Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

This Bruschetta Chicken Pasta is your favorite fresh tomato, garlic, basil appetizer turned into a main dish on your table in just over 30 minutes!

This Bruschetta Chicken Pasta is a quick and easy, dizzyingly delicious dinner with an actual cook time of less than 15 minutes!  It’s a hypnotic blend of tangy balsamic, herbaceous basil and aromatic garlic with bright pops of blistered tomatoes and juicy balsamic chicken, bolstered with additional herbs and plenty of Parmesan cheese.  It’s a charming stress-free weeknight dinner that will instantly become a new favorite-it’s definitely one of ours! You can follow the Bruschetta Chicken Pasta recipe as written or add additional veggies such as bell peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, etc. because at the end of the day, it’s all about the sweet and tangy balsamic, basil, garlic sauce!  Serve this easy chicken pasta recipe with strawberry spinach salad, baked Parmesan asparagus and Parmesan breadsticks for a complete meal the whole family will love!

Easy chicken pasta dinners are weeknight life savers we all need more of!  You’ll love these easy winners: Creamy Basil Chicken and Orzo, Chicken Spaghetti, Chicken Parmesan Pasta, and Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta.

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top view of serving bruschetta chicken pasta with tongs

CHICKEN pasta recipe

You are going to go crazy over this Balsamic Chicken Pasta recipe!  It is one of our favorite new recipes (and I make a lot of recipes) that’s CRAZY flavorful, easy, and you’ll love that it’s a fresh, vibrant departure from creamy pastas.  It skips the butter, loads of cheese and heavy cream BUT is still extraordinarily delicious.

So, first of all, what exactly is Bruschetta Chicken Pasta?  Bruschetta in Italian means toasted bread with toppings.  It has become synonymous with toasted rustic bread, typically a French baguette or a country-style Italian loaf, topped with a mixture of chopped tomatoes, balsamic, basil, and garlic. In this chicken pasta recipe, the bread is replaced by pasta to still give you that carbohydrate hug and all of the bruschetta toppings are mixed directly into the pasta bathed in the BEST EVER balsamic sauce.   

The intoxicating sweet and savory balsamic sauce is based off of my sensational balsamic chicken marinade and my balsamic chicken skillet. The sauce is made by quickly whisking together balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, and Italian herbs and seasonings.  You’ll toss the chicken in some of the sauce before cooking to tenderize and infuse it with flavor and use the rest of the vinaigrette for the pasta sauce.  That’s it for prep! 

To make the Bruschetta Chicken Pasta, you’ll sauté the chicken, shallots, tomatoes, onions and garlic, until the tomatoes begin to burst, then add the balsamic sauce, pasta, fresh basil and Parmesan.   After a quick simmer to thicken the sauce, every nook and cranny of the chicken pasta will be seeping with complex savory, tangy, slightly sweet, herbaceous notes that will have YOU craving this pasta!

CHICKEN pasta RECIPE ingredients

There are two main components to this Bruschetta Chicken Pasta: the balsamic sauce and the chicken and veggies.  Here’s what you’ll need:

THE CHICKEN & VEGGIES

  • Pasta: I suggest thin spaghetti because the silky noodles are divinely slurpalicious coated in the sauce, but you can use any pasta of choice.  
  • Chicken: use boneless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs that have been cut into large bite-sized pieces.
  • Cherry tomatoes: add a fresh, slightly sweet flavor to the skillet and I love how they burst into juicy pops of sweet delight in your mouth!  Look for the deepest colored cherry or grape tomatoes you can find because they tend to be the ripest which means they’ll be the sweetest, and the sweeter the better!  If both the cherry and grape tomatoes are ripe, then go for cherry as they tend to be sweeter.  If your store happens to carry Candyland Red cherry tomatoes, snatch them up because they are among the very sweetest! 
  • Basil: measure ¼ cup packed basil leaves and then chop it. Use more or less if desired, and of course, by that, I mean more.
  • Garlic: please use fresh garlic for this recipe!  I use 6 cloves garlic for a real garlic kick, but use more or less depending on your garlic love.
  • Olive oil:  use quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Onion:  ½ red onion adds a rich sweetness. You may substitute with shallots or any onion you have on hand, but next time go for red.
  • Parmesan cheese:  infuses the sauce with its fantastic salty, nuttiness. For best results, use ONLY freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  It is much more flavorful than pre-shredded cheese.

THE BALSAMIC SAUCE

  • Olive oil: use quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Balsamic vinegar: the highest quality balsamic vinegars are not necessary for marinades/vinaigrettes like in this recipe and should be reserved for finishing dishes. Less expensive but still quality Balsamic Vinegar of Modena I.G.P. is what you want to use for everyday cooking in marinades, sauces and salad dressings. You can read all about balsamic vinegar in this post. To identify, I.G.P. should clearly be labeled and marked with the yellow-and-blue I.G.P. stamp (it shows two hillsides in a ring of stars). The vinegar can be designated “aged” if it has fermented for more than three years – a great sign. Some reputable brands include: ColavitaDue Vittorie Oro Gold, Oliviers & Co and my top recommendation: Giuseppe Giusti Gran Deposito.
  • Honey: mild clover honey balances out the tangy balsamic and lemon juice.
  • Lemon juice: freshly squeezed is preferred, but bottled will also work. 
  • Dijon mustardI promise it won’t make your chicken pasta taste like mustard! It adds a depth of tanginess.
  • Spices: dried oregano, dried basil, and red pepper flakes inject the marinade with a rainbow of flavor.  And yes, we want dried basil in addition to the fresh basil added later.

WHAT PAN SHOULD I USE FOR THIS RECIPE?

Recipes with tomatoes should be cooked in a heavy bottom stainless steel pan.  You may use a large cast-iron skillet IF it is very well seasoned, otherwise the acid in the tomatoes will strip the pan.  No matter what pan you use, you will want a take care your pan is large enough to accommodate the chicken and the pasta, or combine them in a larger pan.

showing how to serve bruschetta chicken pasta recipe by adding to a bowl and garnishing with Parmesan and fresh basil

HOW TO MAKE bruschetta CHICKEN Pasta

two tongs serving chicken pasta recipe

This Bruschetta Chicken Pasta is easy to make in just a few steps.  Here’s how to make it (see recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient measurements):

  • Step 1: Marinate the chicken. Whisk together the balsamic sauce. Place 2 tablespoons of the sauce in a zip-top bag or a large bowl. Add the chicken to the marinade and let marinate at room temperature while you bring the pasta water to a boil and cook the pasta OR you can place it in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours. 
a collage showing how to make bruschetta chicken pasta by whisking the sauce ingredients together in a bowl then adding the chicken to marinate
  • Step 2: Cook the pasta.  Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions in generously salted water. Remove 1 cup pasta water before draining to use later in the sauce if you need to thin it (you may not).  Drain and rinse the pasta then toss it with a drizzle of the untouched balsamic sauce to prevent the pasta from sticking together; set aside.
  • Step 3: Cook the chicken.  Once the chicken has had time to soak up the tenderizing marinade, cook it in a large hot skillet. Cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
showing how to make bruschetta chicken pasta by cooking the chicken in a skillet until browned
  • Step 4:  Cook the tomatoes.  Add the tomatoes, onions and garlic to the now empty skillet with a drizzle of oil.  Cook until the tomatoes begin to burst, 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
showing how to make bruschetta chicken pasta recipe by cooking tomatoes, onions and garlic in a stainless steel skillet
  • Step 5:  Thicken the sauce.  Add the chicken back to the pan along with remaining sauce (not touched by the raw chicken).  Simmer until slightly thickened and the chicken is cooked through, 1-2 minutes.  
showing how to make bruschetta chicken pasta by adding the chicken and sauce to the skillet with the tomatoes
  • Step 6:  Combine.  Stir in fresh basil and Parmesan. Stir in pasta until well coated, adding some reserved pasta water a little at a time if needed to reach desired consistency. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese and additional basil if desired then dig in!
showing how to make bruschetta chicken pasta by adding pasta, parmesan and basil to the skillet with the chicken, tomatoes, garlic and sauce
showing how to make bruschetta chicken pasta by tossing pasta, parmesan. basil, chicken, tomatoes, garlic and sauce together in a skillet

TIPS FOR MAKING bruschetta CHICKEN pasta

This chicken pasta recipe is pretty straightforward, but here are a few tips to ensure success every time:

  • Use a large heavy bottom skillet.  A heavy bottom stainless steel skillet will conduct heat the very best which translates into beautifully seared proteins and an evenly cooked dinner.  No matter which skillet you use, make sure it is large enough to accommodate the pasta. 
  • Chop the chicken large. Error on the side of chopping the chicken into larger pieces so it remains juicy and doesn’t easily overcook.
  • Don’t skip the marinade. The chicken marinates in the balsamic sauce while bring your pasta water to a boil, so it doesn’t even require any extra time.  This brief soak makes a world of difference between dry chicken breasts and flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth juicy chicken breasts. 
  • Don’t over-marinate chicken. The balsamic vinegar and lemon juice are highly acidic so you don’t want to marinate the balsamic chicken for too long or the acid can break down the chicken and make it mushy, especially because it is chopped into smaller pieces.  Marinate for four hours at most.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator.  You can marinate the balsamic chicken for 30 minutes at room temperature but if you aren’t cooking it within 30 minutes, cover and transfer the chicken to the refrigerator to avoid food-born illness. When ready to cook, remove the chicken to the counter 20 minutes beforehand to help bring it to room temperature so it will cook evenly. 
  • Don’t cook chicken at too high of heat.  The honey in the marinade will brown the outside of the chicken quickly, so I suggest using less heat than usual, especially if your stove runs hot. I use medium heat and it works perfectly with a stainless-steel skillet.
  • Sear chicken, don’t cook through. Remember we are just searing the chicken initially; it will finish cooking with the and sauce.  You don’t want it cooked all the way through before you add the veggies or it will be dry!  
  • Don’t overcook the pasta!  I recommend testing your pasta about 2 or 3 minutes before the box recommends – pasta should be al dente – meaning it should still be a little firm in the center/have a “bite” to it. 
  • Adjust to taste. Every bottle of balsamic vinegar is different so it is important to adjust your finished Bruschetta Chicken Pasta to taste. If the chicken pasta tastes too strong, it likely needs to be balanced by some sugar. Instead of honey, which is harder to incorporate into the cooked skillet, I suggest sprinkling the skillet with brown sugar. If the balsamic chicken is too sweet, then add some acid with lemon juice or fruity tang with balsamic vinegar.
up close side view of bruschetta chicken pasta showing how juicy the chicken is

CHICKEN pasta RECIPE VARIATIONS TO TRY 

  • Add veggies: this chicken pasta is a blank canvas for adding veggies!  Add anything your heart desires such as asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, or spinach.  Be mindful of different vegetable cooking times and add them to the skillet accordingly. Most vegetables will only need a couple minutes, so add them after the tomatoes have been cooking a few minutes.
  • Add-ins: try sun-dried tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, artichokes, olives, capers, fire roasted diced tomatoes, etc.
  • Add nuts: pine nuts and sliced almonds would be delish.
  • Swap protein: swap the chicken for ground chicken, chicken sausage, lean ground beef or Italian sausage and cook with the 2 tablespoons marinade. You can also use sliced sausage, shredded rotisserie chicken, roasted or sautéed shrimp and toss with the 2 tablespoons marinade.  This dish would also be great to use up leftover chicken, pork, or steak.  Toss leftovers with the 2 tablespoons marinade then add to the skillet at the end with the sauce.
  • Use additional Parmesan:  Parmesan adds fantastic flavor. Depending on how Parmesan forward you would like your chicken pasta, add more or less to taste.
  • Add heavy cream:  instead of adding reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce, try adding heavy cream.  This will create a richer, creamier sauce.
  • Make it spicy:  as written, this Bruschetta Chicken Pasta has a little kick but is not spicy.  If you really want a kick, amp up the red pepper to ½ teaspoon or add additional crushed red pepper flakes to individual servings.
  • Make it gluten-free:  the sauce is already gluten free, so to keep the recipe gluten free, serve it over gluten-free pasta (Tinkyada is great brand), sweet potato noodles, zoodles or spaghetti squash. 
  • Make it vegetarian:  simply omit the chicken or swap the chicken for tofu, mushrooms or additional vegetables.
  • Make it vegan: follow the recipe as written but use vegan honey or brown sugar in place of the honey and dairy free Parmesan cheese.
serving bruschetta chicken pasta recipe with tongs

make AHEAD chicken pasta

This Bruschetta Chicken Pasta makes a great make ahead meal because the sauce is oil based instead of dairy based so the pasta stays sleek and smooth.  If you making the pasta specifically to reheat later, take extra care not to overcook the chicken (you may want larger pieces) so it doesn’t taste dry and cook the pasta al dente.

CAN I PREPARE THIS CHICKEN pasta AHEAD OF TIME? 

You can prepare individual components of this recipe in advance so when it’s dinnertime, the meal comes together in minutes.  

  • Balsamic sauce: whisk the balsamic sauce ingredients together in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days ahead of time WITHOUT the chicken.  
  • Pasta:  cook pasta al dente (don’t overcook!), drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil or a drizzle of balsamic sauce if you’ve prepped it already. Store pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  It will reheat in the sauce.
  • Chicken: cube the chicken and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 
  • Marinate chicken:  add cubed chicken to 2 tablespoons of the balsamic sauce and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.
  • Aromatics: chop the onions and garlic and store in separate containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. 
  • Parmesan: grate the Parmesan cheese and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT bruschetta chicken pasta

  • Storage: store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Microwave: heat for 1 minute then at 30 second intervals as needed. 
  • Stove: reheat over medium heat, until warmed through. 
top view of bruschetta chicken pasta in a bowl with Parmesan and fresh basil

CAN I FREEZE this chicken pasta recipe? 

Yes, unlike many pasta recipes, this recipe freezes well because it is not a dairy based sauce. The tomatoes will soften more once thawed, but still be delicious. You can also just freeze the marinade/sauce or the chicken in the marinade.

  • To freeze chicken pasta: transfer pasta to a large freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn.  Label and freeze for up to 3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • To freeze chicken in marinade: Add the chicken to the marinade ingredients in a freezer-safe bag, squeeze out excess air and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use, the chicken will marinate as you thaw the chicken in the refrigerator, then use immediately.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH bruschetta chicken PASTA?

Enjoy this Bruschetta Chicken Pasta with a simple green salad or any one of the following sides: 

LOOKING FOR MORE CHicken pasta recipes?

  • Chicken Lasagna:  the ultimate comfort food!  It’s rich, satisfying, comforting, flavorful and boasts towering layers lasagna noodles, homemade chicken Alfredo sauce, creamy ricotta (with a secret trick) spiked with spinach and artichokes, and gooey mozzarella cheese.  
  • Blackened Chicken Alfredo: better than any restaurant! Juicy, Cajun spice rubbed chicken in a creamy Parmesan pasta on your table in 30 minutes.
  • Million Dollar Chicken Alfredo Bake: hearty pasta gets tossed with luscious Alfredo sauce and juicy chicken then layered with a hidden layer of provolone cheese and sour cream that melts when baked for a ridiculous amount of velvety creamy, cheesy gooey goodness!
  • Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta: a must have recipe for your easy dinner arsenal because all the ingredients are simmered in one pot – even the pasta!  It’s a vibrant, comforting dream dressed in a creamy yet light aromatic basil pesto sauce spiked with nutty Parmesan and lemon juice (without any heavy cream).
  • Lemon Chicken Pasta:  bursting with tender, juicy lemon basil chicken and garlic roasted vegetables tossed with lemon linguine, Parmesan, fresh herbs and garlic infused olive oil.  It’s a dance of bright, fresh lemon, kicking garlic and nutty Parmesan. 
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta: a 30-minute pasta loaded with juicy, flavorful chicken bathed in a luxuriously creamy-sun-dried tomato, Parmesan, garlic herb sauce. 
  • Chicken Spaghetti:  juicy chicken and al dente spaghetti are enveloped in creamy homemade bechamel cheese sauce spiked with tomatoes, cheddar and Parmesan. It’s sassy, saucy, cheesy, creamy addictive comfort food on your table in less than 30 minutes!
  • Chicken Parmesan Pasta:  astonishingly easy one pot wonder on your table in 30 minutes! Bite size seasoned chicken is sautéed then simmered WITH pasta, crushed tomatoes, and Italian seasonings all in one pot, so the pasta soaks up tons of flavor then is loaded with nutty Parmesan and pools of buttery mozzarella.  

LOOKING FOR MORE EASY pasta recipes?

up close of bruschetta chicken pasta in a bowl
top view of bruschetta chicken pasta recipe with chicken, tomatoes and basil

Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

This Bruschetta Chicken Pasta is a quick and easy, dizzyingly delicious dinner with an actual cook time of less than 15 minutes!  It’s a hypnotic blend of tangy balsamic, herbaceous basil and aromatic garlic with bright pops of blistered tomatoes and juicy balsamic chicken, bolstered with additional herbs and plenty of Parmesan cheese.  It’s a charming stress-free weeknight dinner that will instantly become a new favorite-it’s definitely one of ours! You can follow the Bruschetta Chicken Pasta recipe as written or add additional veggies such as bell peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, etc. because at the end of the day, it’s all about the sweet and tangy balsamic, basil, garlic sauce!  Serve this easy chicken pasta recipe with strawberry spinach salad, baked Parmesan asparagus and Parmesan breadsticks for a complete meal the whole family will love!
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 1 pound chicken breasts chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound thin spaghetti or pasta of choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 pints cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup packed basil, chopped
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Balsamic marinade/sauce

Instructions

  • Whisk together the Balsamic Marinade/Sauce ingredients. Transfer 2 tablespoons to a freezer safe bag or bowl with the chicken. Marinate at room temperature for 15-30 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente according to package directions in generously salted water. Remove 1 cup pasta water before draining. Drain and rinse the pasta, then toss with a drizzle the untouched balsamic sauce to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides, but not cooked through, transfer to a plate (it will finish cooking later in the sauce).
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the chicken drippings. Add tomatoes, onions and garlic. Cook until the tomatoes begin to burst, 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan along with remaining sauce (not touched by the raw chicken). Simmer until slightly thickened and the chicken is cooked through, 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in fresh basil and Parmesan. Stir in pasta until well coated, adding some reserved pasta water a little at a time if needed to reach desired consistency. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and/or red pepper flakes to taste.
  • Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese and additional basil if desired

Notes

  • Use a large heavy bottom skillet.  A heavy bottom stainless steel skillet will conduct heat the very best which translates into beautifully seared proteins and an evenly cooked dinner.  
  • Chop the chicken large. Error on the side of chopping the chicken into larger pieces so it remains juicy and doesn’t easily overcook.
  • Don’t over-marinate chicken. The balsamic vinegar and lemon juice are highly acidic so you don’t want to marinate the balsamic chicken for too long or the acid can break down the chicken and make it mushy, especially because it is chopped into smaller pieces.  Marinate for four hours at most.
  • Don’t cook chicken at too high of heat.  The honey in the marinade will brown the outside of the chicken quickly, so I suggest using less heat than usual, especially if your stove runs hot. I use medium heat and it works perfectly with a stainless-steel skillet.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta!  I recommend testing your pasta about 2 or 3 minutes before the box recommends – pasta should be al dente – meaning it should still be a little firm in the center/have a “bite” to it. 
  • Adjust to taste. Every bottle of balsamic vinegar is different so it is important to adjust your finished Bruschetta Chicken Pasta to taste. If the chicken pasta tastes too strong, it likely needs to be balanced by some sugar. Instead of honey, which is harder to incorporate into the cooked skillet, I suggest sprinkling the skillet with brown sugar. If the balsamic chicken is too sweet, then add some acid with lemon juice or fruity tang with balsamic vinegar.

Make AHEAD

This Bruschetta Chicken Pasta makes a great make ahead meal because the sauce is oil based instead of dairy based so the pasta stays sleek and smooth.  If you making the pasta specifically to reheat later, take extra care not to overcook the chicken (you may want larger pieces) so it doesn’t taste dry and cook the pasta al dente.

Prep Ahead

You can prepare individual components of this recipe in advance so when it’s dinnertime, the meal comes together in minutes.  
  • Balsamic sauce: whisk the balsamic sauce ingredients together in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days ahead of time WITHOUT the chicken.  
  • Pasta:  cook pasta al dente (don’t overcook!), drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil or a drizzle of balsamic sauce if you’ve prepped it already. Store pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  It will reheat in the sauce.
  • Chicken: cube the chicken and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 
  • Marinate chicken:  add cubed chicken to 2 tablespoons of the balsamic sauce and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.
  • Aromatics: chop the onions and garlic and store in separate containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. 
  • Parmesan: grate the Parmesan cheese and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT

  • To store: store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To freeze chicken pasta: transfer pasta to a large freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn.  Label and freeze for up to 3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • To reheat in the microwave: heat for 1 minute then at 30 second intervals as needed. 
  • To reheat on the stove: reheat over medium heat, until warmed through. 

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2 Comments

  1. Ramya says

    Will be making all soon for this pasta can i use mushrooms and vegan cheese as am a vegan i love pasta sooooooooooooooo much perfect for my after office meals will dm you if i make all and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

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