This creamy chicken fajita pasta is a one pot wonder that is creamy, cheesy, and flavorful. It can be made gluten free or not and is easy enough for a weekday dinner idea.
Why Should I Make This Recipe?
This creamy chicken fajita pasta is made using a single pan, which I always appreciate when I'm not looking forward to cleaning up the kitchen when tired at the end of the day. The combination of 3 colors of bell pepper, onion, and kicky fajita seasonings gives the dish plenty of bold flavor that won't leave you sad and disappointed over a bland dinner. Finally, the creamy cheesy sauce adds a richness and smoothness on top of the spice and completes the flavor profile.
It's an excellent dish that's simple enough for an easy weekday dinner, but special enough to serve on the weekends as well.
How Much Time Do I Need?
You can have this dish on the table in about 40 minutes from start to finish. It does require some initial slicing and chopping of the chicken, peppers, and onions, but after that you're rockin' and rollin' with simple steps that only require a little babysitting until the dish is complete.
Do I Have To Use Gluten Free Pasta?
No, you don't. This dish can easily swap between gluten free and "normal" by altering which type of penne pasta that you use. There's many gluten free options out there for folks who have to eliminate it from their diets, but any type of penne will work in this recipe without altering any of the other instructions or ingredients.
Though I don't usually eat a gluten free diet, I had been wanting to try the Banza Chickpea Pasta and thought this dish would be ideal for a test run. Even if you're not technically gluten free, I recommend giving this stuff a try. I've made it in two recipes now (I even made the viral TikTok pasta using it) and I think it has a great flavor and a texture that's very close to traditional pasta.
Tip for using chickpea pasta: I have discovered that chickpea pasta is a bit more fragile than regular pasta, so in dishes with thick sauces - like this one - it can fall apart. This is common feature of this type of pasta as well as other gluten free pastas. I recommend checking the pasta often and removing it from the heat as soon as it reaches al dente. I also suggest being gentle when stirring the mixture. Even then, you may notice some pieces coming apart, but don't worry, I didn't find that it affected the taste or overall experience at all.
Ingredient Substitutions for Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Bell Peppers: I used a red, green, and yellow bell pepper in this recipe, but you can use any combination of bell pepper colors that you like. I know some people don't like green peppers because of their earthy flavor. Just use an extra red or yellow in its place!
- Chicken: I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can also use chicken thighs, or a mixture of both.
- Milk: I used 2% milk, but you can substitute with any milk if you have specific dietary needs or preferences. Please be aware that the lower the fat content of the milk, the more likely that the sauce will separate and look "grainy". If you want a suuuper rich sauce, replace 1 cup of the milk with heavy cream.
- Cheese: I used Monterey Jack cheese, but you can use anything that melts readily. Pepper Jack is a popular choice.
Taste, Taste, Taste!
While reading reviews for dinner recipes, I often see home cooks criticizing the amount of seasoning or spice that a certain dish has. Too bland! Too spicy! The opinions are usually all over the map. I recommend always always tasting a dish at several points during the cook process (as long as you aren't consuming undercooked meat, of course) to make sure that the seasonings work for you.
The potency of seasonings and spices vary depending on things like brand, age, etc. Even though a recipe may call for a specific amount of a spice, you may need more to get the flavor that you're after. Always use the suggested amounts of spices as a starting point, taste, and adjust until it tastes just how you want it!Print
Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
An easy pasta dish with chicken, colorful bell peppers, and onions with classic fajita seasonings.
- 3 TBS oil
- 3 chicken breasts, pounded flat and cut into pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 TBS chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 TBS cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups milk
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (check label for GF)
- 4 cups penne pasta (gluten free or regular)
- 1 heaping cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
- In a large, deep saute pan , heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until almost completely done - it will finish cooking later. Remove chicken to a plate, do not drain the pan.
- Add the bell peppers and onion and cook, tossing frequently, until onion begins to soften (this will take 6-8 minutes)
- Return the chicken to the pan and add the garlic. Season with the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and a few good shakes of salt and pepper. Stir to completely coat the chicken and vegetables.
- Add the milk, chicken broth, and pasta and stir until all of the pasta is wet.
- Reduce the heat until the mixture is at a low simmer. Use a spatula to gently scrape the bottom of the pan to keep the pasta from sticking.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened and the pasta is al dente. If making the gluten free version, check the pasta frequently as it may cook faster and will start to fall apart if it is overcooked.
- Add the shredded cheese and fold into the mixture until melted. Taste and adjust any seasonings as desired. Serve warm.
This recipe was tested using Banza gluten-free chickpea penne pasta.
For an extra rich sauce, replace 1 cup of the milk with heavy cream.
You can use Pepper Jack cheese instead, or any cheese that melts easily.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Category: Entree
- Method: Stovetop
Keywords: chickpea pasta, gluten free, one pot, easy dinner, chicken fajita
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