One of my favorite dishes to make for special occasions is lemon chicken pasta or lemon shrimp pasta – I usually like to have it on my birthday or our anniversary or Valentine’s Day, etc. There’s nothing overly complex about it, but we don’t do a lot of pasta dishes, so when we have this, it’s usually more special! Also, I’ve always craved everything lemon during pregnancy, so this has made its appearance several times during all three pregnancies.
I’ve changed my diet quite a bit over the past two years (read about that here), but luckily this is such a versatile dish that it can easily be made to accommodate different dietary preferences. Recently, Banza sent me several of their pastas to whip up something in the kitchen, and I decided I’d give my favorite lemon chicken pasta a try! I wanted to share the recipe since it turned out really delicious – and the best part is, it’s protein-packed and free of gluten and dairy.
- 1.5 lbs chicken, cut into small chunks
- 1-2 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth (you can add more if needed)
- 1 tbs cornstarch or tapioca starch
- 4 tablespoons Earth Balance (or butter if you aren't dairy-free)
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- Salt and pepper
- Cut chicken into small chunks.
- Zest and juice both lemons.
- Fill medium-sized pot at least half full with water and heat over medium-high heat.
- In a separate pan/skillet, pour 1-2 tbs of olive oil and heat over medium heat.
- Add chicken to heated skillet with a dash of salt and pepper and lightly brown for 1-2 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, lemon juice, zest and Earth Balance and stir until combined. Allow chicken to simmer in the liquid until fully cooked.
- Meanwhile, add a box of Banza pasta (we used rotini but penne would also be good!) to boiling water in the other pot and follow directions on box for cooking.
- To thicken the lemon 'sauce' in the chicken, remove 2-3 tbs of hot liquid from skillet and pour into a small bowl. Add 1 tbs cornstarch or tapioca starch and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture back into the skillet with chicken and stir until well combined. This should thicken the sauce a bit. You can always add more cornstarch if it needs to be thicker.
- Once sauce has thickened and chicken is well done, remove from heat.
- Drain cooked pasta, combine with lemon chicken and stir until combined.
- Serve right away - it's best while hot! If you're not dairy-free, you can also add a little parmesan cheese on top (or just use dairy-free cheese!).
As you can see, this is such an easy dinner recipe – and by the way, it’s still delicious when reheated the next day, too. If you prefer regular pasta, you can easily substitute that in place of chickpea pasta or you could even use zucchini or spaghetti squash ‘noodles’ – I’ve done this before as well! Also, if you are not dairy-free, you can use real butter. It really is such a versatile recipe!
What’s your favorite special occasion dish?