Cajun Chicken Pasta in Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce (Lightened up) will have you saying goodbye to restaurant versions and hello to this Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe at a fraction of the cost and calories!
This Cajun Chicken Pasta is unlike any other Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe. It is kicked up a level with the most amazing creamy, flavor bursting Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce and juicy, spice rubbed melt in your mouth chicken! It’s full of fresh, colorful veggies, and you can customize the heat of the pasta by adding more or less cayenne pepper. This is one pasta that is sure to be a new family favorite!
My Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe first appeared over at Real Housemoms where I’m a contributor.
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Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe
When I stare at a restaurant menu, it’s the creamy, comforting pastas that always seem to jump off the page — they start waving, then screaming my name. I have tried to create several of these dishes at home from my Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta to my Million Dollar Baked Penne to my Spaghetti Bolognese,Shrimp Fettuccine and Chicken Parmesan.
Still, this spicy comfortlicious Cajun Chicken Pasta is what usually wins my order. The tender, flavorful chicken and crisp tender vegetables in a creamy sauce – they just get me. So in attempts to satisfy my cravings, I whipped up this better-than-any-restaurant Cajun Chicken Pasta in the most intoxicating delicious sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce ever (adapted from my favorite Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo and Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta – and now I can’t stop craving this pasta!
Cajun Chicken Pasta Ingredients
The star of this dish is the creamy cajun alfredo sauce. It is DIVINE. Here’s everything you’ll need to make the chicken, pasta, and cajun pasta sauce:
- Fettuccine noodles: Fettuccine is traditionally served with cajun chicken pasta alfredo in restaurants for good reason – the long silky noodles beautifully cradle the rich sauce and the noodles are thick enough (as opposed tot spaghetti or angel hair) to stand up against the peppers and chicken.
- Olive oil: Use quality oil for the best flavor. You may also substitute with your favorite cooking oil.
- Chicken breasts: Use boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe.
- Herbs and spices: I flavored this dish with Cajun seasoning (naturally!), salt, pepper, and cayenne.
- Bell peppers: You will need two small to medium bell peppers. I usually go for one red and one orange or yellow, but you may use any color combo you like.
- Red onion: Half of one red onion will do the trick. I don’t recommend substituting the red onion as its sweet flavor beautifully complements the heat.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: Use the kind that are packed in oil.
- Garlic: You can use more or less garlic according to your personal taste.
- All-purpose flour: I use all-purpose flour but I’m sure gluten free flour would work as well.
- Chicken broth: Is more flavorful than just milk or heavy cream. Make sure you use low sodium broth so the cajun alfredo sauce isn’t too salty.
- Milk: I used low-fat milk.
- Cornstarch: Thickens the sauce without needing to add more cheese or cream.
- Tomato paste: Enhances the tomato flavor and makes for a richer sauce.
- Cream cheese: I used ⅓ less fat cream cheese.
- Parmesan: Infuses the sauce with its fantastic salty, nuttiness to transform it into an Alfredo-esque sauce. For best results, use ONLY freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It is much more flavorful and melts into silky oblivion unlike powdered or pre-shredded cheese.
How to Make Cajun Chicken Pasta
So fortunately this crazy delicious version is much lighter than your traditional Cajun Chicken Pastas – and you would never even know it! The velvety, flavor bursting sun-dried tomato sauce contains no butter or heavy cream but instead is made with only 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato oil then creamified with light cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. Its silky creaminess will leave you speechless as you shove the heavenly smothered noodles into your mouth all peppered with thinly sliced Cajun chicken and bell peppers.
- To make we first smother our chicken in Cajun seasoning combined with olive oil. You can let your chicken sit while you prepare your vegetables OR refrigerate up to overnight.
- Next, cook your chicken until nicely browned on each side then remove from the pan.
- Add bell peppers, onion and ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning to the pan without cleaning it out so you can scrape up any yummy golden chicken bits. Saute just for 1 minute so the peppers remain crisp-tender.
- Next, we’re going to make our luscious sun-dried tomato sauce by sauteing sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in our skillet.
- Next we add flour to create a roux. The roux thickens the sauce but to make it even thicker without making it “flour-y”, we whisk cornstarch with milk and add to pan. This is a fabulous trick that I use in almost every pasta and is a great replacement for heavy cream.
- Finally we add tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, cream cheese, and Parmesan cheese for a multi-dimensional flavorful sauce.
- Add chicken, peppers, pasta, toss to coat and EAT!
How Spicy is Cajun Chicken Pasta?
As far as the heat level goes, I’ve added the option to add cayenne pepper to your chicken and an additional 1 teaspoon Cajun spice to your chicken to give it a touch more heat but even with this heat, I would consider it family friendly. I would only omit the cayenne pepper if you have little ones but if you aren’t sure, you can always leave it out and add a very light dusting of cayenne pepper to your pasta for more heat. But everyone should top their Cajun Chicken Pasta with a bright, fresh lime juice – heaven I tell you!
Now excuse me while I go satisfy my Cajun Chicken Pasta cravings and dive mouth first into this pasta.
I highly recommend you do the same.
Tips for Making Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Salt pasta water. You should always salt your pasta water – it is the one chance you have for the flavor to penetrate the pasta and enhance the subtle pasta flavor – you can taste the difference. Use 1 tablespoon salt for 6 quarts of water.
- Don’t overcook pasta. I recommend testing your pasta 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.
- Stop pasta from cooking. If your pasta is done before your sauce, then rinse in cool water to prevent it from continuing to cook. Don’t worry about the pasta being cold because the sauce will warm it right up once combined.
- Thin sauce if needed. The sauce can become too thick if its simmered at too high of heat or for too long. But don’t worry, it’s SO easy to fix! Simply stir in a little reserved pasta water after you combine it with the fettuccine until it reaches desired consistency. For an extra decadent pasta, add additional heavy cream to thin.
Recipe Variations to Try
- Can I use a different protein? I know this is Cajun CHICKEN Pasta, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn it into Cajun Shrimp Pasta – or even smoked sausage!
- Can I make it vegetarian? You can make this pasta vegetarian by omitting the chicken – although you will miss the succulent morsels! You can add in firm tofu or extra veggies such as mushrooms or zucchini. If you skip the chicken, be aware you are skipping 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (from the marinade), so you may want to add additional Cajun seasoning to the sauce.
- Can I add different veggies? Although bell peppers are a favorite in cajun chicken pasta alfredo, you can still use different veggies such as zucchini, asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green beans, etc. You can also add roasted bell peppers – yum!
HOW LONG IS CAJUN Chicken PASTA RECIPE GOOD FOR?
Cajun Chicken Pasta should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When properly stored, it is good for up to three days.
HOW DO I REHEAT CREAMY CAJUN Chicken PASTA?
This Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe reheats well so you can enjoy leftovers for days! Just be aware you always want to make sure your pasta is cooked al dente, especially if you are going to be reheating.
- Microwave: Add a splash of chicken broth, water or milk to your individual serving; no need to stir it in, yet. Microwave for one minute, stir, then continue to heat at 30 second intervals until warmed through.
- Stove: For larger portions, reheat pasta on the stove. You will need to add a splash of chicken broth or milk to thin the sauce as it will have thickened in the refrigerator.
CAN I FREEZE CREAMY CAJUN Chicken PASTA?
I do not recommend freezing Cajun Chicken Pasta because the creamy sauce can break and become a funny texture. The bell peppers will also become mushy when frozen.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CAJUN Chicken PASTA
We love this creamy cajun pasta with a big salad, crusty bread and/or any of the following:
- Salad: Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch, Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Apple Salad, Pear Salad, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad or Green Bean Salad.
- Bread: Dinner Rolls, Garlic Bread, and Garlic Parmesan Butter Breadsticks.
- Fruit: Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette, Winter Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Poppy Seed Vinaigrette, Tropical Fruit Salad, or Pina Colada Fruit Salad.
Looking for More Easy Pasta Recipes?
- Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Thai Pumpkin Pasta
- Taco Pasta
- Sun-Dried Tomato Fettuccine
- Chicken Orzo
- Lemon Garlic Shrimp Fettuccine
- Parmesan Meatballs & Orzo
- Sun-Dried Tomato Shrimp Pasta
- All of my pasta recipes!
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Tools Used in This Recipe
Cajun Chicken Pasta in Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce
Cajun Chicken Pasta
- 16 oz. fettuccine noodles
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (2-3 chicken breasts)
- 2-3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)*
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, , thinly sliced, or half of each
- 1/2 large red onion, sliced
Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce
- 2 tablespoons oil from sun-dried tomatoes jar
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato halves, drained and finely chopped
- 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups milk (I use lowfat)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 oz ⅓ less fat cream cheese, cubed
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- lime juice, freshly squeezed (HIGHLY recommended)
- cayenne pepper to taste
- fresh parsley
- Cook fettuccine in salted water according to package directions just until al dente. Reserve ⅓ cup pasta water then strain and set aside.
- Chicken: In a small bowl, mix 2-3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) with 1 tablespoon olive oil and rub evenly all over chicken breasts. Let chicken sit while you prepare your vegetables OR refrigerate up to overnight.
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed for 3-5 minutes, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 5-7 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.
- Peppers: Add enough olive oil to remaining oil in pan to equal 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat over medium high heat. Add peppers, onions and ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning and saute for one minute. Remove to a plate.
- Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo: Wipe out skillet and heat 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato oil over medium heat. Add sun-dried tomatoes and garlic and saute for one minute. Sprinkle in flour and continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Turn heat to low and stir in chicken broth. Whisk cornstarch with milk and add to pan along with tomato paste, ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a simmer and continue to cook and stir until sauce is thickened (but not overly thick), approximately 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in cream cheese until melted, followed by Parmesan cheese until melted. Add pasta, peppers and toss evenly to coat, adding desired amount of reserved pasta water a little at a time to reach desired consistency. Top pasta with chicken or toss chicken with pasta.
- Garnish individual servings with plenty of freshly squeezed lime juice, Parmesan and fresh parsley if desired. If you like it spicier, sprinkle a little cayenne dusting over top but be careful – a little cayenne goes a long way. Enjoy!
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