Looking for pasta recipe that is straight out of restaurant menu, and is a breeze to make on busy weeknights? This Cajun Chicken Pasta is your answer!
Tender chicken pieces in a creamy, cheesy sauce with the right kind of Cajun smoky heat, along with any of your favorite pasta shapes. Here, my friends, is a pasta meal you are going to get a lot of compliments for.
It’s a great spin on creamy chicken pasta, with a little help from the famous seasonings out of NoLa. Easy peasy Cajun Chicken Pasta, coming right up…
By now you surely know that we are big time fans of Cajun and Creole flavors. One look at GypsyPlate, and you are going to find tons of New Orleans specials.
From their iconic Yakamein to very regional New Orleans BBQ Shrimp and Cochon (Cajun pulled pork), we have already featured tons of Cajun and Creole recipes. We cooked Jambalaya Pasta last year for you, which is very similar to today’s recipe.
But then this recipe came into existence when one night we had neither any shrimp nor any andouille sausage, and yet wanted our favorite pasta full of Cajun flavors.
This Cajun Chicken Pasta is a Winner, cos
- It’s a restaurant quality meal right in your kitchen.
- It’s relatively quick to make on busy weeknights, and super easy.
- It can be customizable to whatever veggies you have on hand.
- You can control the heat by making your own Creole or Cajun seasoning at home.
- You can make it with full cream or half and half. If not looking for a creamy pasta, or looking out for calories, you can even avoid any cream factor and reduce the parmesan cheese, too. It will still taste mighty good.
What Does Cajun Mean?
Cajun cuisine is a famous Southern cuisine of Louisiana. Cajun seasoning usually refers to a spice blend which originated from Acadians living in Louisiana.
Dry Cajun spice blend is made of paprika, cayenne pepper, herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
A close seasoning, which is sometimes interchangeable with Cajun, is Creole seasoning (also from Louisiana), which has a few more additional flavor enhancers.
Both Cajun and Creole cuisines are famous for their heavy-handed spicing of dishes.
Cajun Chicken Pasta Ingredients
- Chicken – We love boneless skinless chicken thighs (for the tenderness) in this recipe, but you can use chicken breast if that’s your choice and is what’s available.
- Vegetables – Bell peppers, mushrooms, canned tomatoes.
- Flavor Enhancers – Cajun or Creole seasoning, garlic, parmesan cheese.
- Chicken stock – In its absence, you can use a little pasta water.
- Cream – You can substitute half and half for a lighter option.
- Pasta – We love penne, rigatoni, ziti, rotini or bow ties for this Cajun chicken pasta recipe.
- Garnishing – Parsley and red chili flakes.
Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe
1. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 Tbsp salt. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta.
2. Cook chicken & veggies: Toss chicken pieces with 1 Tbsp Cajun/Creole seasoning and cook the chicken in melted butter over medium high heat for about 8-10 minutes. Move the chicken to the side of the pan and add in bell peppers and mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes. Mix everything together and continue cooking till veggies start turning soft.
3. Make creamy sauce: Add in garlic and the rest of the Cajun or Creole seasoning, and sauté for a minute. Add chicken stock, diced tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cream and parmesan, mix well and cook till parmesan melts.
4. Finish the dish: Add cooked pasta and mix everything well. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with parsley and red chili flakes and serve immediately.
You can serve this as a stand alone dish (we love one pot meals like this), as it has a perfect balance of carbs, protein and veggies. Saying that, warm crusty bread like our No-Knead Bread is so good to mop up that creamy Cajun sauce.
Tips and Tricks for this Chicken Pasta
- Store bought Creole or Cajun seasoning can have tons of sodium, and can turn the dish way too salty. To avoid this, it’s very easy to make your own homemade seasoning, and then use it for different recipes. Here is our very own Creole Seasoning Recipe.
- Cut the chicken into same bite size pieces, so as to cook evenly.
- Cook the pasta al-dente, as it will finish cooking in the sauce while all the flavors meld together nicely with pasta.
Cajun Chicken Pasta Variations
- Use different proteins. Shrimp, sausage like andouille, and steak are all great alternatives in this creamy Cajun pasta.
- Add different veggies. Asparagus, green beans, peas and carrots are all great options.
- Use cream cheese instead of cream to create the sauce.
- Avoid cream altogether for calorie control, and adjust the Cajun seasoning to your liking, as cream tones down the heat.
- Make a casserole out of it. Top it with more cheese like mozzarella, parmesan or both together, then bake it for a few minutes till the cheese melts. Cheesy Cajun heaven.
How to Store Cajun Pasta and Reheat
This Cajun chicken pasta is best served fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. It’s great as leftovers, as the pasta absorbs all the great flavors while it sits overnight.
If it’s dried out a bit, reheat leftovers on the stove top with a little added cream or a dash of chicken stock. Similarly, you can microwave it till it warms through out.
If you visit New Orleans, you will find their popular Cajun creamy pasta with the protein of your choice, or the jambalaya style pasta they fondly call Pastalaya, on all restaurant menus. It’s so easy to recreate this Cajun Pasta in your kitchen with just a few regular ingredients.
Make this Cajun Chicken Pasta tonight, and wow your loved ones. Let us know if they go for seconds. Happy times when you dig into that pasta bowl…
Cajun Chicken Pasta, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp Cajun or Creole seasoning, divided (see note)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 8oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 14oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup shredded parmesan
- 1 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
- 8oz penne pasta
- chopped parsley to garnish
- red chili flakes to garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 Tbsp salt. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta.
- Toss chicken pieces with 1 Tbsp Cajun/Creole seasoning. Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat, add chicken, and sauté for about 8-10 minutes.
- Move the chicken to the side and add in bell peppers and mushroom. Cook for 5 minutes. Mix everything together and continue cooking till veggies start turning soft.
- Add in garlic and the rest of the Cajun or Creole seasoning. Sauté for a minute.
- Add chicken stock and diced tomatoes, simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add in cream and parmesan, mix well and cook till parmesan melts. Add cooked pasta and mix everything well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley and red chili flakes and serve immediately.
Store bought Creole or Cajun seasoing have tons of sodium and can turn the dish way too salty. To avoid it, its very easy to make your own homemade Creole seasong and then use it for different Cajun or Creole recipes. Here is our very own Creole seasoning recipe:
6 Tbsp paprika
1/2 - 1 Tbsp cayenne
3 Tbsp onion powder
3 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp oregano
2 Tbsp basil
2 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp parsley
2 Tbsp black pepper
1 - 1&1/2 Tbsp granulated or sea salt
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a dry spoon so everything is well combined.
Store in an airtight spice jar and keep it in a pantry.
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