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Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe


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This Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe is a flavorful, one-pan meal you can whip up in under half an hour.

Quick, easy, delicious, and kid-friendly, this pasta dish is going to be one of your go-to’s.

Cajun Chicken Pasta  in a white dish on a white counter

Is Cajun Food Spicy?

Cajun seasoning usually contains paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, pepper, and oregano. Depending on how much cayenne and pepper you add, whether or not you include other ingredients like onion powder and thyme, and how much seasoning you use in your dish Cajun food can vary in intensity.

In general though, Cajun food is spicy, but not necessarily super hot. That’s why you’ll often see Cajun food accompanied by bottled hot sauce.

In this recipe, we use a good amount of Cajun seasoning, but it’s also tempered by several ingredients that reduce spiciness: tomato sauce and cream. So, unless you’re very sensitive to spicy food, this Cajun chicken and sausage pasta shouldn’t be too hot to handle.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Made with simple ingredients you probably already have on hand, this recipe is perfect for those nights when you just need to put something together fast.

Of course, it’s also an easy, crowd-pleasing dish to serve if you’re hosting a Mardi Gras party too. Just double or triple the recipe to feed more people! And then whip up some of these Mardi Gras Rolo Pretzels as a sweet treat.

Cajun Chicken Pasta  in a white dish on a white counter next to a gray cloth

Ingredients / Shopping List

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 cups cooked penne pasta plus 1/4 cup of the water it was cooked in
  • 1 small chopped white onion
  • 2 medium chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 ½ teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • ½ green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
bowls of ingredients needed to make cajun chicken pasta

Substitutions

Pasta: You can substitute a different shaped pasta for the penne pasta if you want. Good choices are: rigatoni, fusilli (spirals), or farfalle (bow-tie). For a healthier version, use whole wheat pasta.

Cheese: Instead of cheddar cheese, you can use mozzarella or parmesan, depending on your preference.

Equipment Needed / Helpful Tools

  • 10″ skillet
  • Wooden spoon or spatula

How to Make Cajun Chicken Pasta

This one-pot Cajun Chicken Pasta comes together quickly in just seven simple steps.

Step 1: Sauté the Onions

Heat up your skillet over medium high heat, then add the vegetable oil and chopped onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often to prevent browning.

onions cooking in oil in a skillet

Step 2: Cook Chicken

Next, add the chicken pieces to the pan. Sprinkle the chicken with Cajun seasoning.

cajun seasoning being added to chicken pieces and onions cooking in oil in a skillet

Cook the chicken over medium high heat, stirring occasionally to cook all sides of each piece.

Step 3: Add Sausage

Once the chicken is cooked on all sides, add the smoked sausage slices to the pan and cook for another minute.

smoked sausage, chicken pieces and onions cooking in oil in a skillet

Step 4: Add Pasta

Once the sausage has been warmed in the pan, add the cooked pasta along with the preserved pasta water. Cook until most of the water evaporates, about 2 to 3 minutes.

cooked pasta and water, smoked sausage, chicken pieces and onions cooking in a skillet

Step 5: Add Vegetables

Now it’s time to add the bell peppers and tomato sauce. If you plan on adding other vegetables like spinach or mushrooms, add those now too.

bell peppers, cooked pasta and water, smoked sausage, chicken pieces and onions cooking in a skillet

Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bell peppers soften.

bell peppers, cooked pasta and water, smoked sausage, chicken pieces and onions cooking in a skillet

Step 6: Add Cream

Turn down the heat to medium, then stir in the heavy cream, making sure to coat all the other ingredients.

cajun chicken pasta in a skillet

Turn off the burner.

Step 7: Finish and Serve

To finish the dish, add cherry tomato halves to the pasta and stir to combine. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately.

Cajun Chicken Pasta  in a white dish on a white counter

Optional Add-Ins

Extra Veggies: Pack this meal with added nutrients by adding spinach, asparagus and/or mushrooms.

Shrimp: You can add some shrimp to this dish too! Just add it at the same time you add the bell pepper and tomato sauce.

Crushed Red Pepper: To kick up the heat, sprinkle on some crushed red pepper before serving.

Tips

  • For a creamier version, replace the heavy cream with 4 ounces of cream cheese instead.
  • Afraid the dish will be too spicy? Only use one teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (you can always add more if it’s too bland).

FAQs

How to store

To store leftovers, wait for the pasta to cool completely, then place in a food storage container with a tight sealing lid. Store in the refrigerator until ready to reheat. If stored properly, it will be good for 3 to 5 days.

How to reheat

You can reheat leftovers in the microwave. Simply place the leftovers in a microwave-safe dish and add a few drops of water or milk. Cover and cook for 1 minute and 30 seconds on medium power. Check the heat and continue heating in 15-second increments until heated through.

What do I serve with Cajun Chicken Pasta?

Corn on the cob, garden salad, and collard greens all make great sides for cajun pasta.

Cajun Chicken Pasta  in a white dish on a white counter next to a gray cloth

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe

You can print off the complete ingredients and instructions for this Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe via the recipe card below.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

A flavorful, one-pan meal that's ready in under 30 minutes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Cajun
Servings 4
Calories 514 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion chopped
  • 2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 ½ tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 smoked sausage sliced
  • 3 c cooked penne pasta plus 1/4 cup cooking water
  • ½ green bell pepper sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper sliced
  • ½ c canned tomato sauce
  • ½ c heavy cream
  • 20 cherry tomatoes halved
  • ½ c cheddar cheese shredded

Instructions
 

  • Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat, then add vegetable oil and chopped onion. Cook until the onion begins soften.
  • Add chicken breast pieces to the pan, then sprinkle Cajun seasoning over the chicken.
  • Stir chicken over medium high heat until all sides are cooked. Then, add sausage slices and cook for another minute.
  • Next, add cooked pasta and the reserved pasta water and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated.
  • Add bell pepper, then tomato sauce and stir until the bell peppers are softened, about 2 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, then stir in the heavy cream until everything is coated. Turn off the heat.
  • Add cherry tomatoes. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 514kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 36gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 543mgPotassium: 926mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 2298IUVitamin C: 56mgCalcium: 157mgIron: 3mg
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top image Cajun Chicken Pasta  in a white dish on a white counter bottom image of cajun chicken pasta in a metal bowl on the stove with title text reading Cajun Chicken Pasta

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