This Cilantro Lime Chicken Pasta combines some of your favorite Tex-Mex flavors into one quick and easy to make pasta dish that the whole family will love! Leave out the chicken for a vegetarian friendly option!Jump to Recipe
If you’ve spent any time here on STK or if you click around a little bit, you’ll easily be able to tell how much I love a weeknight pasta dinner. This Cilantro Lime Chicken Pasta is no exception. The dish is incredibly flavorful and has a delicious cilantro garlic sauce with lime and bite size pieces of chicken. I usually use thighs, but breast meat is delicious as well.
Pair it with some Herby Garlic Bread or a simple green salad for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
Why should you make this pasta?
- It’s easy to make and comes together in about 30 minutes.
- It’s super flavorful
- The leftovers are fantastic!
- It can be made vegetarian by leaving out the chicken
- If you’re a person who doesn’t like cilantro, you can sub in parsley in its place
- Chicken thighs (or breast)
- Short pasta
- Salt and pepper
- Ground Cumin
- Crushed Red Pepper
- Half and Half
Flavor: the lime flavor is strong as the recipe is written, so feel free to cut the amount of lime zest and juice in half if you don’t want as strong a flavor.
Texture: the sauce is creamy and delicious. I use half and half, but you could sub in either heavy cream or 2% milk. If you use the cream it will be a little thicker and creamier, and if you use the milk the sauce will be a little thinner. It will still be delicious, but it wont look as nice.
Ease: this recipe is very easy to make. The pasta cooks while you cook the chicken, but you can cook the pasta well before hand, because you’ll warm it back up in the sauce before serving.
Other Pasta Recipes you might enjoy:
Tips and Tricks:
Cut the chicken into bite size pieces for easiest eating. You can use any kind of short pasta shape you prefer, but I like using a larger shape to match the size of the chicken.
Cilantro loses its magic a little bit with heat – it’s fresh taste is best as a final little touch to a dish. Add the cilantro at the end, just before serving.
If cilantro tastes like soap to you, you can use parsley instead of cilantro.
Save a little bit of pasta water – if the sauce breaks due to the citric acid in the lime juice, you can use a little bit of the starchy pasta water to stir it back together.
Add the lime juice a little bit at a time - if you add it all at once, the sauce can break.
Why does cilantro taste like soap to some people? The answer is totally genetic! People who perceive soapy taste in cilantro have a group of olfactory-receptor genes called OR6A2 that are sensitive to the aldehyde chemicals the herb contains. Those chemicals are also found in soap! Fun fact – I am a person who things cilantro tastes like soap, but I really enjoy the taste anyway.
Is cilantro safe for cats? It is! If you’re like me, and you like to do a little bit of home gardening, but you want to keep your furry friends safe, you can rest easy knowing that cilantro isn’t toxic to your buddies. Along with basil, rosemary, and dill; cilantro wont harm your furbabies. Some herbs to avoid: chives, mint, and oregano.
I hope you like the recipe as much as I do – if you try it, please leave a rating and review to let me know what you thought!
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Cilantro Lime Chicken Pasta
- 1 pound Chicken thighs boneless, skinless
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 8 ounces pasta short shape of your choice
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup half and half or: milk or heavy cream
- zest and juice of 1 lime about 2 tablespoons of juice and 1-2 teaspoons of zest
- 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. When done, drain and set aside.
- Dice chicken thighs in ½ inch pieces and season with salt, pepper and cumin. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium high heat, and add the seasoned chicken. Sauté for 6-8 minutes, or until chicken pieces are nicely browned and cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan.
- Lower the heat to medium, and in the same pan you used to cook the chicken add the butter, olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Heat until butter is melted.
- Add the half and half and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, then add the lime juice and zest.
- Add the cooked chicken and pasta into the sauce, and stir to combine.
- Stir in the chopped cilantro.
- Taste for seasoning and add any salt and pepper as needed.
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