April 20, 2019
This cheesy, creamy pasta has a smoky kick from the salsa verde chicken. It’s a ridiculously good recipe that families love to devour.
The best part is that this meal comes together in one skillet in as little as 25 minutes. Can dinner get ANY better? Let’s get cooking and get those forks ready.
What is in Salsa Verde?
This one-of-a-kind sauce is made with tomatillos, as well as peppers, cilantro, onion, and spices. Unlike pico de gallo or regular salsa, all the veggies are roasted then blended together into a smooth sauce.
What Makes Salsa Verde So Good?
Salsa verde is a fresh and healthy sauce with typically mild flavor that’s perfect for dipping tortilla chips or in some of our favorite Mexican recipes like enchiladas, scrambled egg tacos, and my Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos.
It’s one of my favorite recipes from the Taco Tuesday Cookbook and also one that is easy to repurpose leftovers into a creamy pasta dish another night, that’s two meals from one recipe. And if 2 for 1 meals are your thing, check this out:
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Turn plain pasta into this out-of-this-world salsa verde chicken pasta with a few simple ingredients. I also share how to make it with leftover chicken or in the slow cooker in the post and in the recipe card notes.
Here’s what you need:
- Chicken: boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs work great for this recipe.
- Pasta: any shelled/tube pasta is great, so the sauce gets trapped inside the pasta itself. That said, any variety of pasta you have on hand works too!
- Chicken broth: adds flavor to the sauce.
- Salsa verde: it’s what gives this recipe its unique flavor.
- Half and half: for a creamy sauce.
- Salt and black pepper: for seasoning.
- Salsa verde chicken: use leftovers to save time.
- Shredded Pepper or Monterey Jack cheese: to make this pasta deliciously cheesy!
For the ingredient measurements, make sure to check the recipe card below.
How to Make Salsa Verde Chicken Pasta
This simple one-skillet meal comes together super fast for a perfect weeknight dinner. Trust me, if you can cook pasta, you can make this epic salsa verde chicken pasta in less than 30 minutes!
- Cook the chicken
The first step is to cook the chicken pieces in the skillet and then set it aside on a plate. The leftover tidbits add lots of flavor to the sauce, so don’t clean the pan.
- Cook the pasta
In that same skillet you’re going to cook the pasta with the broth and salsa verde so the pasta absorbs those flavors too.
- Add the chicken
Once the pasta is cooked, you’ll add the chicken back in to heat it through and the cheese to make it cheesy.
- Add the cheese & enjoy
Save some cheese to give this pasta dish a cheesy top layer right before serving!
Can I use leftover chicken for this recipe?
You can absolutely use leftover chicken to make this recipe and save time! Skip the first step of cooking the chicken pieces in the pan and simply add it to the skillet when the pasta is ready.
If you’re using leftover salsa verde chicken from taco night, here is how to use it in this recipe.
How to Make Salsa Verde Chicken in the Slow Cooker
In the bowl of your slow cooker, place the chicken and salsa verde. Cook it on high for 4 hours, until the chicken separates easily with a fork. Then, add the other liquid ingredients and the pasta, and cook for 20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the pasta is ready. Then add the cheese, stir, and serve.
Can you Make Chicken Pasta Ahead?
Like many of my chicken pasta recipes, you can save a lot of time by cooking the chicken ahead and having it ready to go. You can also do it in the slow cooker and save it once it’s cooled. Or, cook it straight to finish in the skillet, allow it to cool down to room temperature, and then transfer it into an oven-safe, 9×13-inch pan.
Pre-cooked salsa verde chicken pasta can be warmed up in two different ways:
In the oven
The night you’re ready to enjoy it, preheat the oven to 350F, cover the pan with foil, and warm it up for 30 minutes.
In the microwave
Serve individual servings of this pasta and warm it up in the microwave in 1-minute increments, stirring to mix so all the pasta and chicken warm up evenly.
What else can you make with Salsa Verde Chicken?
Salsa verde can be used in any recipe you’d use traditional salsa in. I love it in some of these savory breakfast ideas, on top of chicken with peppers and onions, or drizzled over some Mexican cauliflower rice.
Salsa Verde Chicken Pasta
- 1 lb chicken breasts or thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into pieces
- Salt and pepper, for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup salsa verde
- ½ cup half and half
- 12 ounces pasta
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- Pat dry the chicken with a paper towel, cut it into 1-inch pieces, and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Once hot, heat up the oil. Place the chicken pieces in the pan, cook them for about 3 to 4 minutes undisturbed, and then toss them or flip them over to cook the other side for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the pan onto a plate and cover with another plate to keep warm.
- To the hot skillet, add the chicken broth and with a wooden spatula, scrape the tidbits from the bottom of the pan –these add lots of flavor. Add the salsa verde, half and half, and uncooked pasta. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Once the pasta is cooked, add the chicken back into the pan and ⅔ of the cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted, the chicken is heated through, and the sauce is creamy.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, cover with the lid for a minute to melt the cheese, and serve.