Have I got a treat for you!! Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta with lots of veggies and flavor. An easy delicious dish that comes together in just over a half hour.
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Get ready to drool and then run to the store to get all the ingredients for this Veggie-Loaded Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta. It is a treat. An absolute must-make.
I love this recipe for several reasons: It is delicious. It is quick to make. And it is a complete meal, which means I don’t have to make a separate meat, vegetable, and side dish.
You’ll love the creamy sauce in this recipe. It is flavorful without being too heavy, and the creaminess is a perfect complement to the spicy fajita seasoning.
There are plenty of veggies in this chicken fajita pasta. Each serving has half a bell pepper, a cup of baby spinach, and a quarter zucchini. That’s pretty good, and a pretty good way to eat a serving or two of veggies in one meal without really trying.
Ingredients for Veggie-Loaded Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta:
The ingredient list for this recipe looks long but DO NOT FEAR. It is long because this recipe uses a whole lot of veggies.
In this recipe, I take the classic chicken fajita ingredients – chicken, bell peppers, onions, fajita seasoning – and just keep adding stuff until it becomes BETTER AND BETTER. Thinly sliced tender chicken breast, pasta, an easy 2-ingredient creamy sauce, a ton of veggies, and so much flavor. Sure, zucchini and spinach are not traditional fajita ingredients. But they add great texture, flavor, and a lot of nutritional value into this recipe without compromising the true fajita flavors of this dish.
If you want to keep this simple, you can absolutely skip the baby spinach and zucchini. Or add more bell peppers. But I do recommend trying it my way first before you go making any changes to the recipe.
How to make Veggie-Loaded Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta:
Start by getting all your ingredients chopped and ready to go. Once you start cooking, the recipe comes together quickly and you won’t have time to start chopping bell peppers in the middle of the whole thing.
Cook the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, start cooking everything else:
In a large skillet with high sides, cook the seasoned chicken over high heat.
The add the onions and garlic, and saute for a few minutes.
Then add the bell peppers, zucchini, and some more fajita seasoning. You’re almost done!
Now add the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and baby spinach. Give everything stir and then add the cooked pasta and chicken. Stir everything together until heated through. Then remove from heat and add the cilantro.
A few other tips for this recipe:
Fajita seasoning. Check the ingredients of your fajita seasoning – most already contain salt. If yours contains salt, you might not even need to add salt to this recipe at all. If you do add salt, go slow. If your seasoning does not contain salt, then definitely season the chicken with about 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste), and season the veggies with a generous pinch of salt as well.
Fajita seasoning can be spicy, so use your judgment and don’t add it all at once if you don’t like things too spicy.
Pasta. I use half of a 1lb box of pasta for this recipe. Adding the chicken and all the veggies really doubles the recipe in size, so 8 oz of dried pasta turns into a very filling 4-portion recipe, or a smaller 6-portion recipe. I recommend cooking the pasta until al dente – it will continue cooking a bit when you add the pasta to the sauce. So if you don’t like pasta that’s overcooked, make sure you stop it at the al dente stage and rinse it in cold water to stop the cooking in step 2 of the recipe.
You can use any kind of pasta you like, but I really like a ridged tubular pasta such as penne, tortiglioni, or rigatoni because it really catches the sauce well. A fusilli-type shape would also be wonderful. Fun fact: did you know that “pene” means “penis” in Spanish?
Parmesan: For this recipe, it is best to use freshly grated Parmesan / Parmigiana cheese. It can also be the grated/shaved Parmesan from the ‘fancy cheese’ section of the grocery store – as long as it looks like it was grated from a block of cheese. So basically, I am saying not to use the Kraft green container Parmesan for this recipe. That stuff definitely has a place in some recipes, but it won’t work as well here because it won’t melt into the sauce as well.
Time-saving tip: You can make this pasta dinner in just 20 minutes if you slice all the veggies in advance, or if you buy them sliced. You can also season the chicken in advance – it will absorb the fajita seasoning and be extra tasty. Just keep all the ingredients refrigerated in containers with air-tight lids.
This recipe reheats really well in the microwave and will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. If you have a family of 4-5, go ahead and make a double batch so you can enjoy the leftovers the next day. You might just need to use a HUGE pot and make the sauce right in the pasta pot once the chicken and veggies are cooked. If the pasta seems a little dry when reheating (it shouldn’t – I reheated mine twice and it was fine) then add a splash of cream and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese to the pasta, stir, and then reheat.
What else will I need for this recipe?
This is a 2-pot dish. You’ll need one large pot to cook the pasta. And you’ll need one large skillet with high sides to cook the chicken, veggies, sauce in and to finish the dish.
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Veggie-Loaded Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta
- 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 2 bell peppers , seeds removed and thinly sliced
- 1 small zucchini (about 1/2 lb)
- 8 oz pasta , such as penne or ziti
- water and salt for cooking pasta
- 1 lb chicken breast (2 small chicken breasts), thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp fajita seasoning , divided (or to taste)
- Optional: salt , to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil , divided
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves (optional)
- Prep all the ingredients: thinly slice the onion, mince the garlic, thinly slice the bell peppers, slice the zucchini in half length-wise and then thinly slice. In a medium bowl, season the sliced chicken with 1 tablespoon fajita seasoning and salt (optional - check whether your fajita seasoning already contains salt).
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box. I recommend cooking until al dente. Drain and rinse the pasta and set aside. Pro tip: proceed with the next steps while the pasta is cooking.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the seasoned sliced chicken. Cook over high heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Set aside on a plate.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet and add the sliced onion and minced garlic. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the sliced bell peppers, zucchini, and the rest of the fajita seasoning. Season with salt, if desired. Stir fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Add heavy cream, grated Parmesan cheese, and baby spinach to the skillet. Mix well. Add the cooked pasta and chicken, and continue stirring over medium heat until all the spinach is wilted (about 1-2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cilantro leaves.