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Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta

This shop has been compensated by Inmar Intelligence and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HeartHealthyMazola

Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta makes easy weeknight meals a breeze. The bold Cajun seasoning kicks up the chicken and the sauce, for a complete meal. With my family history of high cholesterol, I like to use lighter oils in my cooking. A clinical study showed Mazola® Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, visit Mazola.com.

Overhead shot of finished chicken vegetable pasta in a white bowl with a bottle of Mazola Corn Oil on the side

Growing up I was that kid whose food couldn’t touch each other. And if it did, I refused to eat it. I have no idea what started that, and to this day I still plate my food that way…old habits die hard.

I’ve come a long way since then, and now love the convenience and simplicity of a meal in a bowl or a one-pot dish. And one of my new favorites is Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • It’s a complete meal in one dish, making it great for weeknight family dinner
  • You can mix it up with your favorite pasta and vegetables
  • The sauce is lighter, yet still incredibly flavorful
Overhead shot of finished Cajun chicken vegetable pasta in a cast iron skillet

Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose, cholesterol-free cooking oil, that is a heart-healthy* choice for your whole family. It has a variety of uses, including baking, grilling, sautéing, stir frying, or mixing up a marinade or dressing.

The neutral taste of Mazola Corn Oil allows the flavors of your food to shine. And with a 450°F smoke point, this oil is ideal for many cooking methods. Visit MAZOLA.COM  for more information and recipe inspiration. 

Many home cooks may not realize that all cooking oils have a smoke point. That smoke point is critical because, once exceeded, it negatively affects the food’s flavor and nutritional value.

Overhead shot of finished Cajun chicken vegetable skillet in a white bowl with a skillet with more food in the background
INGREDIENT TIPS FOR CAJUN CHICKEN VEGETABLE PASTA

I prefer to use a cast-iron skillet to make Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta. Cast iron has a very heavy bottom and cooks more evenly than most other cookware.

I’m normally a die-hard dark meat chicken fan, but for this recipe I use chicken tenderloin. It cooks quickly and retains moisture better than regular chicken breast.

Season the chicken generously and let it rest for 5 minutes before cooking. This helps the seasoning stick and absorb the flavors.

You can use a store-bought Cajun seasoning, but I like to create my own. If you like extra heat, go heavier on the chili powder, paprika, and cayenne.

I use rigatoni for this dish. It’s got a hearty bite, and it’s about the same size as the chicken and vegetables.

TIP: go low carb and gluten-free by omitting the pasta! I’ve done this several times, and love it. You could also substitute gluten free pasta.

For the vegetables, I keep it simple. Red and green bell pepper, red onion, baby portobello mushrooms, and baby spinach. Slice the peppers and onions thinly so they cook evenly. Add the mushrooms after the peppers and onions have softened slightly. And add the spinach right at the end so it just wilts.

Many Cajun cream sauce dishes have a heavy taste and are high in saturated fat. Simple swaps, such as substituting butter with Mazola Corn Oil, is an easy way to reduce saturated fats and cholesterol.

The sauce uses equal parts of 2 ingredients, plus more of the Cajun seasoning.

  • Chicken stock lightens up the sauce, while still adding great flavor. Look for unsalted stock to cut down the sodium
  • Heavy cream adds richness to the sauce and helps to thicken it slightly
Close up angled shot of finished Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta in a black skillet with parsley in the background
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Season the chicken well with Cajun seasoning. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

Heat 2 Tablespoons Mazola Corn Oil in the skillet. Add chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until just cooked through. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add remaining Mazola Corn Oil. Add bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally to prevent it from burning.

Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.

Overhead process shot: peppers, onions and mushrooms cooking in a cast iron skillet

Remove all the vegetables and set aside.

Add the chicken stock and whisk for 1 minute, scraping up the bits from the skillet. Pour in the heavy cream and whisk to combine. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning.

Turn up the heat to medium and cook for 4 minutes, for sauce to bubble and thicken.

Return the vegetables to the skillet. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes until wilted.

Overhead process shot: vegetables and sauce in a cast iron skillet

Add chicken and pasta, and fold into vegetable mixture.

Overhead process shot: all ingredients in a cast iron skillet

Garnish dish with fresh tomatoes and parsley, and serve.

Overhead shot of finished chicken vegetable pasta in a cast iron skillet with a bottle of corn oil on the side
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use half and half instead of heavy cream? You can, but the sauce will be quite a bit thinner.

What other vegetables can I use? Mix in asparagus or green beans, cut into small pieces so they cook quickly. Add zucchini at the same time as the mushrooms so they don’t overcook.

What other pasta options can I use? I prefer a shorter-cut pasta, but I’ve also made it with fettucini. Test out Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta with different shapes, and use your favorite.

What about leftovers? Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta is delicious as leftovers and, stored in an airtight container, it will last up to 5 days in the fridge.

*see Mazola.com for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health.
Overhead shot of finished Cajun chicken vegetable pasta in a white bowl with a napkin and fork on the side

Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta makes weeknight meals a breeze, with a bold Cajun seasoning that kicks up the chicken and the sauce. Mix in your favorite vegetables and pasta for a complete meal

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons Mazola Corn Oil
  • 8 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • 16 oz chicken tenderloin, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1/2" slices
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2" slices
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 8oz baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream

CAJUN SEASONING MIX

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Instructions

  1. Add all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.
  2. Season the chicken well with seasoning, and set aside to rest for 5 minutes
  3. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook rigatoni according to package directions.
  4. Heat 2 Tablespoons corn oil in the skillet. Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until just cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside.
  5. Add 1 Tablespoon corn oil to the skillet. Add bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally to prevent it from burning.
  6. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove all vegetables and set aside.
  8. Add the chicken stock and stir to scrape up any bits stuck to the skillet. Pour in the heavy cream and whisk to combine.
  9. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning.
  10. Turn up the heat slightly and cook for 4 minutes, for the sauce to bubble and thicken
  11. Return the vegetables to the skillet. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes until wilted.
  12. Add chicken and pasta, and fold into vegetable mixture.
  13. Garnish the dish with fresh tomatoes and parsley, and serve

Notes

I prefer to use a cast-iron skillet to make Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta. Cast iron has a very heavy bottom and cooks more evenly than most other cookware.

You can use a store-bought Cajun seasoning, but I like to create my own. If you like extra heat, go heavier on the chili powder, paprika, and cayenne.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use half and half instead of heavy cream? You can, but the sauce will be quite a bit thinner.

What other vegetables can I use? Mix in asparagus or green beans, cut into small pieces so they cook quickly. Add zucchini at the same time as the mushrooms so they don’t overcook.

What other pasta options can I use? I prefer a shorter-cut pasta, but I’ve also made it with fettucini. Test out Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta with different shapes, and use your favorite.

What about leftovers? Cajun Chicken Vegetable Pasta is delicious as leftovers and, stored in an airtight container, it will last up to 5 days in the fridge.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 511Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 482mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 32g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

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