This Lemon Chicken Pasta is super easy to put together for an easy weeknight dinner and is filled with good-for-you ingredients that make a giant bowl of pasta almost guilt free!
This pasta is my culinary version of the song “My Favorite Things” except that instead of mittens and brown paper packages, it’s full to bursting with lemon, artichokes, chicken thighs and spinach. I could literally eat this every day for a month and not get sick of it.
The best thing about this recipe is that it’s super adaptable. If you don’t like chicken thighs (although, if you don’t I truly think that means you just haven’t tried them yet) you can easily substitute chicken breast. If you don’t have spinach, any other tender green will work in its place. Leave the lemon out if that’s not your thing. The artichokes are non-negotiable though as far as I’m concerned.
The recipe is ready in under 30 minutes making it a perfect weeknight meal, but its fancy enough to fool people into thinking you spent far longer in the kitchen than you actually did.
To Make Lemon Chicken Pasta with Spinach and Artichokes
Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat a dutch oven or a large, heavy bottomed skillet, and add your oil and chicken thighs. Cook over medium high heat tossing occasionally until the pieces of chicken are deeply browned and cooked through. This should take about 8 minutes.
Add in your chopped artichoke hearts as well as all the seasonings and let them cook and heat through as well.
Once the pasta has finished cooking, reserve a quarter cup of the cooking water in a measuring cup, drain the pasta, and add it to the pan with the chicken and artichokes. Add the lemon juice and zest, and 2 tablespoons of the cooking water, and toss to combine everything. Add in the spinach and give it all another toss to wilt the spinach.
Divide among bowls, and try not to eat your body weight in pasta!
While I feel this dish is absolutely perfect as is, there are definitely some changes you can make to suit your tastes.
I know that a lot of people are sketchy about chicken thighs. I used to be one of those people. But I discovered several years ago that fat equals flavor, and with such a simple dish, you need each ingredient to stand out, and the flavor imparted by the thighs elevates the dish. That being said I’ve made this with breasts and it’s still phenomenal.
If you don’t like the spices mentioned, feel free to substitute. Parsley works well here, as does plain Italian seasoning. And as written, the dish is somewhat spicy, so if you’re not a fan of crushed red pepper, you definitely want to dial that back some.
I like spaghetti in this recipe, but linguine would work really well too, as would almost any short pasta.
You could substitute kale or arugula, or even a spring mix for the spinach here, or you could leave the greens out entirely. Keeping them in lets me pretend this is a healthy recipe, so I usually leave them.
If you like this recipe, check out these other meals:
Lemon Chicken Pasta with Spinach and Artichokes
- 8 ounces spaghetti
- 1 pound chicken thighs, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 12 ounce jar of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- The zest and juice of half a lemon
- 2 ounces baby spinach
- Start by cooking the spaghetti according to package directions. Before draining the pasta, reserve a ¼ cup of the cooking water in a measuring cup.
- While the pasta cooks, heat a dutch oven or large heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat, and add the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the diced chicken and cook, stirring occasionally until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes.
- Add the chopped artichokes and the oregano, garlic powder, salt, crushed red pepper and black pepper, stir, and let them cook and heat through - another 2 minutes or so.
- Add the cooked pasta to the chicken and the artichokes, along with the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water. Stir together, then add the spinach and stir again to wilt it.
- Serve with parmesan and lemon wedges.
If you like things a little less spicy, feel free to lessen or leave out the crushed red pepper.