by Olena

Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pot)

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Olena Osipov
5 from 27 votes

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This healthy one-pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta recipe is creamy, cheesy, and garlicky yet packed with Tuscan flavors with the addition of sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and chicken! Plus, this healthy chicken pasta recipe can also be prepared gluten-free and/or dairy-free and is ready in under 30 minutes!

This chicken pasta is just one option on my weekly rotation, along with chicken healthy alfredo recipe (or Instant Pot alfredo), chicken lasagna roll-ups, chicken parmesan with spaghetti, and healthy chicken whole wheat spaghetti!

Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta in pot with serving spoon

Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Would you believe me if I said you could make a restaurant-quality, healthy Tuscan chicken pasta recipe at home using one pot and in under 30 minutes?! Because that’s what I’m sharing with you today! Unfortunately, while the Tuscan pasta at Olive Garden and White Spot might taste delicious, they’re not exactly healthy. Luckily, after spending some time in my kitchen, this Tuscan chicken pasta recipe is wonderfully creamy- you’d never even guess that it’s healthy!

I’ve made it my kitchen mission to re-create healthier (tastier too!) versions of my restaurant and takeaway classics at home, including healthy chicken parmesanThai chicken curry, and now this Tuscan chicken pasta. And, yes, it really does taste as good as it looks!

By cooking the Tuscan pasta in one pot, this recipe is no-muss no-fuss, the sauce soaks up all the flavor from the chicken and herbs, and the chicken becomes wonderfully tender and juicy. The result is a mid-week pasta dish that the entire family will clamor for seconds- you’ll want to lick your plate clean (and I do, just like with my easy pasta with zucchini recipe)!

Cooking dinner in one pot is my next favorite thing to using my Instant Pot. I already have several one-pot/one-pan chicken dishes, including one-pot chicken quinoaone pan Mexican chicken and rice, chicken and potatoes, or chicken and vegetables, on a sheet pan. In the summer, one pot pasta salad like healthy pasta salad or pasta salad with tomatoes accompany our BBQs.

It has been a few years since I started making one-pot pasta dinners, too (like this Instant pot lasagna, crockpot chicken spaghetti, and parmesan chicken pasta). However, in that time, I’ve realized that not only are they low-effort, but they can be made relatively healthily, and my kids love them – this creamy, cheesy healthy Tuscan chicken pasta recipe included!

Why This Healthy Chicken Pasta Recipe Works?

  • This healthy Tuscan chicken pasta recipe requires just 8 simple ingredients and can be made dairy-free and gluten-free!
  •  By cooking this Tuscan pasta in one pot, the pasta soaks up all the flavor from the chicken for mouth-watering results!
  • With a combination of spinach (or kale), bell pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes, you can enjoy this healthy chicken pasta recipe year-round with delicious results!
  • Use just enough cheese for an injection of flavor without becoming heavy!
  • Plus, all the ingredients yield a creamy Tuscan chicken pasta that’s savory, salty, creamy, and delicious!
  • It’s ready in under 30 minutes for a quick, low-effort, mid-week meal!
  • Easily cut this recipe in half if you’re feeding just 1 or 2 people!
Tuscan Chicken Pasta on a spoon

Ingredients for Tuscan Pasta

This healthy Tuscan chicken pasta recipe requires just 11 simple ingredients – most of which are likely already in your kitchen, including:

  • Chicken: You can use raw or even leftover boneless baked chicken breast or thighs.
  • Pasta: Use any pasta that can hold sauce; penne, fusilli, bow ties, etc. Spaghetti would also work, though. Use gluten-free or grain-free options if preferred (and adjust the cooking time accordingly).
  • Broth: Use low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth.
  • Oil: Any neutral cooking oil like olive oil, avocado oil, etc.
  • Vegetables: This Tuscan chicken pasta recipe uses a combination of sun-dried tomatoes (or fresh chopped tomatoes when they’re in season), bell pepper (red, though orange would work), and kale or spinach.
  • Milk: I recommend using whole milk for the creamiest results, though 2% will also work. I don’t recommend skimmed or 1% milk as the sauce will be ‘flat’. Check FAQs for substitutions.
  • Cornstarch: Is needed to thicken the sauce. You could alternatively use tapioca starch or potentially flour as a thickener – though the amount and texture may vary.
  • Garlic: Because is it even a recipe on my blog without fresh garlic – yum! Adjust the amount to personal preference. You can use garlic powder if you don’t have fresh.
  • Parmesan cheese: Or another sharp cheese like mature cheddar. Use freshly grated, so it melts properly.
  • Spices: I used a combination of Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Keep reading below (after the recipe how-to) for more information on Tuscan pasta add-ins and seasoning variations!

How to Make Healthy Tuscan Chicken with Pasta

  • Sear chicken breasts: First, preheat a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat with a little oil. Then add the chicken, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper (1/4 tsp) on each side, and sear for 3-4 minutes. They don’t have to be cooked through.
  • Cook the pasta: Add the pasta, broth, finely diced bell pepper, Italian seasoning, and remaining salt and stir, bringing to a boil. Then, reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 10 minutes.

Keep in mind that the pasta you use will impact the cooking time. For example, gluten-free pasta will take less time than regular wheat flour. You’re aiming for pasta that’s al dente, so it’s not too mushy. Also, make sure to stir it every few minutes so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

  • Prepare the creamy sauce: First, remove the chicken from the pan (so it doesn’t overcook – roughly chop this into pieces now too). Then, mix the milk and cornstarch and pour it over the pasta. Stir, bringing the mixture to a boil, and then simmer for a minute or so until the sauce thickens.

To avoid lumps from the cornstarch, I recommend mixing it with just a few spoonfuls of the milk before transferring it to the pan.

  • Turn off heat: Then add the remaining ingredients; sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, spinach, garlic, and the cooked chicken. Stir and serve!

Tips for Best Results

  • The best pan to use: I like to use my Lodge Dutch oven for one-pot meals. However, you can also use a medium-heavy bottom stainless steel pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  • The healthiest pasta: Whole wheat or whole foods pasta is more nutritious than white. You can use any, though.  Just ensure that if using gluten-free pasta, cook for a few minutes less, as it cooks faster than wheat.
  • Avoid the pasta burning: Make sure to stir it every few minutes, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Swap out proteins: This Tuscan pasta will work well with shrimp or salmon/white fish too! Adjust the cooking process accordingly. For a vegetarian option, use legumes like chickpeas or tofu.

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Heavy cream: For creamier Tuscan chicken pasta, you could swap out a few tbsp of the milk for heavy cream.
  • Cream cheese: Alternatively, instead of heavy cream, add a little light cream cheese to the sauce for additional creaminess.
  • Other vegetables: You can add these or substitute the spinach for asparagus, zucchini, or broccolini. Mushrooms would also work well in this healthy chicken pasta recipe.
  • Olives: Pairs wonderfully with the Mediterranean/Italian flavors. I recommend black or Kalamata olives.
  • Legumes: You can boost this dish with additional fiber and protein with the addition of chickpeas, butter beans, or white beans. Legumes also work well in turning this recipe vegetarian (use vegetable broth, too).
  • Another protein: This creamy Tuscan pasta works well with shrimp or salmon, too! Use legumes or tofu for a vegetarian option (plus vegetable stock).

FAQs

Can I use dairy-free milk?


Yes, you can use the milk of your choice- almond milk, oat milk, or even Silk non-dairy half & half, etc. Just note that different milk options will change how ‘creamy’ the Tuscan chicken sauce is.

Can I use sun-dried tomatoes in oil?

Yes, just make sure to drain the oil from the tomatoes so you don’t add too much extra oil to the dish.

Can I use frozen spinach?

Yes – frozen spinach can be used but thaw first and drain to remove excess water.

What can I use if I don’t have Italian seasoning?

You can use the individual dried herbs – basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram. Or even just 2-3 of them- I usually use oregano and thyme.

Could I bake this pasta dish?

I haven’t tried, so I can’t guarantee results. Though, it may be possible. I’d recommend par-cooking the chicken and pasta first before transferring all of the ingredients to a large baking dish and baking until bubbly and fully cooked.

Can I use other veggies instead of spinach?

Yes, you can replace the spinach with broccolini, asparagus, zucchini, etc.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta in a pot

Serving Recommendations

Thanks to the hearty addition of chicken breast, you can enjoy this healthy chicken pasta recipe alone or with a simple side. I recommend garlic bread, focaccia, a leafy green salad, spinach salad or chopped salad.

You could also serve it alongside some crusty bread with a simple dipping olive oil.

Making Tuscan Chicken and Pasta in Advance

Storing: This Tuscan chicken pasta tastes best fresh, while the spinach isn’t too wilted and it’s most ‘saucy’ (before the pasta absorbs it). I recommend eating as much as possible immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a day (don’t freeze).  

Reheat: Add an extra splash of milk and reheat the healthy Tuscan chicken pasta on the stovetop until warmed through.

More Healthy Pasta and Chicken Dishes

You might also like this list of 65 healthy chicken recipes!

Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta
Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pot)

Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta {One Pot}

One-pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta recipe is creamy, cheesy, and garlicky yet packed with Tuscan flavors with the addition of sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and chicken! Plus, this healthy chicken pasta recipe can also be prepared gluten-free and/or dairy-free and is ready in under 30 minutes!
5 from 27 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 549kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless & skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth low sodium
  • 3 cups short pasta like penne fusilli or bow ties
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 tbsp oil for frying
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 large garlic clove grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt divided
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat large Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on medium heat and swirl oil to coat.
  • Add chicken and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and ground black pepper. Sear for 3-4 minutes per side.
    Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pot)
  • Add broth, pasta, bell pepper, Italian seasoning and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Gently stir, cover and bring to a boil.
    Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pot)
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once after 2 minutes to prevent pasta from sticking. Keep in mind gluten free pasta cooks faster than wheat. Pasta should be al dente (not too soft, so it doesn’t become a mush).
  • Remove chicken onto a plate or cutting board.
    Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pot)
  • In a large measuring cup whisk cold milk with cornstarch and pour over pasta. Stir gently, bring to a boil and simmer for a minute until sauce thickens a bit.
    Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pot)
  • Turn off heat and add sun dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, spinach and garlic. Cover for a few minutes to let flavors develop.
    Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pot)
  • In the meanwhile, slice chicken into thin pieces.
    Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pot)
  • Add chicken to the pot, stir gently and serve immediately. Tuscan chicken pasta is one of those dishes that tastes best right after cooking. That’s when it’s most saucy, spinach is not too wilted and it’s just fresh.
    Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pot)

Store: Refrigerate for up to 1 day and do not freeze. If you are serving later, add a splash of milk and simmer for a few minutes to rehydrate the dish.

    Notes

    • I like to use my Lodge Dutch oven for one pot meals. You can also use medium heavy bottom stainless steel pot with a tight fitting lid.
    • Whole wheat or whole foods pasta is more nutritious than white. You can use any though. Good shape pasta to use is short with some cavities to hold the sauce.
    • If using gluten free pasta, cook by a few minutes less as it cooks faster than wheat one.
    • It is important to stir pasta after a few minutes to prevent it from sticking.
    • 3.25% homo milk will make more creamy sauce but 2% will work as well. Do not use skim or 1% milk as sauce will be flat.
    • Instead of Italian seasoning, I always use a ratio of dried oregano and thyme.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 549kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 612mg | Potassium: 1393mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 2781IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 342mg | Iron: 4mg
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    80 comments on “Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pot)

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    1. 5 stars
      Oh my gosh. This is so good!! My 20 year old son said it tastes as good as a restaurant! We love this. Thank you!

    2. Hi Olena,
      I love your website and how you explain everything about cooking.
      I have a question: some of your recipes are designed for only 1 pound of meat. I only cook very large meals and store a portion of it in the freezer. So if I need to make 3 pounds of chicken, let’s say, would I triple the amount of the rest of ingredients? Or would some amounts stay the same? What’s the rule of thumb here?

      1. For stovetop recipes like this one, yes, you would want to also increase the other ingredients the same amount that you have increased the chicken called for – if you are tripling the chicken, you will need to triple the other ingredients.

    3. I will try this recipe tomorrow. What is your ratio of oregano and thyme to use for Italian Seasoning?
      I will leave some feedback after I make this recipe
      I love your recipes and your approach to eating. Thank you.
      Carol

      1. Italian seasoning is actually a combination of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley (sometimes marjoram, red pepper flakes, garlic powder!) If you are using only oregano and thyme, I would start with 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/8 tsp thyme to sub for the Italian seasoning – add another 1/4 tsp oregano and 1/8 tsp thyme after tasting.

    4. 5 stars
      Got this recipe from my sister loved it so much had her give me the link and now it is a weekly at our family dinner table

    5. 5 stars
      Hi Olena. Outstanding recipe. Made it tonight for my family and did not modify any part of the recipe. The sauce thickened up nicely. The sun-dried tomatoes gave it great flavor. Thanks for sharing.

    6. 5 stars
      Hi Olena, I love your recipes. I’ve tried about 15 so far and loved every one. I made this one last night and followed it just as written. It was so delicious! My husband said the same. I look so forward to your emails with recipes. Thank you !

    7. 5 stars
      This was SO easy and super yummy… My 11 year old made it for us for dinner…. Only added some diced onion and mushrooms and used low fat mozzarella instead of the parmesan. Really really good!!!

    8. 5 stars
      In the middle of making this and just realized i was supposed to put the chicken in whole then remove it. Well i’ve already chopped it up so hopefully it still turns out hahaha

    9. Love your recipes, We have made many of them, especially the instant pot recipes.

      For this recipe, can you please provide the serving size for the nutritional information?

      Thank you!

    10. 5 stars
      Another winner winner chicken dinner from Olena.
      I Made just as written. Believe me, it doesn’t require any changes. Absolute keeper!
      Thank you for making eating healthy so easy.

    11. 5 stars
      Love the one pot cleanup, and as always, the recipe was delicious! The leftovers have even proved to be quite tasty for lunch!

    12. 5 stars
      This was very good. We will make it again. My son had three helpings! My daughter said it needs to go into our rotation. Now they both want your Alfredo tonight. Might have to wait a couple of days for that. Thank you.

      Oh, and we’ve tried three of your recipes now and all have been big hits.

      1. Thanks for taking the time to let me know that my recipes are a hit with your family, Matthew! Means a lot to me.

    13. 5 stars
      This was so good! Very glad I ran across your site from Pinterest. I need to expand my one pot meals / easy recipes as I have two kids under two. Anything that can be done fast and tastes good!

    14. 5 stars
      Oh my goodness! This is amazing! SO yummy! My 18 year old son and I cooked it together and we loved it!

    15. Looks tasty, but I have a question. The ingredient list says 1/2 tsp salt, but the instructions say 1/4 tsp. Which is it?

    16. 5 stars
      Great recipe Olena! I made this for my Dad’s birthday and he had seconds. I am lactose intolerant and swapped out the 2 cups of milk for 2 cups of Silk non-dairy half & half and it came out deliciously creamy. Thank you for this great recipe!! 😀

    17. 5 stars
      I have a high school athlete who is interested in eating healthier but seems to think his only options are grilled chicken and salad. This was tasty and easy to follow, and a great way to sneak in cooked spinach without ‘actually’ cooking spinach! Love the ‘one pot’ to make clean up and serving easier, the Dutch oven made it easy to keep it warm across some crazy schedules.

    18. I just realized I do not have Italian seasoning! What is the ratio of oregano and thyme you use? Thanks!!

    19. 5 stars
      This was AMAZING!!! Great one for weeknights. Only have to chop garlic (we accidentally chopped instead of grated) and chop red bell peppers. Used julienned sundried tomatoes. Sooooo tasty!!

    20. 5 stars
      Omg this recipe was the best and my food came out amazing! My family told me this was one of the best things I’ve ever made!!

    21. 5 stars
      This was one of my favorite recipes so far! It was incredible, we’ll be having this for dinner often. I had 1/2 a zucchini and some mushrooms in the fridge that I needed to use up so I put them in as well, this dish was so delicious! Thank you for the great website and healthy meals!

    22. Hi,

      Quick clarification question, for the Sun Dried Tomatoes, it says “1/2” but doesnt include the measurement.

      Thank you!

    23. My sister cannot eat dairy. What would you suggest I use as a substitute for whole milk? Would almond milk work? Thank you!

      1. 5 stars
        I used almond milk today and LOVED how it turned out. I added an additional teaspoon of cornstarch and a bit more sun dried tomatoes. The kids and Husband loved it too!

    24. I so look forward to your receiving your recipes. I can’t wait to make this, your recipes are simple and delicious, thank you. My grandparents descended from the Ukraine and I unfortunately never met them but I have always felt a kinship with them. I love your authenticity and love for comfort food….it reminds me of my childhood. Thank you.

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