Sunday, November 7, 2021

Lighter Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta {Your New Weeknight Obession}!

  I feel like a see a version of Creamy Cajun Pasta at nearly every single restaurant I go to and it's for good reason, right? We all tend to love that dish. Problem is, it's a cream-based dish that's usually rather unhealthy. 

What makes this version healthier? Well, most versions of Cajun Pasta are loaded with heavy cream and other fattening ingredients. In this dish, Tieghan uses a combination of milk and chicken broth with 2 ounces of cream cheese and a 1/2 cup of Parmesan to make a luxurious and rather decadent sauce. There is no butter and the chicken breast and veggies are sauteed in olive oil. Let me tell you right'd seriously NEVER know that this was a lighter version. It tastes every bit as rich as restaurant versions!

Warning: This dish is swoon-worthy and should come with a warning: be prepared for fights over the leftovers! This kind of dish is right up our alley here in my house and I will confess that my husband and I did literally fight over the leftovers.  

Tips: One thing I've noticed is that Tieghan of Half-Baked Harvest tends to go ham with the spices and flavorings. I am all for that, but if you're not, then you'll want to scale back the Cajun seasoning in this dish and taste as you go. You can always add more, but you can't take it out! Also, my husband loved the radiatore pasta. I used radiatore because it's what Tieghan uses in this recipe and I happened to have a bag on hand. However, I think this would be so much better with farfalle pasta, or maybe even shells or penne. 

One thing I want to say is that I can totally see a shrimp version of this, a kielbasa version of this (okay, not so healthy), and also a veggie version of this. Seriously, make this your own! The point is you have a full-flavor creamy pasta dish that is easy enough and healthy enough to become your new weeknight obsession!

Lighter Healthier Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest

by Tieghan Gerard

Serves 4-6

1 pound short-cut pasta

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces

1 tablespoon, plus 1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

salt and black pepper, to taste

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup milk

2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or other herbs

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain.

In the same pot set over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, chicken, and 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning. Cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Spoon the chicken onto a plate.

To the pot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the bell peppers, and garlic. Cook another 5 minutes until the peppers are soft. Stir in 1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning. Add a pinch each of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook another minute, until the spices are fragrant, then pour in the broth and milk. Add the cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and cook 5 minutes, until thickened slightly.

Stir in the parmesan. Then toss in the pasta and chicken and cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat an stir in the basil. Serve immediately topped with additional basil. Enjoy!


  1. I'm always on the lookout for a lighter version of a creamy pasta sauce. Once you nail the sauce and some good pasta, a delicious meal is close at hand. Can it be that simple?

  2. Nice! We love pasta in our home so any pasta recipe catches my attention. Great use of broth and cream cheese to reduce calories.
    Once I used ricotta instead of cream in a Giada recipe and it turned out great.

    I’m loving the Tieghan recipes. I hope you won the fight over the leftovers:-)

  3. I've actually never had creamy cajun pasta but I can imagine the flavors being amazing. The pairing of spice and cream is wonderful!


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! At the moment I am having a huge problem with spam so I've had to add comment moderation and close off comments to anonymous users. I apologize for the trouble and hope to return my comments to normal shortly.