If you love pasta but worried that it’s not a healthy option, worry not! Chicken pasta recipes can be a delicious and healthy meal option for you. With the right ingredients and cooking methods, you can create a satisfying and flavorful dish without added calories and unhealthy fats. Chicken is a great source of protein, and when combined with whole grain pasta and veggies, it can make for a nutrient-packed meal. In this article, we’ll share some fantastic chicken pasta recipes that are both healthy and easy to make. Whether you are a novice cook or a seasoned chef, you’ll find something here to suit your taste and dietary requirements.
Benefits of Chicken Pasta Recipes
Chicken pasta is not only delicious but also a healthy meal option. Not only does it provide you with the necessary nutrients, but it also satisfies your hunger. Chicken pasta is easily customizable and can be made to suit various dietary needs. Here are some of the benefits of chicken pasta recipes:
Protein and Energy
Chicken is an excellent source of protein and is an essential nutrient for the body. Protein is an essential building block for our muscles, skin, and bones. It also helps in regulating hormones and enzymes in the body. Adding pasta to it provides the necessary energy boost to keep us going throughout the day. Pasta is a great carbohydrate source that is easily digestible and provides the necessary energy without adding unwanted calories.
However, not all pasta is created equal. Whole-grain pasta is a healthier option as it contains complex carbohydrates that take longer to digest, keeping you fuller for more extended periods. Additionally, it also provides various vitamins and minerals, which are good for your body. Incorporating whole-grain pasta in your diet plan will provide you with sustained energy throughout the day.
Customizable Nutrient Profile
Chicken pasta is a versatile dish and can be made with various ingredients that can customize its nutrient profile. You can create flavorsome and nutrient-packed recipes simply by incorporating different vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, asparagus, or avocado. These vegetables provide necessary vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, E, K, and folate. Additionally, it boosts your immunity and promotes overall well-being.
You can also experiment with different types of pasta like vegetable pasta for an added nutrient boost. Vegetable pasta is a great way to incorporate different vegetables into your meal, providing a burst of flavor and nutrients. You can even opt for gluten-free pasta or bean pasta for a high protein, low carbohydrate option.
Adding healthy fats to your chicken pasta recipe can provide you with necessary fatty acids, good for your heart and overall well-being. You can add olive oil, nuts, or avocado for the necessary good fats. Avocado not only provides you with the necessary fats but also provides the dish with a creaminess without having to add more calories.
Chicken pasta is a healthy and efficient meal option that can be customized to suit various dietary needs. It provides the necessary nutrients and sustained energy, making it an excellent option for lunch or dinner.
Healthy Ingredients for Chicken Pasta Recipes
Chicken pasta recipes are a delicious and easy way to get your protein, carbs, and veggies in one meal. However, if you want to make your dish healthier, there are a few ingredients you should consider incorporating. Here are some healthy ingredients to add to your chicken pasta recipe:
1. Whole Wheat Pasta
One of the easiest ways to make your chicken pasta recipe healthier is by using whole wheat pasta instead of regular white pasta. Whole wheat pasta contains more fiber than white pasta, which will help you feel full for longer and slow down the absorption of the carbohydrates. Additionally, whole wheat pasta has a lower glycemic index than white pasta, meaning it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike as much.
- Try using whole wheat spaghetti, penne, or fusilli in your recipe.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, but don’t overcook it. Overcooked pasta has a higher glycemic index than properly cooked pasta.
2. Lean Chicken Breast
Chicken pasta recipes usually call for chicken breast, but if you’re not careful, the chicken can be high in fat. To make your recipe healthier, use skinless, boneless chicken breast. This cut of chicken is low in fat and calories but high in protein, making it a great addition to your meal. Additionally, you can grill or bake your chicken instead of frying it to cut down on calories even further.
- Trim any visible fat from your chicken breast.
- Season your chicken with herbs and spices instead of high-fat sauces or marinades.
3. Plenty of Vegetables
Veggies are an essential part of any healthy meal, and chicken pasta recipes are no exception. Vegetables add fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your dish, and they can help you feel full without adding too many calories. There are many vegetables that go well with chicken pasta recipes, including:
You can add these veggies to your pasta dish in a variety of ways. You can sauté them in a little bit of olive oil and garlic and mix them into your pasta, or you can roast them in the oven and serve them on top of your pasta. You can even blend them into a pasta sauce for an extra serving of veggies.
6 Healthy Chicken Pasta Recipes to Try
If you’re looking for ways to incorporate more protein into your diet, chicken pasta recipes are a great place to start. Not only is chicken a great source of lean protein, but when paired with pasta and veggies, it makes for a filling and delicious meal. Here are six healthy chicken pasta recipes to try out:
1. Grilled Chicken and Veggie Pasta
This recipe is a great way to use up any extra veggies in your fridge. Start by grilling chicken breasts and chopping them into bite-sized pieces. Then cook your pasta of choice according to the package directions and sauté your favorite veggies in a pan with some olive oil. Combine the chicken, veggies, and pasta in a bowl and toss with a homemade dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and Italian seasonings. This dish is not only healthy but also perfect for meal prep.
2. Lemon Garlic Chicken Pasta
This recipe is perfect for garlic lovers. Cook your preferred pasta, and while it’s cooking, sauté chicken and garlic in a pan with olive oil until the chicken is cooked through. Add a handful of spinach, lemon zest, and a splash of lemon juice to the pan. Once the pasta is done, add it to the pan and toss everything together. Top with parmesan cheese and enjoy.
3. Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Pasta
For a creamy and indulgent dish that still packs a healthy punch, try this chicken and broccoli alfredo pasta recipe. Cook pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta cooks, sauté chicken and broccoli in a pan with olive oil. To make the alfredo sauce, melt butter in a separate pan and whisk in heavy cream, minced garlic, and grated parmesan until it thickens. Add the chicken and broccoli to the sauce and toss with the pasta.
To reduce the calories in the dish, try using whole wheat or brown rice pasta and light cream instead of heavy cream. You can also use a mix of fresh and frozen veggies depending on what you have on hand.
4. Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad
This recipe is perfect for a summer BBQ or picnic. Cook pasta and let it cool. In a blender, mix together basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and garlic to make a pesto sauce. Add diced chicken, cherry tomatoes, and chopped bell peppers to the pasta, and mix it all together with the pesto sauce. This pasta salad can be made ahead of time and served cold.
5. Chicken and Mushroom Pasta
This recipe is a great way to use up any extra mushrooms in your fridge. Cook pasta and set aside. In a pan, sauté sliced mushrooms with garlic and olive oil. Add sliced chicken breast and cook until it’s no longer pink. Mix the pasta with the chicken and mushroom mixture and top with sundried tomatoes and grated parmesan cheese.
6. Chicken and Zucchini Noodle Pasta
If you’re looking to reduce your carb intake, try replacing traditional pasta with zucchini noodles. Use a spiralizer to create long, thin noodles out of zucchini and set aside. In a pan, sauté chicken with garlic and your favorite spices. Add cherry tomatoes and zucchini noodles to the pan and cook until the noodles are tender and the chicken is fully cooked. This recipe is light and refreshing, perfect for a summer evening meal.
How to Make Chicken Pasta Recipes Healthier
Chicken pasta recipes are easy to make and versatile. They are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a fancy dinner party. However, most chicken pasta recipes are loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as heavy cream, high-fat cheese, and white pasta. Fortunately, you can make your favorite chicken pasta recipe healthier by swapping in healthier ingredients.
Use Whole Grain Pasta
Instead of using white pasta, which is made with refined flour and lacks nutrients, use whole grain pasta. Whole grain pasta is made from whole grain flour, which has more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than refined flour. It also has a lower glycemic index, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar levels as much as white pasta. Whole grain pasta is available in a variety of shapes and colors, including spaghetti, penne, and fusilli.
Replace Heavy Cream with Greek Yogurt
Heavy cream is a common ingredient in chicken pasta recipes, but it is high in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Instead of using heavy cream, use Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is thick and creamy, just like heavy cream, but it is low in calories and fat. It is also a good source of protein and contains probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health. To substitute Greek yogurt for heavy cream, use the same amount of Greek yogurt as you would heavy cream.
Make Zucchini Noodles
Zucchini noodles, also known as zoodles, are a healthier alternative to regular pasta. Zucchini noodles are low in calories, low in carbs, and high in fiber. To make zucchini noodles, use a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler to cut the zucchini into thin strips. You can then sauté the zucchini noodles in a pan with some olive oil and garlic until they are tender. Serve the zucchini noodles with chicken and tomato sauce for a healthy and delicious meal.
Spinach is a nutrient-dense leafy green that is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is also low in calories and carbs. To add spinach to your chicken pasta recipe, simply sauté some spinach in a pan with some olive oil and garlic until it is wilted. You can then add the spinach to your chicken pasta dish for extra nutrition and flavor.
Use Low-Sodium Tomato Sauce
Tomato sauce is a staple ingredient in chicken pasta recipes, but most store-bought tomato sauces are high in sodium. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems. To make your chicken pasta recipe healthier, use low-sodium tomato sauce. You can either make your own tomato sauce or look for low-sodium tomato sauce at the grocery store. Low-sodium tomato sauce is just as delicious as regular tomato sauce, but it is a lot better for you.
Tips for Meal Prepping Chicken Pasta Recipes
Preparing chicken pasta recipes ahead of time is a time and money saver, especially for busy individuals. Meal prepping is an excellent way to ensure that you have healthy and delicious meals readily available throughout the week. Here are some tips to help you with meal prepping chicken pasta recipes:
1. Use Glass Containers
It is essential to store your meals in the right containers to keep them fresh. Glass containers are the best option because they are free of chemicals, easy to clean, and microwave safe. You can also reuse them, which is an eco-friendly choice. When you use glass containers, ensure that they have airtight lids to prevent moisture from entering and spoiling your meals.
2. Cook Pasta Al Dente
When cooking pasta for your chicken pasta recipe, it is essential to cook it al dente. Cooking pasta al dente means that it is cooked firm to the bite, and it retains its shape. Overcooked pasta becomes too soft and mushy, affecting the texture of your chicken pasta. To cook pasta al dente, set a timer for two minutes less than the package instructions. You can test the pasta by biting into it to see if it has a slight resistance to the teeth.
3. Add Sauce Last
When meal prepping chicken pasta recipes, it is best to add the sauce last. This is to prevent the pasta from getting too dry or too soggy. When you store pasta with the sauce, the pasta continues to absorb the moisture from the sauce, which can make it too soft. To avoid this, store the pasta and chicken separately. When you are ready to eat, heat the pasta and chicken separately, and then combine them with the sauce right before eating.
4. Portion Control
Portion control is essential when meal prepping chicken pasta recipes. It is easy to overeat, especially if you are hungry. When you have pre-portioned meals, you can ensure that you are eating the right amount of food without overindulging. You can use a kitchen scale to weigh your meals, or you can use portion control containers to ensure that each meal has the right amount of protein, carbs, and fats.
5. Mix Up Your Ingredients
Eating the same chicken pasta recipe throughout the week can become monotonous and dull. To avoid this, mix up your ingredients. You can use different types of pasta, such as penne, macaroni, or fusilli. You can also use different protein sources like shrimp, beef, or tofu. Adding different vegetables like broccoli, spinach, or bell peppers can give your meals a nutritional boost and a refreshing taste. Mixing up your ingredients can make meal prepping more exciting and enjoyable.
FAQs About Chicken Pasta Recipes
Chicken pasta is a delicious and comforting meal that’s easy to prepare and perfect for any occasion. But, if you’re new to cooking chicken pasta recipes, you may have some questions. In this article, we’re going to answer some of the most common FAQs about chicken pasta recipes, including how many calories they have, how to store leftovers, and more.
How many calories are in chicken pasta recipes?
The number of calories in a chicken pasta recipe depends on the ingredients you use and the portion size you consume. Generally, a serving of chicken pasta contains between 300 and 500 calories. To make your chicken pasta recipe healthier, you can use whole wheat pasta, lean chicken breast, and plenty of vegetables. You can also reduce the portion size to cut down on calories. If you’re following a specific diet, such as a low-carb or low-fat diet, be sure to adjust your chicken pasta recipe accordingly to meet your dietary needs.
How do I store leftovers?
If you have chicken pasta leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, you can microwave it for a minute or two, or heat it on the stovetop. Just be sure to heat it thoroughly before consuming.
Can I freeze chicken pasta?
Yes, you can freeze chicken pasta. To freeze, transfer your chicken pasta to an airtight container or a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Be sure to label the container with the date you stored it and the contents. Chicken pasta can be frozen for up to three months. To reheat frozen chicken pasta, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat in the oven or microwav.
What are some healthy chicken pasta recipes?
There are plenty of healthy chicken pasta recipes out there. Some options include lemon chicken pasta with asparagus, chicken and broccoli Alfredo, and garlic chicken pasta with cherry tomatoes. To make your chicken pasta recipes healthier, use whole wheat pasta, plenty of vegetables, and lean protein like chicken breast. You can also use low-fat dairy products and skip the heavy cream to cut down on calories.
What are some chicken pasta recipe alternatives?
If you’re looking for a chicken pasta recipe alternative, consider using spaghetti squash instead of pasta. You can also use zucchini noodles, or “zoodles,” for a low-carb option. Another alternative is to use quinoa or brown rice instead of pasta. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time and liquid ratios accordingly.
Can I add cheese to my chicken pasta?
Yes, you can add cheese to your chicken pasta recipe. Cheese can add flavor and creaminess to your dish. Just be sure to use it in moderation, as cheese can be high in calories. You can also use low-fat cheese or skip it altogether if you’re trying to reduce your calorie intake.
That’s a Wrap!
Thanks for sticking around to learn about our tasty, easy-to-make chicken pasta recipes that are also healthy. We hope you have enjoyed reading this article as much as we enjoyed writing it. The best part is, now you can go ahead and try these delicious recipes at home and let us know how it went. Remember, healthy food doesn’t have to be bland and boring. We always strive to provide you with the most up-to-date and exciting content, so make sure to come back soon for more fun and informative articles!