Spice up your usual creamy pasta dishes with a simple Cajun twist. This Cajun Chicken Pasta is ready in under 30 minutes and it tastes far more indulgent than it actually is. Cajun spiced chicken in a creamy pasta sauce - the perfect quick and easy weeknight meal.
I am all about a creamy pasta dish when I want something comforting and this Cajun Chicken Pasta ticks all the boxes, with the added bonus of having a bit of spice to it too. Creamy, hearty and comforting - everything you could want in a meal. Easy to adapt and quick to make too.
- Pasta - Any pasta goes here. Personally I prefer shapes rather than spaghetti, as I think the chunkiness goes well with the chunky bits of chicken.
- Oil - Some olive oil to cook the chicken in.
- Chicken breasts - We used chicken breast to keep this meal lighter, however you could use boneless and skinless chicken thighs which would be much juicier.
- Cajun seasoning - You can use a store bought seasoning or make your own.
- Onion - A medium brown onion.
- Bell pepper - A green bell pepper is what you could traditionally find in Cajun food, however you can use a different colour bell pepper if you prefer.
- Vegetable stock - This helps to loosen up the sauce. You can use chicken stock if you want a more intense chicken flavour. Use low salt stock if you are serving this to young children.
- Chopped tomatoes - Try to use the best quality tinned tomatoes that you can. The cheaper supermarket brand ones tend to be really watery and you will end up with a watery sauce. If you do use a cheaper brand, then you can add some tomato puree for an extra tomato flavour.
- Quark - This is what makes the sauce creamy. It is technically a cheese, but looks like a yogurt. It is a lower fat alternative to cream cheese.
- Spring onions (scallions) and parsley - Optional for presentation.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make Cajun Chicken Pasta - Step by Step
One: Add the pasta to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 12 minutes.
Two: Put the chicken on a plate and add the Cajun seasoning and mix well so that all the chicken is coated.
Three: Heat the oil in a large pan and add the seasoned chicken breast. Gently cook for 5-7 minutes.
Four: Add the onion and green pepper to the pan and stir. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
Five: Add the stock and chopped tomatoes.
Six: Drain the pasta and add it to the pan and stir well. Simmer for a further 5 minutes, adding some extra stock if the sauce gets too thick.
Seven: Stir in the quark and then serve in bowls with spring onions and parsley on top.
Why should you try it?
- Quick and easy - This Cajun Chicken Pasta is on the table in under 30 minutes.
- Easy to adapt - There are different proteins and vegetables that can be added to this.
- Versatile - You can turn leftovers in to a pasta bake, so make sure you make extra. You can also make this as spicy or as mild as you like.
What does Cajun mean?
When is comes to food, Cajun refers to the spice blend that originated from Acadians living in Louisiana. The seasoning is what gives this Cajun Chicken Pasta so much flavour and although it is not a traditional Cajun dish, it contains all the delicious flavours. You could buy a ready made spice blend, but it's really easy to make up your own and then keep in a jar for as and when you need it.
We mix together a tablespoon each of chilli powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme and black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. You can change the quantities depending on taste - we like to go a bit heavier on the paprika and garlic.
We have made this with salmon and prawns instead of chicken, which makes it a bit quicker to cook, and even done a veggie version. Something for everyone! If you still wanted chicken, but wanted an easier version then you can add leftover shredded roast chicken.
Another delicious addition, and something that you will find in a lot of Cajun recipes, is some smoked sausage. Slice up some cooked sausage and stir it in towards the end.
We made a really quick, simple and creamy Cajun pasta sauce with no cream in sight. The cajun spice comes from the seasoning we added to the chicken and then the rest of the sauce is simply vegetable stock (you could use chicken to intensify the chicken flavour) and some Quark.
A Cajun pasta sauce would usually use cream or a full-fat cream cheese to make it creamy, but we opted for fat-free Quark to lighten up what can sometimes be a heavy dish. Still all of the flavour, with less calories and fat. You can use double (heavy) cream or cream cheese if you prefer. If you wanted some extra creaminess, then stir some grated parmesan in to the sauce until it is melted.
For some added vegetables, you could stir in some spinach just before serving, or you could fry some mushrooms, aubergine and courgettes at the same time as the peppers.
What to serve with Cajun Chicken Pasta
Pasta and garlic bread is the perfect combination. Either buy some ready made, or make your own easy garlic bread by cutting up some French stick and spreading it with a mix of butter, crushed garlic and dried herbs. Then pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. Why not try our Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread?
You could also keep it simple with a big green salad. The key to an epic green salad is to use a variety of greens, like romaine, spinach, kale and rocket. You want leafy greens, but crunch too. Then you need the perfect dressing. Why not try our Lemon Vinaigrette, Honey and Mustard Dressing or Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette. You could also try our Grilled Little Gem Salad, or Cucumber and Radish Salad.
Store: If you have leftovers, then you can keep them in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freeze: You can store this in individual portions in freezer bags for up to 3 months.
Defrost: You can defrost it in the fridge overnight, or in the microwave.
Reheat: Reheat it in the oven or the microwave until piping hot. You can also turn leftovers in to a pasta bake by transferring them in to a baking dish and topping with grated cheese and putting in the oven for 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden.
Frequently asked questions
Cajun Seasoning has a bold spicy flavour, which comes from the cayenne and paprika and it has a subtle earthiness from the garlic, onion, oregano and thyme.
Yes, you can. Actually the longer this dish has to sit, the more intense the flavours will become, as they have time to develop. Do keep in mind though, that the longer it sits, the more sauce that the pasta will absorb, so the sauce won't be as creamy. If you plan to make it in advance, then make the sauce in advance and cook the pasta fresh and mix everything together before serving.
As long as you make sure to use gluten free pasta and make sure your store bought stock and seasoning blend is gluten free, then this can be gluten free.
• You can buy Cajun spice blends, but why not make your own and store it in an air tight container to use in other Cajun recipes.
• If you don't want to use chicken, you can use grilled salmon, king prawns or just veggies instead.
• You can batch cook this and freeze it, as it freezes really well.
• Add some extra greens to this dish by stirring in some spinach when you add the Quark.
• If you like your meals really spicy, then add some extra cayenne at the same time as the Cajun seasoning.
• If you want to make the sauce extra creamy, then reserve some pasta water (only about 50ml) and add it to the pasta sauce. The starch will make it super creamy.
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Cajun Chicken Pasta
- 160 g penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 400 g chicken breasts cut in to 1 inch chunks
- 2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 white onion peeled and diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 250 ml vegetable stock
- 400 g chopped tomatoes canned
- 4 tablespoon Quark
- 3 spring onions (scallions) sliced for serving
- Parsley for serving
- Add the pasta to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 12 minutes.160 g penne pasta
- Put the chicken on a plate and add the Cajun seasoning and mix well so that all the chicken is coated.2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, 400 g chicken breasts
- Heat the oil in a large pan and add the seasoned chicken breast. Gently cook for 5-7 minutes.1 tablespoon oil
- Add the onion and green pepper to the pan and stir. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes.1 white onion, 1 green bell pepper
- Add the stock and chopped tomatoes.250 ml vegetable stock, 400 g chopped tomatoes
- Drain the pasta and add it to the pan and stir well. Simmer for a further 5 minutes, adding some extra stock if the sauce gets too thick.
- Stir in the quark and then serve in bowls with spring onions and parsley on top.4 tablespoon Quark, 3 spring onions (scallions), Parsley for serving
- You can buy Cajun spice blends, but why not make your own and store it in an air tight container to use in other Cajun recipes.
- If you don't want to use chicken, you can use grilled salmon, king prawns or just veggies instead.
- You can batch cook this and freeze it, as it freezes really well.
- Add some extra greens to this dish by stirring in some spinach when you add the Quark.
- If you like your meals really spicy, then add some extra cayenne at the same time as the Cajun seasoning.
- If you want to make the sauce extra creamy, then reserve some pasta water (only about 50ml) and add it to the pasta sauce. The starch will make it super creamy.