Easy Chimichurri Chicken Pasta

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Easy chimichurri chicken pasta combines tender, marinated chicken and al dente pasta with a vibrant, herbaceous chimichurri sauce for a quick, flavorful weeknight meal.

Chimichurri chicken pasta in a bowl.
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Quick Chimichurri Chicken Pasta

Chimichurri chicken pasta is a vibrant fusion dish that combines the bold flavors of Argentine chimichurri with the comfort of classic pasta. The dish features perfectly grilled or roasted chicken that’s generously coated in a zesty chimichurri sauce, made from fresh parsley, garlic, olive oil, and tangy vinegar, offering a bright and herbaceous contrast. This flavorful chicken is then tossed with al dente pasta, allowing the sauce to cling to each strand, infusing the dish with its garlicky and slightly spicy notes.

Optional additions like cherry tomatoes, spinach, or Parmesan cheese can add color, texture, and depth to the meal. The result is a harmonious blend of the rustic charm of South American cuisine with the hearty simplicity of Italian pasta. Chimichurri chicken pasta is not only a feast for the taste buds but also a visually appealing meal, with its vibrant green sauce and colorful garnishes.

A bowl of chimichurri pasta with a fork in it.

How to Make Chicken Chimichurri

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Fresh Parsley (1 cup) – Fresh parsley is the key ingredient in chimichurri, providing a bright, fresh flavor that forms the herbaceous backbone of the sauce.
  • Olive oil (1/2 cup) – Olive oil serves as the silky, rich base of the chimichurri, ensuring the sauce clings beautifully to both the chicken and pasta.
  • Red wine vinegar (1/3 cup) – Red wine vinegar adds a tangy kick to the chimichurri, balancing the richness of the oil and the freshness of the herbs.
  • Fresh cilantro (1/4 cup) – Cilantro introduces a citrusy, slightly peppery note to the sauce, complementing the parsley with its vibrant taste and aroma.
  • Garlic (3) – Garlic infuses the chimichurri with a pungent depth, anchoring the sauce’s bold, aromatic character.
  • Red pepper flakes (3/4 tsp) – Red pepper flakes provide a subtle heat that perks up the chimichurri, allowing you to adjust the spiciness to your liking.
  • Ground cumin (1/2 tsp) – Cumin adds a warm, earthy undertone to the chimichurri, enhancing its complexity with a hint of smokiness.
  • Sea salt (1/2 tsp) – Sea salt is essential for seasoning, bringing out the natural flavors of the chimichurri and the overall dish.
  • Chicken breast (1 lb) – Chicken breast is the protein of choice, offering a lean, tender canvas for the vibrant chimichurri sauce.
  • Fettuccine (24 oz) – Fettuccine pasta, with its wide, flat shape, is ideal for holding onto the rich, herbaceous sauce, making each bite full of flavor.
  • Parmesan Cheese (garnish) – Parmesan cheese is the final garnish, adding a salty, umami-rich finish that complements the fresh, zesty notes of the chimichurri.

Use this Method

For the chimichurri sauce. Mix the parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, and salt in bowl, set aside. 

For Chimichurri Chicken Pasta. Place cubed chicken in bowl. Add 4 tbsp of prepared chimichurri sauce and marinade as grill comes to temperature. Alternatively, you can marinade for up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Cook Chicken. Heat a large, heavy skillet on high heat. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the chicken cubes until cooked through to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 6 minutes.

Cook Pasta. Add water to a large stock pot and bring to boil. Generously salt water and add in pasta. Cook pasta to just under al dente (should be flexible but with a bit of crunch still.) Remove 1 cup of pasta water and add to pan with chicken, bring to a boil. Drain pasta and add to pan with chicken and boiling pasta water. 

Combine. Stir in 1/2 cup chimichurri sauce and toss as pasta water cooks down. Taste and add up to 1/2 cup more chimichurri sauce, depending on your taste. Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve.

Chimichurri chicken pasta in a bowl.

Tips and Tricks for making Chicken Chimichurri

Marinate the Chicken: For deeper flavor, marinate the chicken in some chimichurri sauce for a few hours or overnight before cooking.

Fresh Herbs: Use fresh parsley and cilantro for the chimichurri sauce to ensure the brightest flavor profile.

Quality Olive Oil: A good-quality extra virgin olive oil can make a significant difference in the chimichurri sauce, adding depth and richness.

Pasta Choice: Opt for pasta shapes that hold sauce well, such as fusilli, penne, or farfalle, to maximize flavor in every bite.

Reserve Pasta Water: Save some of the pasta cooking water to help adjust the sauce consistency when tossing it with the pasta and chicken.

Properly Season: Don’t forget to season the pasta water with salt to enhance the pasta’s flavor and season the chimichurri sauce to taste.

Balanced Chimichurri: Adjust the garlic, red pepper flakes, and vinegar in the chimichurri sauce according to your taste preferences for a perfect balance of flavors.

Don’t Overcook the Chicken: Ensure the chicken is cooked through but still juicy by not overcooking it, keeping it tender and flavorful.

Let the Chicken Rest: After cooking, let the chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing to retain its juices.

Garnish Wisely: Finish the dish with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of chimichurri sauce, and some fresh herbs for added flavor and presentation.

Adjust Consistency: If the sauce is too thick, use the reserved pasta water to thin it out for a silky texture that coats the pasta evenly.

Serve Immediately: For the best texture and taste, serve the chimichurri chicken pasta hot, right after tossing the pasta with the sauce and chicken.

FAQS

What is chimichurri?

Chimichurri is a vibrant, green sauce originating from Argentina, traditionally made with fresh parsley, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and chili flakes, often used as a marinade or condiment for grilled meats.

Can I use store-bought chimichurri sauce?

Yes, you can use store-bought chimichurri sauce for convenience, but making it fresh at home typically results in a more flavorful and vibrant sauce. This is my favorite pre-made sauce.

What type of pasta works best with chimichurri chicken?

Pasta shapes that hold onto sauces well, such as fusilli, penne, or farfalle, are ideal choices as they catch more of the chimichurri sauce, enhancing the flavor of each bite.

How long should I marinate the chicken?

If time allows, marinating the chicken for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours will infuse it with more flavor. Overnight marinating is even better for maximum taste and tenderness.

Can I make chimichurri chicken pasta with another type of meat?

Yes, while chicken is a popular choice, you can easily substitute it with shrimp, beef, or even tofu for a vegetarian option, adjusting cooking times accordingly.

Is chimichurri chicken pasta spicy?

The spiciness of the dish can be adjusted by the amount of red chili flakes or fresh chilies you add to the chimichurri sauce. Tailor it to your heat preference.

How can I store leftover chimichurri chicken pasta?

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently, adding a splash of water or olive oil to refresh the sauce.

Can I freeze chimichurri sauce?

Yes, chimichurri sauce freezes well. Store it in airtight containers or ice cube trays for easy portioning. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Can I make this dish gluten-free?

Absolutely, just use your favorite gluten-free pasta in place of regular pasta to make the dish gluten-free.

How do I prevent the pasta from sticking together?

Stir the pasta occasionally while cooking and toss it with a bit of olive oil after draining (before adding the sauce) to prevent it from sticking.

Can I prepare any components of the dish in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the chimichurri sauce and marinate the chicken in advance. You can also pre-cook the pasta and store it in the fridge, tossing it with a little oil to prevent sticking.

A bowl of pasta with chicken and chimichurri pesto.

What to Serve with Chimichurri Chicken

Garlic Bread: A slice of crispy, buttery garlic bread complements the herby flavors of the chimichurri and provides a delightful crunch.

Grilled Vegetables: Seasonal vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and asparagus, grilled to perfection, add a smoky flavor and healthy balance.

Caesar Salad: A classic Caesar salad with its creamy dressing and crunchy croutons offers a fresh, tangy contrast to the pasta.

Roasted Potatoes: Baby potatoes roasted with rosemary and garlic can serve as a hearty side, adding a comforting element to the meal.

White Wine: A glass of crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, pairs beautifully, cutting through the richness of the dish.

Caprese Salad: Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil drizzled with balsamic glaze provide a light, refreshing side that complements the chimichurri’s vibrant flavors.

Steamed Asparagus: Lightly steamed asparagus with a squeeze of lemon juice adds a bright, slightly earthy component.

Sautéed Spinach: A simple side of spinach sautéed with garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes offers a quick and nutritious complement.

Ratatouille: A rustic ratatouille made from a medley of summer vegetables stewed together brings a touch of French cuisine to the table.

Antipasto Platter: An assortment of olives, artichokes, cured meats, and cheeses can start the meal off with a variety of textures and flavors to tease the palate.

Try these sides with your chicken:

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A bowl of chimichurri chicken linguine with a fork in it.

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A bowl of pasta with chicken and chimichurri pesto.
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Chimichurri Chicken Pasta

Chimichurri Chicken Pasta – a deliciously fresh and lightweight pasta bursting with Chimichurri Chicken flavor for an easy pasta dinner the whole family will love! 
Course Pasta
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Argentina chicken, chicken pasta, chimichurri chicken, dinner under 30 minutes, easy chicken dinner, easy pasta recipes, garlic parsley chicken pasta
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 435kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Fresh Parsley
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic pressed or diced fine
  • ¾ tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 lb raw chicken breast cut into 1″ cubes
  • 24 oz fettuccine cut in half
  • Parmesan Cheese garnish

Instructions

For the chimichurri sauce

  • Mix the parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, and salt in bowl, set aside. 

For Chimichurri Chicken Pasta

  • Place cubed chicken in bowl. Add 4 tbsp of prepared chimichurri sauce and marinade as grill comes to temperature. Alternatively, you can marinate for up to 24 hours in the fridge,
  • Heat a large, heavy skillet on high heat. 
  • Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the chicken cubes until cooked through to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 6 minutes.  
  • Add water to a large stock pot and bring to boil.
  • Generously salt water and add in pasta. 
  • Cook pasta to just under al dente (should be flexible but with a bit of crunch still.) 
  • Remove 1 cup of pasta water and add to pan with chicken, bring to a boil. 
  • Drain pasta and add to pan with chicken and boiling pasta water. 
  • Stir in 1/2 cup chimichurri sauce and toss as pasta water cooks down. 
  • Taste and add up to 1/2 cup more chimichurri sauce, depending on your taste. 
  • Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 435kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 256mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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