This Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta is total comfort food and can be easily thrown together for a simple and hearty dinner. Easy to pack with vegetables, it's a healthy meal that the whole family will love. Melt in your mouth tender chicken pieces and iron rich spinach in a creamy sauce make this a tasty and nutritious pasta dish.
It doesn't get much more comforting than a big pan of creamy pasta. This pasta dish is filling and protein packed, with a green veggie boost from the spinach. When you want a comforting and family friendly week night meal, give this a go. It also freezes well, making it perfect for bulk cooking.
Why you will love it
- Veggie packed comfort food
- Family friendly
- Freezes well
- Easy to adapt
- Pasta - You can use any pasta in this dish, just make sure that is cooked to the package instructions. We used penne in the finished shots, but conchiglie pasta in the video to show you some variety. You could also use spaghetti/tagliatelle to make this, as the creamy sauce will cling really well to it.
- Chicken breast - This is what makes the dish protein packed. We used chicken breast, however you can swap these for boneless and skinless chicken thighs.
- Milk - This helps to loosen the sauce a little, but it could be left out if you prefer a really thick sauce.
- Chicken stock - This adds a real depth of flavour to the pasta dish. Use the best quality you can, but homemade stock is always best.
- Greek yogurt and creme fraiche- This combined with the cream cheese is what makes the sauce really creamy. Use full fat for the best flavour.
- Cream cheese - You can use reduced fat cream cheese, however we find that full fat has the best flavour. Add more flavour to this pasta dish by used a garlic and herb cream cheese.
- Onion and garlic - Fresh is always best, however you could save time by using a lazy garlic in a jar, and frozen onion.
- Spinach - This is what gives the dish a real green veggie boost. We used fresh, however you could use frozen (and thawed)
- Tomatoes - You can use salad tomatoes or cherry tomatoes.
- Sun-dried tomatoes - This gives the dish a real burst of tomato flavour and a little splash of the oil from the jar adds extra flavour too.
- Artichoke hearts - Not only do these add flavour, but some extra chunky texture to the dish.
- Shredded mozzarella - You can swap this for a mature cheddar or Parmesan.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
Two: Heat some oil in a pan and fry the chicken until it is cooked through. Set aside.
Three: Heat some more oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Saute until softened.
Four: Add the chicken, spinach, cream cheese, milk, yogurt, creme fraiche, tomatoes, artichokes and salt and pepper. Heat until the cheese has melted and a sauce has formed (about 5 minutes).
Five: Drain the pasta and add to the pan. Mix well until all the pasta is coated.
Creamy pasta sauce
Creamy sauces are the best when it comes to pasta dishes, but it doesn't mean they have to be heavy and calorific. We have made a creamy sauce using light cream cheese and some yoghurt and creme fraiche and then melted some cheese in to the pasta. It tastes far more indulgent than it actually is and lowers the fat of the dish compared to other creamy pasta dishes.
How to adapt
A pasta dish like this is really easy to adapt with different vegetables and cheese, making it a great way to use up whatever you have in your fridge. When you are cooking the chicken, you can fry up some diced mushrooms, bell peppers, courgette and aubergines too. You could also swap the spinach for kale, or use half of each.
We used mozzarella, but you could swap it for a mature cheddar or some parmesan. Some goats cheese crumbled on top would make it really creamy too.
What to serve it with
This is a really hearty and filling pasta dish, so it doesn't really need anything to go with it. However, if you were serving it to a few people and wanted some sides to go with it, then we have a few options. A big green salad is always a good option - mix it up a big by using different salad greens like spinach, kale and rocket.
Homemade garlic bread always goes well with a pasta dish. Slice up a French stick and spread some garlic and herb butter on it and put in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp up. Our Roasted Cherry Tomatoes go well with this too.
The great thing about this is that you can use any pasta you like. Just cook it according to the package instructions and mix it with all the other ingredients before putting it in the oven.
Yes, you can use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Use boneless and skinless chicken thighs - they will be much juicer, however nutritional info will change. You could also use leftovers of a roast chicken and shred it up.
You can store leftovers of this dish in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it in a freezable container for up to 2 months. The texture of the sauce can change once it has defrosted. To reheat, make sure it is fully defrosted and then reheat it on the hob for 2-3 minutes or in the microwave for 1 minute.
• You can swap fresh spinach for frozen (and thawed) spinach and it will still work just as well.
• To make this dish gluten free, you just need to swap the pasta to your favourite gluten free version.
• Cook the pasta al dente, as it will carry on cooking a little more in the sauce. To cook pasta al dente (which means “to the tooth” or firm to bite), cook pasta for about 2 minutes less than indicated on the package instructions.
• Add some extra flavour to this pasta dish with some cooked chopped bacon.
• You could make this creamy chicken and spinach pasta even easier by using leftover shredded chicken and stirring it in at the same time as the spinach.
More pasta recipes
If you’ve tried this creamy chicken pasta recipe, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
Tag us in your creations on Instagram @hungryhealthyhappy - Use the hashtag #hungryhealthyhappy too.
Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta
- 200 g (7 oz) Pasta
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil - for the chicken
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil - for the vegetables
- 300 g (2) Chicken breast - cut into chunks
- 300 g (5 cups) Spinach - finely chopped
- 2 Tomatoes - diced
- 1 (8) Onion - diced
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 75 g (0.5 cups) Light cream cheese
- 100 ml (0.5 cups) Skimmed milk
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon (4 tablespoon) Creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 100 ml (0.5 cups) Chicken stock
- 40 g (0.33 cups) Sun-dried tomatoes - chopped
- 80 g (0.5 cups) Artichoke hearts - chopped
- 80 g (3 oz) Mozzarella - grated
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- Cook 200 g Pasta according to the packet instructions.
- Heat 1 tablespoon Olive oil in a pan and fry 300 g Chicken breast until it is cooked through. Set aside.
- Add another 1 tablespoon Olive oil to the pan and add 1 Onion and 2 Garlic clove. Sauté until softened.
- Add the chicken, 300 g Spinach, 75 g Light cream cheese, 80 g Mozzarella, 100 ml Skimmed milk, 2 tablespoon Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoon Creme fraiche, 2 Tomatoes, 40 g Sun-dried tomatoes, 80 g Artichoke hearts, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper. Add 100 ml Chicken stock.
- Heat until the cheese has melted and a sauce has formed (about 5 minutes).
- Drain the pasta and add to the pan. Mix well until all the pasta is coated.
- You can swap fresh spinach for frozen (and thawed) spinach and it will still work just as well.
- To make this dish gluten free, you just need to swap the pasta to your favourite gluten free version.
- Cook the pasta al dente, as it will carry on cooking a little more in the sauce. To cook pasta al dente (which means “to the tooth” or firm to bite), cook pasta for about 2 minutes less than indicated on the package instructions.
- Add some extra flavour to this pasta dish with some cooked chopped bacon.
- You could make this creamy chicken and spinach pasta even easier by using leftover shredded chicken and stirring it in at the same time as the spinach.
Rach @ This Italian Family
Oh my goodness, that looks SO good!
They are lighter ,creamier and the spinach chicken combo have definitely made this dish divine
Looks so fresh and delicious. And healthy, even though it's creamy! I'd love to try this with salmon, since I love fish too.
Kelley @ Chef Savvy
This pasta looks wonderful! Love that you get extra protein from the Greek Yogurt.
Sally - My Custard Pie
My favourite pasta dish has to be spaghetti Carbonara - however right now with the tomatoes so ripe and sweet it's the truck driver's pasta where you just stir the hot pasta into raw toms with some herbs and garlic - sublime.
Sorry I ment to say nutritional values
Could you send me the national values for this dish, I am on weight watchers and need that information to figure out the points. Thanks Joan
Ooh this sounds like proper, healthier, comfort food! I might have a veggie loaded pizza in the oven just now but I'm craving pasta after this post!
Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry
I would love to cook with Activia especially with such a healthy but yummy dish.
I have to confess I am not a fan of creamy pasta, however, having said that an read the ingredients in your recipe I think my arm could definitely be twisted. I love the use of yoghurt. I'm using it more and more in recipes too.
Dear Dannii, this looks wonderful! I do enjoy a creamy dish on occasion. How fantastic that you used yogurt instead of cream...I must try this soon! Pinned for later. xo, Catherine
vicki @ Five Spot Green Living
Oh my - this looks heavenly! This is my kind of dish! I love spinach and tomato ANYthing, but adding creamy cheesiness to it is just making me drool! I haven't read your about page yet but I see your recipe measurements are metric. Where in the world other than the U.S. are you? :)
that makes me soooo hungry :D :D :D
Munchies and Munchkins
YUM, I love adding yoghurt to creamy dishes to lighten them up a little and I am obsessed with spinach in pasta. Pasta is my go to meal if I am not in the mood for too much fuss. My absolute favourite is just with olive oil, garlic and chill but I do love a cream laden,bacon lardon feast too.
Looks sooo yummy!!
delcious looking pasta. I love pasta loaded with vegetables especially mushrooms and tomato sauce. Actually any veggie pasta will do :)
Loos delicious Danni!
I'm not a big pasta fan but I like the sound of the toppings and sauce - probably something I could eat with a sweet potato hehe!
Exactly the kind of recipe I really like, looks very tasty!