Updated: Oct 6, 2022
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
Servings: Typically serves 4
This is a super quick, super delicious meal that can be adapted to almost any lifestyle or dietary preferences. Give yourself a 30 minute window for cooking, but depending on how you adapt the recipe and if you prepped ahead of time, it could be done in closer to 20 minutes. I love to add in some fresh spinach in the last few minutes of cooking, just letting the heat of the dish wilt the leaves. This should make enough for some leftovers, depending on how many people are eating with you. I get 4 good sized servings, depending on what type of noodle I’m using.
I mean, look at that cheese.
4 chicken breasts or thighs, cut into small pieces (or could do an unseasoned tempeh or firm tofu, and I've been meaning to try this with white beans or chickpeas)
1-2 tsp dried basil
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
4-6 cloves garlic, minced (depending on size and your taste preference; I typically buy the pre-minced garlic to save time)
1+ cups cubed mozzarella chunks (or, try seasoning sauce with nutritional yeast, and/or if you’re *really* adventurous, I bet a creamy macadamia nut based cheese would be decadent - I used to make one with macadamia and pine nuts - delicious if you’re not on a strict budget! I didn't *love* this with a dairy free shred, however, there are many more options available now)
pasta of your choice, enough for approximately 4 servings (I love the GoGo Quinoa pasta if you're needing to go gluten free, I've also done this with zucchini "noodles", and these bean-based noodles such as chickpea, edamame, and mung bean - be warned, however: they don't taste like regular pasta!)
fresh basil, sliced in thin strips, if available (a handful or so)
fresh spinach, if desired
salt and pepper to taste
Season chicken (or tempeh or tofu) with dried basil, salt, and pepper, and cook in a fry pan over medium heat. Remove from fry pan and set aside. At the same time, bring salted water in a medium sized pot to a boil if using a pasta that requires cooking.
Heat a small amount of oil in your pan, and brown garlic, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Add halved tomatoes, and let cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add chicken back into pan (if using beans, this is where I would add them), then add cheese, or cheese alternatives, and spinach. Reduce heat to low-medium, and cover to let the cheese melt and the spinach wilt.
While tomatoes are cooking, cook pasta according to package. Before draining pasta, reserve 1/2 to 1 cup pasta water (I regularly forget this step, but it makes such a difference!) If using zucchini noodles, I don’t recommend cooking them, as they get mushy.
Add noodles and basil strips (if using) to pan, stirring to incorporate. If the dish feels dry, add in some of your reserved pasta water. If using zucchini noodles, you can let the dish warm the noodles, or place in strainer and pour some boiling water over them before adding to the pan. Season dish with salt and pepper as required.
If you're going the zucchini noodles route and don't have a spiralizer, you can buy them already "noodled" at most grocery stores. Also a great time saver!
Let me know what you think if you give this one a try! And if you're using social media, snap a pic and tag @strongsoulfitnessandhealth! It makes my day when I hear you've tried out a Strong Soul recipe!
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