Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake

Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake

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This chicken fajita pasta bake brings sautéed peppers and onions, chicken breast, chickpea pasta, and a simple cheese sauce together to create a super creamy pasta with unbelievable nutrition facts. Pasta this cheesy shouldn’t have just 260 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 6 WW SmartPoints per serving!

A healthier chicken fajita pasta recipe that's unbelievably creamy and cheesy. You'll never know each serving has just 260 calories and 10 grams of fat!

How to Make This Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake

This recipe is a simple one! I’ve broken it down to four parts that we’ll quickly run through below. I’ll go into a bit more detail in this section and then you can print the recipe card at the bottom of this post for everything in one place! 

Don’t let the detail intimidate you. This one is hard to mess up. For real! 

Part Zero: Mise en Place

That’s a fancy way of saying prepare all your ingredients before starting. Once the veggies and chicken are cooking, you won’t want to be running around preparing other things. 

Here’s the shortlist of things to prep:
  • boil salted water for cooking the pasta
  • cut the chicken and add salt/pepper
  • dice the onions/peppers and mince the garlic 
  • mix the hot sauce and chicken stock 

Part One: Make the Fajita Veggies

If you want to use pre-diced veggies, I won’t judge! You’ll see I used a 12″ cast iron skillet and keep everything in the skillet to bake. You can transfer everything to a baking dish after cooking if you lack an oven safe skillet (or a smaller skillet)

diced onions, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, and minced garlic for chicken fajita pasta

As far as the execution for this part goes, there’s nothing really special about it. I recommend leaving the veggies alone as opposed to constantly stirring so they can develop a slight char while softening. 

Save the garlic for the last 30-60 seconds of cooking so you don’t burn it. Add it to the skillet, stir, and transfer all the veggies out of the skillet once you smell the garlic. 

Part Two: Cook the Fajita Chicken for Max Flavor

One easy way to ensure you get crisp fajita chicken is to start with dry chicken. A paper towel works just fine. Pat the chicken dry before and after cutting into pieces.

Aside from drying the chicken, adding salt and pepper at the beginning of your prep will help give the chicken time to absorb some of that flavor. 

how to cook fajita chicken

Since the chicken is in small pieces, it will cook quickly. If you add to the pan and stir constantly, it will cook evenly but you’ll miss out on any kind of charring or crispy exterior.

Leave the chicken alone for a few minutes then flip or stir to finish cooking. 

Then as soon as the chicken is cooked through, get it off the heat and set aside to let it rest. 

Part Three: Deglaze the Skillet and Make the Cheese Sauce

Deglazing = adding liquid (cold or room temp) to remove the crispy bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet. See this sizzle in the second image below. These crispy bits have tons of flavor and you definitely want to incorporate those into the finished product! 

how to deglaze a pan and make cheese sauce

If you’re using a nonstick skillet, you probably won’t need to do much deglazing. That’s fine, just add the hot sauce mixture and briefly reduce (thicken) before adding the queso. 

This may sound complicated but don’t sweat it, I’m just over explaining everything for best results. Remember, it’s hard to mess this chicken fajita pasta up! 

Part Four: Add the Pasta, Top with Cheese, and Bake

Hopefully you’ve added the pasta to the boiling water at some point. If not, keep the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is finished. 

Side note: A big tip I gave in my hatch chile pumpkin pasta casserole for working with chickpea pasta was to avoid letting the pasta sit at room temp after draining. It tends to stick together on its own. If you start the water at the beginning of prep, the timing should be just right. 

Add the fajita chicken and veggies to the sauce, followed by the pasta. Gently stir. If you’re using chickpea pasta like the recipe calls for, it can be delicate.

adding the fajita chicken and veggies to the cheese sauce and pasta before baking

Top with cheese and bake. That’s it, you’re done! 

Modifying Your Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake

We’ll go in reverse order. 

Cheese and Queso

You can use any cheese you’d like on top of your pasta bake. Though I’d stick to softer melting cheeses if possible.

The Trader Joe’s queso is a magical ingredient that has 165 calories in the entire 12-ounce jar. I searched for alternatives when developing my spicy ground beef queso mac and cheese and found one from Dessert Pepper Trading Company that’s pretty close in terms of nutrition facts. Any queso will work, just be aware of the nutrition facts differences.

You could also use a mixture of cheddar powder like in my buffalo chicken mac and cheese. You could also make a cheese sauce like in my bacon gouda breakfast enchiladas or cajun mac and cheese recipes. Just swap the type of cheese to fit your taste. 

buffalo chicken mac and cheese beside bacon grouda breakfast enchiladas

Hot Sauce and Chicken Stock

You can use just about anything here. My first version of this chicken fajita pasta used pickled jalapeño juice to deglaze the skillet. Vinegar, wine, and even water will all work great. 

I will add that the hot sauce adds a bit of flavor in this case. 

Banza Pasta

I love using chickpea pasta in my pasta bakes. You can use other chickpea pastas or even regular pasta, though. To speed things up, you could even use something like Barilla Ready Pasta like I used in my garlic parmesan mac and cheese with chicken recipe

Fajita Chicken and Veggies

There aren’t many notes here. I’ll say the recipe isn’t very spicy as-is, and I left the seeds in the jalapeño. So if you’re a fan of spice, you might want to add another jalapeño or two. 

Okay, that should be more than enough info!

If you have any questions about this chicken fajita pasta bake or any modifications, drop a comment at the bottom of this post or join my Facebook group with 10,000 other healthy home cooks. We’ll definitely help you out to the best of our abilities! 

healthy chicken fajita pasta bake recipe

Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Fajita chicken and veggies with lower carb chickpea pasta and a creamy cheese sauce topped with even more melted cheese.

Ingredients

For the Fajita Chicken

  • 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
  • 2 Bell Peppers, diced
  • 1 Jalapeño Pepper, diced
  • 1 White Onion, diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided

For the Pasta Bake

  • 8 oz Banza Chickpea Pasta
  • 1/2 C (120g) Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 C (60g) Hot Sauce, I used Cholula
  • 12 oz jar Queso Dip, I used Trader Joe's
  • 4 oz Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese, or your choice of cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (for cooking the pasta). Cook the pasta 1-2 minutes less than directed on its packaging.
  2. Prepare the diced veggies and cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Pat the chicken dry and generously season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1/2 the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions and peppers for 4-6 minutes until tender before adding the garlic. Cook for another 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Transfer the cooked veggies to a plate or bowl and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and add the chicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes before flipping and cooking another 1-2 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (165F internal temp in thickest pieces). Transfer the cooked chicken to the bowl or plate with the veggies.
  5. Reduce the heat to low.
  6. Mix the hot sauce and chicken stock together and add to the skillet. Use your spatula to scrape any crispy bits off the bottom and cook the stock down for 30-60 seconds before adding the queso. Stir well.
  7. Add the chicken and veggies back to the skillet and toss in the sauce. Add the cooked and drained pasta and gently fold everything together.
  8. Top with shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is fully melted. Serve with chopped cilantro, crushed chipotle flakes, and fat free Greek yogurt or sour cream, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Each serving has 6 Smart Points. 
  • Total nutrition facts in case you want to divide into different serving sizes: 2,054 calories, 173g protein, 191g carbs, 77g fat.
  • You can transfer everything to a baking dish if you don't have an oven safe skillet or a smaller skillet. I have the 12" cast iron skillet I use on my Amazon list along with all the other kitchen equipment I use on a regular basis. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Servings Serving Size: 1 C (215g)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260Total Fat: 10gCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 22g

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37 thoughts on “Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake”

  • 5 stars
    This was delicious. I used cauliflower pasta and added a bunch of fresh jalapeños to up the spice factor even further. I used Aldi queso which worked just fine. I appreciated the tip about drying the chicken…I never knew that and think it really helped!

  • 5 stars
    This is in my regular rotation! I bought the onion and 3 pepper Pictsweet frozen vegetable blend so I could skip the chopping part (used 2 cups), and used sriracha because that’s the only hot sauce I had. I really don’t think you can mess this up… I mean, it’s chicken, pasta and cheese…DELICIOUS.

  • 5 stars
    Hands down one of my top 5 (too many to count) recipes from Mason! I top with extra queso and Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce bc I’m a rebel by heart

  • 5 stars
    Definitely in my top 5 of “Mason Must Makes”. I only had half the hot sauce called for and it was perfect for the 12 year old’s aversion to any spices hotter than black pepper. Super creamy and cheesy. I used a store brand salsa con queso. Will be making this again very soon.

  • 5 stars
    This is SERIOUSLY AMAZING! We’ve made it a few times. The first time we used Tostitos brand con queso and the second time we used the queso from Aldi. I have to say the name brand had more of a kick to it. We also use GF noodles and finally bought some banza pasta to try.

  • 5 stars
    Hands down one of the best and easiest pasta recipes with a nice kick! Instructions are easy to follow and Mason makes it so easy to be able to switch out ingredients if your grocery doesn’t sell exactly what the recipe calls for.

  • 5 stars
    I meal prepped the chicken fajita bake for my lunch and it was delish!! I think next time I make this I will reduce the amount of hot sauce I used. I used the 1/4 cup that was on the recipe and I thought it was pretty spicy for someone spice sensitive like myself lol great job by Mason like always!

  • 5 stars
    Hit for the ENTIRE family! The kids approved it and they’re quite the picky eaters. This recipe is fantastic!!! Delicious and the macro break down makes my life so easy. Mason – you’re the best!

  • 5 stars
    This is probably my favorite mason meal. I have made this as a meal prep every week for the past month. The banza pasta is so good I never thought I’d like. I substituted the queso for dairy free queso and had a great result still. I also did a lazy version where I didn’t cook the veggies first. Not exactly fajita since the veggies weren’t sautéed but it still tasted great and was super easy! Also easy to add extra chicken to stretch the amount of servings and half the queso if you are going for lower fat.

  • 5 stars
    Absolutely love this recipe!! Not very often does the BF say make this whenever and he said it! Only change that will be made is veggies will be chopped bigger next time.

    • 5 stars
      If you are looking for a good meal prep meal this is the meal to make. It is even good when you have worked all day and need something quick for dinner.

  • 5 stars
    Very good stuff. The extra trip to TJ for the dip was well worth it. Idk what kind of magic it contains for it to taste so good with so many less calories. Next time we might do it without the seeds in the jalapeño included. It was interesting actually because the first night we made and ate it, it was very spicy, but it actually was less spicy a few days later after it sat in the fridge (which the opposite of most things). But definitely a winner!

  • 5 stars
    Currently one of my favorite recipes! SO much flavor, especially if you happen to grab a hot jalapeño. I also tried the recipe with ground beef instead of chicken, but I liked the chicken better. Recommendation of using precooked barilla pasta worked perfectly for quick meal prep!

  • 5 stars
    This was my first attempt at a recipe from mason and it was a hit. I love the tips along the way and suggestions for modifications. As someone with entry level skills in the kitchen, these are much appreciated! Haha. I cooked this for my whole family and that includes a 2 year old so I decided to keep the spice level to a minimum . I added about 1.5 lbs chicken ( because I had that much on hand that needed to be cooked), reduced the jalapeño to 1/2, left out the hot sauce, and used reduced fat Mexican cheddar blend to top and this recipe was STILL delicious and the macros were incredible.

  • 5 stars
    OHMYGOSH. I omitted the onions, but this bake is amazing. Served it to friends who were staying overnight, and everyone loved it. Must make recipe!

  • This was an absolute hit in my house! We used red lentil pasta and la Victoria salsa brava hot sauce. We wish we would have had some corn and cilantro to top it with! Can’t wait to try the next recipe!

  • 5 stars
    This is hands down my husband’s fav meal, the first time I made it he said he didn’t want it to end and wanted it again the following night! I make it for my kids minus the hot sauce and jalapeño and they love it too. I make the cheese sauce from the chorizo dip recipe and use leftovers to make cheesy pasta for my kids the next day

  • 5 stars
    This recipe was easy and delicious. I used Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta instead because I haven’t been able to find Banza pasta to use.

  • Such a great dish! I totally forgot the Jalepeno & it was still plenty spicy. A little to spicy for my daughter who’s almost one but perfect for my husband and I!

  • My husband is a pasta fanatic, but hasn’t really liked the Banza pasta when I’ve used it in the past, but he LOVED this pasta!! I left out the hot sauce because I’m a weenie when it comes to hot. but still used a few jalapenos and the pepper jack cheese. It was delicious! He asked me to make it every week! I’d call that a winning recipe for sure!

  • LOVEEE this recipe! Ok first of all- its so simple, even my boyfriend has come to this page so he can prep it for the week! This recipe is a staple in our meal prep. I try to make a few of my meals a day plant based and this is one that I have successfully converted to vegan multiple times. Thanks for the great recipe Mason!

  • This recipe was easy to make and was a hit!!! My kids loved it as well as my picky husband. The best part, they couldn’t tell the noodles were made of chickpeas and lentils!! Will definitely make this again!

  • Hands down the best recipe! We make it at least twice/week because my family eats it so fast! And listen…I am a terrible cook but can handle this recipe therefore so can you!

  • I love this recipe! It’s great meal prepped and had SO much flavor. Prepping the recommended steps the night before was such a time saver for me. Mine was pretty spicy so just watch that if you don’t like spice. I used tostitos queso since I don’t have a TJs near me!

  • This recipe was delicious! it was quick and easy to make and i even got my boyfriend to eat it without realizing it was Chick pea pasta!! perfect amount of spice and going to get to eat the rest as leftovers for the week ! Yum

  • Hi is seriously the best pasta bake I have ever had! It is a weekly menu item in my house! I have even subbed the chicken/dairy for vegan items for guests and they were blown away! It is perfectly spiced and the flavors taste phenomenal together. Well done !

  • Okay, we devoured this. Pasta is so hearty and filling that we didn’t even do a side dish lol. My husband loved the spice and kick! Not only delicious but so EASY!

  • Subbing for Celiac

    No subbing needed here! For this one, the trader joes queso is actually gluten free so I didn’t have to sub that out! For me, I am a baby when it comes to spice. The queso is a little spicy IMO, so adding the Cholua really took this one to a spice level that made my nose run! I think if I left out the Cholua it would be perfect! I don;t have a trader joes near me so when I went i bought five jars of the queso, so I’ll definitely be making this again in the near future!

  • I love this recipe! This is the first time I tried chick pea pasta and it a was delicious healthy alternative to regular pasta. The spice level is just right ! So good! I have made this dish quite a few times!

  • This turned out really good! I hadn’t made chickpea pasta before so his tips were helpful for that. Also the Trader Joe’s queso 👍

  • My fiancé and I LOVE this dish! We now love the banaza pasta because of it! We live in a rural Army town in Louisiana and don’t have access to Trader Joe’s so we used a different kind of queso with “eh” macros but it did the job and we LOVE IT!

    Is there a way to maybe do “Walmart” brands of things? I wish we had a Trader Joe’s but the closest one is almost 3 hours away!

  • This recipe was so good and so easy to make! It was a hit for my whole family, including my 4 year old & 1 year old! Will be making this again!!

  • 5 stars
    My whole family loved this recipe! It was soooo good! Amazing macros, lots of flavor, and kid and husband approved!! 🙂

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