Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
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About a month ago, I posted a guide to cooking chicken that doesn’t suck in the form of pan fried chicken tenders. We’ll be using a similar technique for this garlic parmesan chicken pasta. Meaning, this is going to be a simple, one-pan healthy chicken pasta recipe.
In the original naked chicken tenders guide, I posted a graphic with five tender flavor ideas like chipotle ranch, honey sriracha, and others. But I must say, the garlic parmesan chicken in this recipe blows them out of the water. It’s perfectly tender and juicy with a crispy exterior.
And you’re looking at 107 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs, and 8 grams of fat. If you’re wondering why I’m calling this a healthy chicken pasta recipe, that’s why.
How to Make the Garlic Parmesan Chicken
Don’t be afraid when you see the words marinate or see a knife in pictures. The prep for the garlic parmesan chicken takes less than five minutes. It’s as easy adding a few seasonings in a container and cutting the chicken into small pieces.
The recipe calls for tenderloins, but you can definitely use whole chicken breasts. I prefer tenderloins when they’re on sale because they require less trimming for quick recipes like this one. I don’t mind the connective tissue in slow cooker recipes, but I don’t want any tough pieces sticking around when I’m using quick cook methods like pan frying.
In the photos you see here, I made two marinades. I’ll include both recipes in the recipe card below. One uses three ingredients and the other uses just two. Easy enough, right?
Once you have the chicken cut into pieces and in the seasoning blends, the recipe suggests waiting at least 30 minutes, but you know we break rules around here. If you wanted to get rolling right away, just be sure to fully coat the chicken pieces in the seasoning mix before adding to the pan.
To cook the chicken, heat a large skillet over medium high heat with nonstick cooking spray. Then it’s as easy as adding the chicken and leaving it untouched for four minutes before flipping and cooking another two to three minutes.
Food Safety First
Be sure any oddly shaped or large pieces cook all the way through at the end of the six to seven minutes. You can see a tiny piece with a little pink remaining towards the top of the pan in the photo below. Flip those pieces onto their uncooked sides and simply cook a bit longer.
A meat thermometer is a great way to check large pieces to make sure they’ve reached safe temperatures. The chicken will stay in the pan as you cook the rest of the chicken pasta, but it’s always good practice to check the temperature of your proteins when cooking.
And there you have it—crispy, juicy garlic parmesan chicken bites.
Confession: I cooked both batches of chicken before adding the pasta and sauce to the chicken and ended up eating the entire second pound of chicken bites on their own. S’tasty!
Bringing the Healthy Chicken Pasta Together
The rest of this chicken pasta recipe is crazy simple.
For the pasta, I used Barilla Ready Pasta Rotini which is precooked pasta that’s microwave ready in one minute. If you’re a pasta purist, you’re more than welcome to swap this for any pasta you’d like. The macros for the entire bag or Ready Pasta are 420 calories, 14 grams of protein, 84 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fat.
You could also use something like Banza’s higher protein lentil pasta to add even more protein to your chicken pasta.
As for the pasta sauce, the recipe calls for a can of tomato sauce and a few other ingredients. I find this is the best way to have a super low calorie sauce without sacrificing flavor. If you wanted to use some of your favorite jarred pasta sauce, I certainly wouldn’t judge you. If you go this route, I’d use about two cups of another pasta sauce. And that’s it for the pasta component of this healthy chicken pasta recipe.
Nutrition Facts and Serving Size Notes
I’ve split the nutrition facts for this recipe into four servings but don’t have the exact weight of each serving. So if you need exact servings, I’d recommend weighing the entire recipe and dividing by four (or however many servings you’d like). You can multiply my nutrition facts by four to find the recipe’s total macros if you follow the recipe exactly.
If you need help with weighing recipes and calculating serving sizes, check out my guide to using a food scale for cooking and tracking macros.
And if you wanted to add a bit of shredded mozzarella, I recommend weighing the cheese and adding to each serving individually for accuracy. You don’t need photos of the entire recipe like I did. 😉
If you make this chicken pasta or use the garlic parmesan chicken for other recipes, I’d love to see what you come up with. Snap a pic and tag me on the ‘Gram.
Garlic Parmesan Healthy Chicken Pasta
A one-pan recipe for garlic parmesan chicken with a simple pasta.
Garlic Parmesan Chicken
- 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Tenderloins cut into bite size pieces
- 1 Tbsp Garlic Pepper
- 2 Tbsp (15g) Reduced Fat Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4-1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper based on spice preference
- 1 bag (8.5 oz) Barilla Ready Pasta Rotini or your choice of pasta
- 15 oz can Tomato Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Garlic Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Granular Sugar Substitute like stevia or Swerve
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper omit if you're sensitive to spice
Mix the garlic pepper, parmesan cheese, and crushed red pepper in a resealable bag or container. Set aside. (Photo includes both marinade options.)
Cut the chicken breasts into bite size pieces before adding to the resealable container. Shake or stir until fully coated. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better.
Once the chicken has marinated, heat a large skillet over medium high heat with nonstick cooking spray.
When the skillet is hot (water drops should sizzle), add the chicken and spread evenly in the pan. Leave untouched for 4 minutes before flipping. Cook another 2-3 minutes after flipping. Make sure you don't have any oddly shaped or large pieces of chicken with pink remaining before reducing the heat to low.
While the chicken cooks, microwave the Ready Pasta and mix the tomato sauce with the garlic pepper, sweetener, and crushed red pepper in a bowl.
Add the pasta and tomato sauce to the cooked chicken and stir. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce is completely warm and everything is uniformly mixed.
Remove from the heat and top with optional shredded mozzarella before serving.
- Macros for chicken only: 559 calories, 107 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs, and 8 grams of fat
- Alternative chicken marinade recipe: 3 Tbsp (45g) Nando's Peri-Peri Garlic sauce and 1/4 C (30g) Reduced Fat Grated Parmesan Cheese (305 Calories, 33 grams of protein, 33 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fat per serving with this marinade)
- If you can't find Nando's sauce in store, you can find it on Amazon here.
- If you wanted to use a pasta sauce from a jar instead of the tomato sauce mixture, feel free.
- I used McCormick Garlic Pepper but if you wanted to make your own, here's a recipe with similar ingredients.