Creamy Penne Pasta and Chikn

Creamy Penne pasta and chicken

This creamy penne pasta and chikn was a HUGE HIT with the family, particularly my picky daughter.  After two bites, my son asked if there was enough for leftovers.  That should count for extra points, right?

The picture above shows the adult dinner; topped with sliced grape tomatoes and sprinkled with red pepper flakes.  Naturally, I left them off the kiddo's plates.  The cream sauce is flavored with onion slices and minced garlic cooked in margarine.  It's mild and flavorful.


Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 cups penne pasta, cooked as directed
  • 3 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 1 package Gardein chikn strips, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/3 cup onion, minced
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups no-chicken base broth
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened soymilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • red pepper flakes, optional
  • grape tomatoes, sliced, optional

While the penne is cooking, melt margarine in a medium sauce pan.  Cook chikn strips, garlic and onions, over medium heat, until onions have softened.  Add flour and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in broth, stirring frequently until sauce comes to simmer. Stir in soymilk. Season with salt and pepper. Allow everyone to spice up their own pasta with red pepper flakes. Top with sliced tomatoes.

  • This looks awesome, I am going to try it!!! I love your web site!!!

    • Thank you, Theresa!

      The creamy sauce on the chicken and penne is SOOO Good!
      I’m a big spinach fan, and I can’t wait to make this dish again with spinach.
      I’ll bet it will taste wonderful.

  • Just wanted to let you know how much we loved this dish. I’ve made it twice so far and it is my youngest daughters favorite food *ever*. Mine too! I can’t believe how quick it is to make and I can’t believe that all four of my picky eaters loved it! I enjoyed it so much that I’ve blogged about it twice this week at LOL!

  • Milton

    I tried your recipe and let me tell we enjoyed it. I added red peppers and spinach and it was very good
    will be making again in the future thanks.

    • OH yeah, I bet it was! I haven’t made it with spinach, yet. It’s odd I haven’t with as much as I love spinach.

      Did you mean to say you added red bell peppers? If yes, how did you cook them? I’m interested in that!

  • I made this again, but with just onions in the sauce. WOW! YUM!

    I topped it with sauteed spinach & parmesan, that was ROCKIN!

  • Pingback: Creamy Spinach and Ravioli » Simple Daily Recipes()

    • Maria

      Great recipe! My family loved it!

  • I just made a Vegetarian version of the recipe with baby portabellas ( and it turned out great! I just wanted to thank you for sharing such a fantastic recipe.

    • Thank you Kacie!
      I love portabellas too. (Oh, who am I kidding? I love every mushroom I’ve ever tried.)
      That’s a great idea using them. I’m gonna try those next time I make this meal. Of coarse, my family is not as crazy about mushrooms as I am, so I’ll have to make a special plate for me.

      Did you do anything to the mushrooms before adding them to the cream sauce?

  • Jen

    This recipe is awesome! I added a little more garlic and some shredded Parmesan cheese too. My family loved it, including my VERY picky kids. I made a double batch and we ate it again last night. It was even better the second day!

  • Hi Jen!

    I don’t we can go wrong when we start adding cheese to anything. Thank you for reminding me to do that next time.

    Isn’t it awesome to find a recipe your picky eaters LOVE? Hallalooya!

  • James Brannan

    Just made this for the rest of my housemates, three of us (not very picky at all) and it went down an absolute treat. Excellent recipe and very easy to make.

  • YEAAAH!!!
    Thank you James!

    I use this sauce quite often; over ravioli, with roasted shrimp, and with my favorite, spinach.
    It’s all good!

  • Karla

    This recipe is SO good! My husband substituted plain yogurt for the sour cream since I am lactose intolerant and added broccoli. I couldn’t stop picking out of the serving bowl at the end of the meal. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

  • Thank you Karla! That’s an excellent substitution tip, yogurt for sour cream. And broccoli is DELICIOUS in this recipe, as well as spinach. I’ve learned to make extra, too, just so we can enjoy it again for lunch the next day.
    Charles, my husband, says it really good for a take to work lunch, easy to reheat in the microwave.

  • mary.k


    • Good morning Mary.K!

  • Stephanie

    How many does this recipe serve? Thanks!

    • 2 adults
      2 elementary age kids

  • Shanna

    I just made this for my very picky daycare kids and they loved it. I didnt have any fresh garlic so I used garlic powder with the diced onions. I will try fresh garlic next time, but it still tasted great with just the powder. I also used 1/2 sour cream and 1/2 whole milk. Excellent recipe! Thanks for sharing it.

    • THANK YOU, Shanna!
      I have used garlic powder many times in this recipe and my family can’t tell the difference. However, the times I’ve left out the diced onions, they noticed. Never skip the onions, the sauce won’t have to same depth of flavor. And using a 1/1 ratio on the sour cream and whole milk certainly makes a soul satisfying cream sauce. I love it!

      My family loves drinking fresh whole milk. The best and healthiest milk comes straight from the cow.

  • micki

    This was great! I needed a quick, tasty dinner that required little effort…gosh I was beat(!)…and this recipe was just the ticket: accessible ingredients, no fuss, BIG reward.

  • Anita


    I am from Hungary and I have tried your recipe.. It was fantastic. my parents came to visit me and I cooked it for them.They loved it! I have put some cayenne pepper in it, and it was great!

    thank you for the recipe…its a keeper!


    • THANK YOU, Anita!
      What is your favorite Hungarian meal?

  • Rhea Philip

    Hey Jill! I just lovvve your site! Its awesomme! I just finished eating this recipe, and it was wonderful! My friends loved it!
    Haha…whenever i feel hungry, i browse through your recipes and i get Keep it up!

  • phoebe

    Hi, tried this dish today & absolutely loved it, i had a third helping before i went to bed:)

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying this pasta recipe as much as we do, Phoebe.

  • N

    This is the best pasta I’ve had in a long time! It is exactly as you described and my family loved it!! I appreciate this post. Nice blog! 🙂

  • Lindsey

    I made this for dinner tonight and as everyone else said it was a huge hit in my house! The only thing I did different was along with the onions and garlic I added sno-white mushrooms and a red bell pepper and it made it even more delicious!!!!! You could taste each flavor and they complimented each other wonderfuly. One did not over power the other. I have a 3 1/2 year old who i swear has the most refined palete of anyone iver ever met. He is the oposite of a picky eater. He couldnt get it in his mouth fast enough! I sure will be making this again!

  • Brent

    I will be trying this tonight! THANKS!!!!

  • Tonya

    penne is my absolute favorite pasta. I will definitely be trying this recipe soon! thanks Mary j

  • Tonya

    typo – Thanks Jill. my apologies. I was so excited about this recipe. lol

  • Lindsey

    Made this AGAIN tonight!!! I added the mushrooms and red bell pepper again this time and I used sour cream but was short a little of half a cup so I made up for it with sweetened condensed milk and it added just the right amount of sweetness to it! I also put in chicken to make it a complete meal and instead of roasted chicken I made breaded chicken and it is awesome!! Tastes much better with the breaded chicken. But thats my opinion and taste. I love love love this recipe. Ive made it with just the onions, with onions & canned mushrooms for texture along with some spinach, and then one night made it as a side with just the penne and onions and the next night added breaded chicken and broccoli and made it a meal. And tonight as I said I have added the portabella’s, red bell pepper and breaded chicken pieces. So many ways to go with this!!!! and delicious every single time! My 3 year old sayd its his favorite pasta dish, he always asks for seconds!
    Thank you so much, jill, for this amazing recipe that I can do so much with!!! Makes a boring meal into a very tasty one that everyone enjoys!
    THANK YOU!!!!

    • THANK YOU, Lindsey! You’ve inspired me! I’ve got to try this with breaded chicken, now. And I LURV mushrooms, too.
      My mouth is literally watering just thinking about it. Thanks. 😉

  • Matt

    This recipe has become a regular in our house now. I have read through the comments and I can’t see one special ingredient that I cannot go without adding – Avocado as well as Shiitake Mushrooms. If you haven’t tried it with the avo you should. 2 Avocados diced. Just add it to the pasta before you pour the sauce over. It gives it a whole new depth.

    • I’m in! I’ll try it, Matt. I have an avocado sitting on the counter right now that needs a purpose.

  • Taylor

    I am about to head to the grocery store and I would like to make this tonight for my husband. I’m not the best with cooking, so I’m excited to make this. Is Sour cream what you reccommend?

    • Sour cream is my family’s favorite, Taylor.

  • tanuja

    hey i dont have sour cream… and i have to make the pasta for tonite…. any substitutes for da cream?!?!?!

    • Do you have plain yogurt on hand?

  • Lena M

    Stumbled upon your recipe and made it tonight. Big hit! My two picky toddlers ate it as did my husband who has an aversion to anything cream-based. Yummy! I used half and half in place of sour cream, added steamed broccoli and fresh parmesan cheese and it was fantastic. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • You are most welcome, Lena!
      I, too, have used half-n-half and yogurt and both were winners with my family. Whichever dairy product I happen to have on hand is the one I use. No one ever notices.

  • Michele Rose

    Just made this the other night! The family loved it! We don’t eat meat so I substituted 1 package of morning star farms chick pattys for the chicken. I added some mushrooms to the sauce and I added the Avocado as Matt suggested. It was delicious. I also used non-fat sour cream and I couldn’t even tell. I think I will try the broccoli next time. Its going to be a regular at our house. Thanks!!

    • Hi Michele!
      We love this dish with blanched broccoli tossed in at the last minute. Spinach is my favorite.

  • Michele Rose

    Hi Jill,
    How much broccoli do you add? Do you put the broccoli in cold water before you add it because I think thats what to do when blanching. I don’t have experience with blanching.
    When adding spinach how much do you add and how do you prepare the spinach before adding? I will have to try it both ways. I love spinach too. Thanks. I can’t wait to make it again.

  • For 3 broccoli lovers, I chop up about 3 cups. We all enjoy it for lunch the next day, too.

    Go to the following link for my instructions on blanching vegetables:

    As for the spinach, I blanch it in boiling water for about 3 to 5 minutes, drain in a colander, then press out the extra water with a spatula or by hand. I add the pressed spinach into the cream sauce and let it warm back up with the sauce for a minute before serving.

    I measure spinach by the handfuls. Two handfuls per person.

  • Michele Rose

    Thanks so much for the directions! I can’t wait to try it both ways! I’ll let you know when I do.

  • Crystal

    This was AWESOME! I cooked it last night for our family and everyone loved it. I have the most picky children when it comes to food, they hate anything healthy or anything that looks icky. I pureed the onion and garlic in the sauce and they couldn’t tell. Both of them ate an entire bowl. Thank you for the new recipe for our family.

  • Susan

    Can you substitute Onion powder for the onions?

    • Jill McKeever

      Hi Susan, I’ve never tried this recipe using onion powder but I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work just the same. Give a whirl and let us know. ;D

  • Laurie

    My sons absolutely love this creamy penne pasta and chicken recipe! My middle son is away at college and living in a fraternity house. The night it was his turn to cook, he called me and asked for this recipe. He called me later and said they made 6 times what the recipe called for AND EVERYONE LOVED IT! They all got to eat lots and then had leftovers.
    They liked it even better the next day.

  • Sarina

    When making the sauce when do u add in the sour.cream

    • If you plan to blend the onions to make a smooth sauce, then add the sour cream after blending the sauce. (The kid friendly tip.)

      Otherwise, add the sour cream after adding the broth.

  • Jennifer

    Do you have a substitution for chicken broth? I really want to make it but I’m just missing some chicken broth!

    • This might sound crazy but water works, too. You will need to add a dash of thyme, mild oregano, or poultry seasoning to spice it up. A little curry can lend a hint of poultry flavoring as well.

      I’ve learned to keep a jar Vogue Cuisine Instant Vegebase on hand. It’s low sodium and mixes well for soups and quick broths.

  • So im knew at cooking but i really want to make this! Sounds Amazing!! 🙂 but while reading i was confused..

    “While the penne is cooking, melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Cook garlic and onions with 1/4 teaspoon salt, over medium heat, until onions have softened. Add flour and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly”

    are each of these steps done individually?? do i cook the garlix & onions in the butter once the butter is melted?? if so, once the onions have softened i add the flour in with the melted butter garlic & onions??

    or do i melt butter in one pan … cook onions and garlic in another pan and add flour to what?? im sorry.. PLEASE HELP!!

    • HI Elaine!

      The penne cooks in its own pot.

      In a separate saucepan, melt the butter, add in the garlic, onions and salt – continue to cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the flour to the same pan with the cooked onions. Stirring constantly for 2 minutes, getting rid of any lumps. (At this point, your cooking the flour just long enough to remove the flour taste.)

      Now, add the broth slowly to the flour & onions, and stir at the same time to prevents lumps. When the sauce is smooth, remove the pan from the heat. Add the sour cream and stir, stir, stir until the sauce is smooth again.

      If you want to blend it into a silky smooth sauce, use a blender to do that. Otherwise, set the sauce pan aside until the pasta is cooked and drained. Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and you’re ready to eat.

      Let me know how it turns out for you, Elaine. Feel free to holler every time you need help in the kitchen. I love to help when I can.

  • Tia

    loved this recipe. simple and wonderful taste..

    • Thank you, Tia! It’s a crowd pleaser for sure.

  • Alicia

    I’m just a little confused, in the recipe it says 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. However, in the method, it says add 1/4 teaspoon salt, and nothing about the pepper. How much salt do i use? and when do i add pepper. Also, is it okay to use margarine instead of butter? if not what can i substitute it with?

    • Thank you for bringing that to my attention. It was a typo. I fixed the recipe. Thank you, Alicia.

    • Oh and go ahead, substitute margarine for the butter, if that’s what you have on hand. If the margarine is already salty, you may want to avoid adding that 1/4 teaspoon salt in the recipe.

  • Arfaa

    1/2 cup sour cream, yogurt, or milk i am confused that exactly what we have to use from these three like just the sour cream or just the yogurt or just the milk?or the sour cream and yogurt?or just the milk?
    or the yogurt and the milk?

    • Mz Paisley

      You just use one dairy…

      • Yes, whichever dairy you have on hand, use it. They all work in this recipe.

  • Arfaa

    1/2 cup sour cream, yogurt, or milk
    are these the three options? or we have to choose any 1 from it? or 2 things together or what?
    and secondly ‘1/2 cup’ the quantity is just for the sour cream only or it’s the same for yoghurt and milk as well?

    • Take your pick, Arfaa. Some folks prefer sour cream, others yogurt. Some folks won’t have either on hand, so milk works, too. I’ve used each of them at one time or another and they all work deliciously. ;D I’ve even used half sour cream and half milk when I didn’t have enough sour cream. That worked, too.

  • Sarah

    Thanks … this dish became a weekly dinner … I’ve done it 4 times already and I’m in love with it.
    I added a pinch of nutmeg in the sauce, and topped the plate with some parmesan cheese and a bit of chopped parsley.

  • yashira

    awsome for my daughter that was just diagnosed with diabetes and was put on a diet thank you. =+)

  • JakinAK

    Used cream cheese and yogurt and it was awesome! Added nutmeg to the sauce and added grilled ham and mushrooms! Tasty and easy to make! Toddler and husband loved it so I will make this again.

  • Wow, this looks so good. I do love pasta and chicken so this will be the perfect dish I need to try. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I am not an expert cook but the procedure you have shared seems pretty easy. Please keep your posts coming.

  • Delaney

    Any substitute for flour?