Tender, juicy chicken and a medley of veggies come together in this healthy Chicken Pasta Primavera recipe. With a creamy Parmesan sauce, and super fast cook time, this family-pleasing dinner idea is sure to be a hit!
An Easy & Healthy Chicken Dinner Idea
It’s not often that a recipe comes along that is full of veggies, and also a kid-friendly favorite. But, hold on to your hats, people, because this one is both! Chicken Pasta Primavera is a creamy, cheesy, noodle-y dish that we ALL love.
On top of that, it’s got a rainbow of crisp-tender veggies, and chunks of white meat chicken, so mom can feel good about nourishing those little people (and big people) at her table. Boom! The perfect dinner! I mean, maybe not… but it’s gotta be pretty darn close.
I love serving this comforting, protein-packed meal in spring and summer, when all the veggies are at their best. And I also love serving it on busy weeknights, because it comes together fast!
So let’s get into the recipe because, trust me: it’s going to be your new go-to when you need a quick, healthy meal that checks all the boxes for the whole family. Are you excited? 😉 Me, too!
What is Pasta Primavera?
The name sounds authentically Italian, but Pasta Primavera is actually an American pasta recipe. It was invented in the 1970’s by New York restauranteur Sirio Maccioni and is basically your favorite pasta noodles tossed with fresh vegetables and creamy sauce.
What You’ll Need
The ingredients here are fresh, wholesome, and simple. Feel free to sub your favorite pasta shape for the penne! Farfalle, rotini, and even fettuccine are all great options. One of the best things about this Chicken Pasta Primavera recipe is how flexible it is.
- Pasta: Typically, I use 8 to 10 ounces of dry penne pasta for this dish. I also like to use Gluten Free Penne Pasta.
- Olive Oil: You’ll need a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, for sautéing.
- Chicken: Cut 1 pound of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes.
- Salt and Pepper: To taste.
- Zucchini: You’ll need 1 zucchini, thinly sliced into half-moons.
- Grape Tomatoes: I like to cut these little guys into quarters, but you could also dice up a large tomato or a couple of plum tomatoes.
- Peas: Frozen peas work perfectly in this recipe.
- Dried Herbs: We’ll be using a combination of basil, rosemary, and parsley.
- Garlic: You’ll need four cloves of garlic, minced or pressed.
- White Wine: ¼ cup of good white wine makes this sauce magnifique!
- Cream: I use heavy whipping cream to give the pasta sauce a velvety texture and unforgettable flavor. Half and half will do in a pinch, but it won’t be as thick and flavorful.
- Parmesan: Use freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, if available.
- Fresh Basil: Chop a small amount of fresh basil for a fragrant, beautiful garnish.
How to Make Chicken Pasta Primavera
Seriously, this easy pasta is going to rock your world! It comes together in a snap, and the flavors are ultra-bright and beautiful.
- Make the Pasta. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. When it’s done, set it aside until the sauce is ready.
- Cook the Chicken. While the pasta is cooking, heat your olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and then cook for 5 minutes in the hot oil.
- Add the Veggies and Dried Herbs. To the chicken, add the zucchini, tomatoes, and frozen peas; season with dried basil, rosemary, and parsley. Stir in the garlic, and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Deglaze the Pan and Make the Sauce. Stir the wine into the pan, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cream, and cook for 1 minute.
- Assemble the Dish. Drain the cooked pasta, and gently stir it into the skillet. Top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh basil.
Tips for Success
Love the sound of this recipe? Awesome! Check out my super-easy tips for making it as mouthwatering as possible.
- Perfect Pasta: Make sure to season the pasta water with a bit of salt for the best flavor, and don’t overcook the pasta.
- No Wine? No Problem! You can still make this recipe without the wine! Just use chicken broth or veggie broth in place of the stock, and add a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness.
- Use Thighs: You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe; they have the advantage of not drying out as easily. Dice them up for the best presentation.
Here are some easy ways to make Chicken Pasta Primavera your own!
- Veggie Swap: Pasta Primavera is great with almost any veggies. Mushrooms, asparagus, yellow squash, onion, and broccoli are all great options. Just cut them small so they cook up quickly.
- Make It Meatless: Toss some extra veggies in the skillet to replace the chicken, if you like, or get even more creative by adding lightly pan seared tofu instead of the chicken. Your pasta primavera will still have protein but will be completely vegetarian.
- Add Fish: You can add tuna to the finished sauce for a very upscale version of tuna noodle!
- Crank Up the Seasoning: Make a savory Cajun version of this recipe by stirring Creole seasoning into the sauce along with the cream. Spicy!
What Goes with Chicken Pasta Primavera?
With chicken, veggies, sauce, and pasta, this is a complete meal in one pan! But I still like to serve it with a few sides, sometimes. Here are some great side dish ideas you might want to use!
- Salad: Veggies for days! Keep a good thing going with a simple garden salad, or try this Chopped Egg, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad for something a little more special.
- Breadsticks: My Easy Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks with Dipping Sauce are a family favorite. You can also go keto with these Cheesy Keto Zucchini Breadsticks. Yummy!
- Soup: A smooth, creamy bowl of Asparagus Soup is one of my very favorite starters, especially with this light pasta dish.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- To store leftovers, place in airtight food storage containers and refrigerate for up to three days.
- To reheat, place leftovers in a covered skillet with a splash of water or milk, and reheat on low until heated through. Stir occasionally for even heating.
CHICKEN PASTA PRIMAVERA
- 8 to 10 ounces dry penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes or long thin strips
- Salt and pepper
- 1 zucchini, sliced into thin half-moons
- 1 to 2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ tablespoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup white wine
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
- Chopped Fresh basil, for garnish
- Cook pasta according to the directions on the package.
- In the meantime, heat oil in a large 14-inch skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper; add chicken to the hot oil and cook for 5 minutes.
- To the chicken, add zucchini, tomatoes, and frozen peas; season with dried basil, rosemary, and parsley.
- Stir in garlic and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the wine and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add cream and cook for 1 minute.
- Drain the cooked pasta; stir pasta into the skillet. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly.
- Remove from heat.
- Top with parmesan cheese.
- Garnish with basil.