This easy recipe for Baked Chicken Rotini is made with hearty chickpea rotini and loaded with fresh flavor from broccoli and sundried tomatoes!
VideoCurrent happenings: my new love of and obsession over chickpea pasta. The need for quick, healthy, one-dish weeknight dinners. Dinners that make extra for the freezer. Dinners that make great leftovers for lunch the next day.
These are all things I want/need in my life right now, and am making a concerted effort to bring them to fruition. Do you know what's really nice about that? You all seem to want the same thing! From Facebook comments, to Instagram polls, to tidbits I pick up from conversations in town, we are all on the hunt for easy, quick, healthy dinners that stretch across multiple meals. And we want these meals to have all the nutritional balance, flavor, texture, and color that make a meal desirable wrapped up into one dish.
While making an attempt to get a healthy dinner on the table with some humble pantry ingredients and leftover veggies in the fridge, this Chicken Rotini Bake with Broccoli and Sundried Tomatoes was born. And I'm SO excited to be sharing it with you today because it really checks all of the boxes that I mentioned earlier. Let's make some!
- Chickpea Rotini - this type of gluten-free pasta is really high in protein and fiber, making it a lower-carb, more filling option than regular pasta. I've tried and loved versions from Banza and Barilla, and would recommend either for this recipe!
- Alfredo Sauce - to keep this dinner simple and quick, I'm relying on pre-made alfredo sauce for this recipe. I love the Basil Pesto Alfredo sauce from Private Selection at Kroger. Choose the one with the least amount of sodium and added sugars if you can! Rao's and Bertolli would be good bets, and Victoria's makes a vegan version with cashews and Daiya has an allergy-friendly vegan option.
- Chicken - I used some leftover chicken from my Perfectly Roasted Chicken Breasts recipe, but rotisserie chicken or frozen cooked chicken breast strips would also work!
- Cheeses - we won't go overboard with the cheese here; just enough to make this meal taste good! Some part-skim mozzarella and shaved Parmesan will do the trick. Daiya's classic blend vegan shreds would be a good dairy-free substitute.
- Broccoli - a head or two of fresh broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces adds color and lots of nutrients to this dish. You will save $$ buying a head of broccoli, but for convenience feel free to get the bag of cut broccoli florets! Just be sure they are in bite-size pieces before adding to this dish so that they will become tender and cooked through.
- Sundried Tomatoes - I always try to keep a jar of the kind packed in oil either in my fridge or pantry. It's an easy way to pack tons of color and flavor into sauces, on pizza or in paninis, on a baked potato, or folded into any pasta bake.
- Cook the pasta. For chickpea pasta, I recommend cooking it on the lowest end of the recommended time. It can overcook easily, and I like mine to have a firmer texture before adding it to a pasta bake. 4-5 minutes in the salted boiling water should be great!
- Chop the chicken, broccoli, and sundried tomatoes - I like to do this while the pasta water comes to a boil.
- Add everything to a bowl and toss. You will need a big bowl!
- But it all in a greased baking dish and top with some cheese. You can fill a 9 x 13-inch glass casserole with everything from the bowl or divide it up into two 8 x 8-inch dishes. Bake one now, freeze one for later, or take the extra one to a friend!
- Bake away! While your pasta bake gets nice and bubbly, you can make a quick salad to serve on the side for extra greens.
- Use different meat or omit completely - Italian chicken or turkey sausage would be delicious in this, as well as roasted turkey breast. Since the chickpea pasta is so high in protein, feel free to omit the meat completely!
- Use different veggies - baby spinach, kale, chopped asparagus, or brussels sprouts chopped into quarters would be great substitutes for the broccoli. Olives, artichokes, mushrooms, or roasted red peppers would be great subs for the sundried tomatoes.
- Use a different sauce - you can always use a jar of your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce in place of the alfredo in this recipe and it will be just as delicious! If you can't find pesto alfredo, add ¼ cup of prepared pesto to a jar of regular alfredo sauce.
- Freezing unbaked pasta: freeze the pasta in an airtight freezer baking dish. Thaw in the fridge overnight before baking. Bake, uncovered, as directed in the recipe and add an extra 10 minutes of baking time as needed until the center is very hot.
- Freezing baked pasta - divide baked leftovers into meal prep containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and microwave for 2-3 minutes to reheat, stirring halfway through the heating time.
- Baked Cauliflower Parmesan
- Italian Antipasto Salad
- Pizza Baked Gnocchi
- Orzo Cacio e Pepe
- Turkey Florentine Lasagna
Are you ready to make this Baked Chicken Rotini? I’m so excited for you to try this recipe. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you! Leave a comment and rate the recipe below. This will help me with the creation of future recipes! I’d also love to feature your creation in my monthly newsletter, so you can upload a photo to Instagram or Twitter with the tag @sweetcayenne5 to be featured!
*PLEASE rate and comment on the recipe if you make it! This helps others find the recipe in search engines!*
Chicken Rotini Bake with Broccoli and Sundried Tomatoes
- 1 (8.8 ounce) box of chickpea rotini
- 4 cups cooked chicken breast, diced
- 4 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
- ¾ cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
- 1 jar (14-16 ounces) basil pesto alfredo sauce (I used Private Selection; or use a jar of your favorite alfredo sauce and add ¼ cup jarred basil pesto)
- ½ teaspoon freshly-cracked pepper
- 1 ½ cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- ½ cup milk or dairy-free milk (I used 1%)
- ½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. Spray one 9 x 13 inch baking dish or two 8 x 8 inch ones with cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook the pasta for 5 minutes in 6-8 quarts of salted boiling water. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Transfer to a large bowl.
- To the bowl of pasta, add chicken, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, pesto alfredo sauce, pepper, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Pour the milk into the jar of alfredo sauce, place the lid on top, and shake to remove any sauce in the jar. Pour the contents into the bowl with the other ingredients. Toss gently with a rubber spatula until everything is combined.
- Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish(es). Top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly on top and serve alongside a simple green salad.
- To freeze: cover with a freezer-safe airtight lid or with a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator the night before you plan to eat it and bake the next day according to the directions above (remove the plastic first, then bake for the first 20 minutes with foil on top before uncovering and resuming baking), adding an extra 10-15 minutes to the bake time as needed.
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