30-Minute Dinner/ Chicken Recipes/ Dinner/ meat/ pasta

Chicken zucchini pasta with creamy lemon garlic sauce

10 August 2019 | Last Updated: 13 June 2021 By Aleksandra

Chicken zucchini pasta is a simple and quick dinner that the whole family will love. It comes together in about 30 minutes and tastes amazing!

Chicken zucchini pasta in a white bowl is being picked with a fork.

Recipe ingredients

  • pasta – you can use any other type of medium-sized pasta in this recipe, for example, penne or elbows
  • chicken – I used chicken breast, but you could also use boneless and skinless chicken thighs (they need to be cooked just a little bit longer), turkey breast/tenderloin, or just omit the meat and add more vegetables to make it vegetarian
  • zucchini – instead of zucchini you could add broccoli or green beans
  • herbs – I used store-bought French spice mix (Herbes de Provence), but you could also use Italian seasoning or just mixed herbs like basil, thyme, or rosemary
  • cream – you can add 1/2 cup heavy cream + 1/2 broth to make it lighter, but I find it tastes best, made as written
  • broth substitutions: use the same amount pasta cooking water + 1/4 teaspoon bouillon powder/crushed bouillon cubes (please use a brand that doesn’t use a lot of additives, flavor enhancers, and sugar, you can also make your own blend)
  • flour – I’m adding just a teaspoon of flour to thicken the sauce, you can omit it, but I really like when the sauce is a little bit thicker and coats the pasta nicely
  • lemon juice – this is a super important ingredient – it takes the sauce to another level, makes it bright and lemony, it just cannot be omitted! add it to your taste as lemons can have different sourness levels
Labeled ingredients needed to prepare chicken zucchini pasta.

How to make chicken zucchini pasta – step by step:

STEP 1: Cook the chicken. Cut the chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes, season with Herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add the chicken pieces. Don’t stir for the first 2 minutes (letting the chicken brown), then cook for 2 more minutes, stirring from time to time, until the chicken is golden and almost completely cooked. Transfer to a plate. In the meantime, cook the pasta al dente.

STEP 2: Cook zucchini and garlic. Cut the zucchini into 1/4-inch (1/2 cm) slices/half-slices (depending on its size). Add the zucchini to the pan and cook it just like chicken. At first, do not stir for about 2 minutes, letting it brown, then stir and cook for another minute. The zucchini should still be slightly firm and not too soft.

Move the zucchini to the side of the pan, add finely chopped garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add flour and stir until it’s combined with zucchini and garlic.

STEP 3: Add cream and broth (or 1/4 teaspoon of crushed bouillon cubes + 1/4 cup pasta cooking water). Add the chicken back to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, over medium-low heat, until the sauce is slightly thickened, and the chicken is cooked through.

STEP 4: Combine all ingredients and season the dish. And the cooked pasta, stir everything together, season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.

Top tips:

  • If you’re in a hurry, you could pan-fry the chicken and zucchini together but it won’t be possible to brown them properly, which ensures that the dish is packed with flavor. If they are too overcrowded in the pan, the zucchini will release lots of moisture and they will just cook/steam instead of brown.
  • After browning the chicken, take it off the pan to ensure that it stays tender and juicy, and not overcooked and dry.
  • When cooking chicken and zucchini don’t stir them at the beginning or they will start to release juices/water and it will be difficult to brown them. Let them cook for about 2-3 minutes over high heat and only when they are browned – start stirring.

Storage / how to make it ahead:

Store the cooked pasta in the fridge for up to 2 days. It can be easily reheated the next day but the pasta will absorb part of the sauce, will be mushy, and no longer al dente (won’t have a pleasant bite to it) = it will be very soft. It would be best to keep the sauce (with chicken and zucchini) and pasta separately and combine just before serving.

If you want to make it ahead you can cook the chicken, zucchini, and sauce, store it in the fridge and cook the pasta just before serving (this is of course ideal, but this dish will be yummy anyway if you just simply reheat it as is).

My other quick pasta dishes you may like:

Chicken zucchini pasta in a white bowl. Lemons, parsley, and kitchen cloth in the background.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Chicken zucchini pasta with creamy lemon garlic sauce

Tender and juicy chicken breast and crunchy zucchini in a lemony cream sauce.
Pin This Recipe! SAVE THIS RECIPE
Chicken zucchini pasta in a white bowl. Lemons, parsley, and a kitchen cloth in the background.
Print Recipe

RATE THE RECIPE

(click on the stars)

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 803kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 6 oz pasta fusilli or penne, 170g
  • 2 small chicken breasts 11 oz/300g
  • 1 small zucchini/courgette 9 oz/250g
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence French or Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons frying oil
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream 30-36%
  • 1/4 cup vegetable/chicken broth OR 1/4 teaspoon crushed bouillon cubes + 1/4 cup pasta cooking water
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta al dente (the pasta should be slightly firm when bitten). If you're using pasta cooking water instead of the broth, remember to reserve 1/4 cup of the water.
  • Cut the chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes, season with Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Cut the zucchini into 1/4-inch (1/2 cm) slices or half-slices.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add the chicken pieces. Don't stir for the first 2 minutes (letting the chicken brown), then cook for 2 more minutes, stirring from time to time, until the chicken is golden and almost completely cooked. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add the zucchini to the pan and cook it just like chicken. At first, do not stir for about 2-3 minutes, letting it brown, then stir and cook for another minute, the zucchini should still be slightly firm and not entirely cooked.
  • Move zucchini to the side of the pan, reduce the heat to low, and add finely chopped garlic. Cook for another 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add the flour and stir until it's combined with garlic and zucchini.
  • Add the cream and broth (or 1/4 teaspoon of crushed bouillon cubes + 1/4 cup pasta cooking water). Add the chicken back to the pan. Increase the heat to high, cook for 2-3 minutes, over medium-low heat, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Take the pan off the heat.
  • Stir everything together, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Ingredient substitutions:
    • pasta – you can use any other type of medium-sized pasta in this recipe, for example, penne or macaroni
    • chicken – you can also use chicken thighs, turkey breast or just omit the meat and add more vegetables to make it vegetarian
    • zucchini – instead of zucchini you could add broccoli or green beans (steamed or par-boiled)
    • herbs – I used store-bought French spice mix (Herbes de Provence), but you could also use Italian seasoning or just mixed herbs like basil, thyme, or rosemary
    • cream – you can add 1/2 cup heavy cream + 1/2 broth to make it lighter, but I find it tastes best, made as written
  • Calories: 1 serving = 1/2 of the recipe. This is only an estimate!
  • Cooking times provided in the recipe, may be different for you, as it depends on the stovetop type, type of pan, or heat used.
  • Storage / how to make it ahead: Store the cooked pasta in the fridge for up to 2 days. It can be easily reheated the next day but the pasta will absorb part of the sauce, will be mushy, and no longer al dente (won’t have a pleasant bite to it) = it will be very soft. It would be best to keep the sauce (with chicken and zucchini) and pasta separately and combine just before serving. If you want to make it ahead you can cook the chicken, zucchini, and sauce, store it in the fridge and cook the pasta just before serving.
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine international
Tried this Recipe? Rate the Recipe and tell us what you think in the Comments!

You Might Also Like

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Patricia
    10 August 2020 at 23:08

    5 stars
    Very tasty, but forgot to add lemon juice, chicken was probably overcooked a little

    • Reply
      Aleksandra
      11 August 2020 at 06:44

      I’m glad you liked this dish. I would really recommend adding lemon juice next time, it makes the dish taste even better! If your chicken was overcooked, try to take it off the pan sooner. Hope this helps

    Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating




    The maximum upload file size: 1 MB. You can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here