also why this recipe can be called healthy, and the reason that this creamy pasta dish is less than 400 calories per serving.
Garnish – Top your pasta with broccoli and chicken with your favorite pasta garnish. I have garnished mine with fresh basil leaves, but you can add ground pepper, grated parmesan, or a drizzle of flavored olive oil.
Can you freeze this dish?
This dish can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It is not recommended to freeze dishes with creme fraiche, as it has a chance of splitting with you defrost and reheat it. If you would like to make this meal ahead and freeze, you can dice the veggies and chicken and freeze them in portion packs. Then you can defrost and cook it later, and simply add the creme fraiche to finish it off.
More pasta dishes
Pasta with broccoli and chicken
- 1/4 red onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 chicken breast fillets, diced
- 1/2 broccoli, cut into small florets
- 300 ml reduced fat creme fraiche
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 250 g dry pasta of choice
- 1 tsp olive oil or cooking spray
Cook the pasta
- Boil some water in a pot.
- Add the pasta, and cook according to package instructions, typically 5-10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked. Try eat one and see if it's the consistency you prefer. When it's done, drain off the water and leave the pasta.
Cook the chicken and veggies
- While waiting for the pasta to cook, thinly slice red onion and mince the garlic cloves.
- Heat the oil in a pan, and add the red onion. Sauté for a few minutes until the onion is softened and translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir to prevent burning.
- Add the diced chicken to the pan, and cook until it's browned on the outside. The exact cook time will vary depending on the size of your chicken chunks, but make sure that the surface of the chicken is fully cooked before moving on to the next step. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Add the broccoli, and leave to cook for a few minutes until the broccoli is slightly softened and warmed, about 5 minutes.
- Add the creme fraiche, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly to combine.
- Cook for a few minutes until the sauce is heated through and the chicken is properly cooked. If you're not comfortable with cooking chicken, you can make sure that it's fully cooked by slicing one of the largest pieces down the middle. Chicken is cooked when the middle of the pieces is white.
- Stir the pasta into the sauce, and make sure to combine thoroughly. Serve!